One of the things I loved about “The Clone Wars” Season 7 was that it handled the theme of moving on very well, as it dealt with the climatic events of “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” from the perspective of a few Clone Wars mainstays. Episode III for Star Wars marks the end of the Republic, the Jedi Order, and the clone army, and the rise of the Empire, the Sith and their army of inferior stormtroopers, and as such, “Clone Wars” Season 7 steered us towards the beginning of that transition from Republic to Empire, with “The Bad Batch” continuing that work.
From a character perspective, it’s also about moving on from that point in their lives, going different directions in life, and learning to be OK with that. Episode 3 gives the Bad Batch (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) time to reflect on the loss of their comrade, Crosshair (also Dee Bradley Baker), as they literally fall out of the sky due to damage incurred to their ship last episode. Their ship gets scratched up by an Ordo Moon Dragon (Ordo might be an Easter egg to “Knight of the Old Republic”, but I think it’s referring to Ordo Skirata from the EU, especially given the fact that it seems like series creator Dave Filoni is copying notes from EU authors like Karen Traviss, who wrote the Republic Commando book series, which focuses on clone troopers), who steals a vital power source, so it literally makes our heroes hit pause on their wacky adventures.
Meanwhile, Crosshair is appointed commander of a squad of non-clone recruits, tasked with wiping out an early rebel camp. Crosshair complies without question, even going so far as to shoot a recruit that disobeyed orders. Admiral Tarkin (Stephon Stanton), who wants to phase out the clone program, sees their overall success as reflective of the fact that regular recruits being superior to clones, even though the mission only succeeded because of Crosshair, which reflects poorly on Tarkin. He’s just so obsessed with this one idea that he is right and clones are inferior to human conscripts that he has ignored just about every bit of evidence to the contrary, only paying attention to info that fits into his narrative, which is fitting, given his overall fate in the franchise (spoilers: Dying on the Death Star).
Star Wars was definitely left in an awkward position when the prequels’ clone troopers vastly outperformed the original trilogy’s stormtroopers, so Filoni didn’t really have much choice other than to have the overall decision to phase them out come down to incompetent leadership and cost.
Episode 3 is a decent watch, and I can already see Filoni starting to weave another great story tapestry just as good or even better than the ones he wove in “Clone Wars” and “Rebels.” And I honestly wouldn’t expect anything less from the man whose been at the forefront of the best content in the franchise over the last decade.
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 1: Episode 3 “Replacements” gets a 7/10