The other day I was looking at some screenshots from the Umbara Arc because I was trying to get a lay of the land, so to speak, as I wanted to write about Lich's experiences prior to finding his way back to a now fallen Republic and rising Empire... And three specific frames caught my attention due to very small details.
The first one is when Krell threatens Fives with his lightsaber.
Lightsabers are plasma conduits.
They can slice and cauterise at the same time.
Using them to threaten someone into compliance like this is a promise to use them rather than a bluff.
Even with his armour on, Fives can likely feel the heat of the blade against his neck and shoulder.
This is more than enough reason to go from mild apprehension around Krell to full on distrusting him, because the clones know the Jedi only use their lightsabers when they need to. And only against what they perceive as hostiles that are unwilling to negotiate surrender.
Krell using his lightsaber to threaten someone was an immediate red flag, and Fives knew it.
The second screenshot that caught my attention was when Rex was holding Krell at gunpoint to execute him.
I was wondering why Dogma could swipe Fives's blaster so easily and then, when looking at this frame, I realised all eyes were on Krell's back. All eyes but Dogma's... Who was instead watching Rex like a hawk.
It dawned on me that Fives getting finessed wasn't the most interesting part of this scene, because at this point even a toddler could have taken his blaster without him noticing.
It was the fact Dogma could see that Rex was hesitating while everyone else was just watching Krell with growing contempt, rather than realising their captain was struggling to do what he'd set out to do.
Dogma's decision to shoot Krell wasn't a spur of the moment thing.
It was something he felt like he had to do because no one else could have done it. Because if Rex couldn't, then he very likely doubted the others could either... And I think Dogma didn't want them to. I think he was very aware of the consequences that would follow.
Which brings us to the last screenshot.
Fives's and Dogma are very different characters in terms of how they conduct themselves and how they emote.
Fives has no reservations when it comes to expressing his feelings.
He's comfortable in his skin, knows what he's about, and even feels comfortable enough to raise his concerns or even joke with his superiors (this man pulled a dick joke on his Jedi General, that's just ballsy).
Dogma is the opposite.
He's wound tight (like Rex had commented in a prior conversation with Anakin), is still very much the standard model soldier that was just recently shipped out of Kamino, and is even unwilling to rest unless ordered to do so. Dogma is Shiny without being Shiny.
Throughout the entire Umbara Arc, Dogma's had this steely angry look to him that feels more like a poker face than anything else.
There's only two times where we see him pull a softer expression.
The scene in the barracks where he's talking with Tup, and this one where he looks stricken.
Fives on the other hand never hid what he felt. He's one of the most expressive clones and the Umbara Arc accentuates this.
This scene proves this because where he'd been upset at Dogma for a great majority of this story arc, Fives is suddenly confronted with this scenario. And it probably finally dawns on him that he didn't have all the pieces when it came to figuring out Dogma's motives (or maybe it occurs to him what killing a Jedi would have meant for Rex, and that out of all the clones in that room Dogma was likely the one who was most aware of what would come next because he's a stiff stickler for the rules and he'd tried to stop them mutinying before).
This entire arc is a great character study for the clones in general, but I think the ones that stand out more are definitely Fives and Dogma when faced with loyalty to the republic vs loyalty to their brothers.
To celebrate 501 followers on Tumblr (I technically surpassed 501 followers several days ago but OH WELL) I decided to do a 501st themed post for my mini Clones + Office quote series!! The altered quote popped into my head a couple weeks ago and I scrambled to put it in my notes app at like 2am sksjdjshs please enjoy the glimpse to the inside of my brain
The other post was getting a bit long, so here’s more from the Excessive Violence AU.
This time with Cody imparting his problem solving strategies to Rex, because let’s be honest, Rex deserves this most.
Sometimes I think about how Kix had a near mental breakdown in Umbara due to the stress of trying to keep his brothers alive, only to realise he can't do anything to save them.
I also think about how we saw Rex collapse in near tears after he realises Krell tricked the clones into killing each other, just because he could. How, after Umbara, his next destination was Kadavo...
I think about how Dogma went against his own beliefs due to betrayal, and subsequently went into a state of shock because of the weight of the situation he suddenly found himself in. How Rex nodding at him in approval and respect was likely the last kindness anyone ever extended to him.
I think of Slick acting out violently against both Jedi and clones alike, working into the hands of the Separatists because he didn't feel like there was any other escape against the chains he suddenly saw around his neck and wrists.
I think about how Fives struggled uselessly against circumstances well outside his control when it came to protecting his brothers from certain doom, knowing fully well that he had very likely never gotten over the loss of Echo, and that he'd taken it upon himself to be a protector at the expense of his own relatively short life.
I think of Jesse in the aftermath of Maul's invasive mind probing, of how weak and vulnerable he sounded when talking to Rex because he felt like a failure in that very moment. How he was struggling against the chip when Rex was practically begging him to spare Ahsoka and that maybe, just maybe, had he not been captured by Maul his mental shields would have been strong enough to resist like his captain had...
I think of how Echo who was blown up, tortured, abused, left to look like a shell of his former self that he barely recognises, and who's struggling but pushing forward despite having lost almost everything and everyone he once knew and loved. How it's very likely that he'll eventually die never coming to terms with what happened to himself, and that he'll always feel like less than a man because it's how others treat him.
I think of Wolffe, years after Order 66, struggling with intense fear, guilt, and paranoia, trying to keep his only remaining family safe and accidentally hurting them and others in the process, because he's stuck living in a past that's yet to be explored but that we can assume is crushing him. Wolffe who is, without a doubt, a shadow of the former commander that had served proudly besides his Jedi. Who had always been and always will be a survivor of terrible things.
I think of Gregor who's suffered head injuries at least thrice, got blown up and been left with mental health issues, and who was still very willing to extend his aid and kindness to those around him because he took what he got and accepted it with a smile and a defiant spark to the very end...
I think about all these and more.
And it makes me wish the clones had had better than what they ended up with...
CLONES APPRECIATION WEEK
DAY 6: FAVORITE ARC - Umbara
All of this heavy action has been building on the loyalties of each clone: following foolhardy orders, protecting the lives of their fellow soldiers, and determining what it means to do the right thing. These ethical dilemmas, along with some beautifully eerie battles, make this the most memorable arc in the series. [x]
Dogma: Okay you know what, that's the one thing I've learnt tonight. I can't depend on anyone but myself, okay. So I gotta take care of myself, I gotta stay healthy... you know what? I'm gonna go to bed. That's what I sh- I'm gonna go to bed.
Jesse: Go to bed? What are you, 40?
Dogma: We're the same age!
Tup: Uh, [Dogma] should I go to bed too?
Dogma: I DON'T CARE.
Tup: He said yes I think?
Jesse: I don't think he cares.
Fives: I don't think he gives a shit what you do.
When the Kaminoans recon clones, they wipe them clean. Take their names, their personalised, and leave the skills and the mouldable soldier to work with.
And these reconned clones go back to new battalions as shinies again. As far as anyone should know they’re just new shinies fresh off Kamino.
But they know. They know they were someone before. They know they had names, they had friends and batchmates and people who loved them, but it’s all blank. It’s all empty space.
And other clones know, even though they’re not supposed to. They pick things up, start to work out early on that somethings different with some of the shinies they get. They see the little things that ring though, the nightmares and the too ingrained reactions that didn’t come from Kamino. And once they know reconned clones become easy to identify when they come through.
They get memories in nightmares, that sensation that something is terribly wrong over really normal things.
Sometimes the colour on their armour makes them want to cry and they know it’s wrong but they can’t remember what it’s supposed to be.
They flinch from things but they don’t know why it causes that reaction.
They pick up a blaster and drop it because something in their minds screams no.
Not all of them can just move forwards. Not all of them can just pick up a new name, forge a new personality, make new friends with new vode.
Some of them can’t take on new names. Nothing sounds right. They know that it’s not their name but they don’t know what their name is. Often that leads to them letting their vode chose one that they’ll all use, one they don’t mind, but their vode introduce them to people because they can’t bring themselves to say it, to actually use this new name themselves. They just can’t because they know, they know it’s not their name.
And just like with the names, their vode find solutions. They find ways to work with their vode who the Kaminons wiped clean. The longer the war goes on the less recons happen, officially they don’t at all, but the clones know the signs. The longer the war goes on the better they get at helping their vode settle in when everything feels wrong and they can’t quite place why.
The vode are furious. Because who you are, for some clones, that’s all they have. Names are precious, important. Personalities and the little things that make them individual and unique, they mean everything. And the sense of bitter loathing that comes every time they meet a new vod who’s had that taken from them by force, it’s powerful.
Their vode might not be able to remember who they were before, which battalion, which name, but their new battalions will be dammed before they turn their backs on their own.