by Hans A. Carpenter
Streaming on Disney +
Show runner: Dave Filoni
Mister Marquee Says:
Execute Order 66
Immediately after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Clone Force 99 finds itself serving a new master. Gone is the Republic the clones served, swallowed up by The Empire. Gone are the Jedi, betrayed and murdered by their comrades. Hunter, Tech, Echo, and Wrecker defect and go on the run to protect clone child Omega while being hunted by their former brother Crosshair.
The best episodes of Bad Batch focus on either the clones and their relationship or the galaxy’s transition from the Republic the clones defended to the authoritarian Empire. When this series is viewed immediately after The Clone Wars, the true tragedy of the clones and the people of the Republic comes into focus. They won the war and, in doing so, lost everything.
At its best, Bad Batch is a great example of why Dave Filoni Star Wars is so beloved. Sadly, Season One is uneven. There are some really excellent episodes that flesh out this period of instability and fear as the Empire takes root. There are a lot of wasted episodes in the 16-episode run, too. There are quite a few filler episodes full of side quests and unnecessary cameos that take this big universe and shrink it.
The development of the clones is uneven too. Hunter gets a lot of screen time with Omega, and their connection is strong. Omega gets time with the other members of the team and, although she isn’t quite a Mary Sue, Omega flirts with that distinction a bit too much. Tech and Wrecker have distinct personalities, but are more plot devices due to their unique enhancements (tech intellect and wrecking, respectively). The character who really gets left out is Echo, who’s special ability is redundant and is given very little to do as a character or to move the plot along.
Crosshair is the real highlight of the show, as the question of his loyalty to his brothers or his loyalty to the Empire make for a great exploration of the clones that stayed in the Empire. Revenge of the Sith made the clones out to be unquestioningJedi killers and servants of the Emperor. Clone Wars made them tragic pawns who had their free will stolen. Bad Batch splits the difference and nuances the clones further.
Bad Batch isn’t quite peak Filoni, but it is still a really solid show for adults and kids alike.