The second episode of this four-episode arc focuses primarily on Rex’s own belief and hope that Echo is alive. This hope is doubted by the Bad Batch, who see the mission as a potential trap, while Anakin is encouraged to support Rex even if he believes that he is being driven his own personal feelings.
Fueled by the desire to rescue Echo and the guilt of leaving a man behind, Rex opens the episode eager to get to Skako Minor. While waiting for the Jedi Council to decide whether the mission should proceed, Anakin goes to Rex’s barracks alone to call Padme, who is clearly pregnant.
I’ve caught a lot of flack for my love of Padme and Anakin’s love story, and while I can admit it was one of the more cringeworthy moments of the prequel series, I love it. It’s the instigating romance that catapults us into the story of Star Wars.
The Clone Wars has always been good at showing the nuances of Anakin and Padme’s relationship. From their struggle to exist as a couple in secret, to sweet and romantic moments that show the merits of their relationship, to the dark and possessive side of Anakin’s feelings, the series is able to show that the relationship is more than just one rash decision and the alluring passion of a forbidden romance. These moments are the ones that validate the two lovers and the obstacles they face and we get another defining moment in this episode.
In his call with Padme, the two struggle with the distance that draws them apart because of the war. In some ways, you can see the strength of a couple like Anakin and Padme. If it weren’t for the restraints of the Jedi, the two of them could have been a power couple, with Anakin leading the charge as a general on the battlefield and Padme speaking for the people in the Senate.
When Anakin voices his concerns about Rex letting his own personal feelings drive the mission, Padme correctly points out that when this happens to Anakin, Rex has always been by his side, trusting his instincts. This bond between Rex and Anakin is vital and often subtle. Even in Rebels, Rex looks back on his time with Anakin fondly, looking up to the man, though not knowing he is Darth Vader.
What makes all of this worse is that Anakin and Padme’s relationship is essentially an open secret. It’s pretty obvious to many of the people who spend with the two of them that they are involved with one another. Although no one knows that they’re married, Rex is complicit in helping Anakin contact her in secret, and when Obi-Wan arrives, he quickly deduces that Anakin is talking to Padme.
With Padme’s advice fresh in his mind, Anakin takes Rex and the Bad Batch to Skako Minor, not bothering to wait for the council’s permission. The planet is plagued by torrential yellow-brown sandstorms and is inhospitable. Arriving, they are quickly attacked by the local tribe of primitive Poletecs, who worship and ride giant flying reptiles.
After a brief moment of Anakin getting captured by the Poletecs, the team catches up and is able to form an alliance with the people. They don’t want the war on their planet, but they are willing to help the team in opposition to the Separatists. The leader of the Poletecs sends the team towards Purkoll with some guides.
Leading the Separatists on Skako Minor is Wat Tambor, a Skakoan and the foreman of the Techno Guild. Though technically defined as neutral, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that he is in league with Admiral Trench. Trench warns Wat Tambor that there is a team coming and they could pose a threat.
The team follows the signal to a tower, where the signal dies momentarily. Once again, Hunter voices his opinion that this could be a trap and it’s clear the rest of the team agrees with him. However, Anakin sides with Rex and leads the team into the tower where they mow through battle droids as they ascend the building. Tech realizes that the signal, which appears and disappears, must only be live when Echo is transmitting actively, so the team splits up to find him.
Eventually, the team comes to a door and Wat Tambor greets them through a screen. He tells Rex that Echo is dead and his mind is already under their control. More battle droids come, and as Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, and Anakin hold them off, Tech opens the door and he and Rex break in to find an inner room with a giant stasis chamber.
Inside the chamber is Echo, attached to a bunch of wires and looking like he’s Neo plugged into The Matrix. Disoriented, Echo thinks that they’re still at the Citadel for a moment, but despite the damage, Echo is alive.
It’s gratifying to see Echo back. As a member of the original Domino Squad, his loss at the Citadel always felt unworthy of such a significant character. It’s still uncertain what the effects of Separatists tests have on Echo, and despite being alive, saving him could still be a trap. There are still two more parts left to this arc, and I couldn’t be more hyped!
New episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars stream Fridays on Disney+.