Star Wars: The Bad Batch: “Finale Part 1” review!

The finale of The Bad Batch’s first season is upon us, broken up into two parts, the first of which aired today and the second which airs next week.

And simply put, this episode is the show at its best, featuring emotional stakes, thrilling action, and major reveals. Let’s dive into the review – but as always, full spoilers for this week’s episode are ahead!

Here’s the review for part one of the finale, “Return to Kamino.”

SUMMARY:

Hunter is in custody, being transported by Crosshair to Kamino. Crosshair activates Hunter’s com, intending to lure the rest of the squad to them, knowing that they will surely come. Back on Ord Mantell, the rest of the Batch are repairing their shuttle, preparing to go after Hunter, when they see that his com has activated.

Arriving at Kamino, Omega directs them to a secret landing pad known only to a select few, and from there they take the tunnel system to Nala Se’s secret lab. There, Omega tells the others that she was born in this lab, and that each of the batch’s genetic modifications happened there too. They also discover that AZI-3 is hiding in the lab, and he reveals to the that the Empire has moved operations off-world. Together, they make their way through the eerily empty hallways, tracking Hunter’s signal, and realize that he’s in the training room.

Knowing it’s a trap, Echo, Tech, and Wrecker go ahead, ordering Omega and AZI-3 to stay behind and, if needed, return to the ship to contact Rex for help. The three clones enter the training room and are immediately surrounded by Crosshair’s squad, and see Crosshair holding Hunter at gunpoint. Hunter and Crosshair share a passionate and emotional conversation, with Crosshair trying to get Hunter and the rest of the squad to join him and finally be all together again. To prove his intentions, Crosshair shoots and kills his own squad members, leaving just him and the Bad Batch together. Hunter refuses to join Crosshair, and at that point a bunch of the training droids spring into action, having been activated by Omega and AZI-3 in an attempt to help. Hunter and Crosshair begin fighting while the rest of the squad deals with the droids, but soon Crosshair begins helping the Bad Batch, with the whole squad fighting alongside one another once again.

Admiral Rampart orders the remaining Imperial forces to leave the city, and Grand Moff Tarkin gives the permission to fire when ready. Rampart orders the Imperial cruisers to move in position to fire on the city. Back in the training facility, the Bad Batch finishes off the droids, and they offer Crosshair the chance to join them, saying it’s just his inhibitor chip making him act this way. He reveals that his chip has been removed and that this is who he is. Hunter stuns him, and they carry Crosshair out as they prepare to leave.

As they are trying to flee the city, however, the Empire fires on it. The Batch – and Omega in particular – are horrified at the destruction it causes and are forced to retreat back inside one of the buildings as the Imperial bombardment devastates the city, causing it to burn and sink.

REVIEW:

This episode was the first of a two-part finale, and it’s going to be a long week to have to wait!! But this episode was absolutely fantastic! There are obviously some pretty massive things that happen, but at the heart of the episode is the relationship between Hunter and Crosshair, so let’s start there.

This episode was incredibly fast-paced and there was a lot that happened, but everything else seemed to be in service of the dynamic between Hunter and Crosshair, which is exactly how it should be and exactly what so much has been building up to this season. Crosshair is clearly hurt by what he perceives to be his squad’s – and thus particularly Hunter’s – betrayal. They left him behind. They didn’t come for him. And the thing that makes this all the more of a gut punch is this: he’s right. I mean, just last episode, Hunter made the decision to go rescue a clone they’d never met, despite not even knowing the situation, and that’s how Hunter was captured. And then this episode, he knew that the rest of the squad would come try to save Hunter, despite it being an obvious trap. There was never any such effort with Crosshair. Nothing. Granted, we also know that the squad didn’t have much choice in the series premiere and had to leave him behind, but they never made any effort to save him.

And that’s what is so beautifully poignant about this episode: Crosshair is, in many ways, right. That doesn’t excuse his actions, but it does help to explain them. And it seems that his plan in this episode is to bring the whole squad together in order to try to unite them once more. He wants to return to his family, but he thinks the only way to do so is to bring them to his side, to have them join the Empire. So we get a moment like The Empire Strikes Back or The Last Jedi (or even the Siege of Mandalore), with Crosshair extending an invitation to join them. He says that he wants to give the squad what they never gave him: a chance. Hunter declines the offer, but makes a counter: if Crosshair joins them, they can help them. They say that it’s just his inhibitor chip that’s making him do this, but that’s when a major reveal happens: Crosshair says his chip has already been removed. This is who he is; it’s not the chip making him act this way. Assuming that’s true, I think it’s a great development. Even though his chip did activate, he’s not being controlled by it any longer. He’s being controlled, motivated, by something else, and it’s the hurt he experienced through his perceived rejection by his squad. In other words, it’s not the chip making him act like this – it’s the actions of the Bad Batch. That’s a very interesting development. (Of course, I do find it interesting that Crosshair rubs his head later on, almost as if he’s experiencing something with the chip, so there could be more to this story, but for now I’m assuming that it’s true and hoping it is)

So anyway, my point is that Crosshair is right, but his actions in response to it are wrong. That’s what makes this situation so complex and such compelling storytelling. Hunter seems to recognize that Crosshair is right too, and that’s why at the end of the episode Hunter says they’re not going to leave him behind this time. This dynamic between the two of them was fantastic, and so well-done. But it does leave me a bit fearful for the finale, though, as I wonder if Hunter is going to try to save Crosshair… even if that means the cost of his own life…

Back to this week’s episode, though, the moment where Crosshair teamed up with his old squad to fight the training droids was so great, and Kevin Kiner blared the Bad Batch theme in a triumphant manner like we haven’t heard in a while. This training facility was where they last worked together as a team, and now they’re brought together again, fighting alongside each other. It’s so great, and so rewarding too. Crosshair hasn’t turned, but he’s working alongside the heroes to face a common foe. (And even before that, Crosshair’s move to take out all of his troopers in one shot was excellent)

But let’s move on to another topic, briefly touching on the reveal Omega gave. She introduced the squad (and us) to Nala Se’s secret lab, revealing that this is where she was born. But it also seems to be where the Bad Batch’s genetic modifications were (purposefully) made, but they were soon sent off to be with the rest of the clones. Omega says that she watched all of this happen, so it sounds like she was left behind as the Bad Batch was sent away, leaving her alone. That sheds more light on why she so looks up to the squad from the first time she sees them, and why she really is one of them. But it also reminds us that we don’t know everything the Kaminoans were trying to do, so I’m curious to find more about that, and hopefully we will in the second season. Because Nala Se has been taken by the Empire, along with the Kaminoan cloning equipment, so it sounds like the Empire’s efforts with cloning are most definitely not over.

Their cloning efforts on Kamino, however, are done. And that’s because the final sequence of this episode features the stunning, tragic, and gut-wrenching destruction of Tipoca City. The fascinating city first seen in Attack of the Clones (and this episode featured the fantastic Kamino theme heard then, which was great!) and then later seen extensively in The Clone Wars has been a central planet from the prequel trilogy, appearing in tons of video games and other material, quickly becoming a fan favorite. Many fans have wondered why we have never seen anything about Kamino in the original trilogy era, and now we know: because the Empire laid waste to the city. The shots of the city sitting empty moments before destruction were devastating, and then Tarkin gave the order (saying once again “you may fire when ready”), destroying the city. Omega’s reaction to this, seeing her home blown up, was the reaction of many Star Wars fans, I’m sure. And the episode ends with the Bad Batch trapped in a burning and sinking city. They surely will escape (well, at least some of them…) next week, but it doesn’t make this moment any less significant or heartbreaking.

It’s hard to really evaluate this episode since it’s meant to be a two-parter, but I’ll just say this: part one was good enough to make it all worth it. This was fantastic, and I can’t wait for next week!

My grade: 10/10

2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Bad Batch: “Finale Part 1” review!

  1. I found this episode to be way more emotional than expected. Like you said, it was really painful to hear what Crosshair had to say about being left behind and his motivation to stay with the Empire. The impact was even greater because it’s the first time in the whole season where he’s had a chance to really talk. Up until now, we’ve only been able to speculate based on facial expression/body language and because of this, I think most people were starting to see Crosshair as a 2-dimensional caricature, the prototypical Imperial villain, which he definitely isn’t. Now I am worried that they will kill him off in the finale, as “selfless sacrifice” is the usual route for redeeming characters in Star Wars. That would be a real tragedy.

    (As an aside, I perceived Crosshair’s motivation to remain loyal to be Empire to be based mainly on his calculation for survival: he knows the regular clones are being replaced, but has always viewed himself to be superior – something he voiced back in CW Season 7. He believes he can save both himself and his brothers, by reuniting as a squad and proving their skills are indispensable to the Empire. This speaks to him missing their past togetherness, and being afraid and unable to adapt to the new reality. After all, he seems to be in denial over the fact that Rampart views ALL clones as “less than impressive” and expendable.)

    My family and I were debating whether Crosshair was telling the truth about his inhibitor chip, and we feel he’s either lying about it or else the original one has been removed (following Episode 8, where he’s injured) and Rampart/Tarkin have replaced it with another one. Why would the Empire give up a pre-existing means for control, especially if it delivers a mindlessly loyal soldier? Another possibility we thought of is that he’s been so psychologically abused and damaged at this point, he can’t disengage from his loyalty to the Empire.

    Taking the bigger picture view, I thought this episode was a fantastic meditation on why people choose to support or enable a dictatorship/autocratic government, and the importance of talking to people on the opposite side of one’s political leanings, to hear why they believe what they do. I was reminded of Nicholas Kristof’s essays in the New York Times, urging liberal-leaning readers to try talking to conservatives, to narrow the gap between the two sides.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s