After a trilogy of connected episodes, it is nice to get a smaller story, built around (more or less) new characters. That said, it is a pretty light one to write about, so my apologies in advance if this isn’t exactly a juicy installment.
“The best confidence builder is experience.”
1. Cody and Rex
So far, only two Clone Troopers – Cody and Rex – have had anything close to recurring roles on the show. I understand why having clones as regulars is tough, but this episode goes a long way towards showing that it can be done, even if it makes things tricky for a viewer who isn’t paying 100% attention (like, say, if your 15 month old son starts to hysterically cry ten minutes into his nap, interrupting your viewing).
But Cody and Rex each have distinct looks and characteristics that makes them easier to single out, and helps to give a little bit of nuance to what could, very easily, turn into a dull, underdeveloped segment of the show.
2. Yoda’s clones?
The first thought I had while watching this episode was, “are these the same clones from “Ambush,” the Yoda-centric first episode?” Well, no. Like I said before, it is hard to give so many characters that look and sound exactly the same character development in bite-sized bits, especially if we never see them again.
3. Grievous the flunky
I mentioned last time how Grevious is coming off as a bit of a joke in this series, and this episode further enhances that belief. Grevious is attempting to be the biggest badass in the galaxy, but he just fucks up time and time again. Part of that is bad luck, and part of that is that he underestimates just about everyone he comes into contact with. His hubris can be seen from space, and yet he’s done very little, on screen at least, to get the ‘respect’ that he commands. On one hand, this is a fascinating way to retcon a character; on the other, I’d like to see a more formidable villain on the series.
4. Lame humor
The droid army seems to have two modes: silent killers or bumbling idiots. Here, there are a few really, really bad attempts at humor. Sure, it is harmless enough, and it’s a show that, ostensibly, is for kids, but they can do better than this. The one laugh I got all episode was when the clones held up the detached head of a droid to get in the base, and that was more of a “Ha! That’s clever” chuckle than a real, legitimate laugh.
That humor is especially unsuccessful because this episode is such a heavy one, emotionally. Hevy’s sacrifice is a moving one, and Fives and Echo’s emotional reaction to both Hevy’s death and the honors they receive are really interesting and effective character beats. This very strong writing is somewhat undercut by the lame droid jokes, sadly.
5. Need some visual differentiation
By the end of the episode, the droids begin to distinguish themselves by their personalities, but there is still the fact that, you know, they are all clones of the same dude and look the same. I know that the show has to abide by the rules set forth by the greater Star Wars universe, so they can’t just decide, “You know what? Y’all need some different facial hair!” But look at Cody and Rex – the producers knew that they would be sticking around, so they gave them a splash of color or a different haircut. Let’s get on that, people!