Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Umbara Arc

The Umbara Arc

After an episode like Nomad Droids, (which is my least favorite episode of the season) I had my doubts about the Umbara arc. To be honest, clones didn't really interest me, and I was sure that we were in for a boring few episodes.

Boy was I wrong.

The Umbara arc started off with "Darkness on Umbara." Anakin and the 501st, along with Obi-Wan and the 212th legion had been sent to the planet Umbara to try to free it from separatist control. A few new clones were introduced, Dogma and Tup, who proved to be vital to the storyline later on.

After being saved by General Pong Krell, the 501st was informed that Anakin had been given orders to return to Coruscant, and that Krell would temporarily be replacing him in command of the 501st. Anakin grudgingly followed orders, and the clones soon learned that General Krell was nothing like General Skywalker.

Krell had a very low opinion of clones, and seemed to barely tolerate them. His plan of attack on the capital completely contradicted Anakin's: a full forward assault on the capital, taking a route that would leave them vulnerable.

Rex tried to reason with the general, but he wouldn't hear of it. ARC trooper Fives made his opinion known from the beginning: he didn't like the Besalisk Jedi.

The clones marched on for twelve hours straight, weary and in need of rest. But they would not get rest- the Umbarans attacked only a little while later. With very advanced weapons, the clones were badly outnumbered, and Krell refused to let them fall back.

Finally, with men dying by the dozens, Rex gave the order to retreat. Krell was furious. The route they had been using had been compromised, and the general blamed Rex. When Fives told Krell that Rex had saved the platoon, he was surprise to find a lightsaber at his neck, and ordered to stand down. Rex stood his ground. He told Krell that he had followed orders, even though he thought the plan was severely flawed. He reminded the Jedi that as sure as he had a duty to remain loyal to Krell, he also had a duty to protect the men. Krell noted Rex's opinion, but shortly after that, the Umbarans attacked again. They could no longer focus on rude generals, they had to focus on living to fight another day.

The General

The Umbarans had nearly unbeatable starfighters. During a lull in the battle, Rex urged his men to safety. For the first time, injured clones were seen.

Out of the way of the fighting, General Krell received word of an airbase near their position. It was vital that they take control of it. He ordered the troops to move toward those coordinates. They were to engage the Umbarans in another full forward assault in a narrow gorge.

When the clones heard of the plan, they began to voice their opinions on Krell's leadership. Five was especially harsh, and accused Rex of wanting to calm the troops so they could march blindly to their deaths. But there was nothing either one of them could do, so the troops marched on.

Soon after, they found themselves face to face with monstrous weapons. The Umbaran tank crawler was able to take heavy fire and not be destroyed, but the clones discovered that rocket launchers could destroy them, as well as detonators.

Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to what would happen next.

MRC juggernauts were much stronger than the tanks, and could take several missiles and not be destroyed. The clones were trapped, and taking heavy casualties. But Krell ordered them not to fall back. They were to take the airbase, no matter what the cost. Fives, Jesse, even Kix, the medic resented Krell more than ever. But Rex had an idea. He would send Hardcase and Fives on a mission to infiltrate the airbase, steal Umbaran fighters, then blow up the tanks with their own fighters.

Krell was furious. He ordered Rex to continue with his assault. But Rex trusted Fives and Hardcase to succeed.

Fives and Hardcase scaled a strange tree-like plant in order to get over the fence surrounding the airbase. Avoiding any Umbarans, they climbed into the strange fighters, which were controlled by touch alone. Barely able to control the fighters, they steered them back toward the gorge.

The rapid-fire weapons blasted the MRCs to pieces, allowing the clones to break through the defenses and take the airbase. Even Krell was impressed by this victory, calling it luck. He shrugged off the comments that the battles cost them a lot of lives, saying that is the price for such victory.

Plan of Dissent

Although the airbase had been captured, Krell received bad news from Kenobi: the Umbarans were now getting supplies from a ship in orbit. The supply ship was nearly as well protected as the capital. Obi-Wan's hologram dissolved; the Umbarans appeared to be jamming the transmission. Krell informed Rex that they would continue the attack on the capital, ignoring his suggestion that they coordinate their attack with Kenobi's.

The clones didn't take the news well. Jesse called it another suicide mission while Tup suggested Krell had it in for clones. Dogma insisted that Krell had everything under control. Rex didn't like the plan either, but he had no other ideas. Fives suggested that they use the Umbaran fighters to sneak past the blockade and take out the supply ship.

Rex brought this plan to Krell, but the Jedi disagreed, saying the troops weren't pilots and he wasn't going to waste troops on little adventures. When Rex informed Fives, Jesse and the others that the assault on the capitol would continue, Fives suggested that they go ahead with their plan anyway. The others agreed, but Rex refused. Fives was persistent, saying that this was about more than following orders, and that he couldn't follow orders he knew were wrong. He then turned his back on Rex and went to round up some pilots.

In the hanger, Hardcase tested out one of the fighters. He then succeeded in knocking over the other fighters, scattering racks of supplies and blasting the door to the hanger into oblivion. The commotion brought Krell to the hanger, suspiciously asking what had happened. The clones covered by saying they had found a booby trap in the fighters and had saved the hanger. Krell stated that the fighters were dangerous and ordered them to be locked down. However, Jesse, Fives and Hardcase weren't about to let that stop them.

Shortly after that, three starfighters rose into the air and shot into the clouds.

When Dogma discovered they were gone, he was set to tell the General so he could say that he wasn't apart of their plan. But he was thwarted by Rex, who told the Jedi that the launch of the fighters was a recon mission that he authorized.

Fives, Hardcase and Jesse flew the fighters directly into the space battle. The Umbarans thought they were on their side, so they entered the supply ship through the hanger, flying toward the main reactor. However, the droids were alerted to their presence and raised a shield around the reactor. Someone would have to destroy it manually, and Hardcase took the task, telling the other two to leave. He entered the reactor room through a hatch and destroyed it using a missile pod. His sacrifice enabled the destruction of the ship.

However, General Krell was waiting when the remaining clones returned to the surface. He didn't care that they blew up the supply ship. They disobeyed his orders, and in Krell's eyes, that meant serious punishment. Fives and Jesse faced being court-martialed or even execution.

Carnage of Krell

Krell made up his mind that time was too short to court-martial Jesse and Fives. He ordered Rex to execute them immediately. Rex couldn't disobey him.

Fives and Jesse were disgusted by Krell's choice, but they were resigned to their fate. Krell watched from the tower as the firing squad lined up in front of the prisioners. As they were about to fire, Fives argued that no clone should have to die like that, and that they shouldn't have to follow orders that they knew were wrong. The squad fired- but not at the prisoners. Every shot went wide. Fives and Jesse were returned to the brig, but they were still alive.

Krell was livid at Rex's actions and warned him not to cross him. Just then, a transmission came through, warning them that the Umbarans may have stolen the clone's armour and were planning a massive attack. Krell reminded Rex that the Umbarans might try to trick them by wearing clone armour and they set out again.

Tup warned Dogma not to step on the Vixus's tentacles, remembering how it attacked Hardcase, but just then, blue laserfire came their way- it appeared that the Umbarans had stolen armour after all. Heavy causalities were sustained before Rex noticed a body off to the side, clad in armor from the 212th legion. Under the helmet was a clone face. It was only then that he realized that these were clones as well. They were fighting their own brothers.

Horrified, he ran back out into battle, pulling off his helmet and shouting that they were fighting their own men. For a few more terrifying minutes, blasterfire sprayed around, but then Rex pulled off the helmet of a 212th legion clone and revealed the truth.

Everyone was horrified and confused, until a dying clone, Waxer, revealed that General Krell had sent them to this location, warning them that the enemy had stolen clone armour. Now they knew who was behind all this- but they didn't know why. Rex proposed that they arrest Krell for treason against the republic. They returned to the airbase, freed Jesse and Fives from the brig, then moved in on the tower.

Upon hearing that he was to be arrested, Krell sent all the clones flying against the wall with a four-way Force push, then unleashed his fury and power with his double bladed lightsabers. He then crashed through the window, and escaped, killing everyone who stood in his way.

When the clones made to go after him, they were stopped by Dogma, who stated that he had a duty. Rex replied that he had once thought being a good soldier meant doing everything they told him to do, but he had to learn to make his own decisions. Dogma relented and was taken to the brig.

The clones spread out to look for Krell. The dark Jedi's voice rang out through the forest, stating that he had been using them. He then leaped from the darkness and began slaughtering the clones again, first using his lightsabers, then his brute strength. He picked up Tup and threw him near the Vixus. Tup then got an idea and told Rex to lure Krell toward him. The clones did so, and Krell fell into Tup's trap. He was picked up the the Vixus's tenacles; now he had the  clones and the Vixus to deal with. He managed to free himself from the Vixus, but was stunned by Tup.

In the brig, Krell was questioned by Rex. Why would the General kill his own men? Krell's answer was chillingly simply. "Because I can." He said he was no longer naive enough to be a Jedi. He told them that he had forseen a new power rising. The Jedi would lose the war and the republic would fall. He would rule as part of a new order. Dooku would reward him for driving the republic from Umbara.
When Dogma asked him how he could betray him, after he had followed all of his orders, Krell's response was that Dogma was the biggest fool of them all.He counted on blind loyalty to make his plans succeed. He then told them that the Umbarans would retake the airbase and free him.

Outside the brig, Appo reported that they had repaired the transmitter, which had been sabotaged. General Kenobi had captured the capital, and like Krell had said, the Umbarans were headed for the airbase. Rex ordered all the clones to the perimeter, then pondered on what to do about Krell. If the Umbarans freed him, he'd give them all the access codes and strike a devastating blow to the republic. They decided he was too dangerous to be left alive.

Back in the brig, Dogma was freed from his cell and Rex ordered Krell to turn around, then to get on his knees. He drew his blaster, but Krell taunted him, saying he could feel Rex's fear. He sneered that he couldn't kill him. Then a blaster bolt struck Krell in the back, killing him. But it wasn't Rex that had killed him. It was Dogma.

Soon after, the news came that the last of Umbarans had been taken care of and all sectors had been secured. Umbara had been won, but Rex wondered what was the point of it all.

Interesting Scenes:

Krells flaming eye: In The General, near the end, they showed Krell standing on the ridge, his eyes reflecting fire. They were bright yellow, and I now know that it was hinting that Krell was evil.

Polar opposites: In Darkness on Umbara, Anakin orders the clones to get some rest. Later on, when Krell is in charge, he forbids them to rest.

Shadows of Episode III: Carnage of Krell was an episode of forshadowing. When the 212th an 501st legions were fighting, did anyone else think of Anakin vs Obi-Wan? (212th: Obi-Wan. 501st: Anakin.) Then theres the scene in the tower when Rex goes to arrest Krell. Windu and Palpatine moment, much? Then when Dogma shot Krell... well since he's a Jedi and Dogma's a clone, that's obviously an Order 66 moment.

No.. everything's fine... How are you? Total A New Hope moment in Plan of Dissent. When Hardcase is flying the ship and Fives is on the comm with Krell, that reminded me of Han and the stormtrooper in A New Hope.

Carnage of Krell Deserved It's Name: After three episodes of seeing nothing of Krell but him bossing people around, I must say, I totally didn't see that slaughter coming. He is amazing with a lightsaber(s), despite the fact that I don't like him. He must have killed more clones than the Umbarans, if you count the fact that he made the 212th and 501st legions fight each other.

Hardcase and Hevy: Both clones were a lot alike. They both liked heavy weapons, befriended Fives, and died heroically.

Change of Heart: Dogma switched sides rather quickly. He went from being Krell's biggest supporter to killing him in one episode. I wonder what happened to him.

Visions of the Future: In Carnage of Krell, the dark Jedi told Rex that he had seen the future and that he was not longer naive enough to be a Jedi. Was it out of fear of what would happen that he left the Jedi Order? Or was he simply a power-hungy monster?

Favorite Quotes:

Darkness on Umbara:

"Anyone else want to stop and play with the animals?" -Krell.

"A plan that cost us men. Not clones, men!" -Rex.

"Does my battalion have to do everything?"
"You always seem to volunteer." - Anakin and Obi-Wan.

"Hey, where ya goin'?" -Hardcase.

The General:

"Well... I never actually thought that would work!" -Fives.

"Nice view." -Hardcase.

Plan of Dissent:

"I don't want anything else exploding." -Krell.

"You know, I'm only doing this because I don't like him."
"That's reason enough!"
"Haha, I'm just doing it for the fun!" -Jesse, Fives and Hardcase.

Carnage of Krell:

"I've offically lost my sense of humour." - Jesse.

"So... it's treason, then." -Krell.

"You should have listened to the ARC trooper from the beginning, Captain! He was right! I was using you!" -Krell.


Needless to say, I've changed my opinion of clones. This arc was spectacular in every way, visually, vocally (Baker deserves a medal) and and plotwise. I'd rate Darkness on Umbara an 8, The General a 9, Plan of Dissent an 8 (poor Hardcase!) and Carnage of Krell a 10. Overall, I'd rate the arc a 9. Well done, Clone Wars team.

Kidnapped Preview:

The team is back!
Zygerrian slavers are behind the sudden disappearance of an entire colony of people on the planet Kiros. As Anakin and Ahsoka rush to defuse a series of bombs planted by the slavers, Obi-Wan must fight with their imposing leader.