It’s finally here! After years of waiting for the series to get a proper send off, the first episode of the seventh and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars dropped this morning on Disney+
For my fellow Clone Wars obsessives, this episode will already be familiar. It was previously released (along with three accompanying episodes) in an unfinished format and officially considered canon. I’m happy to report, however, that the finished product is definitely still worth your time to watch.
For those of you who haven’t seen the episode, let’s dive right into the recap, shall we?
As with many episode arcs in The Clone Wars, this one plops us down into the middle of an ongoing campaign. The Republic is attempting to defend Anaxes, a planet that houses some of their largest production facilities. Unfortunately, the Separatists are being led in this conflict by the legendary Admiral Trench. The Harch Naval commander has always been a thorn in the Republic’s side, but this time he’s kicking their asses on an unprecedented scale.
Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu are completely stumped as to how their forces are getting beaten so efficiently. Captain Rex, on the other hand, believes that Trench and his droid army have somehow gained access to their war strategy playbook…which Rex would know since he and the (allegedly) deceased Clone Trooper Echo are the ones who wrote it.
Rex proposes that he and Commander Cody take a small team behind enemy lines and infiltrate the Separatists’ cyber command center. From there, they might be able to discover how Trench has gained access to the Republic’s combat strategies.
Despite agreeing to the mission, Anakin senses that Rex isn’t telling him something, which of course we know is correct. As he and Cody are prepping for the mission, Rex reveals his suspicion that Echo might still be alive.
Cody and Rex join up with Clones Jesse and Kix, who are waiting for the other half of their special operations squad to arrive: Clone Force 99, aka The Bad Batch. Despite being named in honor of the deformed Clone 99, this group of clones all have favorable mutations that make them even better soldiers (and a bit douchey).
- Sergeant Hunter: The group’s leader. Enhanced senses and glorious hair.
- Tech: Exceptional technology and engineering skills. Predictably nerdy.
- Wrecker: Super strength, anger management issues, and a painfully annoying personality.
- Crosshair: Incomparable aim and a composite of every fictional sniper trope.
After a hot landing that almost takes out half the ground crew, the Bad Batch introduces themselves via some abrasive bragging about their last mission. Once that bit of awkwardness is done, the two squads board a gunship and depart. On their way to the drop point, Jesse and Crosshair nearly come to blows when Crosshair refers to him as a “reg” (i.e. regular clone). After Hunter diffuses the situation, Cody goes over the mission with everyone.
Unfortunately, things get off to a rough start when their gunship is spotted by the Separatists and gunned down. Everyone survives, but Cody is trapped beneath the wreckage. Wrecker singlehandedly lifts the ship’s hull off of the commander and carries him away from the burning debris. However, he also tosses the hull, causing it to explode and alerting the Separatists to their location.
Rex tells the team to fall back and find cover, but the Bad Batch has other ideas. Using pieces of the gunship wreckage to shield themselves, the advanced clones charge forward, working in perfect synchronicity to take down the entire droid platoon.
That night, the group finds a secure location to make camp. Kix (who is a medic) tends to Cody, who is suffering from severe internal injuries. With their commander out of commission, Rex asserts command of the squad–or at least he tries to. Crosshair pushes back, which causes Jesse to get in Crosshair’s face…which causes Wrecker to lift Jesse off the ground by his neck. Before things can get completely out of hand, Hunter once again diffuses the situation, ordering Wrecker to drop Jesse and affirming that Rex is now in command of the squad.
After leaving Cody with Kix, the rest of the group makes their way toward the command center. On their way there, they find an outpost and quickly take out the droids that are guarding it. Tech accesses the outpost’s communications log, which reveals that a large separatist force is following them.
With no time to waste, Rex leads the squadron to their destination and gets them into position. Right as the Separatists are discovering the clones’ handiwork at the outpost, the squadron launches their attack on the command center…
…and look, I know that a single take/camera shot seems like a lot less of a cinematic achievement when its animated, but this one was still all types of awesome.
Stir of Echoes
After the command center is secured, Rex gives Tech his battle strategy algorithm to see if it matches anything in the Separatists’ central database. Instead of finding a matching file, however, they detect a live signal originating from the neutral planet of Skako Minor. After Tech cleans up the transmission, a heartbroken Rex’s worst fears are confirmed: Clone Trooper Echo is the source of the Separatists’ battle intel.
Meanwhile, the trailing Separatist force arrives at the command center. After holding them off as long as possible, the rest of the squad pulls out the shellshocked Rex and retreats in a commandeered speeder.
As the squadron make their way back to pick up Cody and Kix, Trench asks his droid commanders if the clone strike team downloaded any files. Upon learning that they connected with the live signal from Skako Minor, however, the normally unflappable Trench becomes enraged
Maybe it’s because of how much I’ve missed the show, but I loved this episode despite its glaringly obvious flaws.
Yes, the Bad Batches personalities are ridiculously over the top, especially Wrecker. Also, for such a revered war strategist, it’s a bit disappointing how Trench wasn’t on to what the clones were doing. I could see him being arrogant enough to think they wouldn’t be looking for Echo’s signal, but he really should have at least figured out they were going for the base before they took the outpost.
Also, I know it’s old news to most of us, but I really wish Rex hadn’t said anything about Echo still being alive. There were plenty of ways to remind us of who Echo was and what happened to him (which the episode also did) without giving away such a great reveal.
Those issues aside, however, ‘The Bad Batch’ did plenty to remind us why this is such a great series. The war/fight scenes have always been good, but these were easily some of the best we’ve ever seen–especially when the Bad Batch takes the command center.
And despite being so action heavy, the plot never devolves into a brute force slugfest. Grief, betrayal, and mistrust are all explored via Rex, who continues to prove why he’s everyone’s favorite clone trooper. Add in a nice touch of special operations strategy, and this is a great way to kick off the long awaited Clone Wars finale.
Let’s just hope Admiral Trench gets his head in the game by next week.
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