“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is becoming a show that resembles less of another season of “The Clone Wars” and more of a natural evolution of it specifically tailored for the kids who grew up with it who are now adults. This can be attributed to the fact that the early Empire era it explores is simply darker than that of “The Clone Wars,” as the clone characters from that show now have to grapple with the fact that they are now working for an oppressive, evil fascist regime.
Episodes 1-2 (“Spoils of War” and “Ruins of War”) focus on a relatively straightforward mission in which Hunter, Tech, Wrecker (all three voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang) must recover some of the war chest of the deceased Separatist leader, Count Dooku. Through it, they meet a citizen named Romar Adell (Héctor Elizondo), who was previously under Dooku’s rule and does not have a high opinion of him, which provides a more complex look into the Separatist movement. Though they leave empty-handed, they make it out alive. Vice Admiral Rampart (Noshir Dalal ), who thought they perished last season on Kamino, covers up their appearance in the official report of the incident, killing clone Captain Wilco (also voiced by Baker) when he refuses to do it on his behalf.
Episode 3 (“The Solitary Clone”) is when the season starts to get interesting. Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker), having been picked up after many days alone on Kamino by Rampart, is assigned to serve under Commander Cody (Dee Bradley Baker) to rescue the newly-assigned Imperial Governor, Grotton (Max Mittelman), on the independent planet of Desix. Their rightful leader, Tawni Ames (Tasia Valenza), who managed to ensure that the planet was neither in the Republic nor the CIS, has taken Grotton hostage, hoping to negotiate Desix’s independence from the Empire. Rampart, however, does not want to entertain negotiations.
Episode 3 made me want to scream on the inside (in a good way) because it feels like a classic “Clone Wars” episode — complete with overwhelming odds from which our clone heroes find a way to come out on top — except Crosshair and Cody are fighting for the wrong side. Watching the episode, I wanted them to make it out alive, but I wanted their mission to fail. This is exacerbated by the fact that Grotton is just completely irredeemable and insufferable. Spoilers, but once he is freed, he orders Cody and Crosshair to kill Ames in bad faith, which causes Cody to rightfully go AWOL afterwards. (Cody was not able to kill her. Crosshair was.)
It seems like every surviving ARC trooper, captain and commander from “The Clone Wars” is going AWOL. Even though they all acted obediently to kill their Jedi companions due to a chip in their brain, I don’t think many actually believe the Jedi were traitors. Crosshair is one of the few steadfast holdouts, but I think he’ll eventually turn — but it’ll take something like the death of Hunter to do it. The Empire just isn’t making a good case for governing — they are cartoonishly evil and they treat their clone troopers like outdated battle droids that will soon be replaced by their “superior” human conscripts. Beyond that, they forced them to kill some of their closest friends — Why should any clone stay loyal to the Empire?
Overall, these episodes delve into the cost of war — where the money comes from, how it affects ordinary people — and develops further the evil of the budding Empire.
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 2: Episodes 1 and 2 get a 7/10
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 2″ Episode 3 “The Solitary Clone” gets a 9/10