Star Wars: The Bad Batch: “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences” review!

Somehow we’ve already reached the midseason point of The Bad Batch season two, and it seems that the season is just flying by.

To mark the midseason, we got a double-feature of the series today, with episodes 7 and 8 being released simultaneously on Disney+, and the two episodes combine into a thrilling political story that carries some big stakes in the Star Wars galaxy. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that these episodes, taken together, amount to some of the very best stuff we’ve seen in Star Wars animation, period.

So let’s dive in to our review of these two episodes, “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences”, and as always, there are full spoilers ahead.


At 79’s, the clone bar on Coruscant, two clones discuss what happened to Kamino. Cade tells Slip that he won’t stand for the conspiracy any longer and is about to go public with it. He’s killed by a sniper outside the bar, but Slip. manages to escape an assassination attempt on him as well. Meanwhile, the Imperial Senate debates Admiral Rampart’s proposed Defense Recruitment Bill, which would phase out the clone army and replace them with enlisted recruits. A few Senators, such as those representing the Banking Clan, advocate in favor of it, but Senators Bail Organa, Tyranna Palmo, and Riyo Chuchi argue against it. Chuchi insists that the bill should be tabled until they can ensure proper benefits for the clone veterans who served them during the war.

After the session of the Senate, Mas Amdedda warns Rampart that he’d better be able to close the deal. Chuchi visits with clones at 79’s, hearing how she could best help to provide for what they need. Afterward, Slip pulls her aside and tells her of the conspiracy on Kamino. This troubles her, and with some help from Bail Organa, she continues to look into it. But at a meeting with Slip, who is meeting a contact to get off-world, the assassin ambushes them. He kills Slip, and then eventually kills Chuchi’s guards. But Slip’s contact arrives before the assassin can kill the Senator, revealing himself to be Captain Rex. He stuns the assassin, only to discover that it was another clone, a self-proclaimed “believer.” The clone kills himself before revealing anything.

Rex calls the Bad Batch, asking for their help. They arrive on Coruscant to hear the plan: Slip had told Chuchi that all the evidence needed was on Rampart’s ship, which is being retro-fitted. Chuchi and Omega head to the Senate, and they wind up talking with retired Kaminoan Senator Halle Burtoni to get testimony against Rampart. She is initially unwilling to cooperate, but upon discovering Omega is a clone, she agrees, confessing that Rampart was the one who diverted funding away from Kamino. The rest of the squad, plus Rex, infiltrates Rampart’s destroyer to retrieve the data log. They get it, but in doing so trigger an alarm, forcing them to fight their way out.

They get the info to the Senate just in time, where Burtoni’s testimony combined with the video of the assault on Kamino reveals the truth to all: the destruction of Tipoca City was not, like Rampart claimed, the result of a tragic storm. It was an Imperial bombardment. It is at that moment that the Senate chamber opens and Emperor Palpatine rises to address the Senate. Mas Amedda confirms Rampart’s treachery and orders him to be taken into custody for his crimes, while the admiral tries to protest. Palpatine then speaks, expressing his dismay at Rampart’s treason and his gratitude for Chuchi’s actions uncovering it. But he says that he is also disturbed by the clones’ willingness to go right along with Rampart’s orders, using that as the reason why a new army of recruits, the Imperial stormtrooper, is so needed.

The bill passes, and afterward Rex bemoans to the squad that Palpatine was still several steps ahead of them, using this to get what he really wanted. The fight will continue, and Echo decides to stay behind to aid Rex in helping the clones spread across the galaxy. The squad says goodbye, and Echo tells Omega that he’ll see them again.


This episode is everything great about The Bad Batch, and it’s a perfect example of just how good this show can be. I think two-part story can and does stand among the best animated Star Wars content, period. This continued exploration of the clones in this post-Clone War galaxy is terrific, but this episode doesn’t just settle for an exciting adventure and call it a wrap. No, it dives deep into the “dark times” of the Empire and engages real-life political discussions, amounting to a political thriller in the universe that feels like such an important and pivotal story after The Clone Wars made us fall in love with the clones.

The Empire wants to replace the clone troopers with enlisted recruits (i.e. stormtroopers), seeing them as a better way of preserving their power and countering lingering threats. It’s no surprise that those who argue for it most strongly are those who are interested in protecting their business interests, seeing nothing more than the bottom line financially. This is more advantageous for them, and it will provide better security for them. And it’s likewise no surprise that those arguing against the bill are those who, in the same vein as Padmé Amidala in The Clone Wars, see the human element and want to make sure that people aren’t harmed. The clones have no representation in the Senate, seen as just faceless pawns in a war, but they’re so much more than that. And these veterans of the war deserve, at the very least, provision and fair treatment in their retirement. It’s not that these Senators are against stormtroopers so much as they’re wanting to make sure that the clones are properly cared for.

One can’t help but think of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, set a decade after this show, in which Obi-Wan sees a clone veteran homeless on the streets of Daiyu, begging for money. That’s how the Empire treats the soldiers who fought so valiantly for them. Palpatine sees them simply as disposable pawns in his larger plan, and now that they’re of no use, he’ll just get rid of them. The parallels to our American political system are easy to see, as we see plenty of politicians more motivated by protecting and preserving business interests and financial gain rather than the good of the individuals that they’re supposed to be serving. We see people who deserve to have more of a voice in matters whose voice is mostly ignored. We see billions of dollars poured into a larger and stronger military while military veterans struggle. Some people won’t like me making these comparisons or Star Wars alluding so clearly to them because they think the franchise should just leave politics out of it, but the Star Wars franchise has always dealt with these things, and it’s better because of it.

And for those who have become so invested in the clones through seven seasons of The Clone Wars, this is a storyline that I think is very important and significant. We’re seeing the beginning of the stormtroopers, which is in itself significant, but we’re also seeing a debate in the Imperial Senate about how best to care for the clones in their retirement. It matters, and I’m thrilled that this series decided to explore it.

This is everything I want this show to be, and though it doesn’t always reach these heights, it’s tremendous when it does. I’ve been a bit lukewarm about some of the missions this season, disappointed that the Batch is still running missions for Cid and, while fun, some of the adventure-of-the-week episodes. But as often happens in a series like this, we come to some different perspectives as we go on. I’m now convinced that the disappointment and frustration over these matters was actually the point. That, while giving us fun adventures each week, we’re actually supposed to start feeling a bit let down that the Bad Batch is still just running these missions, because the characters are too. Echo is the most vocal about it, but the others are beginning to come to realize it too. Echo’s decision to stay behind with Rex made perfect sense in this episode, but I’m not sure it would have been as seamless if we hadn’t gotten to see and share his frustration this season that they weren’t doing more. I think it makes great sense for the character to stay with Rex, although there’s some concern since he doesn’t show up in Rebels. Most likely is that he’ll wind up back with the Bad Batch at some point (he even suggests as much to Omega), perhaps like Sabine in Rebels season 3. But I’d love to see Rex, Echo, and other clones trying to help out other survivors in the galaxy.

This episode foreshadows the fact that, especially now with the Military Recruitment Bill, there will be plenty of clones in need of aid. But it also shows us the haunting reality that some clones are loyal to the Empire not because of the inhibitor chip but because they’re actually believers in the cause. The clones have agency and choice, and some of them have chosen the Empire. For all those hoping for a clone rebellion I wouldn’t be surprised if we see elements of it, but I’m not convinced it will be a full-blown clone rebellion against the Empire but rather a sort of clone civil war.

But as in the Clone War, the clones are still just pawns in Palpatine’s plans, and Rampart comes to learn too late that he is too. Rampart views the clones as dispensable without realizing that Palpatine views him the same way. The entire Empire is built on one person, and it is only him who is truly irreplaceable, and that’s the Emperor. I was a bit surprised to see Rampart removed from the board at this point in the show, but at the same time, I think it makes sense and is a brilliant development. As he’s being arrested Rampart protests that he was just following orders, and the irony is that he still had full agency in following those orders, unlike the clones. He doesn’t trust the clones because he sees how not all of them are blindly loyal, but he missed the fact that his blind loyalty to the Empire was misplaced. It’s a truly satisfying bit of justice seeing his lies and treacheries exposed, but at the same time it’s a reminder of who it is that’s the true mastermind behind it all: it’s Palpatine. Everything about his appearance here was perfect, and Ian McDiarmid once again was flat out fantastic. To see Palpatine come along and feign appreciation for Chuchi and anger at Rampart, while at the same moment twisting that very reveal to get the bill passed, was so true to character. As Rex notes later, Palpatine was always a few steps ahead of them during the Clone War, and he still is. This is a brilliant political mastermind, one who is able to play both sides so perfectly that he gets his way without people feeling like it’s being forced upon them. I can’t say enough about how good of a move it was for this series to show Palpatine using the actions that our heroes worked the whole time for to actually accomplish the opposite of what they intended. In doing so, they actually unwittingly served his very purposes.

Palpatine thrives on power and fear, causing the galaxy see that they have much to fear and in turn convincing them to trade their freedom for protection. That’s basically his m.o., so for him here to indicate that the events on Kamino actually give them more to fear just fits so well.

Everything about these episodes just worked out great, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the stunning animation quality (particularly in the Senate and in Palpatine’s speech) and Kevin Kiner’s brilliant score. Kiner takes the beloved clone theme and weaves it in some emotional ways throughout, while also bringing in some key themes like the Emperor’s theme and Anakin’s dark deeds, among others. Kiner’s work is always good, but these episodes stood out in particular.

So, yes, this is Star Wars animation at its best. A midseason double-episode feature naturally carries some high expectations, and it most certainly didn’t disappoint.

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