A double drop of Star Wars content is always welcome, especially during the week of May Fourth. This week we get the second episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the epilogue to Clone Wars starring a motley crew of genetically enhanced troopers.
The first episode had some familiar events to draw from, propelling it through a tense 70-minute premiere. But where do the protagonists land now that the dust is settling?
The answer will be familiar to Clone Wars fans. Company 99 seeks refuge with the mysterious ally mentioned in the previous episode. This figure is a bit of a deep cut, but a perfect way to highlight their difficult road ahead. After all, Hunter and his team are now deserters from the Empire, known to one of its most vicious officers. With the war over and the galaxy rearranging, their host is uniquely situated to give them advice—and send fans scrambling back to Clone Wars season 2 after the episode for a refresher.
One question I had for the rest of the season was Omega. Having fled Kamino with the Bad Batch, this unique Clone gave a lot of people some Mandalorian vibes. I can’t say that Cut & Run totally bucks the comparisons between her and Grogu, but it also doesn’t feel like a shameless rehashing of the same formula that initially hooked so many people on the live-action show.
Like Mando, The Bad Batch are not necessarily equipped to handle or educate a child—but at least he had some kind of family life before he was orphaned. The Clones grew up at an accelerated rate as child soldiers, and only know “daily life” as warfare. Similarly, Omega has grown up in the same sterile facility, without any other kids to learn from, or any caregivers but the distant Kaminoans. In many ways, the Bad Batch are as unequipped for the galaxy as Omega herself. Comparisons between the shows can certainly be drawn, but it is reductive to say that the animated show is stealing pages from its big brother’s playbook.
“Found families” are a key part of the Star Wars DNA, at the end of the day. Countless heroes from the franchise have had to forge their own familial bonds with their comrades—like Anakin looking up to Obi-Wan, or the crew from Rebels becoming a family unit.
Speaking of other Star Wars properties, Cut & Run continues to draw connections to other corners of the lore. I noticed an Aleena in one scene, looking as though they had been drawn directly from Star Wars Resistance’s designs, and the concept of “chain codes” returns from The Mandalorian in a big way. Seeing this connective tissue uniting various eras and media goes a long way to enhance the series.
As for the heroes themselves, I still feel oddly detached from them. While they’ve been trying to step out of their bubbles, at the end of the day they still feel too caricaturesque. I’m okay with this, because everything going on around them is still fascinating, but I do hope for more, true growth as the sixteen-episode season goes on. For now, I’m content with watching them navigate these murky galactic waters collectively.
That is not to say that Dee Bradley Baker’s work is faltering in any way, of course—he remains the MVP for all the same reasons I praised in episode one. Michelle Ang also deserves commendation for her role as Omega.
Ultimately, I enjoyed episode two for the same main reason as the premiere: it uses the lens of Clone troopers to explore the galaxy’s transition from Republic to Empire at a human level, and the unique circumstances of this episode highlighted why this is such a potent premise.