Disney:’The Bad Batch’ Episode 1 Review

Screenshot of Crosshair, Echo, Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, and Omega from episode 1 of ‘The Bad Batch’. Copyright goes to the Walt Disney company.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’m a pretty huge Star Wars fan and I’m especially obsessed with ‘The Clone Wars’ series. So when this spin off was announced I was extremely excited. I really enjoyed getting introduced to Clone Force 99 in the last season of ‘Clone Wars’, so I definitely wasn’t mad that these characters would be the center of a spin-off show. After all, what would be the point of a ‘Clone Wars’ spin off if it didn’t focus on a group of clones? This series also came at an extremely opportune time for Disney+. Currently the Marvel series are on a break for a month until Loki starts at the beginning of June. Myself, and many others, are still suffering from some boredom, so I’m extremely thankful this series came in to fill in the gap and then some. The first episode was over an hour long and there’s a lot to unpack, but I’ll start this out by saying that this was a really strong start and I’m excited to see where it goes. So let’s jump into what I liked and what I didn’t like! SPOILERS ahead!

The Good:

Clone Force 99: Every single member of Clone Force 99 has already stolen my heart, and that’s actually quite difficult for clone characters to do after only a few episodes. While I love the clones, it took quite a bit for me to recognize each individual personality of the clone characters in ‘Clone Wars’. This isn’t because the clones look alike, but because many of the clones are introduced with similar personality traits. For example, while Captain Rex and Commander Cody have very different personalities, they are both initially introduced as extremely responsible, strong leaders, and intimidating presences. It takes a few episodes to distinguish Rex’s more trouble-making tendencies from Cody’s love of rules, especially because Rex is much more of a voice of reason around Anakin. But this isn’t at all an issue with the Bad Batch. From the moment the episode starts, it’s extremely clear that these clones are different from the others. They’re shunned by most, even made fun of on occasion, and they all have specific interests that they are for more interested in pursuing than what clones are generally expected to do. All of this is because all of the members of Clone Force 99 are defective, enhancing certain abilities and changing each of their perceptions of themselves and the things that they value. Hunter, the leader, has enhanced senses, meaning he has a better sense of what’s going on in battle than his superiors and he’s perceptive of the people around him. Tech has enhanced brain power, which often leads him to question what is truly right in any given situation regardless of what he’s told. Wrecker has enhanced strength and his love of crushing things drives him far more than what is deemed appropriate. Even Echo, who is not defective but is now mostly machine, has left behind his old love of rules to pursue his own interests. This isn’t something we’ve seen from clones before and it definitely strengthens their personalities.

Omega: We didn’t get to see too much of Omega in this episode, but she’s already an extremely interesting character. For one, she’s the first female clone we’ve seen. This is a huge deal because the focus on the clones in the past has meant that we’ve seen many episodes of ‘Clone Wars’ with little to no female representation. Omega is also adorable. She feels an instant connection with the other defective clones and even starts a food fight when she hears another clone make fun of them. She can also hold her own in battle, even against an enhanced defective clone like Crosshair. There’s a lot of mystery around her character as of now, but that only makes me more excited for this character arc.

Order 66: This series is already setting itself up to lean towards the darker side of what we saw from ‘Clone Wars’ plots. You can’t really avoid dark themes when your focus is the galaxy after Order 66. One of the perks of the defective nature of the Bad Batch is the defectiveness of their chips. Meaning they didn’t participate in Order 66. What’s even better about this is that it’s illustrated through the backstory of Caleb Dume, or Kanan from ‘Star Wars Rebels’. Kanan is such an amazing character and it’s so interesting to see exactly where his trauma surrounding clones came from. When the order to execute the Jedi comes, Caleb is with Hunter. He turns around and sees his master killed by clones, but he’s with a clone who is just as confused about the situation as he is. Of course, Caleb doesn’t trust Hunter, and the situation is only made worse with the presence of Crosshair who’s chip does partially activate. Hunter refuses to kill Caleb and even tries to help him escape, but all of this seems like lies when Crosshair attempts to kill Caleb several times. Caleb does owe his escape partially to Hunter, however, when Hunter reports him dead to the other clones. Afterwards we get to see all of the other members of Clone Force 99 react to Order 66. It especially seems to bother Tech, who can’t help but question the moral atrocities the other clones committed. Later in the episode the Bad Batch is sent on a mission by Grand Moff Tarkin to kill a group of suspicious individuals. Only for the clones to discover that this group is the leftovers of a village, including children, all of which are being led by a young Saw Gerrera to rebel against the Empire. They, of course, decide not to kill this group and end up on the run by the end of the episode. It seems like it’ll only get crazier from here.

The Bad (Batch):

Crosshair: Crosshair didn’t get a whole lot of character development this episode. The reason for this is that Crosshair’s chip partially activated during Order 66. Because of this he spends the entire episode insulting Hunter for refusing to kill the targets they’re sent after. Then Grand Moff Tarkin discovers that his chip was only partially activated and manages to fully activate it. Crosshair is then sent to fight with the other members of the Bad Batch, is bested by Omega, and remains on the villains side at the end of the episode. While there is another episode coming up soon that could reunite the characters and have him redeem himself, I can’t help but think that this wasn’t an ideal introduction to this character for the series. The audience spends the episode thinking he’s an asshole and his personality is partially washed away in favor of his loyalty to the Empire, like the other clones who completed Order 66. I get that part of his personality is to be sadistic and rude as a result of his love for shooting things, but it’s hard to tell how much of his actions are driven by his sadistic personality and how much is provoked by the chip when we don’t get much time with the character before he’s taken over.

That’s it! As you can probably tell, I really liked this first episode. It gave me some nice ‘Clone Wars’ nostalgia while still giving off an entirely new persona for me to enjoy. For the people who didn’t like ‘Rebels’, it definitely focuses on darker themes for you to enjoy. And even if you did, it has plenty of fun characters and laughs to brighten the mood between scenes. There’s still a lot we don’t know yet, but with another episode already coming on Friday, we’ll at least get more information soon. I honestly can’t wait.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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