Tuesday’s series premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Clone Force 99 and Omega on the run from the new Galactic Empire and their former teammate, Crosshair. Thankfully, Hunter has a contact who might be able to help get them evade Imperial capture.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with a bit of Star Wars lore/history.
Old Friends in a New World
The episode opens with the Bad Batch landing on the planet of Saleucami. While the clones are used to visiting various locales, Omega is overjoyed at the opportunity to experience life on a planet besides Kamino. Just getting the chance to touch and play with dirt is a thrill (with is completely understandable considering that she spent her entire life surrounded by water).
After giving Omega a chance to take things in, the group makes their way toward a farm filled with booby traps, which Wrecker predictably triggers. They are then met by the farm’s owner, Cut and Suu Lawquane.
*Side Note: In case you never watched ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (or just don’t remember), Cut Lawquane was a clone trooper who abandoned the Republic Army after the First Battle of Geonosis. He then made his way to the Outer Rim, met Suu on Salecumi, and married her while also becoming a father to her two children.
Later, Captain Rex was injured while tracking General Grievous on the planet and was offered sanctuary/medical aid by the Lawquanes. During his stay, Rex quickly deduced that Cut was a clone trooper who had abandoned the military. The captain initially resented him for it, but later came to understand (or at least respect) Cut’s desire to be a father and husband rather than a born and bred killer.
After heading inside, Cut reveals that Rex just passed through the day before. He’d also told him and Suu about the clone troopers turning against the Jedi. Cut had no idea where Rex was going (and didn’t ask), but said that he mentioned something about the clones’ “behavioral implants” being responsible for their recent behavior.
Upon hearing this, Omega pipes up to clarify that Rex was likely referring to the inhibitor chips clones are implanted with during their embryonic development. This information shocks Hunter, which Tech rightfully points out shouldn’t be a surprise since he already told them about his theory that the clones are “programmed.”
*Side Note: Part of me doesn’t like that we never got to see the Bad Batch get to know the Lawquanes before this, but that’s mostly negated by getting to see Wrecker show his affinity for their children, which is pretty adorable.
After spotting Omega, Jek and Shaeeah immediately take her outside with them to play. As Hunter and Cut watch her learn how to interact/play with other kids for the first time, the Bad Batch leader explains that she’s a “defective clone” like him and the rest of the team. Cut points out that the Kaminoans don’t create anything without a purpose, meaning that there’s likely more to Omega than they realize. He also warns him that battling the Separatists is a walk in the park compared to raising a child.
Cut then informs Hunter that clone troopers have already begun arriving on Saleucami, meaning that his family will need to find a way to discreetly leave the planet. If he is ever identified, he’d be jailed (or worse) for being a deserter. Hunter offers to take them, but Cut declines on account of the Bad Batch being wanted by the new Empire.
Hunter accompanies Cut into a nearby town, which is already heavily occupied by clone/Imperial forces. The military has also begun tagging and impounding all interplanetary ships–even the civilian ones.
Cut attempts to book passage on a transport via a blackmarket dealer, but is thwarted when he discovers that all currency must now be exchanged for Imperial credits, which are attached to each individual citizen via a chain code. In case that wasn’t enough to get the Libertarians and/or Bitcoin fans riled up, we immediately witness someone forcibly denied the ability to travel simply because they didn’t have the government’s approved and identity-connected currency.
Hunter and Cut head back to the farm, where Omega, Jek, and Shaeeah are still having all types of fun playing together. As they try to come up with a way to get on a shuttle without Cut being identified, Omega chases a ball past the farm’s fence, which results in her being stalked and confronted by a nexu.
*Side Note: This is the same animal that tried to eat Padme (and gave her a midriff) during the Geonosian arena battle in Episode II.
Hunter rushes out to save Omega, but Suu ends up taking care of the situation like a boss via some exceptional sharp shooting from the farm’s roof. After the wounded nexu flees back into the woods, Hunter angrily chastises Omega for nearly getting herself killed. This causes the terrified little girl to become even more distraught.
Thankfully, Cut quickly steps in to comfort her. After he carries Omega into the house, Hunter asks Tech if he can forge the new Imperial chain codes. When he confirms that he can, Hunter tells his team that they’re going to do everything they can to help Cut and his family get off the planet before any Imperial forces can find them.
Following her near death experience (and getting berated by the closest thing to a father figure she has), Omega decides to be by herself on the Bad Batch’s ship. She also takes off the pendant she wears around her head and stares at it while attempting not to cry. I’m sure that will mean something more significant later, but right now it just feels weird.
Back at the farm, Hunter asks Cut and Suu if they’re willing to take Omega and give her the loving family/life she deserves rather than traveling with a pack of rogue soldiers. Instead of chastising him for dumping a child they just met into their care, the couple agrees.
Meanwhile, Tech and Echo decide to get their ship purposefully impounded (with them on it) so they can access the data they’ll need to forge the chain codes once it’s docked. They somehow manage to and execute the first part of this brilliant plan without realizing that Omega is on the ship with them until it’s being taken away by an Imperial towing vehicle.
After successfully getting themselves impounded, avoiding the cursory clone trooper inspection, and instructing Omega to stay put, Tech sends Echo to the security kiosk to access the chain code database along with some blank discs to forge the ones they’ll need. Everything appears to be going fine until a clone patrol happens to surround the Bad Batch’s ship just as Tech and Echo are contacted by Hunter, who is en route with the Lawquanes and the rest of the team and needs them to deliver the chain codes.
Omega overhears their predicament and decides to take it upon herself to deliver the discs (despite having no way to know where the Lawquanes and the rest of the Bad Batch are). Upon hearing that Omega is on her way, Wrecker springs into action to intercept her. He makes it just as she’s being snitched on by an R2 unit, which he destroys before pointing her in the right direction and busting up a trio of clones who made the grave mistaking of asking for his chain code.
Unfortunately, this draws the attention of even more clones, who begin firing on his location. Meanwhile, Echo gets to work removing the boot from their ship and is spotted by a clone patrol. Tech manages to take him out, but not before the soldier is able to send a call for some back up.
Omega makes it to Hunter and the Lawquanes, but her joy at successfully helping the mission is cut short when Hunter reveals that she’ll be leaving with the family she just met instead of the Bad Batch. Omega says she wants to stay with him, but Hunter insists that she go with the Lawquanes, who can give her the life that he and his team can’t.
Following some predictably unnecessary drama, the forged chain codes work, allowing Omega and the Lawquanes to board one of the shuttles. Meanwhile, Hunter runs back to join the Bad Batch, who are already engaged in a firefight. After Echo continues to struggle getting their ship’s boot demagnetized, Wrecker manages to remove it by force.
Just as the team is boarding the ship, Omega comes tearing through the ship yard yelling for them to wait for her. She nearly makes it, but is tripped and grabbed by one of the clone troopers.
Hunter springs into action, freeing Omega while taking down all the clones near her with lethal efficiency. After getting her aboard the ship, the Bad Batch (who must have the world’s best armored ship) absorb a few million blaster bolts before taking off into space.
Later, Omega tells Hunter that she realizes she has a lot to learn, but this is where she wants to be. Hunter responds by admitting that he has a lot to learn, as well. He also assures her that she’ll be staying with them from now on.
Meanwhile, one of the clone troopers nearly recognizes Cut, but he and his family are still allowed to board their shuttle and leave the planet without issue.
As much as I enjoyed seeing the Lawquanes again, I can’t help but wonder why Order 66 wouldn’t have triggered the inhibitor chip inside his head. I guess you could make the argument that his independent nature is proof that it malfunctioned somehow, but that explanation seems a bit lame — especially when you consider how recycled it feels compared to why the Bad Batch (sans Crosshair) were able to resist their programming. Also, seeing Cut’s family being forced to save and/or fight him while trying to figure out how to remove his chip could have been all types of interesting.
As for how the episode actually did play out, I once again had to remind myself to be patient with child characters who seem incredibly annoying. Omega is nowhere near as insufferable as Ahsoka and Ezra were at first, but the fact that you can see every conflict she’s going to cause coming from a mile away doesn’t help.
There were also plenty of smaller issues throughout the story, including:
- Echo and Tech not noticing that Omega (who was barely trying to hide if at all) was on the ship.
- The clones allowing a ship to leave despite a massive fire fight breaking out, which (as Echo pointed out a few minutes beforehand) should have locked the entire place down.
- Hunter asking the Lawquanes to take in another child to raise just as they are about to upend their lives and go on the run the Empire.
And then of course you have the Bad Batch’s entire reason for visiting Cut, which was to figure out a way to hide from the Empire…I think. The guy’s best advice was to find a remote planet, hide out, and lay low, which I’m pretty sure Hunter could have figured out on his own. He also said to stop being a soldier, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.
In the end, the Bad Batch’s trip to Salecumi turned out to be a framing device for Omega continuing to travel with them, which I suppose is fine. Unfortunately, it resulted in a lackluster episode devoid of any substantial excitement — especially when you compare it to the season premiere.
That being said, the animation and voice acting was once again superb. Also, while we all new the nexu wasn’t going to harm Omega, it was pretty cool getting to see one in action again.
Let’s hope things start getting into gear now that Omega and the Bad Batch are on their way to find a new adventure that doesn’t involve child abandonment.
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