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.
I've started this little headcanon about anakin oh god-
so basically imagine it is right after umbara and the clones are ALL talking about it and whaddayaknow anakin walks in and is like uh what the fuck is wrong with you guys? and then basically the clones all have a nice little rant session involving crying and mental breakdowns to the literal definition of a mess himself anakin skywalker and everyone expects him to start breaking down too but instead of breaking down he breaks things.
He immediately storms the jedi council and no one is spared, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME YOU MOTHERFUCKERS DIDNT THINK TO TELL ME THIS EARLIER I HAD TO FIND OUT FROM MY OWN FUCKING MEN THAT THEY WERE TRICKED INTO KILLING EACH OTHER AND NOW YOURE KEEPING THIS FROM THE PUBLIC AND FROM ME SPECIFICALLY AND YOU THINK THAT THAT IS FUCKING OKAY? THINK AGAIN YOU BITCHES" and obi-wan is secretly on anakin's side in that respect but he cant just out himself to the council so he watches (proudly, might I add).
and the council doesnt want to do anything (an anonymous vote with only obi-wan and plo koon on the side of "release this information")
so obviously anakin takes this into his own hands and by the next morning there is a protest outside the jedi council because anakin stayed up all night writing a 15 page handwritten account of the event from all the clones and now everyone on coruscant is reading it as copy after copy is printed off by the 501st in the basement newsies-style
and what can the council do? They obviously make it more than public after that, releasing the most information that they can because god knows if they dont anakin will. this even prompts them to release information about other war endeavours, which satisfy the public for a while until anakin starts releasing more in depth articles and accounts because of how watered down the council makes it. and it just kind of goes on like this for a while (the only thing anakin doesnt write about is the events on mortis because fuck that shit bro)
and to top it all off, the jedi are woke up at 3 am because anakin committed arson and lit Pong Krell's old jedi room on fire in the middle of the night with fives
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT THE UMBARA ARC
Things I have come across, considered, or theorized, regarding Clone Wars the Umbara Arc.
# REGARDING THE 501ST / TORRENT COMPANY
Dude is the sanest man here. Yes, that includes Rex. Fives is literally the Everyman, the Good Man that goes to war. Everything about Fives is how a Sane but Confident and Good Person is suppose to do and how they would reasonably act, given all they’ve experienced.
And Gods is he brutal. He swipe-kicked an Umbaran, and blasted the fucker point blank.
He talked back to Krell on several occasions, first one resulted in a Lightsaber within Shaving Distance. He went behind the backs of the chain of command, but still respected Rex enough to tell him what he was going to do (and Rex even covered him).
And even in the face of Execution, he’s the Optimist to Jesse’s Cynic. In a final ditch effort, he pulls a speech for all his brothers. He sees people as what they are: Persons, each and everyone. And from the Start, knew Krell was a fuckin Bastard.
Fives is Smart too. Dude learned how to Fly an Umbaran ship, and Umbaran Tech is as alien as it gets (s’like trying to translate a Star Trek consol).
Seems to be a Republic Fan considering he literally tattooed the Republic’s Symbol on his face and painted it on his helmet.
Dude is Snarky and Sassy. A dangerous combination. He makes snarky quips, is cynical in the face of execution, and even does the sassy hand on hip thing.
He’s also, apparently, either part Technician or part Hacker. Capable of cracking Umbaran Codes, if Fives’ good natured shoulder punch was any indication.
The Medic, and gods it could not have been easy to deal with all those causalities.
Love Hardcase. Dude’s got explosions and fighting on the mind, his answer to a problem with guns is to bring a bigger gun. He’s got a one track mind, and Fives had to reign him in several times.
He’s definitely friendly enough, and takes things as they come, which suggested he had simple expectations and simple desires.
... Gonna miss him.
For all the “Tup was Innocent” I kept hearing, Tup is pretty much an Anxious New Guy. While being anxious about Krell is the reasonable reaction, if not the understatement, Tup brings anxiety to a new level.
He holds on to dear life while in transport with both hands, he’s fairly hopeless in most situations (brings to mind “We’re DOOMED!” by C3-P0) [And let’s face it, Tup has good reason to be hopeless about stuff].
Fairly cynical, but in the way that new folk are cynical to the possibility of new outcomes. Kamino must’ve been hard on the kid.
... I have reason to believe that Dogma’s chip was partially activated.
What starts to be just a young soldier following things to the letter, dives into a route of insanity that cannot be explained away. At least, by my perceptions. (Believe what you want, this is my article of stupidity, go get your own stupid if you don’t like it)
Sure, supporting Krell’s plans in the beginning just indicated that he was being idiotically naive. Sure, a fear of getting into trouble can drive someone to jump the chain if they feel something has gone wrong. He even got Tup in on it. This suggests youth, anxiety, and the unfortunate idea that he would have to learn things the hard way-- we’ve been there.
But Dogma was There when the Clone Transmission came in regarding Umbarans taking Clone Equipment. He was There when the 501st and the 212th attacked each other.
And yet, Dogma takes up a blaster against his own brothers, AFTER THAT ATTACK (FOR WHICH HE WAS PRESENT FOR THE BRIEFING OF AND FOR THE EVEN ITSELF), and screams that they’re all Traitors?
Its not like Dogma isn’t reasonably Smart. After a certain point, this stops being Anxiety and Desperation talking, and starts being something else.
It puts all other actions under a new light. Such as his rather robotic actions when he was first introduced-- they were on a battlefield, why the hell is he showing off a crisp and serious about-face / heel-turn like he’s in a fuckin Uniform Inspection?
And how he shoots Krell. Yes, it does look like a snapping point and you wouldn’t be wrong to take it as such. But by that point, he was using “Traitor” an awful lot.
... It makes sense to theorize that Dogma and Tup were apart of the same Batch. It seems that their entire Batch must’ve had Bad Chips. Wonder if that tumor killed the others...
Man has the patience of a saint, but you’d have to when working with Skywalker.
I can’t blame him for the orders he received from Krell. Rex was in the worst position during the worst circumstances. If he defied orders too much, he ran the risk of court-martial or worse, and then his company and legion would be left to the mercies of Krell. If he tried to lessen the blow, he still would get chewed out by his company for following Krell.
He tried to justify it. Who wouldn’t when you’re between a rock and a hard place? When you know what’s around you is Wrong, but if you don’t do what you’re told, it could get worse. Of course you’d justify it. You’d do to stay sane.
He was the Honorable Man in the worst position.
The thing about Season 7, is that it takes place years after Clone Wars was cancelled. Plenty of time to go back and sift through the old seasons, in order to build new ones when The Clone Wars was brought back to air.
And plenty of stuff in the Umbara Arc shows me that, y’know, Torrent Company was proto-Bad Batch.
You have Hardcase, who was basically Wrecker.
Jesse, who screamed Crosshair with that sass and snark. No wonder they didn’t like each other, they were quite a bit alike.
Rex, playing Hunter in both exhaustion, diplomacy, and nobody every being happy with anything he did.
Not sure who played the Tech here. Seems to have been divided between Fives, Jesse and Hardcase. Possibly Kix.
Let me just get my feelings out of the way.
We fuckin hate this asshole. Ever second he was alive on screen, I desperately wanted him dead. Dealing with him second hand is one of the worst experiences I’ve had with Clone Wars-- and I’m pretty sure he was written that way on purpose. I despise him. Wish he got shot sooner. The death tolls, the disregard, we saw how many new ways a Clone could die and ITS THIS BASTARD’S FAULT.
But that’s not why I’m here.
Krell’s speeches tells us that what he did, he’s be doing for a long time. Umbara took place in the Second Year of the Clone Wars... And this suggests that he may have Started a bastard.
He certainly was Dark Side by the time of Umbara.
Hints of his later speech also suggest that he had, in some way, contact with Darth Tyrannus, or possibly even Sidious himself acting as Tyrannus. Which puts things into a new light.
... I think that Umbara was meant to kill off Torrent Company.
Here’s my logic.
After Umbara, just about everything that goes wrong for Anakain, does. Kenobi betrays Anakin’s trust. Ahsoka is lost repeatedly, and thanks to the trial arc, gets gone for “seemingly” good. Everything was directed through the Jedi Council, and often, via the Chancellor’s hidden hand, was in some way isolating to Anakin Skywalker.
And it starts Here.
Who the fuck requests a General about to head into battle? What could be so fuckin important as to interrupt TAKING A SEPARATIST’S WORLD!?
Nothing. You don’t do that. There was nothing more important at that moment. You can’t claim incidental, because Anakin was never pulled off that way before or since. Take Anaxes as your Example-- his wife was Pregnant, and he was still fighting.
I think, via Krell, someone who is KNOWN to have massive clone casualties, who had possibly started off this civil war having already Fallen, that the Chancellor had started to find ways to Isolate Anakin. To ensure that Anakin’s trust would only be the Chancellor’s.
And he started by trying to ensure the deaths of Captain Rex and the rest of Torrent Company.
... Of course, unlike every other time. It takes a Chip to bring Clones to heel.
Because on their own? Clones don’t fall for the Machinations of Evil Emperors. They don’t get their strings pulled, like Jedi do. It takes a tumor-slave-chip to bring these great men to heel.
So Captain Rex survives. And becomes the worst thorn Palpatine has ever felt, for it.