Last week, Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex, and the Bad Batch were able to find Echo on Skako Minor. The former clone trooper was rebuilt with cybernetic parts and hooked up to a Separatist data base, but he was still alive.
This week, our heroes have to find a way to get him–and themselves–away from Wat Tambor’s stronghold and off the planet.
The episode opens with Anakin, Wrecker, Hunter, and Crosshair laying waste to a horde of D-wing droids. Anakin runs into the data center to check on Rex and Tech, who are still trying to unhook Echo from the stronghold’s computer mainframe. Tech also informs Anakin that their request for an extraction has basically been ignored…which seems odd for such a high level mission that includes a high-ranking Jedi.
But I digress…the other Bad Batch members begin sealing off doorways as another massive squad of D-wing droids approaches along with Wat Tambor himself. Instead of sending the droids in, however, Tambor unleashes an organic decimator, which begins cutting its way through the doors to the data center.
Luckily, Tech is finally able to get Echo’s brain unlinked from the computer, allowing Rex to unplug him from it. After a genuinely funny (and touching) moment with Echo complaining about a headache, the cybernetically enhanced clone is able to open an exhaust vent to the cooling systems. Unfortunately, the vent is a few hundred feet above them. Wrecker hilariously takes the initiative by tossing Crosshair and the others up into it. Anakin makes the jump himself and uses the force to pull Wrecker up behind him just as the decimator begins spraying the room.
Before his impromptu flight, Wrecker also managed to plant a few detonators, which obliterate the data center.
Fight or Flight
As the group moves through the cooling system, Echo reveals that his time hooked up to the database has given him a complete schematic memory of the entire stronghold–and that he knows the way to a landing pad where they can probably steal a ship.
Unfortunately, their escape route requires a long walk across a narrow pipe thousands of feet above the ground. As they begin making their way over (and Wrecker nearly has a nervous breakdown), the group is attacked by D-wing droids from both ends. Crosshair loses his balance, but is caught by Wrecker, leaving them both even more vulnerable than their teammates. Thankfully, these D-wing droids are polite enough not to shoot too much while Tech comes up with a plan.
The clone plays a recording he made of the keeradaks they encountered upon arriving on the planet. Sure enough, this brings the wing beasts within seconds. It also somehow makes them extremely docile and helpful, allowing the entire squadron to jump onto their backs while the D-wing droids completely forget how to fire their weapons.
Even Echo, who could barely walk a few moments ago, is able to gracefully leap onto one of the keeradak’s backs.
As much as these multiple plot conveniences annoyed me, this section of the episode does look incredible–especially when the D-wing air support droids finally show what they can do by taking flight to chase after the keeradaks.
After a thrilling mid-air dogfight, the squad manages to evade the droids and returns to the Poletec village. The Poletec chieftain is impressed that they were able to somehow tame the keeradaks so quickly (same here), but not pleased at all that they returned–especially when the D-wing droids catch up and fire upon his village. Rex counters with an impassioned speech about how the Techno Union (Wat Tambor’s faction) only pretends to be neutral, showing them what had been done to Echo as proof.
It’s also worth pointing out here that in the original version of this episode, Wat Tambor was shown using the organic decimator on a Poletec test subject. This not only made the stakes feel much higher when it came after our heroes, but also makes Rex’s plea for the Poletecs to fight with them seem a lot more reasonable.
War Comes to Town
The D-wing droids return en masse to the Poletec village along with two gigantic octuptarra tri-droids. Thankfully, the Poletec chieftain and his villagers decide to fight alongside Anakin and the clones.
A massive and incredible looking battle ensues. The Poletecs sustain heavy casualties, but manage to hold their own with the help of Anakin and the clones……until the octuptarra droids start firing.
Just when the battle looks like it’s about to be lost, Anakin manages to take down one of the octuptarra droids while Wrecker and Rex use a fastball special to neutralize the other. Anakin force pushes the wreckage of his walker into Rex’s, destroying both and causing the rest of the D-wing droids to flee.
Back at the Techno Union Stronghold, Tambor is enraged to learn that he has lost both the battle and his clone experiment, which had been a huge cash cow for their operation. He vows to find a way to replace his profits.
Meanwhile, the Poletec chieftain thanks Anakin and the clones for their help (despite bringing the war to them) and says that the Jedi will always have an ally on Skako Minor. As the squad boards their ship to leave, Echo thanks Rex again for coming back for him–and giving him a chance to finally go home.
If you read my reviews regularly (HI MOM!), then you’ve probably heard me say “I want to like this issue/episode more than I did” at least a few times. It’s a phrase I reserve for stories that feel like they could have been so much more than they actually were.
In this instance, however, I kind of hate how much I liked On the Wings of Kerradaks. There were multiple plot issues throughout the entire episode, especially with regards to the Poletec’s decision to fight alongside Anakin and the clones. There was also the random/sudden taming of the keeradaks, the D-wing droids forgetting how to fire their weapons, and a host of other annoying inconsistencies.
But holy crap did this episode look good.
From the siege outside the data center to the D-wing droid dogfight to the incredible final battle, it was beautiful nonstop action…except for some of the moments between Rex and Echo, which were deeply impactful and moving.
I’m not going to give narratives on this show a pass just because its an animated series, but it’s also worth recognizing that this might be one of the best looking animated series ever made. With what should be an incredible episode airing next week, the story quality should return to the same level as the rest of the show’s production.
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