Friday, May 18, 2018

Empire Strikes Back: The Opener

See that ending bit? Vader is looking specifically for Luke. Vader knows. Can you imagine, finding out that not only did your wife not die by your hand, but that she gave birth and the child survived her and you almost shot him down? For nineteen years you've been laboring under the delusion that you caused your wife's death and now you know that the one person that you thought you could trust was lying to you. How would you react?

Kinda like this?
Yeah, I'd be pretty pissed off too. And who else would you trust at this point to rule the galaxy? Certainly not Palpatine, right? Nope, it's time to take control. Anakin, for all his myriad flaws, has always thought himself a family man. That's what he always wanted, after all. Well, now he can have it. Screw Palpatine, the Jedi, the Rebellion, the galaxy, everything but his son can burn for all he cares. And so he sends out probes looking for the Rebellion, cause he knows that to find the Rebellion is to find Luke. He seems awfully crotchety throughout this movie too, killing as many admirals as he can for pretty much any reason. One could argue he's reasserting his dominance after losing The Death Star three years ago... or that he's clearing out the Navy's top brass so it's easier to take over when the time comes. That's just speculation on my part, who knows what's actually going on? Vader certainly doesn't say. And, truthfully, it's not relevant. He wants Luke. That's what matters. How's that for a subversion??

Luke, for his part, has had three years to... stagnate. Solo became a general in three years after assisting with blowing up the Death Star, and Luke's only a commander?? I mean, sure, Luke's more confident, more assured.... but barely able to pull a lightsaber out of the ground. Fantastic. Talk about a bit of a letdown. Fortunately, at the edge of death, he's finally able to talk to Ben again.He goes to Dagobah as soon as he can.

Left to right
Right to left. This is not an accident.
Han and Leia, for their part, are in continuous conflict. Leia would like to love the relatively safe and incredibly attractive Luke. Yes, being attracted to never-before-seen family members really is a thing, as Turin Turambar of the Silmarillion found out the hard way, pun not intended. But regardless of which dude she's attracted to it's hard for a woman who watched her home planet explode to open up to anyone. So not only has our hero not really advanced but it looks like he's not going to get the girl either! Does anything actually work out for Luke?

As for the Battle of Hoth...

Notice the similarity? Walkers, going right, on a desert planet. Sure, the colors aren't the same, but we'll get to that in The Closer of this episode. Suffice to say the two scenes comment on each other. The similarity of direction is intentional. What may have confused before is now crystal clear: the Jedi really did betray their soul. The Separatists were right to leave, just like the Rebellion. But, unlike the Separatists, the Rebellion is able to get away. Granted, they have to lose a lot of people to do it, but at least they get away. Han and Leia's escape is especially good, because Vader wants them so he can get to Luke. After some fancy flying they find what seems like a nice hiding spot. Well, nice if you think a space slug's stomach is a good place to hide, that is.

Luke, for his part, finally meets Yoda and becomes aware of just how woefully inadequate he is. He really has no idea what he's in for, going to the Jedi for training. He has no idea what they know and only sees the Jedi as warriors. And of course what he sees is not what he'd imagine as a warrior, but just a wrinkly old goblin. If only Luke knew. But Yoda makes an ominous prediction: someday Luke will submit to his fears. It's coming, one way or another. This is not the Luke we knew in A New Hope. His time in the military has changed him, hardened him, made him less trusting. He wants something to affect the outer world, to save his friends. The lives that have ended around him have made Luke spiritually numb.

 And yeah, Luke looks afraid.
But not half as afraid as he does here.
But don't worry, the Sequel Trilogy people don't know Star wars and this doesn't relate at ALL.

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