The first season of The Bad Batch is now halfway over, and it’s been better than I could have ever imagined.
That continued in today’s episode, which was one of the finest we’ve seen yet, is filled with tension, and sees the appearance of a very surprising, yet familiar, face!
Let’s dive in to the review – but as always, full spoilers are ahead!
On Kamino, Crosshair reports that Clone Force 99 was spotted on Bracca, and Admiral Rampart sends him and a squad of clones to deal with it – much to the Kaminoans’ chagrin. Meanwhile, on Bracca, Wrecker teaches Omega how to disarm a detonator, even going so far as to make her test it on a ‘live’ one – but when it explodes she realizes it’s just a smoke bomb. Before long, they notice the Scrapper Guild watching them, and Wrecker and Echo stun them – with Wrecker going on an extended pursuit of one of the Guild members. After this ordeal, the squad discusses what their next move should be, and Hunter decides they should recover weapons from the Jedi Venator, which could pay off their debts to Cid.
They move inside the Venator and begin to load up the weapons while Tech gets the ship online and Omega prepares to copy the data from the computers. While they do this, Echo shares with Hunter that they should have gone with Rex, but Hunter insists that he’s on a different path – which doesn’t appear to convince Echo. While on the bridge with Tech, Omega notices the proximity sensor was tripped, and several Imperial shuttles soon arrive. They alert the rest of the crew, and upon confirming that it’s Crosshair, they prepare to escape. But Crosshair and the clones board the Venator, forcing the Bad Batch to sneak around. Tech taps into the ‘regs’ coms and they hear Crosshair order the others to force the squad to the hangar – which causes the Bad Batch to re-direct their path.
They arrive at the weapons deck, where the large cannon turrets are, but Crosshair and the regs surround them, having predicted their course of action. While Hunter and Omega try to reason with Crosshair about the inhibitor chip, Tech and Echo secretly work to get the cannon online. Fed up with talking, Crosshair orders the clones to fire on the kid – but just before they do, the cannon begins to fire, causing the unstable ship to begin to crumble. Hunter springs into action, firing at several clones, while the squad makes a desperate escape. They head through the engine to escape out that way – but again Crosshair is onto them.
Just as the Batch is about to exit the engine, Crosshair fires on them, pinning them back. But as they begin to retreat, the regs turn the engine on, leaving the squad trapped. They come up with a plan to blow up the engine, which will send them falling – but maybe give them a chance to escape. The whole team works to set the explosives, and they detonate them at the last moment. The engine’s blast catches Crosshair in its wake, leaving him scarred and injured, while part of the engine falls with Clone Force 99 inside it. This causes the group to be separated; Hunter is with Omega, and he tells the others to meet back at the ship.
Hunter and Omega arrive back at the ship first and discover that the clones have already been taken care of – meaning that someone else is there. Cad Bane then emerges from the ship (along with Todo 360) and is after Omega. He and Hunter have a duel, and when they draw their blasters and fire, Hunter hits Todo 360’s leg off… but Bane hits Hunter square in the chest. As Omega runs to him to see if he’s ok, Bane stuns her. When the rest of the squad arrives they find Hunter unconscious and Omega gone. As Hunter comes to the rest of the squad get him on the ship while fending off clone forces, and they take off. Hunter informs the rest of the squad that a bounty hunter has Omega and that they have to get her back.
From the ending of last week’s episode we knew that the Empire was coming, and that’s exactly where this episode picked up – on Kamino, seeing the Empire send Crosshair after the Bad Batch. But this episode also answered a question we’ve been wondering for a while now: who is hiring the bounty hunters to go after Omega? It’s the Kaminoans.
Lama Su tries to convince Rampart to bring in the squad alive, but after he refuses to do so, the Kaminoans operate behind his back. Talking with Nala Se later, Lama Su mentions how one of the bounty hunters needs to get Omega – and decides to call in more help. That help winds up being Cad Bane (more on him in just a minute!), but while it’s not explicitly confirmed, this certainly seems to indicate that the Kaminoans were the ones to hire Fennec Shand to hunt the Bad Batch – and it implies that there are other bounty hunters who have been hired too (which makes me wonder whether we’ll see a version of the Cad Bane and Boba Fett arc in this series after all?). It was always the most likely option that the Kaminoans were behind it, but it’s still good to get it confirmed. And it continues to build the intrigue of just what they need Omega for; we know that it’s for their next steps in order to survive as they seek to create a new generation of clones, but what’s so special about Omega?
Speaking of Omega, it’s great to see how she’s more and more seamlessly fitting in with the squad. While her bond with Hunter and Wrecker is especially strong, the whole squad has come to see her as one of their own. And it was cool to see how, when the whole squad is surrounded by enemy forces and as Hunter tries to reason with Crosshair, it was Omega who stood by his side and spoke up, trying to persuade Crosshair about the inhibitor chip. Then after the cannons begin exploding and the rest of the squad jumps into action, so does Omega, pulling out her weapon and firing on clones. She’s totally part of the team now – which makes the ending all the more heartbreaking.
But before we even get to the ending, this episode is packed with tons of tension and action throughout. From the moment Crosshair shows up (and it’s even building before that), this episode has a desperate feel, where we realize that the Bad Batch is in trouble and just trying to escape. Every time they try to do that, Crosshair is onto them. It’s great to get to see the Jedi Venator again (and the sound of the ship’s cannons again, from Revenge of the Sith), but Crosshair is always one step ahead of the others. It speaks to how having one of their own as their enemy raises the stakes, as Crosshair knows what to expect. And this all culminates in the ordeal in the engines, where the Bad Batch is literally trapped. This whole episode is desperate, tense, dark, and packed – and it’s fantastic. It’s great to see Crosshair again, and there’s zero wavering with him, as evidenced by him ordering the clones to fire on Omega. But he’s badly injured in the engine episode and when we last see him, he’s heavily bandaged and wrapped, with just one eye visible. It raises the question of just how permanent these injuries are, as it doesn’t exactly seem good for a sharpshooter. Perhaps that is the avenue through which the Bad Batch has a chance to get through to him? But I also wonder whether we’re fast approaching a time where the squad might have to make a decision whether to rescue Omega or save Crosshair…
Because Omega is gone. Taken. And now we see how the storylines of this season are beginning to all come together, which should make for a packed and thrilling second half of the season. The Bad Batch now knows their mission, and it’s to rescue Omega from a bounty hunter they don’t know, hired by an unknown client. Maybe they’ll even call in some help – like, say, from Rex?
But enough about all of this, because what you’ve been waiting for is this: CAD BANE IS BACK! Several people associated with the show were teasing on social media yesterday an exciting and surprising reveal, but I still didn’t expect Bane! But I love it! Making his first appearance since the fourth season of The Clone Wars, Cad Bane is called in by the Kaminoans to retrieve Omega. So not only have they called in a relative newcomer to the scene in Fennec Shand, but they’ve also now called in perhaps the galaxy’s best bounty hunter during this period. The way they introduce Bane in this episode is great, as we see the clones laying on the ground and realize that someone is there – and then we see him! The music is very Western, and then we get a showdown duel between Bane and Hunter. I didn’t think that Bane actually killed Hunter, but they’re not messing around either – Hunter is shot straight in the chest, leaving him unconscious. Even for those unfamiliar with The Clone Wars, Cad Bane is instantly established as a major threat. The whole duel and Western feel was fantastic. I love Cad Bane and I’m glad he’s back, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.
This show is off to an incredible start, and I think it’s found its footing faster than any of the other animated shows that have come before it. That should make for a thrilling second half of this season! But this episode was great; it was one of the best yet.
My grade: 10/10