Back when The Clone Wars was first cancelled, the animatics from an arc entitled The Bad Batch released on StarWars.com. Here we had four super commandos on a mission with Anakin and Rex to stop a Separatist plot that is allowing them to gain a major advantage in the war. It was an enjoyable arc, but there was nothing really special about Clone Force 99 – otherwise known as The Bad Batch.
When it was announced that The Clone Wars would be returning for a final season, The Bad Batch was one of the first confirmed for it. A number of changes were made for the arc that made it feel more impactful, but still the Bad Batch had little character focus. I still loved them, but that lack of focus made them feel like any other squad – particularly when you’ve got Rex and Echo in the spotlight.
They were never meant to be the focus, though. They served as an introduction. An introduction to a series that put the focus on them. When that first announcement was made, there was a lot of uncertainty about how good it would be. The Dark Times and the immediate aftermath of Order 66 is something that hadn’t before been explored in this new canon, which we would now see. But how good would the series be with a squad of clones that many disregarded?
Honestly, I can say this first episode of The Bad Batch manages to get you invested in these characters. By finally giving them the focus, they start to stand high in the ranks of all the clones we’ve seen throughout The Clone Wars. Wrecker still manages to be the weakest of them, but he provides the loud brashness in an otherwise dark time.
And this first episode does manage to portray such. It nails the fast-changing times that such a period brings, starting with the pivotal moment itself – Order 66. I’m not revealing anything here, but it ties into already established characters we’ve seen before, as does another scene later in the episode.
The Batch are put on the back foot of not understanding the changing world they find themselves in pretty much all through the episode, and it works. There’s something… It’s difficult to say without revealing too much, but there’s one thing that builds throughout the episode that has a great payoff for the ending.
Omega – the female child we’ve seen in the trailers – sees a great introduction here. She adores the Batch, wanting to escape from Kamino to be with them. Just like the Batch, she doesn’t fit in with everyone else. She is also a part of the events that build throughout, and without revealing too much, she is the reason events unfold as they do.
For a staring hour-plus long episode, it does a lot in setting the scene for the events to come, and if you’ve been watching the animated Star Wars series since the beginning of The Clone Wars, you probably know where the episode coming this Friday is taking us. Already the series has fit in plenty of references and call-backs that feel naturally given, and the same can probably be said of future episodes too.
Overall, then, this episode has endeared me to the characters, and invested me in their story. Great action, great interaction, some great emotional moments, a score that does the job well, I can easily recommend you give this episode a watch. Even if you haven’t yet seen The Clone Wars or Rebels, this is a good starting point into the world of the animated series. It feels so good to have another animated series to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Images Taken From: Star Wars: The Bad Batch Official Trailer