With excitement building over the coming release of a seventh season of The Clone Wars in 2019, we’re taking a look back at each episode of the first six seasons – doing so in chronological order. Today, we’re looking at the third episode chronologically, the first episode of season three, titled “Clone Cadets.”
On Kamino, Shaak Ti oversees the training of new clone troopers, with the aid of hired bounty hunters Bric and El-Les. While undergoing a test battle simulation, Domino Squadron fails miserably and doesn’t work together as a unit, leading to Bric suggesting they should simply be reassigned to maintenance duty like 99, a deformed clone trooper. The squad – comprised of Hevy, Echo, Fives, Cutup, and Droid-Bait – continues to fight and shift blame. Before their next test – with an ARC Trooper present – they watch another clone unit pass with ease, taking the flag from the top of the citadel tower. But Domino Squadron again fails, this time because they decide to leave a fallen comrade behind – which results in an automatic failure. Two of the clones go to meet with Shaak Ti that night, requesting to be transferred to a different squad, but the Jedi tells them that they must be a unit rather than individuals. She informs them that she will allow their squad to re-take the test the next day. Meanwhile, Bric – who previously seemed fine letting these clones fail, to the disgust of El-Les – meets with Cutup, angrily confronting the clone (and giving him the name Cutup) after concluding that Cutup was mostly responsible for the squad’s failure.
The next day, Domino Squadron gets one last chance to try to pass, and they start off working together as a team to make it further than normal. But as they’re getting ready to scale the citadel tower, they discover that they’re missing their cables – which Shaak Ti and El-Les realize was Bric’s doing. He insists that the best troopers could overcome such a hindrance, and Shaak Ti agrees. The clones instead disable the tower’s guns and scale it by hand, retrieving the flag. The Jedi and the bounty hunters remark that it’s the most impressive performance they’ve seen from clones. Shaak Ti later presides over the graduation of many clones, including Domino Squadron, who are officially commissioned into the Grand Army of the Republic.
This is one of the many clone-centric episodes of the show, as they take almost the entirety of the focus (besides Shaak Ti and the bounty hunters presiding over the training). It also gives us some insight as to how the Republic trains clone troopers, and we learn that Shaak Ti is in charge of overseeing all of that. In the wake of Jango Fett’s death, however, the Kaminoans have hired other bounty hunters to help train the soldiers. These soldiers are broken up into different squadrons, with whom they must work together to pass different battle simulations. This episode gives us insight as to the clone training that takes place on Kamino.
But this episode more importantly gives us insight into six clones in particular: Hevy, Echo, Fives, Cutup, and Droid-Bait as Domino Squad, and 99 as a maintenance clone. All of them will show up in other episodes of the show, while Fives and Echo play prominent roles. This episode is our introduction to them in-universe (even though the episode is in season three, after having already met most of them), and it does a good job of establishing personalities and showing them learn and try to work together in order to pass the tests.
It’s definitely a unique episode, and it’s that uniqueness that makes it all the more interesting and entertaining. In many ways, it’s a break from the war while still acknowledging the massive looming shadow of war that these soldiers are about to enter in to. And it gives us a peak behind the curtain as to how the clone troopers are trained and come to be the skilled soldiers in the Republic army.
My grade: 8.1/10