Features and Columns · TV

‘The Bad Batch’ and Ahsoka Tano Draw Closer Toward Each Other

This week’s three cameos begin the process of forming the Rebel Alliance that will take down the Empire.
The Bad Batch Episode 6
By  · Published on June 4th, 2021

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 Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 6 (“Decommissioned”) and exploring how three cameos might lead to Ahsoka Tano. So yes, there are spoilers here.

In the Star Wars animated universe, when your heroes struggle to understand their morality, the Martez sisters appear. In  the sixth episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Clone Force 99 takes their second mercenary mission from Cid. The Ord Mantell barkeep sees tremendous value in these Imperial rejects, and she’s going to use them to do her dirty business. Hunter doesn’t enjoy playing bounty fetcher, but his options are limited. They need money if his squad is to ever disappear from Grand Moff Tarkin’s wandering eye.

Cid’s job takes the soldiers to Corellia, Han Solo’s home turf. They’re tasked with collecting a tactical droid’s head from a decommissioning facility. The contents within the mechanical noggin hold great value on the black market. These droids fought many battles. They won many battles. They contain the secrets to successfully defeating the clone soldiers that now work for the Empire.

With such hot property comes complications. Clone Force 99 are not the only ones looking to make a score. The Martez sisters are on Corellia too. And they want that head desperately.

We first met Trace and Rafa in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After Ahsoka Tano rejected the Jedi, after they wrongfully accused her of bombing the Jedi temple, she retreated to Coruscant’s lower decks. There she met the real taxpayers of the Republic. Those wrestling to put food on their plates.

Through Trace and Rafa’s eyes, Tano saw the unintended harm committed on the everyday citizens by the Republic and the Jedi. While living alongside the Martez sisters, Tano rediscovered her purpose. Their courage bolstered her own. She left their side and charged into battle against Maul on Mandalore, fighting not for the Jedi but for the people who could not fight for themselves.

And based on The Bad Batch Episode 6 (titled “Decommissioned”), Ahsoka Tano rubbed off on Trace and Rafa as well. The sisters are not bounty hunters. They’re not cashing droid heads for cash like Hunter’s crew. Instead, Trace and Rafa need what’s in that tactical droid’s head because that information will help those rebelling against the Empire.

Hunter is not about to let the Martez sisters walk away with their prize. They have a scuffle, and that scuffle draws the attention of the facility’s police droids. The sisters and Clone Force 99 form an uneasy alliance in an effort to blast their way to freedom. They make for a good team, and when little Omega nearly plummets to her doom, she’s rescued by Trace.

Trace’s good action underscores the unease bubbling inside Hunter. He can’t take the tactical droid’s information back to Cid. Hunter has no idea what the bartender will do with it. Hunter trusts the sisters to get the plans to the right people, and in the episode’s final moments, he gives up the intel.

But maybe he shouldn’t have? The second the Martez sisters are in orbit, Rafa contacts a mysterious cloaked figure via her astromech droid, R7-A7. She tells the holo that they retrieved the tactical droid’s information and how a squad of rogue clones helped them. She also explains that she knows how to find the outlaws. The Bad Batch Episode 6 closes on some ominous music, and we’re supposed to take a big gulp.

Catching a white corner of holo-cloak immediately ignites the image of Ahsoka Tano in our heads. The outfit looks very close to the one she wore in similar communiqués with the Star Wars: Rebels crew. Since it appears Trace and Rafa are collecting data to aid in Imperial resistance, keeping in touch with Ahsoka Tano makes perfect sense. We know Tano is fanning rebellious flames at this point in the timeline.

Also, Trace and Rafa are hanging out with R7! That’s Tano’s Clone Wars astromech droid! The tough little robot was decimated during the final season of The Clone Wars when Rex and Tano were caught in a clone trooper firefight aboard the Star Destroyer Tribunal. After the skirmish, Tano collected R7’s pieces and apparently gave them to the Martez sisters. If Tano trusts them with her good little buddy, their friendship must still be strong.

However, the hologram has the wrong pronoun to be Ahsoka Tano. Rafa tells R7 “to patch HIM through.” So, the cloak might be the right color, but it does not belong to Tano. There’s still a strong chance that the former Jedi will appear at some point in The Bad Batch, but Clone Force 99 needs to meet up with Captain Rex before that can happen.

Rex is the clone trooper we got to know the most throughout The Clone Wars. He was our in for the clones’ strange servitude experience. He made them more than the product the Republic created them to be. He made them people.

Thanks to Order 66, Rex and Tano came very close to killing each other in the final season. Succumbing to the chip in his head caused Rex tremendous shame, and meeting the aberrated clones who resisted its siren song will stir complicated feelings. Also, he should help Wrecker from falling victim to the inhibitor chip that is pounding away in his skull.

Every day, Clone Fore 99’s biggest brute is inching closer and closer to making the same call that Crosshair did. Orders are orders. Good soldiers follow orders. Order 66 is screaming inside Wrecker’s head, and after the major bump he took in this week’s The Bad Batch, the deadly command is bound to go off inside him. Hunter doesn’t even realize the threat they’re all in with Wrecker on the team.

An encounter with Captain Rex just as Wrecker erupts into violence would be incredibly convenient. Rex’s experience could help the lug fight through the hypnotism. And if they solve the inhibitor chip with Wrecker, maybe they can also solve Crosshair’s Imperial allegiance. So, the fallen Clone Force 99 soldier may not actually be fallen. Crosshair could rejoin the team.

R7 and the Martez sisters were not the cameos we were expecting in The Bad Batch Episode 6, but they’re the cameos that will get us closer to the cameos we want. Rex and Tano are on the horizon. We can sense them drawing near. Every week The Bad Batch crawls toward Rebels. Before this season wraps up, you can bet Hunter and Omega will join the cause to topple the Empire. If Trace and Rafa can’t see any other option, what choice does Clone Force 99 have? None. They’re soldiers. And soldiers fight.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)