Welcome to The Bad Batch Explained, our weekly column dedicated to those rough and tumble Clone Wars leftovers and their march through a bold, new galaxy far, far away. In this entry, we’re charging into the ending of Star Wars: The Bad Batch with Episode 16 (“Kamino Lost”), the Season 1 finale, and understanding familial forgiveness. So yes, there are spoilers here.
Last-minute saves come from within. As much as we may have wanted a final appearance from Captain Rex, Fennec Shand, or Cad Bane, Star Wars: The Bad Batch keeps it all in the family with the ending of Season 1.
Yes, this series is built around that dark transitional period when the Empire stomped on everything good built by the Republic. Its heart, though, rests inside the sibling bond holding Clone Force 99 together. While Bad Batch co-creators Dave Filoni and Jennifer Corbett are happy to tease connections to the greater Star Wars universe, their first season finale reinforces the show’s core value. Beliefs and actions may divide a family, but blood is blood. There’s no draining it from you.
Most of The Bad Batch Episode 16 involves Clone Force 99 dodging debris and drowning as the Kaminoan cloning facility sinks into the ocean. Admiral Rampart stands snuggly inside his Star Destroyer, raining hellfire on the planet below. Satisfaction takes hold, knowing the Clones’ days are numbered. They have the science behind their birth, and whatever biological scraps remain will be repurposed as first wave cannon fodder.
It’s a hard pill for Crosshair to swallow. Having chosen orders over brothers, he’s reluctant to even fend for himself as the ground beneath his feet quickly transforms into rubble. The other members of Clone Force 99 won’t leave him behind, however. When one particular blast separates Crosshair and Omega from the others, the Imperial sharpshooter finds himself pinned to the floor as water rushes over his head.
Omega doesn’t miss a beat. She and medical droid AZI-3 nearly kill themselves rescuing Crosshair from oblivion. Incapable of saying thank you, Crosshair merely offers a scowl as thanks. But the gears in his head are churning. Ignoring the Empire’s uncaring warships above is impossible.
The Bad Batch Season 1 Finale is an Ending for Multiple Star Wars Sagas
The Bad Batch Episode 16 is gorgeous. Joel Aron‘s cinematography captures the claustrophobic destruction of Kamino exceptionally. Brief pops of light punctuate the beauty that once resided within the facility. The hope that Chief Medical Scientist Nala Se once found in her work burns above and below the surface. The Season 1 finale feels like a conclusion to the prequel films and The Clone Wars animated series as much as it does and ending for The Bad Batch.
Going forward, there won’t be too many Clones wandering the galaxy. As already implied by past episodes of the show, the Empire has sequestered the remaining Clone soldiers. Some, like Gregor, were used as educators for Stormtroopers, but considering Gregor’s rebellion, the Empire is probably reluctant to continue that practice.
Crosshair was a good dog for the Empire, but the second that Admiral Rampart could kill Clone Force 99 from afar with Crosshair amongst them, the Imperial lapdog took his shot. Bottle-bred, the Clones are little more than property to the Empire. Good dogs and bad ones earn the same cold contempt.
Clone Force 99 escapes their watery demise through ingenuity. They make their way to the secret facility where their mutations were manipulated. They pile inside their birthing tubes, doubling up two at a time, except big boy Wrecker and little one Omega. When they detonate the lab’s seawalls, the ocean comes rushing in, and they float to the surface with a little outside guidance from AZI-3.
Unfortunately, AZI-3 is low on power. Just as he clears a path to the surface for Omega’s tube, the droid shuts down. Omega can’t bear to watch so she flees her tube and attempts a rescue. It’s a foolish action as AZI-3’s metal body immediately drags her to the bottom. Crosshair fires a cable from his rifle and hauls the two sinking bodies to the surface.
Understanding is Not Forgiveness
The action is not redemptive. Hunter and the rest of Clone Force 99 would like nothing more than for Crosshair to rejoin their ranks, but their grumpy brother cannot. Orders are orders. The Empire may have turned its back on him, but he won’t return the favor.
Earlier in The Bad Batch Episode 16, Tech explains to Wrecker that Crosshair can’t help but be who he is. His nature is his nature, severe and unyielding. Crosshair acts surprised by this defense, but Tech explains, “Understanding you does not mean that I agree with you.”
Throughout Season 1 of The Bad Batch, we’ve waited for Crosshair to return to the fold. We waited for his inhibitor chip to be removed. We waited for him to see the evil in the Empire’s actions. And we’ll keep on waiting.
The Bad Batch concludes with the brothers going their own ways. They leave Crosshair on Kamino, believing an Imperial scout will appear sooner or later to collect him. They’re disappointed, but they also allow for a change in the future. Hunter’s final words to Crosshair are, “We want different things…that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.”
Where do the Clones go from here? Star Wars: Rebels hangs in their future. As do the events of A New Hope and The Mandalorian. But those Star Wars eras are years off. Forcing The Bad Batch to catch up misses the point.
The Bad Batch Season 2 won’t suddenly start with Hunter’s crew fighting alongside Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano. The resistance against the Empire is in the earliest stages. Clone Force 99 is still finding themselves. They’ve found comfort in bounty hunting for Cid, and they’ll probably stay content that way for a bit.
Kamino’s destruction speeds their evolution up a bit. They can no longer hold onto the past. They survive one day at a time, and The Bad Batch is not interested in the fast-forward button.
The Imperial Snoke Plot
That’s not to say that The Bad Batch Episode 16 is totally devoid of suggestive set-ups. As we saw earlier in the season, the Empire is very much interested in Nala Se’s cloning technology. They may not want any more Clone troopers, but they do want more Clones.
The ending of The Bad Batch Season 1 features Nala Se arriving at another Imperial facility. She’s greeted by an Imperial science officer wearing the same uniform as The Mandalorian‘s Dr. Pershing, aka Grogu’s science-handler. And she informs Nala Se that the Empire has big plans for her work. Nala Se doesn’t gulp at that moment, but we sure do.
The Bad Batch has the opportunity to explain further how Clone creeps like Snoke and the second Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker came into existence. The science that once birthed them an army will soon give the Empire its contingency plan. Although, the Empire seems pretty damn confident right now. A backup Emperor is probably the furthest worry from their mind.
Could the Snoke cloning program have started as something else? We began this season contemplating Omega’s Force-sensitive abilities, but then The Bad Batch never touched upon it again. Could Nala Se and Omega be the key to replicating the Force? Making Clone troopers is so passé. Creating Clone Sith soldiers could be the new fad and one that would lead to Emperor number two.
What we can expect from The Bad Batch Season 2 is television that takes its time. Star Wars need not rush anymore. On Disney+, the franchise can mellow out, explore where it wants, and dig into the canon at a leisurely pace. Character trumping plot.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 16 is now streaming on Disney+, along with the rest of Season 1.
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