Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 1 Episode 1: Aftermath
What is it ? : It's the spin off from The Clone Wars, following Clone Batch 99, commonly known as The Bad Batch, a group of mutated super clones as the Clone Wars end and they survive into the Imperial Era.
We begin with Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her Clone troopers are locked in combat with Droid forces and they are unable to advance as they are awaiting Billaba's apprentice returning with reinforcements. The apprentice arrives, the teenage Caleb Dume, bringing with him Clone Force 99 who turn the battle easily.
However before they can take advantage of this, the Clone Trooper leader receives Order 66, and turns on Billaba, who tells her apprentice to run before she is cut down by blaster fire.
The leader of the Bad Batch, Hunter, confused as to what Order 66 is, orders his sniper, Crosshair with him to follow Dume, while telling Echo, Tech and Wrecker to find out what's going on.
They catch up with him, but he is fearful of the Clones as he just witnessed them murder his master, and he knocks Crosshair unconscious, and when Hunter catches up with him on the edge of a crevasse the boy leaps across using his Jedi abilities. But when Crosshair and other Clone Troopers arrive, Hunter tells them he shot the boy as he leapt, and he fell to his death in the river below. Crosshair looks suspicious however.
Tech reports that Order 66 means that the Jedi have all gone traitor, and the Clone Troopers have been ordered to wipe them out, but the Bad Batch is to return to Kamino. As they arrive at what they consider their home, they are intercepted by fighters, which they find unusual, as usually their identity in known. When they land they also find the number of Clone Shock Troopers present unusual, as well as the behaviour of the Clone Troopers, who seem to be more orderly and obedient than usual.
They attend a broadcast of Palpatine where he declares the Empire, and Wrecker quips about Palpatines appearance, and again they note the obedience of the other Clone Troopers, and Hunter spots a young human girl alongside Lama-Su.
They also visit their quarters, where they discuss Order 66, and how the programming of the ordinary rank and file Clone Troopers didn't work on them because of the mutations which give them their abilities, however Hunter looks suspiciously at Crosshair who has been surprisingly accepting of their orders and obedient and full of praise for the new Empire.
Later they get into a brawl in the canteen, where they discover that Admiral Tarkin has been sent to review the newly formed Empires need for Clone Troopers, or whether they can drop the order for new Clones and replace them with a conscripted force.
They also meet the young girl who is working alongside Lama Su, Omega, who likes the Bad Batch and wants to sit and eat with them, even defending their honour and actually starting the brawl in the canteen when the Bad Batch are insultingly called the Sad Batch by a Clone Trooper, and Echo is knocked unconscious.
When he awakens in the medical bay, he panics as he is being treated by a droid, which brings back memories of his capture by the Confederacy, but Omega calms him, introducing the droid as AZI-345211896246498721347, the droid which treated Fives when his chip malfunctioned.
The Bad Batch are ordered to a Battle Simulation so Tarkin can witness their usefulness in combat, and they take part in a battle using training weapons against droids, however halfway through, Tarkin orders the simulation to be turned to lethal combat, and more dangerous droids are unleashed. The Bad Batch's training weapons are useless, and they are forced to improvise, using knifes against the droids, with Tech slicing one of them and turning it against it's fellows.
Tarkin is seemingly impressed, but comments that there is no guarantee that Order 66 was successful on them, as there is a report from one of their own number that Kaleb Dume managed to escape. He orders the Bad Batch on a mission to prove their loyalty, to go to Onderon and deal with a group of insurgents left over from the confederacy.
Wrecker is impressed by the new armoury that has been installed on Kamino, saying it brought him to tears of joy, and after they load up they leave on their mission.
However when they track down the insurgents, they discover there are no battle droids as they expected from CIS forces, but instead a group including children. Hunter allows them to be captured, and they discover they have been ordered to kill Saw Gerrara and his forces who have been Republic loyalists.
When he allows them to leave, Crosshair calls him on allowing Dume to survive, telling him that his judgement has been flawed recently, but they depart together to return to Kamino. Tech reveals to the group that he suspected something about Omega and has tested her DNA, and that she is another enhanced Clone like themselves.
When they arrive at Kamino, they are surrounded by Clone Shock Troopers and stripped of their equipment and put into a holding cell. Crosshair is taken away separately, and Tarkin orders the programming on his somewhat functional chip to be reinforced.
In their cell they discover that Omega has also been arrested, for trespassing in their quarters when the Clone Troopers were ordered to move all their equipment to the hangar, the medical droid with her was also destroyed.
Tech realises that the cell they are in is a later addition to the civilian installation already existing on Kamino, and while it might be strong enough to hold ordinary Clones, it wasn't built with enhanced versions like themselves in mind, and using Wreckers extreme strength they manage to break out and head back to the hangar to regain their equipment.
As they rearm, they are attacked by Clone Troopers led by Crosshair, now completely loyal to the Empire. They manage to beat these forces, with unseen help from Lama-Su who stops doors sealing, and they depart on their ship the Havok Marauder with Omega, but without Crosshair. In space Hunter thinks of a friend they can contact for help, and tells Omega who is in space for the first time, that she's going to love what comes next as the stars blur and they enter Hyperspace. . .
High Points : Damn that was good.
I had been concerned that they were going to make it a kids show about some super powered clones, rather than the more grown up show Clone Wars had become by the end. But this is definitely a continuation of the Clone Wars.
The characterisation is great, the dialogue is fast and funny when needed, making the show extremely enjoyable.
I'd also been concerned that they were going to overload the show with characters from other Star Wars stuff, kind of like what they've done with The Mandalorian, but at least in this episode I found the few appearances from other stories to be pretty good, with Kaleb Dume and the Droid AZI-345211896246498721347, both being there for you to notice, but being subtle enough for you to not notice if you're not paying attention (I didn't actually realise Kaleb was Kanan Jarrah until after I'd finished watching, as for the droid I suspected who he was, but with that name, it could have been any similar droid really).
Finally, I was totally surprised by Lama-Su's aid of the heroes, I'm guessing that she was just trying to save Omega, who she has parental feelings for, and that we'll see more of her later in the series. But she's mainly been a kind of bad guy throughout Clone Wars, so seeing her show more depth is absolutely great.
Low Points : While I can't find much to criticise, and although I complemented their handling of characters from outside the series, I must comment that both Saw Gerrara and Admiral Tarkin felt a bit gratuitous. Saw's appearance just feels crowbarred in, and why is Tarkin now in charge of Clone Troopers. He's been a prosecutor, in Rebel's he's in charge of Fighter production, and by the movies he'll end up in charge of weapons development, but at the moment he's handling procurement issues for the new Empire. His career just feels a bit all over the place, it's almost as if he's just doing whatever the writers need him to do to feature in the current story.
Perhaps using one of the other officers from the Death Star would have made more sense, perhaps Tagge (for his familiarity with contracts since his family owns TaggeCo), or Bast (since he's Imperial Army, so directly related with the Clone Troopers and their replacements the Stormtroopers).
So what do you really think ? : I really enjoyed this episode, it's the best first episode of a Star Wars animated series, and I was a big fan from the beginning of Rebels. But this keeps the fantastic production levels and quality of the final few episodes of The Clone Wars which were broadcast last year.
Fingers crossed they keep it up.
Final Words : At the moment it looks as if The Bad Batch is going to be one continuing story, with each episode leading into the next, although it remains to be seen if it'll become more episodic like The Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance were. Perhaps they'll do it in blocks of episodes the same way they did with The Clone Wars towards the end of it's run, with 4 episode blocks being linked together, but the order those blocks are broadcast not being as important.
I'd love it to be all one story, but I can't see how they'll keep that going, but we shall see, especially as the next episode is broadcast on Friday, so we don't even need to wait a week.
Score : 9/10
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