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‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ season 1 episode 15 ‘Return to Kamino’ recap/review

Crosshair’s story finally reaches its full potential in the explosive first half of The Bad Batch’s season finale

Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Clone Force 99 rescuing Gregor from a new Imperial training facility. During the mission, we got a good look at how the Empire began phasing out clone troopers in favor of the TK stormtroopers that we saw during the Original Trilogy era (and in Star Wars: The Mandalorian). Unfortunately, the adventure ended with Hunter getting captured.

Meanwhile, things came to a head on Kamino with Vice Admiral Rampart executing the prime minister before starting to move all essential personnel (including select Kaminoan scientists and clone troopers) off planet.

Listen to the latest episode of our Star Wars podcast, Talkin' Tauntauns!

This week brings us the first half of The Bad Batch‘s two-part Season 1 finale, which will ramp things up on Kamino considerably. As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.

Hurry Up and Wait

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

The episode opens with Crosshair visiting Hunter in his cell aboard an Imperial Rho-class shuttle, which is traveling through hyperspace to an undisclosed location. Crosshair refuses to tell his former teammate where they’re going, but does show him that he’s activated his confiscated comm unit.

Hunter points out such an obvious gambit won’t fool his team into coming for him. Crosshair counters that they’ll still come despite knowing it’s a trap.

'Star Wars: The Bad Batch' season 1 episode 15 'Return to Kamino' recap/review

Back on Ord Mantell, Omega impatiently waits for Echo and Tech to fix the Havoc Marauder so they can fly back to Daro and rescue Hunter. As they’re finishing up, Wrecker arrives and announces that he left Gregor with Cid, which she wasn’t too happy about.

*Side Note: I get that Gregor doesn’t have his gear (and that he’s a bit loopy), but wouldn’t it make sense to take an elite clone commando with you on a mission like this — especially when your best fighter and team leader is missing?

As soon as Tech gets the ship’s systems up and running, they get a ping from Hunter’s comm device showing that he’s no longer on Daro. Instead, it appears he’s being taken to Kamino.

Hunting for Answers

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Crosshair’s ship lands in the Kaminoan capital of Tipoca City, where Hunter is marched in front of Vice Admiral Rampart. After receiving assurances the rest of the Bad Batch will arrive and be intercepted, Rampart tells Hunter that the brouhaha he caused on Ryloth got his attention. He then orders Crosshair to deal with his former team leader as he sees fit.

As Hunter is marched away, one of the Elite Squad Troopers (ES-02) informs Rampart that she doesn’t trust Crosshair’s motives for wanting to capture his old squad — or any of the clones for that matter. Rampart responds that if Crosshair’s undisclosed plan fails, then the Bad Batch won’t be something they have to worry about anymore.

He then orders ES-02 to keep an eye on things to make sure there are no surprises.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Meanwhile, Crosshair’s prediction that the Bad Batch would track Hunter’s beacon to Kamino (despite being fully aware that they’re walking into a trap) is proven to be correct.

After exiting hyperspace and evading a surprisingly small contingent of star destroyers, Tech brings the Havoc Marauder down near a set of coordinates where Omega insists there’s a hidden landing pad. Tech is skeptical when she tells him to hover inches above the water, but a structure soon rises from the depths and allows them to dock.

*Side Note: The weather effects during this sequence are absolutely gorgeous.

Omega then leads them into Tipoca City via a secret underwater transport tunnel. Along the way, she despondently informs them that they’re headed toward Nala Se‘s private research lab. Echo notices Omega’s change in demeanor and tries to ask what’s wrong, but she brushes him off, insisting that the only thing that matters right now is saving Hunter.

Homecoming

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

While being marched through the halls of Tipoca City, Hunter remarks how the lack of clones and Kaminoans (along with the influx of stormtroopers) is a clear indication that the cloning facility is being decommissioned. When he tries to point out that clones will also be phased out of the new Imperial military, Crosshair counters that the ones who matter will still remain.

He then leads Hunter into a control room, where one of the Elite Squad Troopers informs him of the Havoc Marauder being detected. Crosshair isn’t surprised, but still tells his squad to stand down, assuring them that the Bad Batch will come to them since they never leave their own behind…most of the time.

Upon hearing this, Hunter angrily points out that they had no choice when he tried to kill them. Crosshair removes his helmet, looks Hunter in the eye, and responds that they they didn’t leave him with much of a choice, either.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Meanwhile, the Bad Batch arrive at Nala Se’s private/secret laboratory, which Omega reveals is where she was created. She also informs her teammates that they were created and had their genetic mutations enhanced there, as well…and that she was there to see it.

*Side Note: While this revelation isn’t explored much during the episode, it does contain two major implications.

  • Despite her young age/appearance, Omega might be chronologically older than the rest of the Bad Batch. Clones grown on Kamino took approximately ten years to reach adulthood/battle readiness, so this is entirely possible.
  • It has always been implied that the Bad Batch’s abilities were the result of random genetic mutations rather than targeted/artificial enhancements. This would obviously change that narrative quite a bit.

While the rest of the team attempts to process what they’ve just heard, Echo patches into the city’s schematics, which he discovers have been completely wiped from the system.

Just as Wrecker is pointing out how weird that is, the group is surprised by AZI-3. The droid quickly identifies himself and explains that he’s in hiding. During the last few days, stormtroopers had been deactivating all the other droids and corralling Kaminoan science/medical personnel onto transports. Any who resisted were executed.

As for the clone troopers, they had all been reassigned offworld with the exception of Crosshair.

After expressing surprise that their former teammate is nearby (which they really should have known), Tech is able to pinpoint Hunter’s location, which they begin heading towards with AZI-3 in tow.

Re-Training Day

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Back in the control room, Hunter tries to reason with Crosshair, insisting that he should be able to see that what the Empire is doing (occupying planets, silencing dissent, etc.) wasn’t right. Crosshair responds that his former teammates simply don’t see the bigger picture.

Hunter begins to argue that he’s being controlled by his inhibitor chip, but is interrupted when the Bad Batch’s approach triggers an alarm throughout the facility.

Crosshair uses Hunter’s comm to lure them to the lift platform below the facility’s training room. As they’re about to ascend, Echo tells Omega to stay back with AZI-3 and contact Rex if things go badly. As you might imagine, she’s not happy about being left behind (nor does she have any plans to follow Echo’s instructions).

The platform lifts Wrecker, Tech, and Echo into the training room, where they immediately find themselves surrounded by Crosshair (with a restrained Hunter by his side) and some Elite Squad Troopers. Crosshair forces them to throw down their weapons before asking where Omega is. Wrecker attempts to lie and say she didn’t come with them, but he sees right through it and sends ES-02 out to find her.

Echo discreetly activates a beacon to let Omega know it’s time to retreat. Instead of returning to the ship, she begins cooking up a well intentioned yet very misguided plan to save her friends.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Back in the training room, Crosshair tells his squad to hold their positions while assuring Hunter that he has no plans to kill his former teammates. If he did, then they’d already be dead. The clone sniper goes on to say that their deaths would still be justified for betraying everything they stood for…and for betraying him.

He then throws everyone (including his own soldiers) for a loop by declaring that he’s going to give the Bad Batch the chance they never gave him. Things get even more bizarre when ES-02 radios in to report that she found Omega. Instead of ordering her execution, he instructs her to put the child on a ship headed offworld.

While this is a much better outcome than anyone expected, Hunter still pleads with him not to do it, explaining that Omega belongs with them. Crosshair astutely points out that living among fugitives puts the girl in constant danger. If he really wants to protect her, then the best thing he could do is to let her go. He then expounds on all they could accomplish together by becoming a team again before undoing Hunter’s handcuffs and setting him free.

The stunned Elite Squad Troopers turn towards each other, completely unsure what is happening or what they should do about it.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

While all this is going down, Tech notices a small mirror attached to a nearby wall. Hunter asks Crosshair why they should trust him, which he responds to by ordering the Elite Squad Troopers to stand down. When they refuse, he shoots the mirror, causing a ricochet blast that takes down all of them.

Crosshair implores his stunned former teammates to join the Empire and reclaim the purpose that “drifting aimlessly through the galaxy” will never give them. He also tells them not to make the same mistake they did before by becoming his enemy again.

Hunter responds by declaring that they never were.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Meanwhile, Omega refuses ES-02’s order to follow her, explaining that she’s “in the middle of something.” AZI-3 uses the distraction to activate a training droid storage compartment, which flies out and knocks ES-02 out. Omega then gets on the controls and activates the rest of the droids.

Back up top, the rising droid platforms distract Crosshair enough to allow Hunter to tackle him. The pair spar for a bit, but quickly realize that they won’t survive unless they work together. As Kevin Kiner’s Bad Batch theme triumphantly begins to blare, Clone Force 99 reunites once again to take down droids in the most badass manner possible. They also get an assist from Omega, who sees that she might not have thought her plan through and climbs to an elevated position to rain down some laser arrows.

Meanwhile, ES-02 recovers and finds Crosshair fighting alongside the Bad Batch. She closes the training room door and reports to Rampart, who tells her to get on a departing shuttle and let the clones die together. The Vice Admiral then informs Moff Tarkin via hologram that all essential personnel have been evacuated from Kamino and that all the Kaminoan’s cloning technology is in the Empire’s possession.

Tarkin commends his young protege before instructing him to begin an aerial bombardment of the city

All In, All Out

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

After taking down all the training droids, Hunter points his weapon at Crosshair and begs him to forget the Empire and come with them. He also says that they can help remove his inhibitor chip and give him back his free will. At this, Crosshair reveals that he actually had his inhibitor chip removed “a long time ago.”

*Side Note: YES! This may have been the way I wanted to things to play out way back in the first episode, but I’ll still take it now.

We’ll get into how this effects the show’s narrative during the next section of this review. For now, it’s worth noting that “a long time ago” had to be sometime after Episode 3, when it was shown that Crosshair’s chip was still in place. It’s unclear exactly how much time has passed during this season of ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch,’ but we clearly haven’t seen everything that’s happened since the team often talks about missions from Cid that occurred offscreen.

We also don’t see the tell-tale chip removal scar on Crosshair’s head due to that nasty/conveniently placed burn he got back in Episode 8.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

As the rest of the Bad Batch reel from Crosshair’s revelation, Hunter demands that he tell them when his chip was removed. Crosshair responds that it doesn’t matter since this is who he truly is.

*Side Note: To be fair, it kind of does matter since Crosshair tried to kill them multiple times.

The pair stare each other down a bit before Hunter beats him in a quick draw and stuns his former teammate into submission. Omega then runs up and hugs her surrogate father, who apologizes for breaking his promise to never bring her back to Kamino (back in Episode 9). She brushes it off, proclaiming that she would have done the same for him.

Tech then informs them that three Star Destroyers are descending toward the city. Hunter tells Wrecker to grab their unconsciousness teammate and head towards the ship as fire rains down from the sky.

The Verdict

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Series composer Kevin Kiner has done a fantastic job all season, but this was by far his best work yet. From the weaving of familiar themes to the haunting chorale that played during Tipoca City’s destruction, the music is wonderfully enjoyable as both a soundtrack for the episode and on its own compositional merits.

As for the episode’s story, it isn’t the Kamino Uprising many of us old school fans were expecting/hoping for, but this new canon narrative was still exceptionally well executed. One of my few complaints is that we didn’t get to see more of the evacuation of Kamino — particularly Nala Se and her cohorts being forced out the city or executed right in front of her. Considering what a great job the series has done imprinting the Kaminoan inhabitants on our hearts and minds, it feels like we were cheated out of another powerful moment that should have taken place on screen.

I was also a bit frustrated with Omega’s part in the story. For starters, it was a more than a little odd that they brought her on such a dangerous mission while leaving the badass clone commando they just rescued behind. That wouldn’t have been too bad on its own, but then she ended up nearly killing her teammates via a mistake she definitely had the technical know-how to avoid.

Yes, it led to a great moment, but Omega has proven herself to be much more competent and resourceful than that.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

As far as Crosshair is concerned, I love…LOVE…that he continued to work for the Empire after having his chip removed. This was what I thought would make sense in the first place instead of his chip randomly working while the others’ didn’t — especially when you consider what a sociopath he seemed like even before Order 66.

This new revelation makes his remarks about feeling betrayed carry an unexpected spike of tragedy. It also gives him an organic path towards redemption, which is likely in the cards for the recently announced second season. Combine that with the incredible scenes between him and Hunter, and we have our first episode where Crosshair feels like the truly complex villain many of us were hoping for after the first episode.

Is it too little too late? Maybe. But it also gives us a ton of great possibilities for things going forward.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

I’d also really like to know more about what went down in Nala Se’s secret lab back in the day, but I’m okay with that seed being planted instead of fully explored–especially when so many other crazy things are happening.

In the meantime, we still have the matter of our heroes escaping one of Star Wars’ most iconic locations as it’s being blown to bits. While a 25 minute sequence of just that would look all types of incredible, I have a feeling that the Season 1 finale still has at least one more major moment/heartbreak in store for us.

 

‘Next Episode: Kamino Lost’

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)
Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1 episode 15 'Return to Kamino' recap/review
Crosshair's story finally reaches its full potential in the explosive first half of The Bad Batch's season finale
Reader Rating1 Vote
1.7
Crosshair finally reaches the complex potential many of us hoped for.
Kevin Kiner's score has been great all season, but this episode was by far his best work.
The animation (particularly the Kaminoan weather) continues to top itself week after week.
Omega's part in the story was diminished by an odd tactical decision and an uncharacteristically reckless maneuver.
Considering how great the series has been at imprinting the Kaminoans on our hearts and minds, it a shame we didn't get to see them being forcibly evacuated from the planet.
8.5
Great

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