Hello and welcome back to another review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 4! This week we’ll be talking about the first episode in the “Umbara” arc, Darkness on Umbara. The episode is very clone centered and brings up many interesting points, possibly even foreshadows to order 66. Below are my thoughts on the episode.
When the Republic attacks the shadowy world of Umbara, Rex and the 501st are placed under the command of the legendary General Krell, a by the book, battle hardened Jedi, after Anakin has been called to Coruscant. The first fifteen minutes was what I’ve been wanting to see in The Clone Wars since Season 2, another full scale invasion. I was very impressed with how original it felt compared to some of the other landing sequences we’ve seen, mostly due to how hostile the environment itself is. With large, Sarlacc-ish creatures underfoot, and the clone’s visibility diminished by the hazy atmosphere, it put our characters in even greater danger than they were on Geonosis or Ryloth. What I liked about it were all the traps and looming dangers that we, and the clones, could not even expect coming. Another aspect that made this episode so great was the camera work, one shot in particular that was almost a first person perspective of a clone, which I can’t recall ever being used before in the show, and could symbolize the perspective we’re supposed to be viewing this arc from (hint: it’s the clones).
On a similar note, I thought the designs and lighting of this episode were very appealing for a battlefield setting. Everything from the environment, to the enemies they fought. (In which I was so glad they weren’t all droids; in my opinion the episode would just not have worked the same if they had fought only battle droids.) Also, the creatures seemed to have there own unique traits, and even Krell himself was very well done with a new, folding, double bladed lightsaber; they all seemed to match the mood perfectly. Another part of the design was the clone armor, which we have seen very little of this season. I was immediately blown away by the pictures we saw of Rex’s new gear in Pete’s last The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup. This was a great episode to introduce Rex’s, Fives’ and the rest of the 501st’s ROTS armor (could it possibly help foreshadow the events of the movie?).
This brings me to the most important part of this review, and the biggest question I have about the arc, its characters, and the impact. Is there a larger, more secretive motive by Krell than just being the most ruthless General in the order? It’s been hinted at in the episode by Fives, but is there any truth behind it? The first red flag I’ve got was in the very beginning, Anakin is sent back to Coruscant at the request of the Chancellor, could this be a plot created by Sidious himself? Could Rex be a danger to Sidious’s plan to turn Anakin? How is Krell involved? All I know is that there is something going on, and I have absolutely no clue how it will unfold, and this has only happened a few times in Clone Wars for me. Which is definitely a good thing.
I felt that Darkness on Umbara was Clone Wars tale-telling at its best. Even for an episode that’s just supposed to establish the story and set up later episodes, I would say that this is my favorite in season 4, so far. It had a great story, great animation, and great character. I liked that we did get to see some of season 2’s The Deserter shine in through Rex throughout this episode as he protects his fellow clones from the dangers of Umbara, and General Krell. Well, that wraps up my review for Darkness on Umbara! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to leave a comment below and let us at the Star Wars Report know what you thought about this episode! May the force be with you…always