Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Rex helping Clone Force 99 get their inhibitor chips removed on the planet Bracca. Unfortunately, they were spotted by two members of the Scrapper Guild, who reported their presence to the Empire.
This week, the Bad Batch come face to face with an old friend. We also get a surprise appearance by one of the best characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
Storm on Both Fronts
The episode opens on Kamino, where Crosshair reports to Admiral Rampart about the Scrapper Guild spotting his old teammates. Prime Minister Lama Su advises that the Bad Batch should be captured and brought back alive due to their high value, but Rampart instructs Crosshair to eliminate the rogue clone troopers, instead.
Later, Lama Su meets in secret with Nala Se. He informs her that the Empire has located the Bad Batch/Omega and sent a team to kill them, which poses a threat to their “contingency plan.”
*Side Note: If I were the betting type, I’d say that “contingency plan” sounds an awful lot like the lead up to a Kaminoan uprising.
Lama Su decides to call upon “further assistance” to retrieve Omega. When Nala Se points out that they already have someone on it (presumably Fennec Shand), the prime ministers responds that it doesn’t matter who gets the job done as long as Omega is returned to them intact.
Back on Bracca, Wrecker teaches Omega how to disarm a detonator while also having a bit of fun at her expense. After Echo comes to retrieve them, the trio are spotted by another Scrapper Guild patrol. They manage to stun two of them, but a third one gets on his repulsorlift and takes off with Wrecker hanging off the back. The scrapper manages to shake him, but is stunned moments later by a sharp shooting Echo, causing him to crash his ship.
That night, the Bad Batch gather up the unconscious scrappers while Echo reminds his team of Rex’s warning about the patrols. He thinks they should leave the planet, but Hunter counters that the ordinance onboard the star destroyer they’ve made camp at could net more than enough money to be out of Cid‘s debt. Tech confirms that the payload is still inside, most likely due to the dianoga that almost got Wrecker keeping the Scrapper Guild away. He also points out that the intel from the bridge’s central computer could be worth even more.
Echo isn’t happy about them being reduced to scrapping weapon smugglers, but Hunter insists, explaining that they need funds to survive and continue staying out of the sight from the Empire.
Tech makes his way to the ship’s bridge while Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, and Omega head toward the armory. Wrecker is all types of happy when they find a bounty of detonators and photon torpedos. While the explosive-obsessed clone is busy claiming one of the torpedos for himself, Tech radios for Omega to come help him on the bridge.
Meanwhile, Echo expresses his disappointment to Hunter that they didn’t leave with Rex. Hunter gives the lame excuse that they are on a “different path,” which Echo promptly shoots down by pointing out that they were born and bred to be soldiers. Helping in a military effort to restore the Republic is exactly what they should do.
*Side Note: Much as I enjoy the premise of this show, Echo is 100% correct. Also, I appreciate that they’re addressing/acknowledging the former ARC trooper‘s qualms about not following his former teammate instead of just handwaving it away.
Up on the bridge, Tech informs Omega that that ship’s data is still intact and he needs her help copying it. As the two work, Omega looks out over the starship graveyard and asks what it was like during the Clone Wars. Tech is in the middle of giving the most dry/left brained answer possible when the newly repowered ship’s proximity alarm goes off. Tech initially writes it off as a malfunction, but is quickly proven wrong when three Imperial attack shuttles swoop overhead and land nearby.
Tech radios Hunter to the bridge, where he scouts the landing site and confirms the worst: Crosshair has arrived on Bracca with his Elite Squad Troopers and a large battalion of clones. Tech announces that he’s already blocking their sensors, which Hunter responds to by declaring that it won’t be enough to stop their old teammate from finding them.
Sure enough, Crosshair immediately sniffs out Tech’s handiwork. He then sends a group of clones to reboard their shuttle and look for the Havoc Marauder while the rest begin a ground search.
The Bad Batch begin looking for a covert exit from the star destroyer while Crosshair’s scout team successfully finds and secures their ship. Tech manages to patch into the Imperial comms, which reveals that Crosshair plans to funnel them into the hangar. They decide to cut through the artillery deck in the hopes that none of the Imperial troops will be sweeping that area.
Unfortunately, Crosshair knew exactly what Tech would do and fed them a false lead. When the Bad Batch arrive, they’re almost immediately surrounded. Instead of killing them, however, Crosshair orders his former teammates to lower their weapons before taunting them a bit.
*Side Note: I love dramatic tension as much as the next person, but this is kind of absurd. Even if you make the argument that Crosshair’s team had to “get into position,” it’s still far too much monologuing — especially for someone who otherwise shows no hesitation about pulling the trigger when it’s time to do so.
Hunter begs Crosshair to wake up, explaining that he’s being controlled by an inhibitor chip. When Omega backs this up (and reminds him of their last conversation on Kamino), Crosshair responds by instructing his team to “aim for the kid.”
*Side Note: Like I said…
Thankfully, Crosshair & Co. still don’t shoot right away and continue insisting the Bad Batch drop their weapons before being executed. This gives Echo and Tech enough time to patch into the ship’s computer and fire one of the cannons. The sudden force causes the decrepit artillery deck to shake, throwing many of the clones off balance and allowing Hunter and Omega (!) to start taking them.
Moments later, the deck above them begins to collapse. By the time it comes down, many of the Imperials (including Crosshair) are pinned beneath the debris, allowing the Bad Batch (who managed to avoid the mass of raining metal) to wipe up the remaining clones and leave.
On their way out of the room, they’re confronted by a flamethrower-wielding Elite Squad Trooper. After avoiding a column of fire, Wrecker hurls his proton torpedo at their attacker, scoring a non-explosive direct hit and allowing them to escape.
Crosshair pulls himself out from under the rubble and immediately radios in for a status report. After learning that his quarry has gone missing again, he orders one of his Elite Squad Troopers to get to the ship’s bridge and await further instruction. He then commands a shuttle to come pick him up.
Meanwhile, the Bad Batch decide to try and exit the star destroyer through its ion engine chamber. Hunter and Tech are just about to step outside when they’re forced back inside by a sniper shot from Crosshair (who apparently found his killer instinct again).
Hunter instructs his team to double back through the engine, which Crosshair responds to by ordering his trooper on the bridge to start the engine up. Hunter asks if the explosives they took from the armory would be enough to disable the engine. Tech says it won’t, but they could strategically place the charges to make the engine break apart and collapse. It would be a steep/dangerous drop from there, but a heck of a lot more survivable than being incinerated.
The team quickly places the charges around the engine core. Moments later, Crosshair gives his trooper the order to fully engage the thrusters. As a blue flame ignites from the opening, Wrecker detonates the charges, which does exactly what Tech said it would.
Outside, Crosshair sees what’s happening and charges forward in an attempt to shoot at his fleeing targets. Before he can fire, the engine breaks apart, causing the flame to burst forth in his direction. Crosshair dives for cover, ordering his trooper on the bridge to turn off the engine as his skin begins to burn.
The Bad Batch manage to survive the fall, but Hunter and Omega are separated from the others. Hunter radios his team to meet them at the Havoc Marauder moments before they’re fired upon by one of the attack shuttles. With the star destroyer’s engines off, however, they’re able to double back through the vessel and escape.
Meanwhile, the ship that engaged them lands next to Crosshair, who is badly injured. As troops pour out and call for a medic, he grabs the closest one and tells him to radio the team who secured the Havoc Marauder.
Unbeknownst to them (and the Bad Batch), that entire team is already dead.
The Real Reunion
Hunter and Omega are expecting a fight when they arrive at the Havoc Marauder. Instead, they discover a bunch of dead clone troopers and one of the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunters: Cade Bane.
*Side Note: First off, YESSSSS!!!!!
Now that we have that out of the way–back in 2017, Dave Filoni revealed an unfinished story reel from ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ featuring a duel between a young Boba Fett and Cad Bane. You can skip to 47:19 in the video below to check it out.
The gunfight resulted in the infamous dent we see on Boba Fett’s helmet during the Original Trilogy. It was also widely believed to be where Cade Bane met his demise, although whether or not this moment is canon has never been confirmed.
Guess we have an answer to at least one of those mysteries now.
The bounty hunter (accompanied by his droid sidekick Todo 360) confidently taunts Hunter about all the clones he’s killed over the years. After the two exchange some bravado, Hunter demands to know who hired him. Bane refuses to say before demanding that he hand over Omega.
As you can imagine, Hunter refuses, which leads to a standoff much like the one in the video linked above. This time, however, Cade Bane wins easily, blasting Hunter in the chest and knocking him down.
Omega runs to Hunter’s side before taking out her crossbow, which Todo (who was maimed by Hunter’s displaced blast) knocks out of her hands with his detached foot. Cade Bane then walks up and smugly apologizes to the young girl before stunning her.
Meanwhile, Crosshair is tended to by medics as his the rest of his team arrives. After hearing that they’ve got the Bad Batch on the run, he forces himself up and demands they get him on a shuttle.
We then switch to a really cool POV of Hunter waking up as his teammates find and carry him onto the ship. As they take off and flee the clone troopers, the injured squad leader tells his teammates that a bounty hunter took Omega.
Even if this episode’s story wasn’t great (and it mostly is), “Reunion” would still deserve a ton of credit/praise for its incredible animation and technical work.
The entire sequence after the charges went off inside the engine was a thing of beauty. Also, check out the lighting throughout the episode, especially in shots like the one posted at the top of this review. It’s not something people always think about (especially with animation), but I’m not sure you could ask for better work in that department.
And then we have that awesome POV scene of Hunter waking up and being carried to the ship. We’ll get to why I don’t like the set up for that moment, but it first needs to be acknowledge just how fantastically executed that scene was.
Meanwhile, you’ve got scenes like the artillery encounter that would normally be a spectacle set piece of any other episode, but are just one of many gorgeous sequences in this one. Brilliant animation from Clone Wars and Bad Batch has become so routine that it’s getting more difficult for Lucasfilm to blow us away anymore.
This episode, however, did exactly that.
The direction of the episode by Steward Lee was also top notch. The Cad Bane/Hunter standoff will (justifiably) get the lion’s share of acclaim, but I think my favorite decision was to have a haunting passage from Kevin Kinner’s score play us out instead of the usual bombastic theme the show closes with. This was the Bad Batch‘s first real cliffhanger episode and they absolutely nailed the tone.
Speaking of Kinner, the guy totally outdid himself. Go back and watch the Cad Bane/Hunter standoff again and listen to the music. There’s a ton of brilliant scoring and theme mixing that makes the great scene even better.
From a story perspective, “Reunion” also succeeds, although not at quite the same level thanks to some of the most ridiculous (and literal) plot armor imaginable.
I can buy the Bad Batch surviving the engine core explosion. What I’m still struggling with is why Crosshair — the same guy who nearly burned himself alive trying to kill his former teammates — was so insistent on talking and asking for weapons to be put down before he executed them. Is this really the same guy who murdered civilians and an insubordinate teammate without blinking an eye back in Episode 3?
You could make the argument that he was fighting his inhibitor chip, but that doesn’t really line up with his quick trigger actions later in the episode when the kill was far less convenient.
And don’t even get me started about Hunter getting shot in the freaking chest and surviving. Of course I wanted him to live, but c’mon..we’ve seen plenty of other clones die from injuries to the same area on their armor. All that happens to our fearless leader is a concussion that’s somehow linked to a chest injury, which itself doesn’t appear to be that bad beyond knocking the wind out of him.
I get why he needed to survive, but it tarnished an otherwise great moment punctuated by an emotional gut punch via Omega’s reaction to her adopted father’s demise.
All that being said, the story was still great, thanks mostly to Omega.
I know, I know…I’m totally eating crow over my disdain for child characters in Star Wars. By this point I still expected to be in the “barely tolerable” stage, but Omega has become the soul of the Bad Batch. She’s also become a lens that allows us to see the other characters in a completely different way.
Her bonds with Wrecker and Hunter are obviously the most well developed, but it’s also interesting to see how a character like Tech responds to someone who doesn’t understand or expect his concrete view of the world. Instead of Wrecker playing off Tech’s left brain personality for laughs, we get a much better perspective on it.
Combine all that with her organic growth into being more battle/field capable (and getting to kick some ass in an already great fight sequence), and I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t like the kid by this point
All character dynamics aside, the cat and mouse match between the Bad Batch and their former teammate was all types of fun — and just when you didn’t think it could get any better, Cad Bane shows up. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Clone Wars, he’s the type of character who instantly owns the screen and raises the tension exponentially.
With all of that going on, it might be easy to forget the other conflict brewing on Kamino, which “Reunion” seeded perfectly. There were the obvious big moments (like Lama Su talking about his “contingency plan”), but the smaller ones — like Rampart demanding he be appraised of all Kaminoan activity — are going to make the payoff that much better when it happens.
For now, however, the focus remains on the Bad Batch finding Omega and getting her back from Cad Bane. If you’re a fan of the Clone Wars, then you already know the monumental task that’s going to be next week…
…if it’s even possible at all.
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