To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.
“The wise man leads, the strong man follows.”
After the Republic conquers an Umbaran airbase, General Krell orders Rex and his men on towards the heavily fortified capital. Realizing there’s a better plan, several clone troopers disobey orders to carry out a rogue, covert operation.
For a Jedi, Krell shows a staggering lack of compassion time and again, and an appreciation for unlimited power over his men that borders on, well, Sith-like. Blinded by his desire for victory, unable or unwilling to recognize his own humility, Krell is reckless. But when a clone disagrees, or worse disobeys, his first instinct is to try them for treason and promise they’ll pay with their lives for their insubordination even if their willful disregard for his strategy has been a success.
The clones’ desire to follow orders is at war with their instinct to do what they feel is right, both qualities that have been encouraged and rewarded under the leadership of General Anakin Skywalker. But where Skywalker’s leadership invites healthy debate and ultimate loyalty to follow his plan, Krell’s behavior has divided the ranks.
Ever the good solider, Rex feels emotionally divided but realizes that as the captain of the squadron the matter is out of his hands once Krell makes his decree. He can’t, or won’t, disobey orders, even those that he disagrees with. But while Krell turns a blind eye to the humanity of the soldiers he leads, Rex turns a blind eye to Fives’ plan. He can’t help his friend, but he won’t stop him either. This quality is one of the things that makes Rex an effective leader forged from Anakin’s leadership by example. He gives Fives room to make his own choices and his own mistakes without imposing his will or running to Krell to report him.
When they get caught, Rex, ever the good leader, still tries to take the blame, but Fives is having none of it. He made his choice and is ready to suffer the consequences. He’d rather die doing what he feels is right than survive at odds. There’s an element of Fives’ drive here that seems to be fueled by Krell’s brash indifference earlier in the arc. “I am not just another number,” he reminds his brothers. “None of us are.”
Then there’s Hardcase. The clones refuse to sit back and let Krell march them into a suicide mission, but Hardcase is ready and willing to sacrifice his life for the success of the campaign and so his fellow clones can live to fight another day. It’s a brave and bold move and yet another way the clones prove their individuality and ability to think for themselves.
They’re not numbers and they’re not just blindly following orders, but they do believe in the freedoms they’re fighting to achieve for the good of something greater than themselves. Of course, if Krell has his way it won’t matter. Hardcase will have helped them win the battle and saved Fives with his order to flee before the explosion on the supply ship, but now he’ll be tried at court martial, convicted, and executed to prove Krell’s point.
“For crossing me, you will pay the price,” Krell says ominously. Some peacekeeper.
- While many quotable quotes make their way from the films into The Clone Wars, this episode includes a more subtle nod to Han Solo stalling in the detention block. As Fives chats with Krell via comlink while Hardcase is blasting apart the hangar, the harried conversation has the same tone as Solo’s attempt to talk his way out of the situation on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!
Next up: Come back January 2 for the twisted conclusion in “Carnage of Krell.”
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.
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