“The search for truth begins with belief.” That’s the moral at the top of this week’s new episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, entitled “A Distant Echo,” which sees Hunter and Rex report to General Anakin Skywalker (voiced by actor Matt Lanter) about their findings at the end of last week’s installment. Anakin supports a mission to pursue the signal they discovered, but says the priority needs to be learning how the Separatists are predicting Republic strategies, not just tracking down Rex’s lost friend and fellow clone trooper Echo.

Anakin pulls Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) aside, takes his helmet into the clone barracks and makes him stand guard as he holo-communicates with his wife Padme Amidala (Catherine Taber), updating her on the status of the war. “The Republic needs you on the front lines, just as they need me in the senate,” she says, reinforcing his responsibility to remain on the battlefield despite their time spent apart. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) shows up outside and demands that Rex tell him what Anakin is up to. Rex covers for his general, naturally, but Obi-Wan has already figured out who “Annie” is talking to in private.

The Bad Batch departs with Anakin to the planet Skako Minor, which the clones say is inhabited by natives known as Poletecs who worship flying reptiles called keeradaks. Upon landing, the Republic shuttle is attacked by one of these beasts. Rex initially wants to utilize diplomacy until Anakin gets literally carried away. Hunter grapples onto the keeradak and pursues the natives to their village. The Poletecs accost Anakin while the rest of Bad Batch catches up using a tracking device. Hunter orders them to unleash a rockslide on the village, causing chaos as they invade the town. Crosshair manages to stun one of the keeradaks, and things calm down once our heroes discover Tech is able to translate the locals’ language.

“He does not want war on his planet,” Tech translates from the Chieftain's native tongue. Anakin and the clones then blame their presence on Wat Tambor , the leader of the Techno Union Army who sides with the Separatists despite maintaining a cloak of corporate neutrality. The Chief (David Acord) provides the clones with scouts and Anakin says “any help is better than no help,” foreshadowing a similar line spoken about the Ewoks by Han Solo in Return of the Jedi.

Wat Tambor (Matthew Wood) speaks with Admiral Trench (also Baker) and warns him of the incoming clone attack. The Poletec scouts lead the clones to the Techno Union city and leave them to fend for themselves on their hunt for Echo, but when they arrive the signal they were following suddenly disappears. The group gets nervous because of this, but Rex reminds them “Every mission could be a trap.” Crosshair then accuses Rex of letting his feelings get in the way of facts, and a skirmish breaks out between the clones until Anakin steps in to stop them from fighting among themselves. He then pulls Rex aside again and asks him to prepare himself for the possibility that Echo truly is dead.

The team breaks into the base of the city’s central tower and takes a lift up to the top floor, where their stealth mission immediately changes gears as they are discovered by Techno Union droids. Tech figures out that the signal is only traceable during data transmissions, and Anakin continues fighting the droids (with Crosshair’s valuable help) while the other clones search for the signal’s source. They’re led to a sealed door and confronted by a communication from Wat Tambor, who says Echo is dead and the missing clone’s mind is now his property. A whole bunch more droids show up and a battle breaks out while Tech works to open the door.

Inside the room, Rex finds a computer console and a human-sized capsule, which turns out to be a stasis chamber containing Echo’s near-lifeless body, connected with wires and tubes to the machinery around him. He mutters as he comes to consciousness, but his mind appears to be stuck in the past at the Citadel battle. He wakes up and doesn’t remember anything that happened since that point, but Rex reassures him: “Sit tight, trooper… you’re going home.”

The first two episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season seven are now available to stream exclusively on Disney+.

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