Welcome to my weekly review of The Bad Batch, where I will be walking us through each episode and giving my thoughts on the show. My reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at season 2’s two-episode premiere: “Spoils of War” & “Ruins of War”.
The Bad Batch are completing a mission to retrieve a package from a tropical planet. They manage to do so, but are forced to make a quick escape from the native crab-like creatures. Returning to Cid’s parlour, they are offered a new, lucrative job: stealing war chests from the remains of Dooku’s castle on Serenno, which the Empire is currently cleaning out. Hunter initially turns down the job, but is convinced by Cid pointing out the value of the contents from even just one war chest could give the Bad Batch a future away from her employ.
As they make their way to Serenno on the Marauder, Echo argues with Hunter that rather than using the money they will make from this job to hide, they should be helping to fight the Empire rather than hiding.
Arriving on Serenno, the Bad Batch finds that the city has been destroyed by an orbital bombardment, just like Tipoca City. Making their way around to the shipyard, they find clone troopers loading containers with all of the loot, to be taken away by 3 cargo transport, each with an escort of 2 V-wings. With the transports already preparing to go, the team sneak into one of the containers while Hunter goes to set up a diversion in case they need help getting out unseen. Hunter is forced to use his distraction (blowing up the remaining V-wings) after Wrecker stuns a patrolling trooper who is then noted as missing. The delay allows Wrecker to get away unseen, but the troopers’ captain, Wilco, correctly guesses that the explosions are a distraction and orders the final transport to immediately take off and the troopers to return to the airfield, which leaves sees Hunter and Wrecker chased into the castle and the rest of the team in one of the containers being taken into space.
“Release the escape pods! It’s their only way off the ship.”
The group in the container try to make their way into the transport and get out in an escape pod, but they come across a group of troopers, and the pilots jettison all the escape pods before the team can get there. Omega remembers that the type of transport they are on has reentry thrusters on each container, so the they make their way back to the container and Echo releases them. Hunter and Wrecker are cornered behind Dooku’s desk, but they realise that there is a secret elevator there and use it to escape to the lower levels and into the ruins of the town.
After a long time in freefall, the container’s thrusters kick in and the container crash lands, eventually coming to rest half-way down a cliff face and leaving Tech with a broken femur.
The trio make it out of the container (leaving all of the treasure behind) and up to the top of the cliff, but just after receiving a message from Hunter to keep comm silence, Omega noticed that they were being watched. Cornering their watcher, they find it to be a local called Romar, who they direct to lead them back to his home. With Tech now somewhere safe, Omega and Echo argued about going back for the war chest, with Omega keen to still complete the mission.
As Wrecker and Hunter looked to avoid trooper patrols, they came across a pair of AATs, but neither had any power. Attempting to take a battery from a nearby wreck, the pair come under attack from the troopers, but Wrecker manages to remove the battery to make a makeshift portable cannon from the remains of the AAT just in time to take out the trooper’s air support and send the troopers fleeing backwards, allowing the pair to reach the Marauder.
While Omega is keeping an eye on Romar, he gives her a kaleidoscope to play with. Echo goes back to scope for patrols while Tech helps Romar fix and activate a data core with a Serennian archive from before the Clone Wars. With nobody paying attention to her, Omega slips out to try and get the war chest.
“Omega, forget about the war chest. It’s not important.”
Echo arrives back and realises that Omega is gone. Guessing that she has gone for the treasure, he makes his way to the container just as troopers arrive and open fire on him. Inside the container, he finds Omega, who has filled her pack with goods from the war chest. Tech, who has followed after Echo, engages the troopers on top of the cliff. As Omega and Echo try climbing out of the container, the troopers’ shoot destabilise it, and as it moves, Omega drops her pack. She tries to go back for her pack, but Echo convinces her to leave it and focus on getting out safely. As air support gets close in the form of an LAAT, Tech manages to shoot it down, while Romar helps pull Echo and Omega back to the top of the cliff. With Hunter and Wrecker arriving in the Marauder, the team are reunited and make their way off-planet.
At a later point, Admiral Rampart has arrived on Serenno and is speaking with Wilco. Wilco reports on the progress of recovering the treasure that was lost when all the containers were released in atmosphere, but Rampart is more interested in the report that the Bad Batch were present. Rampart notes that they were confirmed dead on Kamino, and that he would lose favour with Tarkin if that proved not to be the case. Wilco refuses to falsify his report, so Rampart kills him.
I must admit that I find myself in an interesting situation here, as while I thought the episodes were fine, that’s about as far as I would go, which doesn’t feel enough for a season premiere.
So let’s start with the visuals, and they are great as always, but right now, I must query why all of the Bad Batch have had changes to their armour colours. There appears no real need for it as they are still clearly the same group, so maybe I am being cynical but it feels like a cheap excuse to create new toys. The only one who really needed an updated model was Omega, and I think that she looks great, looking slightly older and more mature, while she needed some form of armour now that she is playing more of an active role.
Sticking with Omega and the crew, I like how Omega feels like she has grown up a little bit, with her showing her skills in the opening mission and carrying that on through the second, including training on all types of ship, which paid off in the attempt to escape the transport ship. However as it is not clear how much time has passed, it still felt like we were having the same issues as last season regarding her feeling part of the team (this time due to Echo’s comments rather than being left behind) and she still seems far too willing to run off on her own. If we’re gonna get another season of that, I’m gonna struggle!
“Clearly you’re not paying attention to what’s happening out there, but I am. It’s only a matter of time before the Empire comes here. And then my little operation is over, which means no more jobs for you.”
Moving onto the story itself, and I can’t help but feel that the team just got the plan completely wrong, as if they had secretly infiltrated the transport ship and then commandeered it, with one member holding back on the Marauder to deal with the escort fighters. That way, they could have come away with so much more in the way of a reward, while Rebels has previously set up that these transport ships have relatively small crews, which a team as impressive as the Bad Batch could surely deal with systematically.
That said, once the team had chosen their plan, I liked the way that everything worked out, with the previously mentioned exception of Omega still doing her own thing. Hunter and Wrecker’s escape through the castle and the remains of the city made sense and progressed well, while the rest of the team’s progression through their escape plans felt natural, and there was some real heart in Echo convincing Omega to forget the treasure, very reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
And finally a word for Captain Wilco, who as befitted the clones was a more than capable leader, who came up with good tactics and was even smart enough to quickly realise that the destruction of the V-wings was a distraction. More than that, he was also not looking to the Imperial political machinations and stuck to his guns by refusing to amend his report; it’s a shame that such a capable antagonist was killed off so quickly.
And here we reach my biggest issue with the 2 episodes: while I thought the opening on the tropical planet was a great way to jump us back into the series, the rest of the episode did not feel like a season-opener as there was very little that you I would pull out as being setting up the story for the seasons. Consider a comparison to season 2 of Rebels, (spoilers for Rebels season 2 incoming) where both parts of “The Siege of Lothal” set up the Spectres now working with the Rebels, upped the stakes on Lothal, saw the team take on Darth Vader, as well as setting up more Inquisitors coming after the Spectres and Vader’s duel with Ahsoka. In contrast, this just felt like another mission for the Bad Batch (though I imagine Cid’s new contact will return), with Rampart looking to cover his ass. But where was Crosshair? The “confirmed” death of the Bad Batch suggests that either Crosshair was not recovered by the Empire (which seems to go against what we see in the trailer) or he lied about the team surviving, which seems an odd decision for someone loyal to the Empire.
Overall, an OK start, but one of the less impressive season premieres, and I’ll need more from this show if it’s going to keep me hooked.
“I’ve come to address some inaccuracies in your mission report.”
A few final thoughts from the show:
- I liked the decision to highlight that Serenno had suffered the same fate as Kamino, a nice reminder that the Empire treats its former allies no better than its enemies
- It’s interested to see the clones used for this job rather than TK troopers. Are the TKs still not common enough, or did the Empire pick the clones for this as they would not look to take any of the riches for themselves
- It feels like Tech was meant to have a moment of growth in this premiere with his realisation of Serenno having a history before Dooku drew them into the Separatist movement and his final look back at Romar, but it wasn’t made clear in these episodes, so I hope that the story continues to build on this.
Moments in Canon
- Dooku’s castle makes a number of appearances through The Clone Wars
What did you think of the episode?
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