After what feels like forever since we last visited Star Wars, we finally have new content and on May 4th too! (Happy Star Wars Day to you, reader.) Yes, The Clone War may have ended but we are far from escaping this world just yet as The Bad Batch work their way out of one conflict and into our hearts. So, let’s get into it!
Although, just a quick warning – these recaps will be diving into spoiler territory. If you’re wondering what our non-spoiler thoughts on the premiere were, you can check out our review here.
Are you sure you want to continue? Last warning, forever will it dominate your destiny and all that! Alright, come on then:
Wow. What a way to open up a new chapter in the Star Wars Saga.
Kudos to the team for the genius move of starting the show out as an ordinary episode of The Clone Wars. While many will continue to claim this is a continuation of that show (it isn’t), having Tom Kane and the opening graphic trick the audience into that belief before diving straight into the nitty-gritty of Order 66 and the end of the war was a brilliant idea. It lures the audience into a false sense of security before reminding them that this is a brand new story, that focuses purely on Clone Force 99’s view on the Republic becoming the Empire.
Not to mention the fact that we finally see a cameo appearance from Depa Billaba played here by Archie Panjabi, (aka Pinky from ‘Bend It Like Beckham‘) and young little Caleb Dume, once again portrayed by Freddie Prinze Jr. The story of how Order 66 happened for Caleb and Depa had been told in another format and in a different way, but I think we can forgive the creatives for wanting to once again demonstrate how devastating Order 66 by using a character that fans have a deep connection with. Although, even if you’re not aware that this child will one day become Kanan Jarrus, it’s still a very emotional sequence that also gives us a sense of how The Bad Batch is dealing with this strange new order.
Watching the Clone Troopers, who we of course we’ve grown to know and love in a more profound way through The Clone Wars series, become these automatons is heartbreaking. Maybe even more so now that we get to see this altered behaviour through the eyes of fellow Jango duplicates who aren’t being affected (The Bad Batch). It gives the audience even more of a connection with these characters because we are feeling the exact same way – apprehensive, worried, saddened. All of Clone Force 99 seems to be quite perturbed by this new order embedded in their DNA except for Crosshair, who tries to follow through with the order and kill the Jedi padawan. He later interrogates Hunter’s lack of loyalty, despite the fact the squad themselves were never too big on following the rules. Anyway, we see the team head back home to Kamino where things seem amiss – changes are already in foot, surprisingly fast.
What this episode nails from the get-go are the horrifying nature of the Empire. Palpatine doesn’t slowly introduce elements one by one or decides to introduce elements after he’s formed his Empire, he and others like Tarkin have planned this for years. So, it’s no surprise that they’re already debating the removal of Clone Troopers (citing costs) and already beginning to clamp down on planets that they had previously tried to help ‘liberate’. A point that is further delved into when the team are sent to wipe out Separatist Insurgents only to find out they’re the same villagers that were previously on their side, headed by Saw Gerrera. Saw is played once again by Andrew Kishino, who does a brilliant job at adding in subtle elements of Forest Whittaker’s portrayal of the character, helping to blend those two versions of the character together well. The mission further divides the team and Crosshair, whose inhibitor chip has been causing him to lose some of his free will.
We’re also introduced to the magnificent Omega (Michelle Ang), an inquisitive young girl and duplicate of Jango Fett. While the nature of Omega’s creation is still unknown so far, it was nice to see that the Kaminoans aren’t all bad after all. And the shared connection that some of the cloners seem to have with their creations was sweet to witness, especially as we’re also tuned in to automatically go against the Empire. It was also fun to watch Omega blend in with the rest of the outsiders, while the normal army mock derides them over their differences. But now we know the perfect way to defeat a group of brainwashed, clones of the most feared fighter in the galaxy – FOOD FIGHT!
It’s also a great idea of introducing a new member to the Bad Batch while losing another to the dark side, it helps add to the shake-up of the galaxy as a whole, while also giving these characters another key objective – protect their little sister.
Of course, the core crux of the episode is watching Crosshair’s struggle with his malfunctioning brainwashing chip and his role in this new galaxy. For the others, who haven’t been affected – it’s easy for them to vilify Crosshair. In fact, I guarantee most viewers will immediately feel angry about his actions in the episode. But if anything, it’s clear that Tarkin and the Empire are the real villains here, manipulating and forcing Crosshair against his will and own nature to become a brainwashed killing machine. Much like Bucky Barnes as ‘The Winter Soldier in the Marvel Universe, it’s easy to forget that under the brainwashing is someone struggling for their own will. But the creatives cleverly get around this by having Omega, the adorable empath openly says to him that she forgives him for what he’s about to do – because she knows it’s not his fault.
Crosshair’s journey is one of the most fascinating parts of this series and it will be interesting if we see a redemption arc for the character at all. In a way, I’m hoping that we don’t see it because it highlights one of the core themes of this time period – and that’s tragedy. Post ROTS, we see both Hope and Tragedy being key forces throughout the galaxy, and we see that both in Omega and Crosshair. One allowing the others to escape and bring some good into the Galaxy, the other a physical representation of how the Emperor has brainwashed countless worlds.
By the end of the episode, the show leaves the audience understanding that this is an entirely different show to The Clone Wars – those days have long gone, and like our other favourite heroes in this time period, it’s time for The Bad Batch to go on the run…
Oh, And Another Thing:
- How horrifying was it watching the Clones all celebrate Palpatine’s speech from Episode III? Haunting. Also, very nice to hear Ian McDiarmid for the first time in TCW style, even if it’s Audio from the original movie.
- Omega is just adorable, and it’s SO good to hear an NZ actress voice the character. It makes all the difference! – and to all those who doubted what accent that was and suggested this was a Palpatine clone, I want you to go to your room and think about what you’ve done.
- Can we talk about Wrecker’s little cuddly bear? – what a sweetheart. Who’s your favourite member of The Bad Batch? Let us know in the comments below!
- The Red Coruscant Guard *really* are that “it’s always you 3” Harry Potter meme, aren’t they?
- Have no fear, we only need to wait 3 more days until the next episode of The Bad Batch! – get in.