By Nick Ratliff
“The Bad Batch” is the newest Star Wars show to hit Disney Plus. Last year, Disney gave viewers the last season of the previously canceled “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which introduced us to Clone Force 99, or the “Bad Batch” as some call them. Named after clone trooper 99 from “The Clone Wars,” the Bad Batch is a squad of genetically modified clones, each with his own set of specially enhanced abilities. Hunter has enhanced reaction speed and senses, Wrecker has super strength, Crosshair is an extremely accurate marksman, and Tech is known for his intelligence and technical prowess. In the last season of “The Clone Wars,” they added the long-lost Echo, turned into a cyborg by the Separatists, to their squad.
“The Bad Batch ” opens with the batch as well as a regular clone battalion on an assignment with a Jedi and her padawan, Caleb Doom. During this assignment, the regular clone commander receives Chancellor Palpatine’s call issuing Order 66. The commander and his men quickly overwhelm the Jedi Knight, but her padawan escapes. The Bad Batch, seemingly unaffected by the chancellor’s order, does not want to execute Order 66. Instead, they try to track down the kid to help him, but he jumps across a gorge and escapes (coincidentally enough, it is revealed that this padawan is actually a young version of Kanan Jarrus from “Rebels”). This scene sets up the rest of the show.
I am glad that Dave Filoni tied “Rebels” into this show. Throughout this season, we got to see Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndula, and Chopper. These scenes gave me a better understanding of some of the events of “Rebels.” For instance, in “Rebels,” we learn that Ryloth was overtaken by the Empire, but “The Bad Batch” gives us a look at what actually happened during the enslavement of Ryloth.
“The Bad Batch” also introduces a new clone named Omega, the first female clone in the “Star Wars” universe. Like Boba Fett, Omega is a specially modified clone created with a mysterious purpose. We do not completely figure out the purpose of Omega in this season; all we know is Omega was created before the Bad Batch. I personally thought her character was annoying, and she honestly almost ruined the show for me. She gives the Bad Batch a different purpose than what most fans were expecting. My expectations for the show, after episode one, was that the Bad Batch was going to fight against the Empire. In the last season of “Clone Wars,” the Bad Batch has some of the best fight scenes in all of “Star Wars.” I wish we would have gotten battles like these throughout this series, but instead, we get extended babysitting sessions.
The Bad Batch, including (left to right) Echo, Crosshair, Hunter, Omega, Tech, and Wrecker
One of the most interesting aspects of the show is that Crosshair joins the Empire. His main job becomes hunting down rebel insurgents, including the Bad Batch after they defect. Because of this, we get a few small fight scenes, though none of them match the epic scale and excitement of the action scenes in the “Clone Wars.” While the Bad Batch added Omega, they lost Crosshair. In my opinion, the writers should have kept Clone Force 99 together, even if that meant they all ended up working for the Empire.
Regardless, the last two episodes of “The Bad Batch” are very emotional. The Bad Batch goes back to Kamino, where they encounter Crosshair in the training arena. This arena is where all of the clone forces, including Clone Force 99, had to pass their test in order to become a real clone force. During this encounter, we see a little bit of emotion from Crosshair. He gives his former teammates a heartfelt speech about how they left him behind and did not give him a second chance. He gives them a second chance to join the Empire. Meanwhile, all of Kamino has been evacuated by the Empire, and the starships open fire on the Kaminoan Base.
As the base comes crashing down, the batch runs towards the exits, to no avail. Crosshair and Omega get trapped in a room that starts to flood. Omega and a droid save Crosshair from debris that landed on him. Meanwhile, Wrecker and Hunter open the door to get them out of the room. Afterward, Wrecker angrily confronts Crosshair about his betrayal of the team. Tech, understanding Crosshair’s genetic programming is causing him to act the way that he is, tells Wrecker to let it go. Confused, Crosshair asks Tech “Why are you defending me?” Tech, in one of the best lines of the show, replies, “I am not. Understanding you does not mean I agree with you.” As Christians, it is important to understand the perspectives and worldviews of others, even though we will most likely not agree with their beliefs.
Eventually, the Bad Batch gets to their ship docked on a landing bay away from the rest of Kamino. They give Crosshair the choice to either join them or stay on this landing pad. After a few quiet seconds, the batch boards their ship, leaving Crosshair on the platform. For a moment, it almost seems like he is going to join them. Such a turn would have been a heartwarming moment, and this was a missed opportunity by Dave Filoni. Regardless, this could be setting up a big payoff in season two or beyond.
Right after this comes a scene that I believe has to do with the events of “The Rise of Skywalker.” The head Kaminoan scientist behind the production of the clones is taken to an Imperial Stronghold, where she is informed that the Empire has big plans for her. These plans could relate to the revelation in “The Rise of Skywalker ” of Snoke being a clone of Palpatine. In addition, the Imperial scientist who greets her appears to be a part of the same program as Dr. Pershing, who was tasked with studying Grogu in the first season of “The Mandalorian.”
The scientist in the final episode appears to be a part of the same program as Dr. Pershing, who was tasked with studying Grogu in “The Mandalorian”
In the end, “The Bad Batch” represents a strong entry into the “Star Wars” universe. There were a few aspects I would have changed personally, such as Omega’s character, voice actor (who sounds like a middle-aged woman doing a bad impression of a kid), and overall portrayal. Nevertheless, the rest of the characters are developed well throughout the show, partially thanks to Omega’s presence. Hunter goes from a fighter to a father figure for Omega, and the rest of the Bad Batch become like older brothers to her throughout the show. True, Disney is getting into the bad habit of having every other episode be a filler episode in their “Star Wars” shows, something we saw in “The Mandalorian” as well. Regardless, I very much enjoyed watching this series and cannot wait for season two!
“The Bad Batch” season one is now available to stream on Disney Plus.
Nick Ratliff is a Junior Business Management major and an A&E and Sports writer for Cedars. When Nick is not in the dorm with his friends, you’ll most likely find him out on the volleyball court.