In this ongoing series, Ian Blackout revisits Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, in a (roughly) chronological order of events and grouped (roughly) into story-arcs.
The Unknown (2014)
Season 6, Episode 1. Written by Katie Lucas, directed by Bosco Ng.
“The truth about yourself is always the hardest to accept.”
In a prolonged battle above Ringo Vinda, the Republic are forced to make a hasty withdrawal when Clonetrooper Tup reports feeling unwell then murders Jedi General Tiplar in cold blood, apparently in a daze. Anakin Skywalker orders Tup be accompanied by Arc Trooper Fives back to Kamino for answers. But Darth Sidious learns of the incident and isn’t ready to give the game up just yet…
And so to ‘The Lost Missions’, the catch-all name for 13 episodes of The Clone Wars’ prospective sixth season, completed after the series unceremonious cancellation. These arcs delve into some of the longstanding questions from the war, and indeed the Galaxy Far Far Away as a whole. And the origins of the infamous Order 66 is certainly an apt place to begin.
Viewers will be amused to learn that Separatist Admiral Trench is still alive after all these years, and will be slightly crestfallen to note that Tim Curry is voicing Palpatine/Sidious by this point, in lieu of the late Ian Abercrombie. Curry’s work is passable here, but falls short of the standards we’ve come to expect from both the show and the performer.
But that’s by-the-by when there are bigger fish to hunt, as the action moves to the clones’ watery homeworld…
Season 6, Episode 2. Written by Katie Lucas, directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell.
“The wise benefit from a second opinion.”
Fearing for the safety of his comrade in a facility which is more concerned with ‘conforming product’ than personal welfare, Fives circumvents his own quarantine in a bid to uncover the truth the hard way…
Readers of Karen Traviss’ 2004 tie-in novel, Republic Commando, will already be aware that the Kaminoan scientists can be trusted about as far as they can be thrown. Even so, nobody should be surprised that they’re straight on the phone to ‘Lord Tyranus’ once it’s apparent that Order 66 has kicked in early for Tup.
After years of fan speculation, it’s finally revealed in this episode that the order was to be activated by a biological inhibitor chip within the brain of each clone. While this certainly ticks all of the narrative boxes, it carries the added bonus for Lucasfilm of being a moral get-out clause. The clones who turned on their Jedi masters in Revenge Of The Sith had no choice, absolved as their personalities were being overridden at the time.
In the meanwhile, the Kaminoans and the Sith see Tup as evidence which needs to be disposed of, the Jedi Council insist he’s brought to Coruscant for Force-analysis, and Fives will settle for just having his buddy back.
Well it’s nice to feel wanted, at least.
Season 6, Episode 3. Written by Katie Lucas, directed by Danny Keller.
“When in doubt, go to the source.”
Tup’s tumour is removed, but he doesn’t survive the operation. Questions remain, and the Macguffin becomes an encased tissue-specimen rather than the whole man of which it was a part. Assigned for ‘reconditioning’, Arc Trooper Fives once again takes matters into his own hands, stealing the sample and escaping the facility with the admin droid AZ-3…
We’re two steps away from going full Prisoner now, as Jedi Master Shaak Ti is as eager to recover Fives as the Kaminoans. On the plus side, it’s fairly easy to hide in plain sight when every other human in the facility looks exactly the same as you do.
Using AZ-3’s help, Fives removes his inhibitor chip. With that, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for clones like Captain Rex, who audiences met at the very beginning of the show.
Although we see Commander Cody’s moment with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau in Episode III, Rex had been more problematic until now. How would the younger audience react if they’d found out he’d been among the clones who marched into the Jedi Temple alongside Anakin and slaughtered the younglings?
The chip-option provides a solution, in that its removal before the command is invoked will almost certainly spare that trooper of the ‘sleeper agent’ response. Right?
If Fives can make it off-world, we may just find out…
READ MORE: IGIST – Review
Season 6, Episode 4. Written by Katie Lucas, directed by Kyle Dunlevy.
“The popular belief isn’t always the correct one.”
Fives is taken to Coruscant for an audience with Palpatine himself, eager to tell the Chancellor of the insidious plot to turn all Clonetroopers into ticking timebomb traitors to the Republic. What could possibly go wrong?
The foreboding and paranoia are at peak levels as Fives doesn’t quite know who to trust. His meeting with Palpatine (in the same medical chamber which birthed the armoured Darth Vader, no less) ends in drama, with the clone being framed for an attempted assassination of the galaxy’s most important politician.
Fives’ subsequent escape to the Coruscant underworld is evocative of Ahsoka’s recent journey, with our hero also calling upon Captain Rex and Anakin Skywalker as the only people he can trust. The story ends in a familiar fashion, with the truth being revealed and duly ignored as too fanciful – all the more helpful for those actually pulling the strings.
The Order 66 arc holds a near-perfect mix of action, intrigue and theatrical plotting. It’s only a shame it didn’t occur earlier in the series.
Join us next time as Anakin’s notoriously short patience is put to the test once more…