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Recap / Star Wars: The Clone Wars S1E5 "Rookies"

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The best confidence builder is experience.

Rex: Looks like we got ourselves a batch of shinies, Commander.
Echo: "Shinies", sir?
Rex: That's right. Your armor. It's shiny and new...
[Rex puts his hand on the chest area of Echo's armor]
Rex: ...just like you.

The Republic outpost on the remote Rishi moon, one of many stations that form a line of defense for the planet Kamino, is largely manned by rookie clones who, for the most part, are bored by the fact that nothing ever seems to happen — except for Echo, who likes that he has time to catch up on the reg manuals, something that makes his squadmate Hevy wonder what's wrong with him. The sergeant in command of the outpost, O'Niner, is a combat veteran and reminds his men that the station is a vital outpost, so they need to take the job seriously. He informs the troopers that there are some officers on their way to the base, so they had better have everything squared away for inspection. The officers in question are Commander Cody and Captain Rex, the former of whom reports the status of the inspection tour to Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker before heading for the Rishi moon.

But under the cover of a meteor shower, a squad of Separatist commando droids lands near the lonely outpost and attacks, with only Hevy, Fives, and Echo being able to escape with their lives (Droidbait dies during the initial attack and they lose their squad mate Cutup to one of the giant Rishi eels). As Cody and Rex arrive at the outpost, their suspicions raised by a commando droid doing a poor impression of a clone over the comm channel, they and the three "shinies" have to warn the Republic about an incoming Separatist invasion before it's too late.


  • Air-Vent Passageway: Hevy, Fives, Echo, and Cutup escape from the Rishi moon outpost this way during the initial attack. The same vent is again used as an exit near the end of the episode when the clone troopers are planning to blow the base up.
  • Alien Blood: The Rishi eels have dark blue blood, which Rex marks Echo's armor with.
  • Anachronic Order: This episode chronologically takes place between "Clone Cadets" (3:01) and "ARC Troopers" (3:02).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the beginning of the episode, Hevy says he'd rather be fighting on the front lines. He ends up dying while fighting battle droids.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Separatist droids try to convince Rex and Cody to leave by disguising their faces with clone helmets. Later, Rex fools them into opening the door by using the torn-off head of one of the commando droids.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The invasion attempt is thwarted and the Separatist fleet retreats. Sadly, three members of Domino Squad are now dead, including Hevy. Fortunately, Echo and Fives are inducted into the 501st Legion.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Rex disarms the lead commando droid this way while storming the control room, so the droid attacks him with its vibrosword... only for Rex to dodge the strike, get behind it, break its neck, and slam it into the floor face-first.
  • Bleak Border Base: The Rishi moon is very barren with nothing but the Republic outpost and the eels.
  • Bloody Handprint: Rex leaves one in eel blood on Echo's armor when he's explaining what "shinies" means.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Rex takes out four commando droids this way — the disguised one, the one that opens the door, and the first two he shoots when they storm the control room.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Rex says "Roger Roger", while impersonating a commando droid to get back into the base.
  • Breakout Character: The rookies were originally intended to be one-off characters for just this episode. Due to the squad proving so popular with the fans, Fives and Echo ended up getting their own series-long subplot.
  • Commander Smooth and Captain Rough: Cody and Rex are the smooth commander and rough captain respectively. This trope is demonstrated very well when they first meet the trio of rookies; Rex immediately holds them at blaster-point and orders them to take their helmets off (as a result of the disguised commando droid above), and then, after killing the Rishi eel, introduces himself and then adds that they should call him "Captain or 'sir'". Cody simply introduces himself.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The commando droids who took over the base and presented the main obstacle are dealt with roughly two-thirds into the episode, and the remainder of the runtime has the clones dealing with the droid reinforcements as they try to alert the Republic of the impending Kamino invasion.
  • Dramatic Irony: In several scenes where we see Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Admiral Yularen with the fleet, they can't get a hold of Cody and Rex and thus have no idea about what's going on at the Rishi outpost.
    Obi-Wan: If something were wrong, Cody would contact us.
  • Dwindling Party: Domino Squad. In order of death, Droidbait is the first to be killed by the invading Separatist droids, Cutup is eaten alive by a Rishi eel, and Hevy is forced to pull a Heroic Sacrifice when the bomb's remote has a malfunction. Only Echo and Fives survive the events in this episode.
  • Elite Mooks: The commando droids first introduced in this episode are stronger, tougher, smarter and much more efficient versions of the basic B1 battle droids. While their common counterparts are bumbling fools who die in droves and are only good for drowning enemies under sheer numbers, a small group of commando droids manages to infiltrate a republic base and quickly kill or rout all opposition.
  • Facepalm: Cody does this in response to Rex's plan to get the door opened by impersonating a commando droid:
    [facepalming] "This is never gonna work."
  • Failed a Spot Check: Rex tricks the commando droids to open the door to the base by pretending to be one of them in disguise and only saying "Roger, Roger" and using a decapitated head too fool them when asked to remove his helmet. What the commando droids failed to notice though, despite being smarter than the average B1 battle droids, was that Rex was wearing different armor than the ones the clones in the base were wearing.
  • Flower Mouth: The Rishi eels have four-jawed mouths that open radially.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Cody and Rex fail to report back in on schedule, Obi-Wan makes a sarcastic quip to Anakin about Rex:
      "It seems your captain follows orders as well as you do."
    • During the defense of the base from the Separatist reinforcements, Fives wields two blasters.
    • Hevy's Pre-Mortem One-Liner before he sets off a massive explosion is in response to a battle droid wondering if they're supposed to take prisoners.
    • During the medal ceremony at the end, Anakin tells Echo and Fives that he'd be proud to fight beside the two rookies anytime, anywhere. This serves a Five-Second Foreshadowing for them being inducted into the 501st Legion, where he'll serve next to both of them on Kamino and The Citadel. Later he'd fight alongside Fives on Umbara and Ringo Vinda. He'd also lead the Bad Batch in Rescuing Echo on Skako Minor during the Battle of Anaxes.
  • Gatling Good: Hevy's favorite weapon is a Z-6 rotary cannon.
  • Go for the Eye: Rex kills the Rishi eel with a single shot to the eye.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The death of Sergeant O'Niner during the initial attack on the base is concealed like this.
  • Guns Akimbo: Fives with two DC-15A blasters during the defense of the base from the Separatist droid reinforcements.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hevy detonates the bomb manually when the remote has a malfunction. This saves not only Rex, Cody, Echo, and Fives, but the clones on Kamino from the Separatists.
  • Hugh Mann:
    • The commando droids are designed to be able to impersonate people. When Cody and Rex initially call up the Rishi Moon outpost to announce they're coming in, one of the commando droids puts on a clone helmet and tries to impersonate a clone trooper. The commando droid disguised as a clone trooper is not convincing at all, and signs off with "Roger, Roger", succeeding only in making Cody and Rex extremely suspicious. The fully-disguised commando droid who meets them after they land at the base is even less convincing, with extremely stilted body language and gestures, also giving itself away through "Roger, Roger".
    • Later on, Rex inverts it by impersonating a commando droid to get the droids to open the door. The commando droids on guard duty don't take notice of his customized armor. The commando droids inside invert the suspicion, because his lack of stilted dialog makes them question his vocabulator and demand he show his faceplate.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Rex kills the Rishi eel by shooting it in the eye on the first try with only a second or two to aim.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: While Anakin and Obi-Wan only make cameos in this episode, it sets up the Domino Squad subplot that weaves throughout The Clone Wars. Fives' subplot will play a role that affects the series finale, and allows Ahsoka to escape and play a role in Rebels and The Mandalorian., while Echo plays a role in the show The Bad Batch.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Cutup gets eaten by a giant eel.
    Cutup: Yeah, I've never seen—(gets eaten)
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Anakin and Obi-Wan only have cameos in this episode.
  • New Meat: This episode provides the current page quote.
  • Noodle Incident: After abseiling off the landing platform, Cody and Rex discuss something that happened on Tibrin that apparently had some similarities to the current situation, only with Jedi present.note 
    "No different than that time on Tibrin."
    "We had Jedi with us on Tibrin. They helped."
  • One-Word Title: "Rookies".
  • Precision F-Strike: This episode contains two of them in the form of the lines "What the hell was that?!" and "Like hell you did!"
  • Prematurely Gray Haired: Sergeant O'Niner's hair has a noticeable gray tinge to it, especially when shown next to the rookies of Domino Squad, despite the fact this episode takes place only a few months into the Clone War. O'Niner can be at most ten years old chronologically, physiologically twenty due to the Rapid Aging all clone troopers experience.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Rex mockingly says "Roger, Roger." to the commando droid that opens the base doors before headshotting it.
    • Hevy does this twice. Firstly, after the reinforcing droids order him to open the bay doors, he retorts "Didn't say "please"!" before opening fire. Later, after being incapacitated, the droids wonder about whether they're supposed to take prisoners and he replies "I... don't." before setting off a set of hidden explosives and destroying the base.
  • Second-Person Attack: Sergeant O'Niner's death is presented from his point of view as the commando droids who knocked him down aim their blasters at his face.
  • Tempting Fate: Cutup is in the middle of saying they don't have to worry about giant eels when a giant eel pops out and drags him away.
  • Unplanned Manual Detonation: The remote handset won't link up with the detonator on the explosives and there's no time to fix it, so Hevy stays behind to set it off himself.
  • Verbal Tic: The battle droids' Catchphrase of "Roger, roger" gives away the one that tries to impersonate a clone over the comms to Cody and Rex.