The Bad Batch: Off to a Good Start

Friends, you know me. You know I love a good Star War. So, naturally, I was very excited for the premiere of The Bad Batch.

I loved the later seasons of Clone Wars, and the final season in particular was amazing. That season introduced a team of ‘defective’ clones nicknamed the Bad Batch, who each had some kind of mutation that set them apart from standard clone soldiers. However, because these mutations actually made them better soldiers (for instance, Wrecker had significantly enhanced strength compared to a regular clone), they were grouped into a special forces unit.

The Bad Batch show focuses on this team of outcasts, but it’s more of a sequel to Clone Wars than a side story. Rather than following the squad throughout the Clone Wars themselves, The Bad Batch picks up right at the end of the Prequel era, when the Republic transitioned to become the Galactic Empire.

Of course, we’re not going to have a show about a bunch of scrappy clones happily falling into step behind an evil, fascist regime. The first episode establishes that the same mutations that set the Bad Batch apart also make them resistant to the conditioning that forced all clones to comply with Order 66. This puts them at odds with–and ultimately on the run from–the new government.

All of this was either established in Clone Wars or telegraphed in the announcements for Bad Batch; the premiere is essentially getting all of this exposition out of the way for newcomers. That said, I think the first episode moves through all of it fairly gracefully, and also introduces a new female clone named Omega. I’m already thinking of her as the Star Wars equivalent of Laura Kinney (which I’m very down with).

There were some pleasant surprises, too! First off, there were a few cameos that made me smile.

I think I openly gasped when the first scene mentioned Jedi Master Depa Billaba, because I knew that could only mean one thing: Caleb Dume would be making an appearance. And he did! It was very exciting to see little Kanan show up. Admittedly, it was weird to hear Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s voice coming out of that little kid, and I’ll admit to being sort of frustrated at how directly this scene contradicts the origin presented in the Kanan comic book… but still, it was a fun cameo, and while the details here are different the main thrust of the event is the same.

I also loved Saw Gerrera showing up later in the episode. I sort of hope we see a bit more of him in the future.

My favorite element, though, and the one I was least expecting heading in to the series, was the betrayal of the team by Crosshair. I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of the team had died in the premiere, but I’ll admit, having one of them willingly join the Empire was a nice touch. And of course it was Crosshair, fulfilling that old ‘cold sniper’ trope. I’m looking forward to seeing him become a major villain for the series.

I really dug the first episode of The Bad Batch. It sets up a very interesting plot during one of my favorite time periods in Star Wars (I love the spaces between trilogies). It’s also got some fun action, with the promise of lots more to come. I can’t wait to see where the series goes!

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