Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with the Martez sisters communicating with an unseen figure about Clone Force 99’s whereabouts. We also got some chilling confirmation that the headaches Wrecker has been experiencing are related to his inhibitor chip.
This week, both of those plot points take center stage via a reunion with one of our favorite characters. As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
The episode opens with the Havoc Marauder being pursued by a trio of gunships. We quickly learn that the Bad Batch stole a lizard from their pursuers, who had stolen it themselves from one of Cid‘s clients. Now they’re on the tail end of another job for her that could be their last one if Echo isn’t able to fix the ship’s hyperdrive.
Thankfully, he gets it’s working just in time for the Bad Batch to escape.
When the squad arrives back on Ord Mantell, Wrecker and Omega head out to pick up their traditional post mission snack (Mantell Mix) while the others go into Cid’s office to receive their payment. When she offers them significantly less than what was expected, Echo asks how this constitutes a “mutually beneficial” arrangement. Cid counters by listing all the debt the Bad Batch owe her for various fees/services (docking, fuel, rations, gear, etc.).
It sounds like a load of bull until Cid also lists a tab with a nearby vendor for 20 cartons of Mantell Mix. At that same moment, Wrecker and Omega are in the process of adding another two cartons to the bill.
Back at the bar, two roguish patrons decide to bother a cloaked figure for sitting in “their” seat. Cid is in the middle of demanding the Bad Batch find a big score to pay her back when they hear blaster fire and run to see what’s happening.
Upon entering the bar, the group discovers the roguish patrons fleeing. They also find themselves standing face to face with the one and only Captain Rex.
*Side Note: **LOUD SQUEALING NOISES**
Cid rants about clones showing up at her bar and storms off. Once she’s gone, Rex catches the Bad Batch up on what happened to him after their last meeting and when the Clone Wars ended. We don’t get much about what happened after Order 66 except that the Empire assumed he was killed in battle and that he’s been “keeping a low profile” ever since.
*Side Note: Look, I’m as excited as anyone to see Rex again, but how is it “keeping a low profile” to wear your old (and very recognizable) clone trooper armor? I get that he’s wearing a cloak when he enters the bar, but it still seems like an odd and completely unnecessary risk.
Rex then reveals that it was Raffa who called and helped him track the Bad Batch down, making her character marginally more tolerable. He then asks about Omega just as she and Wrecker are returning from their Mantell Mix snack attack. After a bone crushing bear hug from Wrecker, Rex tells the young girl that she’s unlike any clone he’s ever met before. Omega proves his point by examining the lines on his face and determining (correctly) that Rex was a one of the first clone troopers made/born on Kamino.
The happy reunion/introduction is cut short when Wrecker’s headaches start to flare up again. Tech tries to assuage Rex’s concerns by explaining that the inhibitor chips don’t work on them due to their deviant genetic makeup. He then completely contradicts himself by revealing that Crosshair’s chip did somehow manage to activate.
Upon learning that the Bad Batch haven’t removed any of their chips, Rex immediately grows wary, explaining that the chips make them a threat to everyone around them — even Omega. If or when the chips activate, it’s impossible to resist, turning them all into potential ticking time bombs.
*Side Note: Considering that Rex had his chip activated and was unable to resist the urge to try and murder Ahsoka, he definitely speaks from experience.
Hunter decides to heed Rex’s warning and asks how they can have their chips safely removed. Rex responds that he isn’t sure, but will find a way and contact them soon.
Sometime later, the Bad Batch head off in the Havoc Marauder to meet Rex on the starship junkyard planet of Bracca. Despite suffering from worse and more frequent headaches, Wrecker is uneasy about having his head cut open to remove something. Tech, who’s hard at work rigging up a homemade inhibitor chip scanner, reminds him that they’ll all be having their heads cut open. Omega chimes in that she won’t because she doesn’t have a chip, which Wrecker finds ridiculously unfair.
After landing at Rex’s coordinates, they meet the former clone captain (decked out in fully recognizable clone armor) and head out toward a junked Jedi cruiser. Rex’s hope is that it will have the same medical equipment as the ship he was on (the Tribunal) where his chip was removed by Ahsoka.
On the way there, the group is nearly spotted by a patrol from the Scrapper Guild, who control the planet and would immediately report them to the Empire.
*Side Note: Rex, I love ya, but it might be harder for the the patrols to spot you if you weren’t wearing WHITE CLONE TROOPER ARMOR.
The group reaches the ship and makes their way inside. When their progress is stopped by a large water-filled chasm, they throw a cable over it and begin climbing across.
As you might imagine, Wrecker and his acrophobia are not happy about this.
After everyone else makes it to the other side, Wrecker’s weight causes the cable to pop and nearly drop him into the water below. He’s saved when the cable catches his leg just before landing in the water, but is immediately put into even more danger when a dianoga emerges from the depths and attempts to devour him.
*Side Note: This is the same species of creature that pulled Luke Skywalker underwater during the Death Star trash compactor scene in Episode IV.
Following an awesome action sequence (where Omega refused to utilize her newfound crossbow skills for some reason), the group manages to save Wrecker and pull him up to safety. They then make their way to the medical bay, which Tech points out is not a sterile environment. When Rex asks if he’d prefer the operation to be done on Kamino, Tech deems the facilities acceptable.
As Wrecker is scanned and prepped for the procedure, Omega expresses her concern to Hunter and Rex that Wrecker may not survive. They both explain to her that it’s far riskier for Wrecker to keep his chip in — especially with the worsening issues it’s been causing him lately.
Right on cue, Wrecker’s chip begins to overwhelm his senses. Tech is just about to begin the removal procedure when it activates, causing the massive clone to grab him by the neck and declare Tech to be in direct violation of Order 66.
Instead of snapping Tech’s neck, Wrecker hurls him into the wall. I thought this was an indication that Wrecker was about to fight the chip’s programming in a cliched battle of wills. From there, we would see how his better nature was able to heroically triumph over the the Kaminoan’s sinister programming.
I thought wrong.
Wrecker picks up his gear and proceeds to assault everyone in sight with no mercy or hesitation. Hunter tells Omega to stay with Tech before he, Rex, and Echo lead Wrecker out of the medical bay. Hunter manages to knock the gun out of his hands, but Wrecker is still able to pick up Echo and hurl him into Rex, knocking them both unconscious.
Hunter charges forward and engages his giant friend in hand to hand combat, all while begging him to snap out of it. He manages to hold his own for a bit, but still ends up getting his ass kicked. Wrecker then grabs his squad leader by the neck and declares that all clones in violation of Order 66 are to be terminated. He’s just about to make good on his programming when Omega picks up Wrecker’s gun, channels her inner Ripley, and fires a warning shot by his head
*Side Note: I love this kid.
Wrecker drops Hunter and chases Omega into another room. She manages to hide from him for a while, but he eventually finds her.
*Side Note: The proceeding sentence doesn’t do this scene nearly enough justice for how terrifying and creepy it was. If you are one of the many people who find Wrecker to be too goofy sometimes (like myself), it’s all types of jarring to see him murderously focused on killing a small child who is/was his best friend.
Omega pleads with him to stop, but he refuses, picking up his gun and declaring that good soldiers follow orders. He’s just about to shoot her when an injured Rex bursts in and stuns him.
Snacks and Sympathy
Rex and the Bad Batch get their unconscious friend back to the medical bay to have his chip removed. When the procedure is completed and he doesn’t wake up, Omega becomes understandably distraught. Rex suggests to Hunter that he take her outside while they wait, but she angrily refuses, insisting that she’ll remain by his friend’s side until he regains consciousness.
Sometime later, Wrecker wakes up without the chip and its programming affecting his behavior. While the other clones have their chips removed, he profusely apologizes to Omega, explaining that he tried as hard as he could to resist the chip’s programming, but couldn’t stop it.
Instead of being mad or scared of him, Omega gently places her hand on Wrecker’s cheek and assures him that she knows it wasn’t his fault. She then pulls out a handful of Mantell Mix and declares that their snacking tradition must continue now that the mission is officially over.
Back outside, Hunter sees Rex talking to someone on his radio, confirming that he’s still fighting for the Republic even if it doesn’t officially exist anymore. Rex tells him that they could use the Bad Batch’s skills in their fight against the Empire, but Hunter demurs, explaining that his priority right now is protecting Omega and doing what’s best for his squad. He’s still trying to figure out the latter, but jumping into a new war isn’t the play right now.
Rex says he understands, but asks him to make contact when he’s sorted things out a bit more. After a warm farewell, Hunter tells the former captain that if he’s ever in a bind, the Bad Batch will be there to help him out.
While all this is happening, a Scrapper Guild patrol spots the pair and notifies the Empire.
If you told me a few weeks ago that a Bad Batch episode featuring the return of Rex would have its most powerful moment via Wrecker and Omega, I would have scoffed. SCOFFED! Yet here we are with those two absolutely bringing the house down in the final act of “Battle Scars.”
I still think Wrecker is too goofy a lot of the time, but his childlike manner does help the friendship with Omega seem sweet, genuine, and believable. It also provided a jarringly brilliant contrast to his behavior once his chip was activated. The scene where he was hunting Omega through the wrecked ship was fantastic — especially when the show’s writers refused to go with the mind over matter cliche and insisted on portraying him as a programmed killing machine.
As far as Omega is concerned, if you take out the one moment where she yelled at everyone instead of helping to save Wrecker from the dianoga, this was by far her best episode. The care and concern she showed for Wrecker wasn’t anything new, but their moment of reconciliation took things to another level thanks to some stunning animation and superb voice acting from Michaelle Ang and Dee Bradley Parker.
The entire third act was so good, in fact, that it almost made you forget about some of narrative gaps and contrived moments that got us there — like Wrecker’s inhibitor chip activating seconds before his procedure.
Also, I know I already mentioned it multiple times, but clones walking around with their recognizable armor while they attempt to hide from the Empire is officially bugging the crap out of me.
I can rationalize it with the Bad Batch since average citizens might not recognize them, but Rex? C’mon…
That being said, it’s hard to dwell on those things when you get two incredible fight scenes (one of which included a classic Star Wars creature) and a narrative that leads into such a beautifully constructed moment for the Bad Batch’s weakest character. Add in an appearance by Captain Rex (which is always welcome) and it’s hard not to enjoy this one.
Also, if you don’t like Omega by this point, then I don’t know what to tell you. I get that some people don’t like idea of the Bad Batch “babysitting,” but she’s proven herself to be so much more than an unruly child character or a simple plot device.
Like the rest of her adopted family, Omega has grown and changed tremendously since the the first episode–and in a manner and pace that actually makes sense. Instead of using her as a way to constantly get the group in trouble or turning her into an instant badass, the young clone has organically proven herself to be brave, resourceful, and the heart of the group.
Unfortunately, I have a very bad feeling that a lot of other people are feeling the same way after this episode…which means we’ve likely been set up to have her be put in grave danger very soon.
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