The Bad Batch returned today with the second episode of the series, now settling in to the normal Friday release after the premiere dropped on May the 4th.
And where the premiere gave us an understanding of the larger implications, the galaxy-wide ramifications, and the plot-stirring impetus, this episode gave us a more intimate look at what’s in store for the Bad Batch in a rapidly changing galaxy – all the while bringing back a familiar face from The Clone Wars.
Let’s dive into the review of “Cut and Run” – but as always, be warned that full spoilers are ahead!
The Bad Batch arrives on Saleucami to find an old friend, and upon stepping out of the shuttle, Omega is overwhelmed with awe at the planet – at the sunshine, and the dirt, as she bends down to feel it. She’s experiencing life away from Kamino for the first time, and is in awe. The crew makes their way to a remote home (one we’ve seen before…), and Wrecker triggers a booby trap – bringing Cut Lawquane and his wife Suu into the picture. Reunited with their friends, the Bad Batch is welcomed inside, where Cut mentions that Rex had been there the day before. This leads to a conversation about the inhibitor chips, and Cut, Tech, and Omega fill in the others on the details of this mysterious implant.
Cut mentions that with the way things are, clones are sure to find them, so they’re planning to leave the planet on the next shuttle. He and Hunter venture into the city, disguised, only to learn that the Empire requires anyone traveling off-world to have a chain code. They return to the home to tell the others. Meanwhile, Omega winds up playing outside with the Lawquane girls, trying to figure out how to play catch. She ventures beyond the fence to retrieve the ball, but a Nexu approaches, ready to pounce. Hunter and Suu spring into action, as Hunter rushes forward to confront the creature while Suu fires at it from atop the home, driving it away. Hunter responds harshly toward Omega, but Cut reprimands him, telling him that she’s not a soldier. Cut comforts the young girl, saying that the important thing is that she’s ok.
Omega spends some time alone in the ship, unbeknownst to Tech and Echo, who purposefully stow away on the ship while they have the Empire tow it away – much to the anger and frustration of Hunter. But Tech, Echo, and Omega execute the plan, as Echo infiltrates an Imperial station to retrieve cards for chain codes, while Tech creates chain codes for the Lawquane family. Omega then sneaks around, delivering them to the family. It is then that Hunter tells her that she must go with the family, as they can provide for her. Hunter leaves, returning to help the rest of the Bad Batch fight their way off the planet. The Lawquane family boards the transport and leave, but just as the Bad Batch is about to leave, Omega shows up. They help her onto the ship and escape.
Aboard the ship, Omega talks with Hunter, saying that she still has a lot to learn, but wants to be with them. Hunter confesses that he has a lot to learn too, but that if she wants to be there, that’s where she will stay.
After fleeing Kamino, the Bad Batch does in fact go exactly where we expected: to Cut Lawquane. We don’t learn how they know each other, but it’s very clearly established that they have a relationship – one that doesn’t just seem to be an, “oh yeah we met one time” type of relationship. Wrecker seems to be like a fun uncle to the kids, while Hunter remarks to Suu after rescuing Omega that he forgot how good of a shot she was. So they clearly know each other fairly well. And honestly, that’s enough for this show – they don’t have to tell us everything about their relationship, just that they have one. It works great.
And it’s really great to see Cut and Suu again, after seeing them in The Clone Wars! I’ve seen some people wondering why Cut didn’t execute Order 66, but it seems pretty straightforward to me: he would have had no way of receiving the message from Palpatine to do so. So of course he didn’t execute the Order, and now I wonder what Rex told him. That name-drop obviously caught the attention of Echo, and we learned that Rex had been there just the day before. So I’m sure that we’ll be seeing Rex appear very soon. I’m really glad that we’re getting to see these clones who we’re already familiar with (like Cut in this episode and Rex before long), and it hasn’t felt forced. Of course a group of clones looking to lay low would seek out a clone deserter who has been doing that for years.
Speaking of the clones, it is fascinating – and somewhat chilling – to see the “regs” in this episode, working for the Empire. Their armor is devoid of any markings, making them all look identical. And their communication is a lot more reminiscent of stormtroopers than clones, as there’s no banter, and it’s all rather emotionless business. I assume that means that the chip can take over even on non-Order 66 matters, and these clones are very different than the clones we grew to love. All of this contributes to the reality of the changing galaxy, as the Empire is wasting no time implementing changes. In this episode, that particularly is apparent with the chain codes (something referenced in The Mandalorian, too!). Basically, by assigning every person a chain code, the Empire could keep track of everyone. And anyone looking to leave the planet must have a chain code, and that’s what drives the plot in this episode, as the Lawquane family needs chain codes to travel, but can’t register with the Empire. This happened very fast, but that makes sense: Palpatine has been planning for years for this moment, so of course he’s going to be prepared. It also sheds a bit more light on The Mandalorian, which references chain codes a decent amount, and explains why there wasn’t a chain code for Grogu – as, being a Force-sensitive child, he probably was never registered with the Empire and kept hidden.
Regarding The Mandalorian, this episode felt very similar to the show in some ways, particularly to the fourth episode of the series. In this episode, Hunter takes his crew to a remote farm world and wants to leave the kid with the newfound family, learning what it means to actually care for a child, but in the end, that doesn’t happen. But I don’t see that similarity as a problem – I mean, a soldier having to protect a kid isn’t exactly rare storytelling, nor is it unique to Mando – and I don’t think it will necessarily continue moving forward. In fact, I think part of the reason this episode happened so early is so that we can begin moving beyond some of the similarities. The Bad Batch did need to learn what it takes to care for a child, and so this episode absolutely needed to happen – and Cut was a perfect choice to help them see that. But Omega isn’t Grogu, and so I assume the stories will diverge from here.
And so, yes, all of this leads us to Omega. The main heartbeat of the episode was the relationship between Hunter and Omega, and it also seems to be the most important development. It was absolutely wonderful how this episode took a bit of time to show us the awe and amazement Omega was experiencing, being away from Kamino for the first time. All she’s known is a rainy world covered with water, and the station where the Kaminoan cloners reside. Here, she feels dirt and the sunlight, and she takes it all in. It’s great. And then later, she discovers what it’s like to just play as kids – something that, due to the cloning facilities and the accelerated aging and all that, I doubt she has experienced before either. The music contributes to this sense of playful wonder, and I’m so glad that the show spent some time exploring it. But Hunter also comes to realize that this kid isn’t a soldier, and that he can’t treat her like one. In this regard, Cut serves as the model for him. So by the end of the episode, they’re together again, and this time it’s permanent. Again, we needed this episode, because now Omega and the crew are solidified. But the more they play up Hunter as the father figure, the more concerned I get for him, since we know that father figures don’t exactly have a long history of surviving the story in Star Wars.
But that’s far down the road. For now, the more immediate takeaway is that Hunter and Omega both recognize how much they have left to learn, but are committed to learning it together. Omega is a part of the Bad Batch – and it seems that’s true in more ways than one. Midway through the episode, Cut asks Hunter what’s different about Omega. Cut says that the Kaminoans always have a purpose behind what they do, suggesting that Omega’s genetic modifications were purposeful, just like the rest of the crew. That’s something we speculated about last week, too, as we don’t know what the purpose was with her. Hunter has enhanced senses and tactical ability, Wrecker is exceptionally strong, Tech can slice and hack pretty much anything, and Crosshair is an expert marksman. What about Omega? Again, as I speculated last week, my best guess is that she’s Force-sensitive, which would immediately raise the intrigue of what the Kaminoans were attempting to do – and how Palpatine figures into all of it.
We’ll learn more about Omega as the season goes on. This was a good episode, and while it slowed down and narrowed the focus of the series, it also provided us with a framework for what to expect: the Bad Batch is now caring for this kid, and she’s a part of them. Where they go, she goes. So where are they going next? We have no clue – though I wouldn’t be surprised if Rex shows up before long.
My grade: 8.8/10