THE BAD BATCH – S1:E1 – “Aftermath”
If I’m being completely honest, I was nervous going into this first episode of Disney+’s latest Star Wars adventure. You see, the main characters were all introduced in the first arch of the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars. And truthfully, it was one of the weakest parts of the season. I wondered just how they were going to turn this chaotic subplot, into a functioning show of its own. Well, we’re only one episode in, but I’m happy to say that it appears they found the recipe. In this near feature length premiere, we really get to see these misfit clones’ individual personalities and what makes them tick as a group. We’re also treated to a bit more of Order 66, from the clone’s point of view. Bottom line, this is a good start, and I’m thankfully looking forward to episode two.
We open with the red The Clone Wars logo from the end of season seven, which quickly burns away to reveal The Bad Batch logo. We also get the same announcer from The Clone Wars, bringing us up to speed, during which, we see a few shot for shot scenes from Revenge of the Sith, animated in the Clone Wars style.Though the announcer is nice nostalgia to get us started, I hope this is a one time thing. It would help set this show apart.
From here we join Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her clone squad on the planet of Kaller. They are waiting for her padawan to return with reinforcements. Her Padawan is a boy named Caleb Dume, who we’ve met as Kanan Jeris in Rebels. The reinforcements arrive and are none other than Clone Force 99, also known as The Bad Batch. After the five enhanced clones make short work of the droid army, they meet back up Master Billaba, Caleb and Clone Commander, Grey. Caleb introduces his master to Wrecker, Hunter, Echo, Tech and Crosshair. Master Billaba asks where the other reinforcements are, to which Tech informs them that they may not be needed. General Kenobi has found and engaged General Grievous and the war is likely over.
Just as Clone Force 99, along with Caleb Dume head off to search for more droids, Grey receives an incoming transmission. We hear Darth Sidious say those three dreaded words… “Execute order 66.” Master Billaba senses danger and is able to defend herself as the first shots from her clone troops are fired. In the distance, Caleb hears the blaster fire and his master’s struggle. He runs back back to her only for her to tell him to run! As he turns away, his master is overwhelmed and falls.
As he makes his escape, Caleb sees Clone FOrce 99 and runs away for fear of his life. While Echo and Tech go to speak to the “Reg” captain (reg, short for regular, is what the Bad Batch refer to “normal” clones as), Hunter and Crosshair go looking for Caleb. Wreck is left to stall anyone that tries to follow them. Hunter and Crosshair find Caleb in a tree and Crosshair shoots the branch, making Caleb fall to the ground. The Padawan ignites his lightsaber and blocks the shots that come from Crosshair. He disarms the clone and Force pushes him into a tree, knocking him out. Caleb flees and Hunter runs after him. When he catches up to Caleb at the edge of a canyon, he tries to reassure him that he doesn’t know what’s going on and didn’t help murder his master. Caleb is unconvinced and, using the Force, jumps to the other side. He pauses just a moment and then runs. Crosshair eventually catches up and Hunter tells him the boy is dead. But doubt has been planted in Crosshair’s mind.
From here, the five special clones return home to Kamino to find it swarming with red marked Coruscant shock troopers. In their barracks, Crosshair confronts Hunter and informs the rest of the group that he believes Hunter let the young Jedi escape. Confused as why the clones would turn on their general, Tech informs the others that it’s because of the programming that is done to the regs to make them follow orders without question. Though not 100% sure, he believes that because of their modifications, they are immune to the effect. As the camera pans to Crosshair, we are made to believe he may not be as immune as the others. The conversation is interrupted as a loudspeaker announces all should gather for a meeting on the state of the Republic. It is here that we the clones viewing a hologram of Palpatine as he gives his speech from Revenge of the Sith, announcing the reorganization of the Republic in the First Galactic Empire. The message is met with thunderous applause.
On their way back to their barracks, they meet a young girl named Omega, who seems very excited to see them. She is the medical assistant to Nala Se, the Kaminoan Chief Medical Scientist at the facility. Nala Se ushers the girl away, leaving the Bad Batch feeling like the day just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
As Kamino’s never ending storm rages on, three ships arrive and land at the facility. From the primary ship, more shock troopers exit, along with Admiral Tarken. He’s there to inform the Prime Minister that the new Empire’s priorities have changed, and with the war over, there would no longer be a need for more clones. Conscripted soldiers will be able to maintain the peace at half the cost of clones.
While the Bad Batch eats in the mess hall, they are joined by Omega, who when asked about her parents simply says, “parents?” A group of regs walk by making rude comments, and a food fight breaks out, all while Tarkin watches from above. Just then, Echo is knocked out cold when hit with a food tray. When he wakes in the med bay, the rest of the Batch comes in and says they have been summoned by the Prime Minister. They are sent to the combat training room where Tarkin informs them their value is being tested. After being put through a battle simulation with stun weapons, Tarkin orders the Prime Minister to reset the test using live rounds. The Bad Batch are then forced to work together, using training weapons against early version models of Dark Troopers. White versions of the black droids seen in season two of The Mandalorian.
Tarken quietly leaves the training room once all of the droids have been destroyed. He meets up the Prime Minister and Nala Se and expresses his disappointment in Clone Force 99 and their inability to follow orders. To further test them, Tarkin sends them on a mission to take down Seperatist insurgents in the Onderon sector. While preparing to leave on the mission, Omega warns Hunter that Tarkin is out for them and that he doesn’t like clones. She asks to come with them but Hunter tells her she’d be safer on Kamino.
On Onderon, the Bad Batch track the insurgents, only to find that it’s a camp of Republic citizens, including children. They are approached by an armed group of soldiers and ordered to drop their weapons. When taken into camp, they are met by Saw Gerrera. He explains to them that Tarken is after them because they refused to fight for an Empire. Saw tries to reason with them, explaining that if they give up now, everything they fought for and everything they lost would be for nothing. He tells them that the Clone War may be over, but a civil war is about to begin. Saw and his group move out, leaving the Bad Batch behind to decide what they should do next. It’s now that Crosshair doubles down on his mistrust of Hunter, claiming they aren’t completing their mission and should take out the “insurgents” as ordered. Hunter draws his weapon but shoots behind Crosshair, taking out a probe droid. Realizing that Tarkin was spying on them, they prepare to head back to Kamino. While packing up, Tech reveals that he believes that Omega is an enhanced clone, same as them. Hunter decides that they need to get her away from Kamino and Crosshair points out again that they are disobeying orders.
Back on Kamino, Shock Troopers find Omega rummaging around in Clone Force 99’s barracks and is arrested. Her medical droid companion is shot.
When Hunter and gand get back to Kamino and start looking for Omega, they are confronted by Tarkin, who reveals that the probe droid’s report was very detailed. They are arrested on the charge of treason for conspiring with Saw Gerrera. When taken to the brig they find Omega in there as well.
In the brig, Crosshair tries to convince Wrecker, Tech and Echo that they are in there because of Hunter. Because they disobeyed orders. Shortly after, Crosshair is taken to an exam room. Upon suspicion that his inhibitor chip was partially functioning, Tarkin had him examined. He ordered Nals Se to try and intensify the programming to obtain total loyalty.
During this time, the others start trying to find a way out of the brig. Tech finds a weakness in the cell wall and Wrecker, was able to bash in a portion of the wall, creating a gap just big enough for Omega to fit through. She manages to get out and get to the switch to open the cell’s force field. A trooper grabs her, but it’s too late. Wrecker, with a nice hard punch to the lid, knocks the trooper out.
Deciding they need their gear before going to find Crosshair, they sneak to their ship. Just as they are finishing getting geared up, a group of troopers enter the docking bay, led by Crosshair. Crosshair orders them to surrender, which true to Hunter’s nature, he disobeys. A firefight ensues while Tech works on getting the ship ready to fly. Wrecker his hit but not killed. A trooper orders the bay doors to be shut, but watching from a distance, Nala Se uses a separate control panel and keeps the doors open. Echo and Hunter go to grab Wrecker and Crosshair gets them in his sights. Just as he goes to pull the trigger, his gun is shot from his hand. Looking over he sees that it was Omega who made the shot. She, along with the other run up the ramp and board the ship, leaving the facility and Crosshair behind.
Nala Se meets with the Prime Minister and informs that the enhancement to Crosshair’s programming was a success, however the remaining Clone Force 99 has escaped, along with Omega. The Prime Minister burgers her to say nothing until the Empire’s intentions are made clear.
Aboard their ship, Omega reveals that she has not only never been to space, she’s never left the facility. As they plot a course for their next destination, Hunter tells her to strap in, she’s not going to want to miss this view. And then we get the familiar sounds and streaking lights of hyperspace. As her eyes go wide, episode one comes to a conclusion.
I know this is a lot to take in. Trust me, I’m looking forward to shorter episodes. But I hope this recap has been beneficial to you all. And even more so, I hope you enjoyed the show. Fingers crossed, episode two is just as good.
May the Force be with you.