Cut to the planet of Mandalore where the full scope of the Coalition homeworld is finally witnessed. Its a bizarre setting, halfway to a hellscape with a mismatch of vast building designs on top of a landscape just as varied in its elevation and features. Not unlike its people, the structures almost seemed stitched together, with only strong structural integrity being the common feature among all of them. Numerous Mandalorian ships and weapon cannons are worked on all over as the planet is clearly prepping for the invasion to come.
The camera moves to a surprisingly modest structure where a high ranking Mandalorian officer walks through the halls. She passes by a number of other troopers commanding their own units, all silently acknowledging her presence whe moves past. What clone soldiers are seen appear of a lesser sort those previously seen, some sporting clear injuries and seemingly physically less strong than those in the previously. The officer’s brief reaction to the clones demonstrates she’s readily familiar with the kind of stock they’ve been left with.
She soon somes upon the room at the end of the hall and enters. Inside the room lies a vast three dimensional holographic display of the planet, with the key features of its cities and defenses prominently lit up. In profile, standing in the middle of it near a small desk is General Phakerem herself, face unreadable as she examines the image around her. The officer addresses the general and the latter turns around to look at her.
In a sharp contrast to the controlled anger of the first film, and the determined confidence of the second, here a very quiet acceptance dominates the Mandalorian leader’s features. While not wholly defeated, this is a woman who’s already run the scenarios of what’s to come and determined the most likely outcomes for her people. She’s also notably without a sidearm of any sort for the first time in the series. She calmly addresses the other woman as Poetroze and asks for her report.
Poetroze tells her that the preparations with most of the ships are still behind schedule, and that the clone chambers still working can’t be modified for any quicker production than what they have. The general nods, and says its what they had both calcuated. The junior officer adds that planetary defenses have been prepped with the planned alterations, most of them never utilized before. Phakerem replies that surprise will be their best asset for the invasion.
After getting the general’s approval for a change in unit placement, Poetroze begins to leave, before stopping and turning back. Voice wavering only a bit, she addresses Phakerem and explains that she has lead the Coalition brilliantly during the war and that every Trooper have and will follow her orders to the very end. However, there is a subject she feels the need to initiate to the general at this moment.
The other woman voices the query before Poetroze can even begin to say it. “Why are we staying here to be destroyed?” The junior officer is surprised at the deduction and responds that she felt the question needed to be asked. The general says she knows most of the officers are asking the exact same thing, even if they’d never tell anyone else. “What is the victory to be had when we can just as easily retreat and regroup elsewhere?”
At that Phakerem turns to the nearby desk and picks up the unactiviated gauntlet sitting on the edge, the same one she utilized in the first film against Kenobi. She asks Poetroze if she’s ever read about what happened to the Mandalorians that weren’t killed or part of the exodus after the first war of the Republic. When the other woman replies no, the general details how the survivors left behind became pariahs and prisoners all over the galaxy.
“Too hated to be trusted, too weak to be an enemy. No new era to be won, no better galaxy to be created. Everything that they were, everything we value… ripped away piece by piece for a something as trivial as a continued survival. And to eventually perish as a bit of dirt underneath the Republic’s feet.” There’s a pause as she stares at gaunlet, seemingly recalling better days in the past.
“We have lost this war,” the general states as plainly as possible. “Part of that is my doing.” She looks at Poetroze, almost daring her to disagree. When none comes, she continues. “There’s a better universe where I brought all of you to victory,” she says as she drops the gaunlet down on the desk. “But its one far beyond my reach now. All that’s left is what this invasion leaves us as.”
Poetroze knows the obvious conclusion of this point. “As the fallen.” Phakerem turns into her, a half smile just barely visible on her face. “As Mandalorians. In death as much as we have been life.” She glances up at the planetary defense image around the two of them. “Peace has a price; let the Republic pay for every bit of it.”
Cut to a close up of Carima’s face lit by a mix of colorful offscreen lights. There’s a bit of wistfulness to her as her eyes slowly read/examine what’s ahead of her. She’s so caught up in this sight, she doesn’t immediately react to the shadow sillouette suddenly appearing in the room. Its only when the arm of the shadow knocks on a wall that she turns into look at the source. “What are what are you doing here?”
It is Obi-Wan that answers her, saying he’s sorry to bother her, but that Anakin wasn’t answering his communications. Nivir begins to get up formally greet him, and Kenobi assures the pregnant woman there’s no need. She tells him that the Vice President wanted Nik for a meeting at the capital building. The news brings a brief confused frown to Ben, but he quickly moves past is and asks how she’s been.
“Inactive, but that’s not for lack of trying.” Carima mentions with smile that given her options at the moment being limited to either a hospital or their homestead, the latter was a bit more tolerable. She gestures towards what she was looking at before and Kenobi sees its a detailed three dimensional image of a large white home in a lush green countryside. “I needed something to keep me sane.” He inquires what it is.
She explains its the home on Alderaan Nik wants them to buy. Ben is a bit surprised by the news and replies that Anakin mentioned the idea in passing but never seemed serious about it. He sits down on a chair nearby and takes in the revelation. She casually mentions other places they’ve been thinking about but Obi-Wan’s focus is now on the room itself where for the first time he notices different mementos of Anakin’s married life, including images of the couple on various planets and stations. An old apprentice uniform on a hook stands out as the only object that suggests a Jedi existence.
Kenobi’s body language reveals a man finally beginning to sense how much Anakin’s life has become less apparent in their friendship. He spots in the corner just above various infant related furniture a small novelty landspeeder, clearly a future child’s toy. She’s still going on about their other home options, when he interrupts. “Carima how is he?”
The question gets a pointed look from her, and Nivir asks what happened between them. At Ben’s confusion, she clarifies. “You’re not looking that worried and coming here in person unless something went down, so what is it?” He explains Skywalker’s blow up at the meeting and mentions that he’s known his friend to be angry before but never seen him lose control of himself so quickly. “He’s troubled I know; I’ve sensed that longer than I want to admit. Knights in war always experience it in some way or another. I just don’t know why he hides it away from me.”
A low chuckle from Carima momentarily breaks the tension. “Sorry. Its just that for a people that can sense a blaster shot coming hundreds of meters away, you lot have a remarkable gift for being oblivious.” She slowly begins to stand up from her chair, Kenobi briefly offering assistance. She gently takes places her hand on his shoulder and looks him straight in the eye. “He’s terrified of doing that.”
Ben’s immediately disagrees and Nivir lays it out plainly. “Every time he looks at you, he doesn’t just see his friend or his Jedi master. He sees the man who changed his life, the one who gave him the chance to serve the Republic, and be a leader. You took him from a desert rock to the center of galactic events. That means everything to him.” Kenobi replies if that’s the case Anakin can trust him with anything.
“No, to him it means that he can’t ever afford to let you down. Do you think he wants it out that the apprentice of one of the leading generals in the Clone Wars isn’t in the best state of mind? To tell you that maybe he can’t quite be the Jedi you taught him to be. I think he’d rather do another tour than admit to anyone how afraid he is that he’ll never live up to your example.”
Her words rock Ben to his core and he tries to comprehend. “He’s been a great student, a remarkable Jedi, and a better friend, I’ve told him that.” Carima nods, understanding. “Yeah. I just think he needs to know that you’ll understand if he ever falls short in that.” Kenobi matches her previous piercing gaze with his response. “Always.”
Nivir sighs and states she’ll speak to Anakin soon and upon hearing when Ben’s leaving for his mission, assures the latter that there’s no way the two will depart without talking at least once. As the Jedi leaves she gives him some advice. “Be patient with him Ben; Nik’s stubborn as all hell, but the best part of him always gets there eventually.”