I’m a big “Clone Wars” fan, and I loved Season 7. In many ways, “The Bad Batch” is a continuation of “Clone Wars,” but so far it’s also served to be a key connecting tissue with “Rebels,” as it’s first episode opens with the traumatic death of Jedi Master Depa Billaba (Archie Panjabi), and the escape of her apprentice, “Rebels” recurring character Caleb Dume (Freddie Prinze Jr.) AKA Kanan Jarrus.
“Bad Batch” focuses on Clone Force 99, made up of Hunter, Wrecker, Crosshair, Tech and Echo (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), who were introduced in Season 7 of “Clone Wars”. In Episode 1, we see the group of irregular clones experience Order 66, a climatic event in which Darth Sidious ordered all clone troopers to kill all the Jedi using an inhibitor chip that was installed in the brains of all Clones that make them obedient to the order (If you’re not a Star Wars fan, I’ve already lost you). However, because Clone Force 99 are all modified clones, all of their chips don’t work, except for Crosshair, leaving most of the group confused and apprehensive about not only the order to kill the Jedi they fought alongside for years, but also of the government’s transition from the democratic Republic to the tyrannical Galactic Empire.
The Empire does give Clone Force 99 a chance to fit in, but it soon becomes clear everyone except for Crosshair won’t pledge their allegiance to the Empire, so after Episode 1, they start their life on the run, after a thrilling fight on the Clone home world of Kamino between the squad and Crosshair. During their stay on the rainy planet, a female child clone named Omega (Michelle Ang) joins them. In Episode 2, they meet a Clone deserter for advice and even help him and his family get off world, but two episodes in, the Bad Batch doesn’t quite know what it wants to do.
While I’m only 2 episodes in, I want to give “The Bad Batch” a vote of confidence. It very much feels like a continuation of “Clone Wars,” which is great, because I loved that show, and pretty much anything Star Wars-related that series creator Dave Filoni has made. Episode 1 featured Admiral Tarkin (Stephen Stanton), who is very critical of the clones, and wants to phase them out, so I have no doubt that “The Bad Batch” will tell the final chapter of Filoni’s “Clone Wars” saga, answering a key question even “Rebels” failed to answer in full: What became of the clones after the war?
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 1: Episodes 1 + 2 get an 8/10