If you’re gasping for air, it’s because you just got punched in the gut. Or watched last night’s episode of The Clone Wars, “Carnage of Krell,” which had pretty much the same effect. At last we have clone troopers questioning the validity of fighting this war. At last we have Jedi who are shown to be less than heroic. At last we had a Separatist leader employing the kind of Dooku-worthy mindgames fans grew to know and love in John Ostrander and Jan Duursema’s spectacular Clone Wars comics. And who’s the Seppie in question? None other than one General Pong Krell.
I know, I know. At first, I was thinking he did seem a remarkably effective leader for the Republic. Apparently, he had even won a host of victories for Palpatine & Co. So part of me wishes that when he was describing the “New Order” he could foresee for the galaxy he still was fighting for the Republic — just totally aware of Palpatine’s villainy, okay with it, and working to bring about the Empire from within. But, really, he was just hoping to meet up with Count Dooku, and to sweeten the deal of his defection to the Seppies, he’d deliver up a sensational Republic defeat on Umbara. That meant that when the clones conjured up victories out of Umbara’s thin air—stealing starfighters to destroy the air base’s defenses, flying a mission to take out the supply ship over the capital—Krell’s true agenda was pretty well thwarted.
So he decided not to remand Fives and Jesse for court martial like he’d decided last week, but rather just have them executed on the spot. As far as I know, the whole question of capital punishment in the Republic has never come up before. We know it exists in the Empire—remember what Tarkin had in mind for Princess Leia—but it seemed like the Republic had a more merciful approach to justice than, say, a battlefield commander Force-choking the life out of officers who displeased him. (I’m looking at you Vader, worst boss ever.) Maybe during the war executions have become more commonplace? Or maybe military commanders are just more eager to execute disobedient clones since they don’t regard them as individuals?
NEXT: Aren’t they a little short to be clone troopers? No, actually they’re just the right size.