Rookies is the first episode in The Clone Wars to be almost exclusively focused on the clones without any Jedi help or support, and the results are very good.
The episode unfolds on a tracking station that protects the space route to Kamino, which is the birth place and factory of the clone army of the Republic. The group of troopers manning the track station are fairly “green” and are bored with their post and want to be out on the fighting front; little do they know that it is about to come to them. Commander Cody and Captain Rex, two of the main clone fighters in the Star Wars universe, on currently in route as well to inspect the station as well, since it needs to be in top form due to its great importance.
When a routine meteor shower falls on the planet, with it comes a surprise in a droid drop pods housing droid commando’s a cool and new droid fighter to the SW universe. The droid commando’s overtake the base and claim a couple of the Clones lives before the remaining were able to escape through the ventilation systems. With the base under their control, the droids can keep the all clear signal to the Republic fleet while Grievous and his fleet attempt to sneak through the system and attack the droid factories on Kamino. Cody and Rex arrive shortly after the commandos have over taken the base and the fight to re-take the base begins.
The episode takes on plenty of action and kind of silly hi-jinks from here, but the biggest standout of the episode is the portrayal of death and battle among these men. This is the first episode since the Clone Wars movie to really get back to the brutality of that piece. There is no mercy with these clones being killed and with the added character interacting that we see and experience they aren’t just faceless sheep for the slaughter. I am not saying I frown upon this though, as it brings stakes to the proceedings, and it brings some emotional gravitas to show and that is very good.
The animation in this episode also seemed to really stand out and had some fantastic work in it, and I just wanted to send snaps to everyone involved as this episode really stood out.
Overall, Rookies, is another solid entry into The Clone Wars and is further cementing this film as the real deal for some time to come. This is a good first step for the Jedi less episodes as well, but I think we need to focus on a squad that gets lost in battle at some point to really hit the best story you can with the clones. If they even killed off the entire squad, it would make a hell of episode, but for now, there is already plenty of death and loss for these clones. Check this one out online, and I can’t wait to see what they do with an R2 centric episode tonight.