We’re still on this storyline eh? I know we’re into the era of four parters in this series now, but for some reason, I was so sure that I was done with this little comedic side story. But here we are, going around in what feels like an ouroboros character arc over and over.
I’m being snide, but these episodes were kinda fun. Let’s dig into them.
Season 5: Episode 12: Missing in Action
In this, the 100th episode of the series we get to see a series of the most unlikely occurrences I think I might have ever seen happen in a 20-minute episode of television. I’m not one to get hung up on writing contrivances, especially in a kid’s show, but wow.
After crashing on the barren world of Abafar, It seems even the most barren, avant-garde worlds in the Star Wars galaxy manage to have some kind of population living on them, and after wandering in the endless void for what had to be like, a whole hour, Colonel Gascon and D-Squad manage to find some bastion of civilisation in the endless wastes.
Seriously though, how does this planet sustain any kind of life? I don’t think I’ve seen any plant life at all in the previous episode or this one. I mean, we do kind of get an answer as to why anyone would want to inhabit this world later on, but it’s such a passing line that it’s really a pretty flimsy reason.
Gascon, continuing to be a dumbass, marches into the closest diner and manages to obnoxiously announce himself as a member of the Republic. Something the people of the outer rim just love to hear, needless to say, the Sullustan diner owner Mr. Borkus is quick to throw Gascon and WAC out on their tiny asses.
Meanwhile, the astromechs manage to discover that there is some kind of Separatist presence on the planet, spotting some battle droids out on patrol.
While Gascon is complaining about being hungry, WAC leads him behind the diner to eat the overflowing garbage that seems to engulf the alleyway behind the diner. This results in a chance meeting whose likelihood of happening was astronomical in my mind. They bump into an amnesiac clone who refers to himself as Gregor.
This guy has no memory fighting, the Republic or of even being a clone, but Gascon is adamant that he’s their key to getting off the planet, by stealing a shuttle from the Separatist staging area. Honestly, I have a little bit of a problem with how Gascon romanticises the idea of being a clone serving in the Republic army.
He says they’re brave soldiers fighting across the universe for the freedom of the Republic. I suppose that’s true… from a certain point of view. Otherwise, you could easily argue that the clones themselves are slaves being forced into a war they never had a choice in being a part of. Maybe this Gregor is better off. Eh, actually no.
Its obvious Borkus is taking advantage of him, using the clone’s blank memory to keep him tied to him as a free bit of labour. Something Gregor readily rebels against when he realises Borkus has been hiding his equipment and his identity from him the whole time. Although how he gets mad and insists that he’s not “Borkus’s slave” feels a bit on the nose for me.
As it turns out, the planet is packed with Rhydonium, the starship fuel I was recently introduced to through the second season of the Mandalorian. There also just so happens to be a Republic cruiser floating above the settlement, and the Separatists below were planning on using the Rhydonium to blow it all up.
All of this is staggering luck considering how barren and in the middle of nowhere this planet seemed to be when the characters dropped out of hyperspace around it at the beginning of the previous episode. Being back in his armour, Gregor seems much more the part to help D-Squad battle though the base and steal the shuttle.
Looking as his armour, it seems like it finds its inspiration from the commando armour seen worn by Delta Squad, the primary protagonists from the video game Republic Commando. Despite fumbling to get his blaster back from Borkus, Gregor now handily takes down a Separatist base all on his own, giving Gascon and the droids the time they need to jump in the shuttle and fly up to the cruiser.
Gregor makes a very big show of sacrificing himself to allow his new comrades to escape, making the promise that he will survive and make his way back to the Republic again. Something he does eventually so. Survive I mean. I don’t make a habit of looking ahead, but searching his name on Wookieepedia and being met with a much older looking clone, I know I’ll be seeing this guy again in Rebels.
Season 5: Episode 13: Point of No Return
Gascon, with his mission, seemingly completed is back into self-congratulatory mode. Once again prioritising his own ego over the contributions of his droid companions, I guess the rule of 3s doesn’t apply to his little frog man when it comes to him having to learn the same lesson several times in a row.
Pretty quickly it seems like something is amiss on the cruiser, as there are no other personal or ships to be seen. After a short but eerie walk to the bridge, we learn that the ship is being manned by Separatist battle droids, which very quickly makes the cruiser’s presence over Abafar make much more sense. The captured ship is obviously being used as a Trojan horse in some Separatist operation.
The cruiser is packed with that Rhydonium the Separatist were minding on Abafar, and they plan to crash the ship into a space station hosting a Republic strategy meeting, where a ton of high ranking Republic officials and Jedi will all be gathered. As these episodes have worn on, I have come to like Gascon less and less. He’s full of talk and bluster, but seems very quick to try and wash his hands of this situation before realising the Separatist target.
While he does announce that they need to stop the plan once he realises how many lives are at risk, he is very quick to want to escape before that. Which seems all the more damning to his character when he just spent the previous episode talking about sacrifice and watching Gregor do that very thing to allow them to escape.
It’s funny, I started this series of episodes really not liking WAC for his displayed undeserved boastfulness combined with his apparent incompetence, but as these episodes have gone on, WAC did show that he did have some amount of ability to back up his attitude when push comes to shove. Plus, he has a forthrightness and matter-of-factness that only comes from being a droid, where Gascon is riddled with personality defects that only really come from being human (Or an organic in terms of the lore of the show).
The episode culminates in R2-D2 rushing to the detonator device for the Rhydonium bomb, while Gascon and the rest of the droids try to escape in their shuttle in order to warn the Republic Base of the impending attack. After fighting the Tactical Droid off, R2 sets off the bomb early, in an ultimate act of bravery and sacrifice.
Resulting in an incredibly cool looking and impressive explosion, one whose impact is felt all the more powerfully because of the way it’s shot: From a first person’s perspective, being shook and thrown by the force of the massive explosion out in space. After seeing that, the fact that R2 managed to come out of it as intact as he did was a miracle. One he is quickly repaired from with little repercussion it seems.
We get one final scene between Gascon and the remaining droids, where Gascon does give one final speech showing his newfound respect and admiration for the droids he has served with. Although he is quick to pull that one back when he realises he has been permanently assigned to a unit along with WAC for the remainder of the war.
For the most part, these were a collection of episodes that told a very similar character story over and over again. With Gascon and WAC being the only characters in the episode who actually spoke, they were carrying most of the story, and their dynamic swung from being entertaining to grating.
By the time these four episodes were over, I enjoyed WAC as a character much more than I did at the beginning, almost entirely because he was being pitted against Gascon, who seemed to learn the same lesson of humility multiple times before promptly forgetting it over and over.
Truth be told, it did feel like he came to care for the droids by the end, but his bluster and bravado were something he was never going to drop because that’s just a part of his character. Ultimate short man syndrome.
Like the four episodes that preceded it with the younglings, we followed a collection of characters that seemed to jump from one bad situation to the next all in pursuit of their original task, which almost seemed forgotten by the time it was over.