Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2021 by
“All Kaminoan facilities have collapsed into the sea.” When a clone soldier (Dee Bradley Baker) recites this status report to his Empire Admiral, his helmeted head looks aside. Despite his deference, he has carried hiswith no pleasure with his clone brothers, attired in Empire uniforms, pulling the switch. The glimpse of an anonymous soldier guiltily carrying out a command to destroy his home is contrasted with the turbulence over a dogmatic soldier’s 100% dedication to the Empire. Through creaking and skittering debris, groaning metal, and the threat of water leakage, the Bad Batch (Baker), a very disgruntled Crosshair (Baker), and Omega (Michelle Ang, exerting her most heart-wrenching performance) pave a way through the submerging and detaching Kamino structures back to the secret platform that carries the Marauder.
Pulsating with Kevin Kiner’s engrossing score, from suspenseful to reverential, “Finale Part 2: Kamino Lost” (directed by Saul Ruiz, written by Jennifer Corbett) serves as the season finale with the titanic capsizing of the clone soldiers’ decimated home paralleled with Clone Force 99’s disintegrating relationship with Crosshair. The claustrophobia of the ocean-surrounded spaces and low-lit lighting engulfs the atmosphere, starting with a terrifying sequence where Omega and a pinned-down Crosshair are split from the group as water pours haphazardly into their chamber. She barely manages to save Crosshair. When reunited, they make a beeline for the relatively stable remaining tube systems. (For all the storm of raining rubble, that the Bad Batch are conveniently unbruised and unscarred and in enough physical shape to run.)
For all its shortcomings in underdeveloped story choices, the strongest episodes of The Bad Batch can be credited for visually demonstrating situational tactics in a comprehensible manner while laying bare the weighty risks. Sequestered back in Nala Se’s old lab, the tube back to the platform is too destroyed. So they devise a plan to seal themselves in waterproof medical capsules to float back to the surface, relying on the water-capable medical droid AZI-3 (Ben Diskin), whose battery cells might fizz out of power at any moment, to steer them away from sinking debris.
Important scant bits of conversation also confront the brothers’ frustrations, punctuated by the last exploration of the Bad Batch’s old barracks, handily intact enough for them to tour through the relic of their history and see the tallies marking old missions. Later, Wrecker expresses infuriation that Crosshair never returned to them. Tech argues that Crosshair cannot help that severity and unyielding convictions are his nature. This isn’t a defense. “Understanding you does not mean I agree with you,” Tech retorts to Crosshair, who acerbically cannot let go of his Empire loyalties and persistently blames Hunter for their sticky situation.
Tech also addresses one elephant in the room — literally their own breeding chamber — that went unspoken in Part I. As a clone who aged normally, Omega is technically older than all of the Batchers. It drenches Omega with melancholy, the implications of a little girl observing her own siblings grow without her. The extra existential factor of the brothers’ forced age-acceleration, which would give them lesser longevity than average humans, remains untouched for now.
A season-long elephant also loiters in the room. Was it ever worth it for the clones soldiers to serve the Republic with no choice? This is where the dialogue has barely scratched the surface of this question.in both Clone Wars and this series effectively illustrate how clone soldiers were denied other mode of living. Sure, the Batch recognized the obvious evils of the Empire to flee, but have the brothers meaningfully evaluated their servitude under the Republic? Would that have factored into Crosshair’s acceptance of the Empire? Omega, the child who has opened herself to the wonders and scariness of the galaxy through this season, does deduce that Crosshair was, like her, not happy with existence on Kamino. To what extent Crosshair resented the Republic-ruled structure is never clarified.
A ray of hope shines. In a double-crossing fake-out, Crosshair aims his sniper over Hunter’s shoulder to fire a cable cord to rescue a drowning Omega and AZI-3. But at minimum, it’s only so he can be even with her after she freed him from the wreckage. When his deed is done, Crosshair clocks in Wrecker’s rifle pointed at him, signifying precarious trust.
Then arrives a debatable outcome of the relationship and practicalities when the brothers and Omega part with Crosshair with barely a fight on the platform. Crosshair resists the idea of returning to his brothers. Despite every appeal to his conscience — the laid-bare extremism of the Empire, the silver of humanity that prompted him to save Omega, Omega expressing unconditional siblinghood to him — he hasn’t shifted his position and would rather stay on the platform and rely on the Empire scouts to collect him.
But also, the Batchers have firsthand experience with Crosshair’s military tactics under the Empire. The brothers will likely have to bear the price of letting him go. Unlike the Batchers, the audience has witnessed atrocities that Crosshair committed—with some ambiguities over how much his brainchip drove them. There’s a lack of moral grappling over essentially allowing Crosshair a chance to be reinstated to the Empire — or even if they could force him to go with them. It encompasses the show’s downfalls and it would require a lot of next-season hindsight for this decision to be unpacked.
The final minute reveals a bewildered Nala Se forcibly “employed” by the Empire’s lab on Daro. Obviously, her captivity will invoke speculation for the next season and complications according to Omega’s special status as an unaltered clone (and perhaps brace yourself for the franchise-extending theories about how her contributions may tie to Snoke, Palpatine clones, and whatnot). But the cliffhanger emphasis on another character’s fate feels superfluous and misplaced, sideswiping away precious minutes from the emotional open-ended closure of the eponymous Bad Batch.
- Crosshair’s visible headache pains are fodder for social media speculation that Crosshair didn’t really remove his brainchip, despite Hunter’s glance at his ravaged head scar. That remains to be seen.
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About the Author
Caroline Cao is a Houstonian native and writer of movie reviews and essays, Star Wars thoughts, screenplays, plays and fanfiction. She loves herself some oodles of noodles and student discounted Broadway shows.