Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Cut Lawquane and his family escaping the Imperial military presence on Saleucami. Hunter also assured Omega that he wouldn’t try to dump her off on other families anymore.
This week, we take a look at what’s next for Clone Force 99 and their new friend/teammate as they continue trying to evade the Empire. We also check in on what Crosshair and Tarkin are up to.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some exploration of Star Wars lore. Also, the episode cuts back and forth between the Bad Batch and what’s happening on Kamino, but we’ll streamline things a bit here for the sake of clarity.
The episode opens with the Bad Batch’s ship (the Havoc Marauder) limping through hyperspace after being shot up by clone troopers during their escape from Saleucami. The team is also low on rations, which is especially distressing to Wrecker. Omega tries to offer hers to him, but Hunter pulls the large man aside and reminds him the poor child doesn’t even have her own place to sleep on the ship. To his credit, Wrecker appears to feel genuinely guilty that he almost took her food without considering that.
As the Havoc Marauder begins to glitch out, Hunter asks why the ship hasn’t been fixed yet. Echo explains that it could have been done already, but Tech isn’t helping him. Instead, he appears to be solely focused on completing a scanner they can use to test their inhibitor chips and determine for sure if the implants really are defective/inactive.
*Side Note: I may need to eat my words about the series hand waving away the inhibitor chips as a plot device.
Tech also states that the ship should be fine, which of course jinxes things and causes it to fall out of hyperspace toward an unidentified moon.
The ship crashes on the moon’s surface, but Tech is able to finesse the landing enough that there aren’t any injuries aside from Wrecker banging his head against the the wall.
*Side Note: I know that a slapstick moment with Wrecker seems like an odd thing to point out in a recap, but it ends up playing a bigger part in the story later.
After taking some time to collect themselves and assess things, Tech deduces that the Havoc Marauder’s capacitor was damaged during their previous fire fight. Luckily, they have a spare somewhere on the ship.
Omega immediately begins looking for the needed part and ends up pulling out Crosshair’s old gear. This results in the Bad Batch having a sad/awkward moment of remembrance for their former teammate. Tech takes this opportunity to remind everyone that Crosshair’s actions may have been influenced by his inhibitor chip, which Omega confirms is something the implant can do. Before the team’s speculation can go any further, Hunter tells them that they need to get focused on finding/installing the spare capacitor and getting back in the air.
Room to Grow
After the finding the part, Tech and Echo mask up (due to the moon’s toxic atmosphere) and go outside to install it. While Tech tinkers away, Echo hears something and begins searching for it with his flashlight. Just as Tech is finishing the capacitor installation, Echo notices giant claw marks on the side of the ship. As they head off to to investigate, a creature crawls up and snatches the capacitor in its mouth before running away.
After not finding anything outside, Tech and Echo head back onboard the ship, where Wrecker’s head is hurting far worse than it should be from a simple bump on the noggin (and in almost the exact place where an inhibitor chip would be). The pair begin explaining their suspicions about a creature attacking the Havoc Marauder when the power goes out. Omega looks up just in time to see the beast crawl across the ship’s bow and dart away with the capacitor in its mouth.
Tech does some quick research and deduces that the beast is likely an Ordo Moon Dragon, which feeds on raw energy and thus would be drawn to the capacitor. After telling Tech and Echo to get the rest of the spacecraft’s systems up and running, Hunter commands the ailing Wrecker to stay with the ship while he goes after the dragon. When Omega asks to come along, he initially refuses, but quickly relents and allows the small, untrained child to accompany him on the dangerous mission.
*Side Note: Hunter better hope that there’s not a galactic version of Child Services.
As the pair venture out onto the moon’s surface, Omega is intrigued/impressed by Hunter’s tracking skills. She asks if it’s something he might be able to teach her one day, which leads to a discussion about the Bad Batch’s genetic mutations — which then leads to a painful mention of Crosshair.
When Omega notices Hunter’s demeanor drop upon hearing his former teammate’s name, she reminds him that Crosshair’s actions aren’t necessarily (or entirely) his fault. Hunter responds by saying that he’s mostly mad at himself for leaving a teammate behind. Omega assures him that they’ll find a way to get him back somehow.
The pair eventually find the dragon’s lair along with the capacitor conveniently laying next to one of the openings. Unfortunately, Hunter’s approach causes the creature to attack him. After a brief struggle, it knocks off his mask and runs away with the part. Omega quickly gets his mask back on, but not before he’s rendered unconscious by the toxic atmosphere. She then tries to call Tech and Echo, but is unable to reach them (of course).
As clean air begins to fill Hunter’s lungs, Omega decides to take matters into her own hands. She grabs one of Hunter’s guns along with a flashlight and follows the dragon down into its underground lair. She quickly finds the capacitor, which also leads to her coming face to face with the creature. Luckily, she quickly deduces that her flashlight is making it angry and turns it off.
Omega also somehow deduces that the animal is interested in the flashlight for its energy and tosses it aside. The beast begins chowing down on the torch, allowing her to escape back to the moon’s surface with the capacitor. She meets up with a revived Hunter, whose panic/anger at her following the dragon alone is quickly assuaged when he sees that she managed to complete the mission by herself.
After they return to the ship and get it flying again, Wrecker reveals that he used the time to make Omega her very own room, which is about one of the sweetest moments you could hope for — which somehow gets even sweeter when Omega says that she’s never had her own room before and settles in with Wrecker’s Lula doll, which he left for her.
Dang it, Filoni, I’m supposed to hate the child characters on your animated shows for at least one full season and you’re making me like Omega already.
Ah well…let’s cleanse the palette with some murder and war crimes, shall we?
Over on Kamino, Tarkin and Nala Se look on while Crosshair has a check up to make sure his inhibitor chip is still working properly. A new character/series antagonist (Vice Admiral Rampart) enters the room to update Tarkin on Project War Mantle, which involves the Empire bolstering/replacing their clone soldiers with conscripted and recruited troops.
*Side Note: We actually saw Rampart for the first time during the second episode–he was the hologram telling everyone how great the new chain codes and Imperial credit system were going to be. He also had a very oddly timed toy reveal for Hasbro’s Black Series line last week.
Rampart’s plan is to have clones (like Crosshair) train conscripted soldiers. Nala Se isn’t a fan of the idea, but Tarkin definitely is — especially after Rampart shows him the first squad of elite soldiers clad in black. Although it’s technically “clone” armor (at least in design), my guess is that this unit (and other ones like it) will eventually turn into what we now recognize as Death Troopers.
But I digress…the new elite squad goes to get a medical evaluation done, which is observed (without their knowledge) by Tarkin, Rampart, and Kaminoan Prime Minister Lama Su. Lama Su reiterates his belief that conscripted troops will never match the skill and efficiency of his clones, but Rampart disagrees. As far as he’s concerned, all skills can be taught, but the loyalty of troops who willingly decide to serve the Empire makes his squad potentially better than any clone unit.
Tarkin decides to test the new squad’s skills and loyalty by sending them (along with Crosshair) to Onderon to finish off Saw Gerrera‘s camp–a task which the Bad Batch failed to do in the first episode.
Two Birds, One Stone
As the Imperial strike force makes its way to Onderon’s surface, one the the soldiers derisively asks why they’re being led by a clone. From what he can see, the time of Kaminoan grown troops is likely coming to an end if the Empire is seeking out conscripted recruits for its military. The soldier also states that he fully expects to take command of the unit from Crosshair in the near future.
Following an incredibly tense/awkward landing, the strike force makes their way to Gerrera’s camp and easily takes all the rebel soldiers out (with Crosshair netting the most kills by far). The remaining soldiers attempt to flee with the civilians, but the pilot is sniped from a tree, forcing their ship to land.
Crosshair asks the only soldier left where Gerrera is. When she says she doesn’t know and would refuses to tell him if she did, he shoots her dead without hesitation before confronting the civilians. When they also claim not to know Gerrera’s location, Crosshair prepares to execute them, as well.
At this point, the defiant soldier from before shows he’s not a complete douche and demands the clone trooper not kill them. When Crosshair questions why they shouldn’t follow orders, he curtly explains that they signed up to be soldiers, not an execution squad. He then turns to the rest of the squad and announces that he’s taking over.
As you might imagine, Crosshair is not impressed by this.
Instead, he calmly explains that Tarkin and Rampart put him in charge of the group because he can do what needs to be done before shooting the defiant soldier dead. He then recites the “good soldiers follow orders” mantra and commands the rest of the squad to slaughter the civilians, which they do.
*Side Note: DAMN!
Upon returning to Kamino, Crosshair informs Tarkin that Gerrera was gone, but the rest of his camp on Onderon was dealt with. After he and the squad depart, Tarkin excitedly points out that the conscripted troopers (who were led by a clone) succeeded at wiping out a lightly guarded camp that the Bad Batch (who all have defective inhibitor chips) left intact.
He then states his belief the the clone program is a “cost prohibitive relic of the past,” but that it will continue to serve the Empire while Project War Mantle is brought up to speed. Rampart responds by confidently declaring that he will make it happen, which earns him an immediate promotion from Vice Admiral to Admiral from Tarkin.
*Side Note: Tarkin is an idiot. At least with the TIE Defender, there were some good/unavoidable reasons the Empire scrapped a project that would have eventually given them a guaranteed victory over the Rebels. In this case, however, it’s all on Tarkin’s arrogance and hubris.
Elsewhere, Nala Se and Lana Su lament Tarkin’s push to replace the clone troopers (their planet’s primary source of income) with conscripted soldiers. When Nala Se reminds him that the original clone template from Jango Fett has begun to deteriorate, the prime minister declares that it is time to move to the “next phase.”
We don’t get a solid explanation of what this “next phase” is, but it apparently involves creating a superior clone using one of the Bad Batch and/or Omega…which seems like something they should have done a while ago, right? Maybe they’re talking about clone commandos and I’m completely assuming the wrong thing.
Whatever the case, Nala Se says it won’t be easy to bring whoever they’re talking about back to Kamino. Lama Su responds that they are “Kaminoan property” and that they only need one (which means Crosshair should technically fit the bill). He also declares that their survival depends on it.
Meanwhile, Crosshair enters his old barracks with his new squad, where he shows us the first hint we’ve seen of him missing his past life with the Bad Batch.
I might be in the minority here, but I liked this episode of the Bad Batch even better than the first one (and a lot better than the second).
For starters, there’s a decent chance I’m going to be eating all types of crow about saying that the plot potential of inhibitor chips was being ignored. Whatever direction the series decides to take with it, I’m extremely glad and grateful it’s something that’s going to be explored.
Same goes for Crosshair, who I thought would have been more compelling a villain who joined the Empire of his own free will. As it stands now, we appear to be leading toward either a redemption, tragic end, or both — all with some surprisingly good character work for someone who is basically supposed to be mind controlled and says as few words as possible.
All the stuff on Kamino and Onderon was great, especially the chilling fight/execution scene and the conflict brewing between the Empire and Kamino. I do wish things were a little clearer about the Kaminoan’s plan to create an advanced clone, though.
If it turns out to simply be a matter of needing one of the Bad Batch (which is what the dialogue implied), then that would be kind of lame. In addition to already having a member of the Bad Batch there, it begs the question of why they don’t have genetic material from them (or Omega) stored somewhere already.
As with the inhibitor chip subplot, however, I’ll temper my judgement a bit and remind myself to let things play out.
Speaking of tempered judgement, I legitimately wasn’t expecting to like Omega as much as I do by this point. That’s not to say she’s one of my favorite characters at this point, but I certainly don’t hate her. At the very least she’s much more interesting and endearing than past child characters have been during their initial episodes.
I also love her interactions with Hunter and Wrecker — though not nearly as much as I enjoy the way Tech and Echo get on each other’s nerves. This might be a very weird comparison that doesn’t hit for anyone else, but they feel like a much more badass (and less neurotic) version of Frasier and Niles Crane from Frasier.
Or maybe I’m just an idiot and their New Zealand accents make them sound smarter/classier to me. Whatever the case, I love any moment those two are on screen together.
As far as the story is concerned, this episode did a much better job of making Omega feel like an actual member of the Bad Batch team/family than the last one did. Even if she hadn’t taken on a “prove your worth” challenge (which had a contrived conclusion anyway), her interactions with Hunter and Wrecker did a fantastic job building a believable bond.
Let’s just hope Hunter eventually decides to make her some armor in the near future–or at least not take her on any more monster hunts without some proper training.
In the meantime, I’m sure the Bad Batch and Crosshair’s elite death squad have plenty more adventures ahead of them before they inevitably cross paths.
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