Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode one and two review


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David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Star Wars is back with its latest animated show, “The Bad Batch”! Starring the titular group first introduced in the final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, this series is seen by many as a continuation of the previous series. The first two episodes have already aired so there’s a lot to cover here. While I will go into spoiler territory at certain points, I’ll do my best to give my overall thoughts on the first two episodes of this series.

The show centers on Clone Force 99, a.k.a. the Bad Batch, a group of special ops clones who each have genetic mutations that make them prime soldiers for battle. They include Hunter, who has heightened senses, Tech, who has enhanced intelligence, Wrecker, who has superhuman strength, Crosshairs, who has keen marksmanship, and their latest member Echo, who has cybernetic implants. They are in the process of completing one of their missions when Order 66 is issued, and they see all the other clones turn and kill their Jedi superiors. This comes as a shock to our protagonists as the Republic is being reorganized into the Empire we all know and hate. While most of the clones follow the new government’s orders without question, most members of the Bad Batch find that they can’t support such a violent regime. Their defiant actions catch the eye of Admiral Tarkin who sees the group as unfit for serving the Empire and orders them to be taken out. The Bad Batch manage to escape, bringing with them a female clone named Omega, as they navigate the galaxy helping old allies while being hunted by the new Empire.

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When I first saw the Bad Batch in the final season last year, I knew that it was played as an introduction for this series. While I could see what the creators were aiming for, I was still intrigued by the premise and what it had to offer. A lot of that did come from the fact that I really love the clones in this universe. As a huge fan of the previous series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, the clones in that series made up 70 percent of that show for me. A lot of that does come from the voice work, particularly from Dee Bradley Baker who once again shines here. While we’ve seen voice actors play multiple characters in the same show, Baker manages to give each of the clones their own individual character and personality. I know it’s ironic considering he’s technically doing the same voice for what feels like hundreds of people who look alike. Despite this, he manages to make them stand out and make us feel for them. So to have a show like this where the clones play an integral part already had me excited. With all those thoughts going in, I am happy to report that I am enjoying this series so far.

The first episode (Aftermath) immediately reintroduces us to the Bad Batch members in a quick action scene where they finish up a battle. I thought it was an effective way of showing their characters’ styles and personalities as we make our way to the main plot. The story immediately takes a dark turn when Order 66 is issued and all of the regular (or “regs” as the Bad Batch calls them) clones turn on the Jedi, and not just any Jedi, but Master Depa Billaba and her apprentice Caleb Dume. Long-time fans of Star Wars animation will immediately recognize Caleb Dume as young Kanan Jarrus, one of the main characters from the series “Star Wars: Rebels”. We’ve heard of how Kanan lost his master numerous times in the other series, so to see it play out firsthand was a really effective way to start off this episode. While there are some details that are retconned from how the event played out in previous stories, it was something I was always curious about and wanted to see brought to life on the small screen. 

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Knowing that the episode has a 70 minutes runtime, you can tell that they’re gonna cover a lot of story here. Once we come back to Kamino, we are introduced to a young female clone named Omega. I’ll admit I don’t know how to feel about this character. While I’m sure the creators have something planned for her, she’s mostly played as the young innocent who helps our protagonists. They portray her pretty well here, but I like to see what the people behind this have in store for this character. 

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The main reason I wanted to see this series was to see how the story’s events play out as one of the biggest parts of the Star Wars lore was how the Republic was turned into the Empire. While we’ve seen how general events played out in other stories with the Jedi being wiped out and stormtroopers replacing the clones, most of them are told years after the big change. Which makes this series stand out as we’re seeing these events play out mere days after “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”. As someone who loves reading fictional history, this was something that I often had questions about in my youth. What were the early days of the Empire truly like? How were the clones used during this period? How long until they are replaced by stormtroopers? Questions like this do make us feel a sense of uncertainty for these characters. In fact, one of the episode’s biggest standout moments is when they refuse to wipe out a group of civilians led by Saw Gerrera from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, who don’t want any part of the Empire. This creates a conflict within the group, most notably between Hunter and Crosshairs as they are being watched by Tarkin who wants all clones replaced. Scenes like this do create an uncomfortable sense of dread as they’re in what’s basically a new era, one where they’re bound to be controlled and eventually replaced. This is especially evident in scenes where the clones don’t act like people but more like robotic droids, it’s downright ironic how the clones spent their lives fighting mindless unthinking robots only to inevitably become them. Even when one of the main characters, Crosshairs is taken in and turned against his teammates adds an eeriness to the situation. 

As series premieres go, this was a good start. With its mature tones and themes, this seems like a show that lives up to its predecessor.

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Episode 2 (Cut and Run) plays out more like a usual episode. Whereas the premiere cross-cuts (see what I did there) to multiple locations and plotlines, this one focuses on one story where we see the Bad Batch help one of their allies, a fellow clone named Cut Lawquane (from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) and his family move from their home to evade Imperial detection. While it is a simpler story, it is nice to see the characters take some down-time and interact with one another. I especially like how in this universe characters that fans are familiar with will make appearances and add to the storyline. First, we had young Kanan, then Saw Gerrera, and now a character that appeared in one of the best episodes of the previous series. While it can be easy to see these choices as fan service, I feel they found clever ways in incorporating them into the show.

The episode also revolves around Hunter deciding whether or not Omega would be safer if she went with Cut and his family. I will admit while this plotline was handled pretty well, I do wish we had at least one episode prior to this where we see Omega truly be with the Bad Batch. While I understand why a choice like this would be made now, as a child with a group that goes on dangerous missions isn’t a safe place to be in. I do think it could have been more impactful if we could have had more screen time between Hunter and Omega so that their connection would feel stronger. Though in the end, she does decide to stay with the group so there’s definitely gonna be time dedicated to that. In a season that’s made up of sixteen episodes, we can expect a lot more to come in the following weeks.

To sum up my thoughts, I think the first two episodes of Bad Batch are a good introduction to a series that holds a lot of promise. Whether you’re a long-time Star Wars fan or a casual viewer, I think there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. Take a look and see for yourself


Rating: 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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