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Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 2 Episode 12: The Outpost

What is it ? : Crosshair is waiting by a shuttle when he is approached by his new Lieutenant, Nolan, who isn't happy to be working with Clones as he doesn't like "used equipment".
Their mission is to support a depot on Barton-4 which is being targeted because of it's high value cargo, so they travel to the icy world.
They find a few Clone Troopers wearing worn and patched armour, and the Commander, Mayday, shows little respect for Nolan. Especially after Nolan scolds him for losing some of the cargo, and much of his force, although Mayday explains they haven't received supplies in 6 months and the harsh conditions are causing chaos with their equipment. As they tour the camp, Crosshair asks how the camp has been breached, and Mayday shows that the sensor posts are getting frozen and not functioning correctly.
At that an alarm goes off, and Mayday and Crosshair rush to help, only to find the shuttle that they arrived in exploding. Crosshair fires at one of the attackers, winging him.
In the aftermath, Mayday is now the last of the original Clones left here, and as he grieves his comrades, Nolan orders him and Crosshair to recover the lost cargo.
Following the blood trail from the wounded attacker, they discover a tunnel leading into the camp and inside they locate the attacker. However, Crosshair stands on a landmine, and while Mayday isn't a expert, he tries to disarm the mine to allow Crosshair to escape. During the tense moments while he works the two talk to distract themselves, sharing their history and lost comrades, before Crosshair safely steps off the mine while Mayday waits a safe distance away. Continuing through the tunnel they trek across the frozen wastes, commenting that the only creatures to survive here seem to be the Vultures that wait to pick over your body when the environment kills you.
They locate the camp where the cargo has been taken to, and attack, wiping out the thieves, and discover that the cargo that the clones have been giving their lives to protect is for Stormtroopers, and could have made their job easier, but isn't for the clones who are now seen as worn out as their own equipment.
The fight has set off an avalanche and the two are buried in snow along with the equipment they were sent to recover. Crosshair digs himself out and finds Mayday, who is worse for wear. The two head back to the tunnel, but night sets in, and the two cuddle up for warmth to survive the freezing conditions. In the morning, they make their way back to camp where more shuttles have arrived and Stormtroopers under the command of Nolan are loading the cargo. Nolan scolds them for failing their mission, but Mayday collapses from his wounds and the cold.
Crosshair asks Nolan to get help, saying that Mayday can be saved, but Nolan refuses as it would be a waste of materials. Mayday breathes his last, and angrily Crosshair tells Nolan he could have saved him, to which the Lieutenant replies that if Crosshair ever speaks to him in that tone again, he will share Maydays fate, before turning to leave.
Crosshair calls out for Nolan as he walks away, and when he turns Crosshair guns him down.
Stormtroopers rush to the sound, pointing their guns at Crosshair, but he too collapses from the effects of his night in the cold.
Crosshair awakens strapped to an operating table, where Emerie Karr, one of Royce Hemlocks aides, injects him with something which sends him back to sleep, and tells him as he fades away that if he cooperates he may survive. . . .

High Points : A nice little story, we get introduced to some new clones, and get to know them pretty well, so when they die we really feel it.
There are a bunch of elements of this story which tells us a lot about the state of the Empire. For example the cargo which the clones are protecting is Stormtrooper armour, which has been stored here for some six months. Which is long before the Stormtrooper project was officially approved. And when you initially look at it, why are they storing it on this out of the way world where it will never be needed? But on further thought it makes sense, it is deliberately being hidden out here, so it's ready when the project is approved, but out of sight.
We already knew the Empire was planning this for a while, but we see to the exact lengths they've been going to to prepare, but hide the evidence in out of the way and ignored depots across the galaxy.

Low Points : I'm not a massive fan of them trying to turn Crosshair into one of the good guys again. I really liked the twist at the end of last season, where he told them that serving was in his nature, and he'd removed the chip, so this was all his choice. The idea that people serve the Empire without being forced, that they find their own reasons for ignoring it's excesses and atrocities, that they want to serve, that they want to see order, etc. It all makes the Empire that more insidious and dangerous, because some of those serving aren't evil, just willing to put aside their own values for what they see as the greater good.

So what do you really think ? : I enjoyed this episode, but as I said it's not where I want the series to go, it seems very predictable, with the Bad Batch having to go to Tantiss to rescue their old friend, and him joining them. With them apparently leaving Cid's service, it really looks as if its heading towards predictable heroic stories. Where I much preferred the idea of them just trying to survive, as the Rebellion is still many years away.

Final Words : While I may seem a little down on this episode, I'd enjoyed the Crosshair stories because we were getting to see the other side of the story, but now it looks like it's just the same story as we always get.
That said, it's well told, interesting and watchable, just a little disappointing.

Score : 8.5/10

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