THE BAD BATCH – S1:14 – “War-Mantle”
War-Mantle. It’s the project name for conscripting troopers and ending the use of clones. We heard it briefly mentioned in Rogue One. This third to last episode is starting the arc that this show was created for. We are truly seeing here the Empire transition away from the Republic. We finally see the new conscripted “TK” troopers wearing armor much closer to the stormtrooper armor that we are so used to. In fact, this first generation stormtrooper armor is based on the original concept art for A New Hope. In this episode, the music also becomes more familiar as we hear hints of John Williams’ Death Star themes throughout. We are also left with a great cliffhanger that makes me very excited for next week.
We open, night time on the planet Daro, as a clone trooper is being chased by other troopers. He places a beacon on a downed tree and continues to run as the troopers release hounds to chase him. Eventually he is caught, stunned and dragged away.
On the Batches ship, (the ship is called The Marauder and I honestly can’t recall if I’ve mentioned that before), they are hailed by Rex, who asks them to go to Daro and rescue his clone friend. He says that he is tied up and can’t do it himself. He abruptly cuts the call short when it appears there’s danger near him. Being that they are on a mission for Cid, Hunter is hesitant to take this on. But Echo and Omega convince him otherwise.
On Kamino, Crosshair and Rampart discuss the current operation, which is to remove every viable clone off of Kamino. In Lama Su’s office, he tells Nala Se that the Empire has canceled their contract. Nala Se says that surely they’ll find other clients but Lama Su fears the Empire will destroy them. He tells her to gather essentials and he will make arrangements for their departure.
The Batch land in a forested area on Daro and track the beacon signal the clone trooper left behind. Using his hunting skills, Hunter can see that someone was dragged, so they follow in that direction. It leads them to a mountain that is more than it appears to be. Hunter sends Wrecker and Omega back to the ship, which Omega is not happy about. Hunter, Tech and Echo then go to investigate the mountain. When they get to the top, they see that a military base has been built inside the mountain. Using macro binoculars, Echo sees Clone Commandos and notices that the squad of troopers has updated armor. Hunter and Tech want to head back to the ship and report back to Rex that this is no longer a simple extraction. But Echo reminds them that it isn’t much worse then when they reduced him from Skako Minor (which happened in season seven of The Clone Wars). They radio back to Wrecker and Omega and tell them that they are going into the mountain base and comms will likely be jammed. Omega wants to come with them, but Hunter tells them to stay there and that they are their back up.
Hopping onto an external elevator lift, they ride it down to where they find access into the base. Echo plugs into a wall jack and notices a new trooper designation of TK. He then finds where the captured clone is located and they head off.
They reach the clones cell, taking out a guard of course, and tell the trooper that Rex sent them. The trooper introduces himself as Gregor. (Gregor was one of the older clones we see with Rex in Rebels) They come across a gathered group of troopers so Echo tries to enter a code into a panel to redirect the forces but it triggers an alarm. Gregor tells him clone codes don’t work anymore. As forces arrive they throw a smoke bomb to hide themselves and take out the troopers. Tech removes the helmet from one of the new armored troopers and sees that it is not a clone. Gregor says that it’s one of their replacements. They easily take out the other troopers in their path. Gregor says he trained the new troopers but didn’t teach them everything. They hijack another elevator but when it stops at the top, they are met by a whole squad of troops and a commando. They then start to head back down. Gregor says they’ll take a detour.
As they continue their escape through more troopers and Commandos, Gregor takes a shot to the shoulder. They rest of the group takes out the forces and locks themselves in a control room. They find a shaft that leads to an exhaust port and start climbing through it. Hunter radios Wrecker and Omega for an extraction. They make it to the exit and while waiting for their ship, the Imperials catch up. The ship gets close enough for Tech and Gregor to get aboard, but is being fired on by incoming ships and needs to make another pass. Echo and Hunter are still on the cliff as more troopers keep coming. Tech shoots down the pursuing ships and makes his way back to Echo and Hunter. More ships come in as Echo boards the ship. They start to move away as Hunter leaps for the boarding ramp. He barely grabs a hold but loses his grip, falling through trees to the ground. As a carrier lands nearby him, Hunter orders Tech and the others to get the ship out of there. Omega begs him to order them to come get him, but as he is surrounded, he says he can’t do that and lowers his weapon. The Batch make it into space and go to lightspeed.
On Kamino, in Lama Su’s office, Admiral Rampart enters and brings in Nala Se, who Rampart says was gathering medical personnel to flee Kamino. Lama Su acts surprised and promises she’ll be punished. Looking at Nala Se, Rampart says that a scientist he has a use for, but a politician he does not. With that he tells Lama Su that his services are no longer needed. Nala Se is escorted out and behind a closed door, Lama Su is most likely killed.
The episode ends in the cell block where Gregor was held. Now it holds Hunter. He is approached by Crosshair who says he was hoping for the whole squad, but Hunter will do.