The first season of The Bad Batch has come to an end, and I am convinced that it’s the strongest overall first season of any Star Wars animated show to date, which is high praise.
This show looks amazing, it’s fun and exciting, and it tells some significant and compelling stories. There were very few episodes that I didn’t find myself really enjoying, but some of them stood out more than others. So I decided to make a list of my five favorite episodes, since today is our first Friday without the show since April! This endeavor proved a pretty difficult challenge, however, since I loved the whole season!
But here’s my five favorite episodes, along with a few honorable mentions. You’ll find by clicking on the link in the heading of each one, you’ll be taken to my review of that episode, in case you want to read more of my thoughts from the day the episode aired!
Honorable Mention: “Bounty Lost” (1.09)
Omega has been taken by the bounty hunter Cad Bane, who was hired to bring the kid to the Kaminoans. He heads to a rendezvous point, where he’s confronted by Fennec Shand, another bounty hunter, and where Omega has to fend for herself and prove her abilities. I love this episode for a number of reasons. It showcases Omega’s abilities, as she’s left without the Bad Batch to protect or save her, and so the episode gives us a real focus on her. But it also gives us some great action with Cad Bane and Fennec Shand, which is great as well.
Honorable Mention: Reunion (1.08)
Crosshair and the Empire track the Bad Batch to Bracca, creating dire circumstances for the squad as they run into obstacle after obstacle in a desperate effort to escape. Ultimately, the bounty hunter Cad Bane gets the best of Hunter, taking Omega and leaving the Batch defeated. This episode had some great moments with Crosshair, and he was able to anticipate the steps that the Bad Batch would take to try to escape. In all of this, it showcased how dangerous it is for the squad to have one of their own hunting them, and it showed how they face trouble from all angles – even from the stunning yet epic return of Cad Bane. Everything about his appearance here was perfect.
5. Rescue on Ryloth (1.12)
The second-part of the Ryloth story, Hera Syndulla contacts the Bad Batch for help rescuing her parents, Cham and Eleni, from from Imperial custody. The Batch reluctantly agrees, helping Hera attack the Imperial base and rescue the Twi’lek captives – thanks to some help from Captain Howzer. The action sequences here were great, as was the heart behind it all. Seeing Hera again was great (including her getting the chance to fly!), but the highlight of the episode was Howzer standing up to the other clones.
4. Battle Scars (1.07)
Captain Rex tracks down the Bad Batch, but upon learning that they have not had their inhibitor chips removed, he has them rendezvous with him at an old Republic cruiser. The group heads to the cruiser’s medical bay, but before they can remove the chips, Wrecker turns on the squad, executing Order 66. They manage to subdue him, and the Batch subsequently each have their chips removed. This episode has Rex, so that’s pretty much enough said, right? I loved seeing him show up again, and it tied in so well to the storyline in The Clone Wars and the larger storyline with the inhibitor chips. Wrecker executing this order had been foreshadowed for several episodes, but him turning on the others was as heartbreaking as we feared – especially when he went up against Omega.
3. War-Mantle (1.14)
The Bad Batch is sent by Rex to rescue an imprisoned clone, who is later revealed to be Gregor. The Batch stealthily infiltrates a secret Imperial facility, where they find Clone Commandos leading squads of enlisted recruits. As they rescue Gregor and attempt to escape, the Batch encounters fierce resistance and improbable odds, resulting in Hunter being left behind and captured by the Empire. I know this is saying A LOT, but I think this might be my favorite episode of the season visually, as it’s simply gorgeous. But it’s also incredibly interesting, seeing Gregor, the Clone Commandos, and more about Project War-Mantle, all in addition to some high-stakes action sequences that results in quite the cliffhanger leading into the two-part season finale.
2. Aftermath (1.01)
The pilot episode was a 70-minute special, and it lived up to all the hype – and exceeded it. We meet up with the Bad Batch at the very end of the Clone Wars, re-living Order 66 in all its heartbreaking effect. The Batch struggles with all of this, including the transition to the Empire, which escalates the tension between Crosshair and the group. They also meet Omega, a young girl who has quite an affinity with them, and through a series of events Crosshair turns on his friends while Omega joins them, setting in motion the rest of the season. This episode contains truly stunning visuals (just like the rest of the series), thrilling action sequences, and tons of intrigue and significance as we see the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. This episode is totally formative to the rest of the series, and it’s also really interesting, fun, and exciting.
1. Return to Kamino (1.15)
The first part of the two-part finale, the Bad Batch returns to Kamino in an attempt to rescue Hunter, who is in the custody of Crosshair – who plans to use Hunter to lure the others into a trap. Crosshair gives the others a chance to join him, but Omega releases a series of training droids, prompting Crosshair to join forces with the rest of the squad once again to fight back. While they do so, the Empire pulls their forces off the planet and bombards the city, destroying Tipoca City – with the Bad Batch still in it. This episode sets up the season finale, but I think this is actually the best episode of the season. There are once again high stakes, and it leads to one of the most thrilling moments of the whole series so far, when Crosshair finally teams up with his old squad again (as the Bad Batch theme finally returns in full triumph). But more than that, it focuses on Hunter and Crosshair, giving us some genuinely compelling dialogue and scenes between the two of them. And to top it all off, it ends with a massive moment in the Star Wars universe, as a planet we all know and love, Kamino, is decimated. I loved the whole season, but I think this is probably the show at its very best.