Even though politics are often the reason wars are started, it's easy to forget that in the midst of action packed battles.  The Senate is its very own intergalactic field of war.  Actual blood may not be shed, but the consequences of the arguments on the Senate floor lead to it.  Episode 4 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Spheres of Influence," focuses on a political plight of Pantora.  

The slimy Trade Federation has blockaded the planet.  They claim that the Pantorans have overdue debts.  Count Dooku nobly steps in and offers his help to the Pantorans if only they align with the Separatists.  Senator Riyo Chuchi, who we first met in the season 1 episode, Trespass, travels to Coruscant to ask for help from the Senate.  She pleads the case for her planet and tries to gain the sympathy of her fellow Senators.  She sounds a bit like a certain Naboo senator, and in fact, her actions are reminiscent of Padme throughout the episode.  After she delivers her speech, Chuchi meets Chairman Papanoida and his family.

While Chuchi discusses the current state of affairs on Pantora with the Chairman, his two daughters are kidnapped by bounty hunters.  After this is revealed to Ahsoka, she asks Anakin for permission to help her friend Chuchi and investigate the disappearance.  Technically, it should be left to the local police but since the Separatists are involved, there is some leeway.  They still do not get the approval of the Jedi Council first.  Padme remarks, “I still can't believe they let you teach.”  Ahsoka and Chuchi suspect the Trade Federation and Separatists are involved.  They decide to make a diplomatic visit to the Trade Federation ships blockading Pantora.

In the meantime, Chairman Papanoida takes a second look at the crime scene for evidence.  After all, the local police don't exactly inspire confidence.  Upon searching his chambers, he finds a trace of green blood.  He runs it through a scanner, and it turns out that the blood is from a Rodian – Greedo.  He can see that Greedo is based on Tatooine.  The Chairman and his son take a ship directly there.

Chuchi and Ahsoka (disguised as a servant) are admitted to the Trade Federation command ship and under the pretense of negotiation, they are given quarters.  They sneak out to explore the ship and overhear a conversation between Sib Canay and another Neimoidian revealing that the Chairman's daughters are indeed on the ship.  Their hiding places are almost discovered, but Ahsoka uses the Force to keep them out of sight.  They dash for the detention center, and Ahsoka uses her Jedi mind trick skills to gain access.  She is obviously growing stronger.  They are able to locate just one of the Chairman's daughters.  After they were kidnapped, the girls were split up.

Ion and the Chairman arrive on Tatooine.  The Chairman knows that the space slug Jabba the Hutt is in control, so they head straight for his palace.  The plan is to let Greedo know they are there.  Greedo finds them and greets them with a blaster in the back.  The Chairman surprises everyone by pulling out a knife and demanding to talk with Jabba about the matter.  Papanoida appeals to the fatherly side of Jabba.  Since Jabba's own offspring was kidnapped, he can understand the Chairman's pain.  Under pressure from Jabba, Greedo admits that he kidnapped the girls so the Separatists could use them as influence over the Pantora Chairman.  He actually hid one of them on Tatooine, in Mos Eisley.

Greedo takes the Papanoidas to the hiding place.  It's a familiar location.  The cantina is a little emptier than the last time we saw it.  When the other bounty hunters realize that Greedo is releasing one of the prisoners, blasters come out of the woodwork.  For a family of politicians the Papanoidas are apparently experienced in such situations.  They flip over tables for cover, Che Amanwe breaks a bottle over one of the bounty hunter's heads and steals his rifle.  She even gets in the last shot.

Back on the Trade Federation ship, Ahsoka and Chuchi escape with Chi Eekway.  However, they are stopped by Sib Canay and his droids.  Ahsoka slices and dices the droids, but then the Trade Federation envoy arrives with his soldiers.  He is shocked to realize that the Chairman's daughter was being held on his ship.  Chuchi calls out the fact that though the Trade Federation claims to have no involvement with the Separatists, their act of holding the Chairman's daughter hostage says otherwise.  Chuchi tells him that if the blockade ends, she will not pursue the matter further with the Senate.  The envoy agrees and Sib Canay is announced as a Separatist on the Senate floor.  The blockade on Pantora is ended.

Trivia & Notes

This isn't the first time we've seen Chairman Papanoida.  The character was first seen in the Coruscant opera house in Revenge of the Sith. There, the character was played by one Mr. George Lucas. Papanoida's family members are based on Lucas' children.  They have all appeared in the live action movies.  None of them actually voiced the characters though.  Ion Papanoida was voiced by Seth Green (Robot Chicken), Che Amanwe Papanoida and Chi Eekway Papanoida were voiced by Meredith Salinger (voice of Barriss Offee) and Nita Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress) respectively.  Corey Burton (voice of Cad Bane an Count Dooku) voiced the part of the Chairman.

Jennifer Hale, voice of Riyo Chuchi in this episode, is another multi-character actor on this show, also providing the voice of Jedi Aayla Secura. She's also in another space saga franchise, providing the voice for the female version of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect video games.

Katie Lucas, daughter of George Lucas, wrote this episode.

Characters Embo and Sugi have cameo appearances inside Jabba the Hutt's palace.  They were in the season 2 episode Bounty Hunters.

Greedo's appearance in The Clone Wars is challenging for the time line of the Star Wars universe.  According to the Expanded Universe, Greedo wasn't born until after the wars were over. It could have been Greedo the Elder, who was established in The Phantom Menace and is Greedo (original trilogy)'s father. 

What'd you think of this week's episode? What'd you think of this week's episode?

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