Clone Wars Debriefing: Darkness On Umbara

This week, the clones are back in force, har har. Anakin and Obi-Wan (hello thar, Obi-Wan, nice to see you again even for 30 seconds) are leading an invasion of a Separatist-allied planet, Umbara…not to be confused with Tarzan’s favorite word, “Ungawa.” The planet is dark and foggy. The locals are relentless and resourceful. The wildlife is lethal. The clones are in for a tough fight and that’s with Anakin by their side. Several clones die.

But they do have cool armor. Here we’re seeing the new phase armor, closer to what they were wearing in ROTS. Rex retains a bit of his old style, though with some new markings. Fives, the Lone Survivor, is in this episode. There’s a cholo trooper with a teardrop marking on his helmet. Maybe he has some loco dots on his gauntlet too.

Suddenly, Anakin is called away from the battlefield, ordered to return to Coruscant by the Supreme Chancellor himself. Interesting, no? Anakin doesn’t want to leave his men but he has no choice but to depart. Taking his place is Master Krell, a Besalisk Jedi. Sure he can do cool stuff with his multiple arms and double-bladed lightsabers (hmm) but as it turns out Krell is an a-hole who doesn’t know jack about war strategy and doesn’t give a crap about the men. His conduct is not only unprofessional, it’s also very un-Jedi like. He yells at Rex and Fives, at one point threatening the latter with a lightsaber blade. He’s mean and snarky with the troops. He won’t even let them rest when they are exhausted. This is contrasted with Anakin’s caring for his troops at the beginning of the episode. Worst of all, Krell won’t even address the men by their names, just by their numbers. Rex tells him off and reminds him they are men, not robots. If there’s ever a guy who’s a poster child for fragging, it’s Krell. No wonder the clones were pretty quick to obey Order 66. They were really sick of the Jedi’s crap by that point.

Krell’s behavior not only shows the arrogance among the Jedi Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Mace Windu spoke of in AOTC, it also shows how the war has corrupted some of them. The idea of the Jedi leading meat puppets in a war is disturbing enough but at least some characters treat the troops with dignity and respect, even affection. Krell treats the clones like well, slaves. It’s all about him and what he wants. If this was all I’d known about the Jedi Order, I would have given Anakin a ride to the Temple on that fateful day and packed him a pb&j.

We’ll see if Krell corrects his ways or not in the next three episodes.

Dee Bradley Baker did a great job. It can’t be easy playing a bunch of different characters with the same voice but with subtle distinctions. Of course the animation and action were spectacular. A great episode overall that will rank with other fan favorites.

Next week: More fun on Umbara!

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2 Responses to “Clone Wars Debriefing: Darkness On Umbara”

  1. oxward321 Says:

    What an awesome, AWESOME Episode!!!!! Being a HUGE Dex fan it’s great to see one of his species brought to The Clone Wars. I love Krell’s behavior, very contrasting to what we’re use to between the Jedi and the Clones. I love when Rex puts him in his place about the “men” I was clapping for him. Can’t wait for the Blurays! 🙂 But for now I look for ward to next week. 😉

  2. Paul F. McDonald Says:

    I second that. Fantastic episodes. I want them on Blu Ray, now. Or better yet, on the big screen. They should do at least one charity screening or something per season. I totally missed out on the Savage Opress showing, though I know people who made it. Seriously, I hate having to wait though. And wade through commercials. All of SW, CW included, is just so much better on Blu Ray.

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