Title: "Senate Murders"
Writer/Director: Drew Z. Greenberg / Brian Kalin O'Connell
Tagline: "Searching for the truth is easy. Accepting the truth is hard."
Story: "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" returns after a few weeks' hiatus with a tale of political intrigue. Padme Amidala and her supporters are in the midst of a crusade to pass a bill which would halt the flow of clone troops from Kamino. The campaign is stalled when Rodian Senator Onocanda Farr is killed by an assassin's poison and buzzing law enforcement bureaucrat Lt. Tan Divo arrives to investigate. Unconvinced of Divo's abilities, Padme sets out with her friends Bail Organa and Mon Mothma to find the real killer.
Lightsaber Lost: Where are all the Jedi? Masters Yoda and Windu can take time out of their busy schedule to attend an assassinated senator's funeral, but they can't be busied with the important work of finding out who the killer of that senator really is? I understand that the Jedi are stretched thin during the Clone Wars, but clearly some of the more powerful Force-users are in town. Seems like the assassination of a powerful political figure would be a big enough reason to give them a ring.
To Catch A Killer: The episode's strongest scene comes when Padme and Bail set out to check for clues at a loading dock where the Senator Farr had a clandestine meeting shortly before his death. The fog-shrouded, nighttime surroundings feel as if they're pulled out of some '60s film noir, especially with the attempt on the senators' life and subsequent chase through a maze of shipping containers.
The Pen Ain't Mightier: Political intrigue is a fundamental component to "Star Wars," but unlike more action-oriented plotlines, the writing is what's key. This unfortunately proves to be the weak point in "Senate Murders," which is the main reason I count this among the lesser episodes. Tan Divo's cliche-littered dialogue is downright grating to the ears; his character is meant to come off as an officious bureaucrat, yes, but much of what he says produces more groans than David Caruso on "CSI: Miami." The same goes for Senator Farr's spotty past; I know it's an important plot point, but it's referenced so many times in the opening minutes of the episode that his killer is telegraphed from moment one (the "accepting that truth is hard" tagline doesn't help either).