The planet Aleen has been suffering from catastrophic earthquakes, so the Republic clones are providing humanitarian relief. King Manchucho and the rest of the Aleena are eager to welcome them and happily bow to whomever walks off the ship. C-3PO is translating for the Aleena, while R2-D2 is in charge of rebooting the mainframe computer. Aftershocks continue pretty regularly, visibly distressing the native beings.
The Aleena say they want peace before anything else, but also continually ask what’s for dinner. It’s hard to take them too seriously, with their short stature and funny sounding chatter. They beckon the 2 droids further and further away from the others to where a strange and mystical seal lays on the floor. It is mostly covering a tunnel of some sort. When he gets too close, C-3PO is sucked inside the tunnel and Artoo jumps in after him.
They land in an underground forest with large entwined roots and fairylight. They walk towards what they think is daylight, but is the lair of tree spirits (much like LOTR Ents). These spirits tell the droids that finding Orphne is the key to escaping the underground. In Greek mythology, Orphne is the name of a nymph that lived in Hades.
The underground trees claim to use earthquakes to keep out above-ground poison and that the surface dwellers destroyed the peace. C-3PO finds Orphne, a sort of iguana flower fairy. She explains that the ground keeps the surface dwellers and the subterranean creatures separate, but when those above ground attacked the sacred site, the divide was breached. Surface air is deadly to those underground, so they caused earthquakes to try and seal the gap.
Orphne gives them a riddle to solve: “You can run but cannot walk. You have a mouth but cannot talk. You have a head but never weep. You have a bed but never sleep.” The answer is a river. Somehow by just saying the word “river,” water explodes from the floor and carries the droids to the surface. The air from the underground is also poisonous to the land dwellers. They push the seal back over the tunnel to mend the breach between worlds, becoming heroes to the Aleena.
I was happy to see R2-D2 and C-3PO appear in tonight’s episode, especially after so much Jar-Jar in previous weeks. Overall, though, I was disappointed. True, this is a cartoon, but the riddle and the solution to the peace on Aleen was pretty simplistic. I’m hoping next week will be a return to the character-driven storylines that fans of the show (including me!) are so fond of.