Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I Love Cad Bane - Reasons 10-11

Reason #10: Capability to Fight Jedi



It was not until I watched the episode "Hunt for Ziro" from Season Three that I realized this was another reason Cad Bane is my favorite character.  In this episode, Bane must face down two Jedi: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos.  The duel that follows makes this episode - which up until then had no action, suspense, and a romance that left me scratching my head - one of my top favorites from Season Three.  Not buying it?  Then watch it yourself and you will see why.

As you can tell, Cad Bane's fighting style is based on speed/agility, deception, and the use of gadgets. This starkly contrasts the generally more conservative style of the Jedi.  That is probably my favorite part about his fighting style; instead of attacking head-on, Bane uses the circle-motion to slip around his opponent so he can catch them at a weak spot (maybe that is because my martial arts sparring style is the same, but...whatever, this isn't about me.)  The best part, of course, is that it can and does work against Jedi.

I have read much speculation among about Cad Bane as to how it doesn't seem fair that he always seems to run away from a fight to save his own hide (this is a reference to seven occurrences in the Holocron arc alone, excluding even more occurrences in the comics and other episodes).  A common argument was that Bane could not actually hold his own ground in combat, and thus used escape as a means to survive.  Well, that hypothesis was debunked with this scene from "Hunt for Ziro".  In this duel, not only did Bane escape with all four limbs attached, but he actually gave the two Jedi a decent fight.  Quinlan Vos is kicked more than once and nearly burned to death; Obi-Wan is electrocuted; both end up dangling from a cliff by the time Bane decides to leave.  Granted, this is not the first time Bane came into contact with either Jedi; he had a couple brushes with Obi-Wan during the Holocron arc, and there is a reference to Quinlan Vos "owing him one", implying they have met before.  This means Bane already had some idea of their specific strengths and weaknesses in a fight.  Nevertheless, you can clearly see that Bane took what he knew of their fighting styles and used them to his advantage.  He knows how to manipulate others in combat and he certainly proves he can pull it off, as in this scene.  This is not the first time he's done this.

Anyway, this was also not the first time Bane dueled with Jedi.  He also took down Master Bolla Ropal, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano.  However, in the duel with Ahsoka, it seemed he was close to losing but he quickly took advantage of the situation.  In this case I would argue two things. 1) He deliberately let Ahsoka "beat him" to give her the false impression that she was stronger than him, thus resulting in her over-confidence and lack of foresight, which allowed Bane to easily take her down moments later, or 2) Ahsoka has too many fans for the writers to allow her to be beaten so quickly.  In addition, there is also a duel in "Crisis on Naboo" where Obi-Wan Kenobi takes down Bane quickly.  Here I would also argue that the writers needed to close up their rivalry neatly and keep the episode moving, and thus got kind of lazy...or, what I prefer to think, the realization of Rako Hardeen's betrayal (that is, Obi-Wan disguised as Hardeen) threw off Bane's focus and concentration.  Which is actually sadder to think about (I'll talk much more about the whole Rako Hardeen/rescue/betrayal thing in a future post).

Nevertheless, no matter how you look at it, Cad Bane is as skilled in combat as Jango or Boba Fett.  All three of these characters have proven themselves able to fight against Jedi/Sith.  Before you argue with me, recall that the two Fett's have been given many more resources to prove themselves - Boba being the most noteworthy as the character has been around since 1979, was in three movies and is most likely getting his own spin-off, not to mention a full back-story and multiple appearances.  So to anyone who thinks Cad Bane is lame compared to the Fett's, I say, take a look at how much Jango and Boba have going for them in canon and compare it to Bane's.  Give Bane as many resources as Boba has and this won't even be a debate anymore.  (Not that I don't think Boba Fett is lame; he's badass and a wonderfully complex character.  I love Boba, but not when fans use him to try to put other bounty hunters to shame.)

Cad Bane has only been around since 2008 and has a much smaller track record than Jango or Boba.  And yet, he has proven himself well with what he has been given.  To be able to not be killed by a Jedi while not possessing any Force-related skills is a feat in of itself...no matter how one goes about doing so.

Also, while I'm on that subject, I will also throw in another fact about Cad Bane that makes him my favorite; he is not weak-minded.  As proven in the episode "Children of the Force", his mind is actually very strong, as he was able to withstand the Force power of Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and Anakin, three of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy.  While I am aware that there are many characters who are also strong-minded, it still does me well to know that they are investing such ability in plenty of non-Force-sensitive characters...and villainous ones at that.  It is a grim and disturbing scene to watch, but considering how powerful an influence the Force can have on one's mind, it makes it all the more compelling as well.




Reason #11: Respect For Authority Figures

In the same scene I just described, Mace Windu counters Cad Bane's claim that he works alone with the implication that Bane is more afraid of his employer (in this case, Sidious) than he is of the Jedi.  And judging by Bane's reply it is clear that this is the truth.  Even while in the hands of the Jedi, who could easily kill him if they wanted to, Bane refuses to reveal information that would displease Sidious, or worse, give Sidious an excuse to have Bane killed, which is what I imagine would have happened if he talked.  Bane even chooses torture over the risk of Sidious's wrath (by the way, yes, I have and I will argue that the Jedi mind-trick interrogation was indeed torture.)

Here, I am not stating that Bane has no fear of authority figures such as Darth Sidious or the Hutt family, as that would better serve to constitute as a reason not to love a character seeing how foolish it would be.  Instead, I would state that Bane maintains a healthy fear of them, a fear that grants them their due respect.  Bane knows that simply cowering in terror of anyone who can have him killed in seconds will not get him anywhere.  After all, what kind of a reputation would that look like for a bounty hunter?  At the same time, though, he also knows that it would be foolish to treat such figures as if they are not in power.  Bane's "healthy fear", then, is the fear that grants one respect instead of cowardice, a fear that allows him to stay on his employers' good side while earning a solid reputation for himself.

Another example of this is in Bane's interaction with the Hutts in "Evil Plans."  When offered a high-risk job that involves breaking Ziro the Hutt out of prison, Bane gladly accepts in a respectful, serving tone to the Hutt family.  However, at the same time, he does not approach the situation out of cowardice or reluctance.  Rather, he strides toward the opportunity with the unwavering confidence that he is capable of speaking for himself as well as accomplishing the dangerous task at hand.

At the same time, while Cad Bane fears authority figures, he does not let them control him.  When Sidious hires Bane to steal a Jedi Holocron, Bane calmly tells his employer he wants a new starfighter plus triple his usual rate.  And guess what, he got it.  He also had no qualms with turning on his previous employer, Moralo Eval, even though he was still under Eval's authority in the technical sense.  He does not let anybody trample over him even if they are in higher power or skill.  In essence, no matter what situation Bane is in, he knows that he is going to be the one in control to some degree.  If he cannot control what he will be doing on the job, you can bet he will control his payment.  I've already mentioned this, but I'll say it again: Cad Bane is a control freak.

I will also note Bane's respect for his rivals, specifically Jedi.  After careful observation of how Bane treats any potential enemies, my conclusion is that the more powerful or dangerous an enemy is, the more respect Bane grants them.  Likewise, if he believes an enemy to be weak, he thinks little of them.  He mentions this in some sorts to Hardeen when he learns that Hardeen "killed" Obi-Wan Kenobi with a sniper shot.  (This also ties in strongly with his partnership with Rako Hardeen/Obi-Wan Kenobi.)  I think most people forget that in the scene where Cad Bane duels Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos, he was originally just going to leave and not stir up any trouble.  It was Obi-Wan who challenged Bane, not the other way around.  Bane was ready to give the Jedi their earned distance and walk away from a possible two million credits reward for killing them.  I believe this was out of his respect for them.

To wrap this reason up, Cad Bane fears authority with a healthy fear that grants them their respect and himself his self-confidence.  He will also respect his enemies or rivals if they can prove themselves formidable opponents.  Bane does have quite the prideful streak, which is apparent pretty much whenever he is up against the Jedi, but even Bane knows where to draw the line with his boasting.  That combination is one of my favorite traits to see in a character.

2 comments:

  1. The TCW episode didn't do Quinlan justice. They only showed one shade of his personality (oh, he was rather depressing in the comics). He had an epic arc in the comics (he was also Aayla's master), and he actually survived Order 66, so that duel was very disappointing for me.
    Well, unless he was acting the whole time...
    I agree with the rest, though.

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    1. That is why I would have LOVED to see Quinlan Vos' supposed arc in Season 6 - it would have showed the much darker, more serious Quinlan and that sort of thing.

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