“The best confidence builder is experience.”
Steve Melching pens the first episode up this week, Rookies, that first debuted on 24 October, 2008.
Commander Cody and Captain Rex (both voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) set the tone, and inspire a cadre of rookie clone troopers when their distant Rishi outpost is on the verge of being overrun by battle droids including the cool looking commando droids (though at this point in the series anything they say still sounds moronic).
The rookies are in fact the clones we encountered previously in Clone Cadets, Hevy, Fives, Echo, Cutup and Droidbait, and they are going to have some serious problems that will cut into their ranks, not just the droids, but a strange eel-like creature that lurks in the caves and tunnels of Rishi.
Meanwhile Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor) and Anakin (Matt Lanter) are hunting down Grievous (Matthew Wood who also lends his voice to the battle droids) who is planning an assault on Kamino.
It’ll be up to those clones on Rishi to stop the Separatist invasion force before it reaches the clone factories on Kamino.
Seeing how the assault plays out, and the toll it takes on the clones, especially those we just got to know a few episodes previous, has a fairly strong impact for an animated show.
“Trust in your friends, and they’ll have reason to trust in you.”
George Krstic pens Downfall of a Droid, that first debuted on 7 November, 2008.
The concept of wiping droid’s memories has been mentioned a number of times in the Star Wars universe, but as we learn in this episode, this is something Anakin has never done to R2-D2, which allows him to have his own personality.
However, problems arise when R2 goes missing during a battle. Obi-Wan reminds Annakin that the astromech is just a droid, but when he learns the droid has countless files on the Republic from bases to tactics, a rescue mission doesn’t seem so unwise.
Unfortunately the little droid has been scavenged by a Trandoshan named Gha Nachkt (Ron Perlman) who plans to sell R2 to the highest bidder.
Anakin, Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) and a new gold droid, R3 (who may be more than he seems) are going to have their hands full as they try to recover their friend.
The episode also uses a cut from the score of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to great effect as a battle is about to be engaged.
“You hold onto friends by keeping your heart a little softer than your head.”
Duel of the Droids was written by Kevin Campbell and concludes the missing R2 arc. It first aired on 14 November, 2008.
R3-S6, Ahsoka and Anakin are on their way to a remote Separatist listening post, while Grievous negotiates with Nachkt for R2 – and they end up on the listening post as well.
It’s hard to tell if R3 is devious, or just simple, but he seems intent on ruining the Republic’s plans, especially those of Annakin and anything related to reclaiming R2. And hopefully he does it quick, because Nachkt is disassembling the little droid and is close to learning all of the astromech’s secrets.
If he gets reassembled in time, R2 will reveal the truth about Anakin’s new droid, something Ahsoka discovers for herself. This, of course, will lead to a confrontation between R2 and R3.
This is a stronger episode then the first part of the R2 story, and the battles, and the sneaking around the Separatist base feel like classic Star Wars moments. And you can’t help but feel a little bad for Ahsoka for believing in R3, despite ours and Anakin’s distrust of the droid.
She does however, get to confront Grievous in a lightsaber battle, and you can tell the young padawan is already growing into her role as a jedi.
The battle rages on next week with Star Wars: The Clone Wars.