After last week’s retreat, we join Captain Rex as he tries to fight to the capital of Umbara. There is a nearby airbase that is flying in supplies to the capital and fortifying their defenses. If that airbase is taken out, the Republic fighters might have a chance of breaking through.
General Krell orders the troops to move out. He wants to take the forces around the airbase head on, despite Rex’s reservations. Casualties will be high – they know this going in. The clones are upset that Krell is sending them in first and bringing up the rear to protect himself. At least when they follow one of Anakin’s dangerous plans, he leads the way himself.
Before they can advance too far, the clones are attacked by a huge caterpillar tank that shoots lasers at them. It takes out many of the men and they request rocket launchers from Rex. They manage to take out the creature, but the battlefield is still chaos. This is exactly the sort of thing a little recon could have helped with, but Krell had been in a hurry to destroy the airbase. The assaults continue, but when Rex calls in for backup, Krell denies him any.
The clones question whether Krell is reckless or just hates clones since he is continually putting them at risk. The wounded pile up. Rex comes up with another way to disable the octopus-like tanks that are destroying their forces – he has two of his clones infiltrate the airbase and steal star-fighters to fire on the tanks. Krell is dubious that lowly clones will be able to pull off this mission.
Of course it is a success. The clones have a great time flying and firing on the tanks, providing cover for the rest of their troops. Krell is forced to admit their work is impressive as he can finally order the Republic to take the airbase. Even so, he dismisses the loss of so many men with, “The price for such victory. Perhaps someday you’ll realize this.”
Is Krell a terrible leader? He gets results, but at the price of high casualties. He doesn’t lead his troops into battle; instead he hangs back where he is safest and lets the clones take the brunt of the damage. Sure, this is cold and calculating, but isn’t that ultimately what the masses of clones are designed for? We don’t get clear cut answers in this episode, which is what I like to think sets it apart from other cartoons. Characters aren’t always clearly defined in terms of good or bad. After all, we all know what fate awaits Anakin, and by all accounts he’s presently one of the good guys. What was your take on tonight’s episode?
If you missed last episode be sure to read ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darkness On Umbara’ recap to catch up.