Ah, YES! I think I’ve cracked this politics episode.
I was having a bit of a problem with two Padmé-Bail conversations, trying to trim them down and combine their audio to streamline the plot a bit, but it was really hard to make that work with matching the lipsync whilst tying it to the geography of the two walking around a room together and keeping the coversation flowing properly. So I decided to take some time to mull this all over, and I think I’ve got the answer:
I realised that, since I’m massively minimising Onaconda in TCW:R, I could reframe him into some other role, in order to emphasise Padmé’s importance and have Dooku recognise her as a very legitimate threat.
Now, instead of being the senator for Rodia, Onaconda becomes Padmé’s liaison with her constituents. Dooku’s hiring of thugs to hassle senators now becomes a specific attack on Padmé’s support network to force her out in the open. They beat up Onaconda, meaning that Padmé now needs to directly spend time talking to her constituents, which lets the thugs catch up with her. I’ll preserve much more of the action scene now to emphasise the physical threat. We drop some of the complexities of the loan etc, and this way the focus is much more on Padmé’s competence as a humanising orator.