The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of pop culture, including Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Universe, the MCU, Star Wars, and Doom Patrol. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight and more!
The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 198 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Three years can make a difference! Set after the events that take place in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) continues the space saga between the evil Empire and the determined, scrappy resistance fighters in the Rebel Alliance. Leia commands a Rebel Base, Luke seeks to become a Jedi Master, and Han is less a smuggler and more a savior. Our adorable space opera has grown up!
Although this chapter is just as adventurous as the first, the film introduces steeper obstacles and darker threats that create more mature plot lines and give it dramatic weight. The fight against the insidious intergalactic dictatorship becomes much more personal; characters are more complex, and not always what they seem. The beloved film sets in the themes we will come to know Star Wars for–the seduction of power, the desolation of war, and the heartache of relationships.
The little mystical frog-like creature, Yoda, is celebrated as the one who puts meaning and heart to the previously vapid Jedi mythology. Here, Dr. Drea describes the parallels between Yoda’s teachings and psychotherapy. She talks about Person-Centered Therapy (also called Rogerian Therapy), a non-directive, empathic style of counseling in which the therapist encourages the client to explore self-understanding, communicates a relationship of unconditional positive regard, and empowers them to reach their full potential. Yoda may be a trickster at times, but he genuinely believes in Luke’s capacity for growth and learning. He does not push him, or over-explain his teachings. Even when he disagrees with Luke’s choices, Yoda allows him the space to learn his own lessons through behavioral experience, critical consciousness, and altering his self-concepts.
This chapter of their story ends amidst conflict and heartbreak, setting the anticipation for the next one while also establishing that the ups and downs of their stories go on as ours do.