The first season of The Bad Batch has come to an end, and what a first season it was!
I think it was probably the strongest first series of any Star Wars animated show, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here! There’s some slight teases in this episode about what’s to come, but for the most part, the season finale was all about the squad trying to survive after the dramatic events of last week’s episode: namely, the destruction of Tipoca City on Kamino.
So this episode was part two of that thrilling season finale, with this one called “Kamino Lost.” Let’s dive into a review, and as always, full spoilers are ahead!
This episode picks up where the last one ended, with the Empire raining down fire on Tipoca City and destroying it, leaving the Bad Batch trapped. As the city collapses and sinks into the sea, the group is separated, with Omega, AZI, and Crosshair trapped in a room that’s quickly filling with water. Crosshair is pinned by debris, and Omega frantically tries to free him while the rest of the squad tries to get the door open to reach them. Omega rescues Crosshair, and the others get the door open just in time to keep the others from drowning. Together again, the group hurries through the hallways, taking a moment to survey the destruction of the cloning facilities. Before long, the city reaches the ocean floor, and the squad heads to their old barracks, which seems to be one of the only places not taking on water.
Crosshair shares some words with his old team, and then Omega tries to get through to him but fails, saying that she once thought it was the chip that caused him to act like this, but she was wrong. It’s soon discovered that the tunnels that can take them to the Havoc Marauder are right beneath them, so they cut a hole and begin carefully walking through the tunnels, trying to prevent it from cracking any further. With the power to the city off, however, the tunnels are no longer protected – leaving it open to attack from a giant sea creature. AZI flies ahead and gets the power restored just in time to save the rest, but in the process the power short-circuits and can’t be turned on again.
They make it to Nala Se’s secret cloning lab, where they were born, only to discover that the tunnel to the Marauder has been destroyed – leaving them trapped. They make a last-ditch plan, hoping that it’ll work: the group plants explosives and climbs into medical capsules, which will float them to the surface. To ensure they evade the sinking debris, AZI uses the last of his depleting power to guide the capsules. It works for three of the four capsules, but the one with Omega in it is hit by debris on the way up and begins to sink. AZI goes after her, rescuing her, but as he pushes the capsule toward the surface to safety his power gives out, causing him to fall away and sink to the depths. Omega makes the split-second decision and tells Hunter she’s going after him, opening her capsule and swimming after the droid. Hunter prepares to jump in after her, but Crosshair holds up his weapon… only to fire it into the water with a line, hooking AZI and pulling him and Omega to the surface.
The group rows their capsules to the platform where the Marauder is and climb up. They look on at the shouldering ruins of the city, and Hunter offers Crosshair the chance to join them. He declines, and the rest of the group takes off in the ship, leaving Crosshair behind on the platform, alone. Meanwhile, on a luscious, mountainous planet, an Imperial shuttle with Nala Se and some Clone Commandos arrives, and an Imperial scientist greets Nala Se, saying the Empire has big things in store for her.
Starting with the big picture, I really wish that this finale hadn’t been split up into two parts across two weeks but had instead aired together. This episode was a really good one, but it felt like a bit of a letdown after last week’s terrific and high-stakes story, and I think if they were told together that would have easily solved any lingering issues. I’m a HUGE fan of the weekly release format as opposed to binge-dropping the entire season at once, but a two-part finale that’s openly intended to be taken together could air in the same week. That’s probably my main gripe with this episode: it didn’t really feel like a season finale. It felt maybe like a mid-season finale, but not the episode to wrap things up and get us excited about the next season. I think taking these two parts together, however, does a better job at that.
What I did appreciate about this episode, however, was the fact that it was almost purely focused on the Bad Batch. For much of this season we’ve been getting weekly cameos, and I think it’s worked really well and been handled really well. And last week’s episode brought the squad back with Crosshair, playing into the larger galaxy-wide events taking place. This week, those galactic implications were shrunk, and what we were left with is the five members of the Bad Batch, Crosshair, and AZI. That’s it. And I thought that was an excellent choice, giving our main squad the chance to interact and escape together, without much care for the outside world to occupy our minds. And even with those “smaller” stakes, this episode rarely gave us a chance to catch our breaths, since the squad was in almost constant danger. They would get past one obstacle only to find another, with each one posing a serious threat. With a second season on the way we knew they would survive, but we didn’t exactly know who would survive.
I also continue to be impressed with the way Crosshair is being handled in this series. I figured he’d re-join the squad here, but he declined. I didn’t expect it to go that direction, but consider me very intrigued to see where it goes from here. He claims he’s had his chip removed (though he’s still having headaches and even mentions that good soldiers follow orders here…), so this is his choice. Omega even says as much: she thought it was the chip that made him act like this, but she was wrong. Wrecker is actually the one to have the most heartfelt conversation with Crosshair, saying that he never came for them either. Wrecker says they would have welcomed him if he had. This is the other side to Crosshair’s accusation in the last episode, where he says that they never came back for him (which was true!): Crosshair never came back to them, either (which is also true!). This conversation helped me realize that it’s not just the Bad Batch’s fault for leaving Crosshair behind (I was probably too hard on them last week), as from their perspective, Crosshair did the exact same thing. Both sides would have welcomed the other back, but neither side wants that to happen without the other coming to embrace their point of view. So we see that they’re really in the same spot, just with different ideologies.
Tech claims that Crosshair has always been like that and it’s just part of his personality, which Crosshair views as sticking up for him. But it’s a conversation between Crosshair and Hunter, with the rest of the group present, that really hits at the main point. Crosshair says that it’s the time of the Empire now, and that they will rule the whole galaxy – and that he’ll be a part of it. In this sense, Crosshair is right: the Empire is rising, and it will control the galaxy. He’s right to identify the shifting power. But what he doesn’t see is that it doesn’t make the Empire right. Hunter says that Crosshair will only ever be a number to the Empire, and he’s right too. After all, the Empire fired on the city with Crosshair in it! That’s something that doesn’t seem to get through to Crosshair, but of course any of us more familiar with the Empire knows that Hunter is right. I’m still expecting that at some point in this series Crosshair will realize it too, but it hasn’t happened yet – something that surprises me. But major credit to the showrunners for leaving Crosshair as a sort of antagonist – although friendly to the heroes – into the second season. And on the subject of him being somewhat friendly, the scene where he saved Omega and AZI was fantastic.
Speaking of AZI, it was truly emotional to see him sacrifice himself to save Omega – and his sacrifice isn’t lessened by the fact that it’s not the end of the story for him, because as far as he knows, it is. It was heartbreaking to see him say goodbye and drift away into the ocean depths as Omega stood by, helpless, watching. And then she did something unexpected: she went after him. Maybe it shouldn’t have been unexpected to me, though, because she refuses to leave a friend behind. She’s shown that all season, including in this episode. Her whole world has just been destroyed, so she’s going to try to save one of the few friends she has left. And I’m really glad that AZI will apparently be joining the crew for the second season, as he’s fantastic. This show didn’t really have a droid companion this season (no offense to Gonky…), but now it does, staying true to form with Star Wars storytelling. And I’m excited that AZI will be a part of the team.
The other thing that is worth discussing from this episode is the closing scene. Up front, I’ll be honest and say that the most confusing part of the episode to me is why this was the final scene, because it really didn’t feel like it should be the ending of a season finale. It’s Nala Se arriving at a secret Imperial facility. But I do think there’s enough in here, at least subtly, to give us some exciting teases for what’s to come. The most obvious is that this is probably all going to tie into other Star Wars material. The Imperial scientist who greets Nala Se is wearing the exact same uniform as Doctor Pershing from The Mandalorian, and we know that The Mandalorian hinted at the Empire’s cloning secrets too. Having Nala Se lead the Imperial cloning efforts would explain why these scientists bear the Kaminoan cloning emblem, and immediately raise the stakes, both story-wise and emotionally. But what are they cloning? I think it would be awesome to see this be the avenue through which we learn more about the Zillo Beast project! But probably even more likely is that this will all tie in to Palpatine’s interests in cloning, which would help tie the whole saga together.
And so now’s where I REALLY put on the speculation cap, as this could be totally off-base… but that mysterious (gorgeous) planet does look like it could be Mount Tantiss to me. The mountain has only appeared in legends, first appearing in the Thrawn trilogy, as the location of one of Palpatine’s secret storehouses – but was also home to a cloned dark Jedi. I’m probably way off here, but I think this planet actually being Mount Tantiss, on Wayland (and the planet has already been made canon), would make this scene a lot more interesting.
The other thing is that the Clone Commandos again showed up. I wondered if they’d reveal Delta Squad here, but either way, with the Commandos receiving another scene, I think Delta Squad will probably show up at some point.
So with all of that, I think this scene is probably setting up far more than we realize right now, but from our vantage point now, it seems like a strange one to end on. Really strange. But as a whole, I really enjoyed this episode, and I can’t wait to see where season two takes us!
My grade: 8.8/10