Animated TelevisionEICThe Bad Batch

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1 Episode 2 thoughts.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is looking like it is the worthy sequel to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We have dropped the opening news reel we got from The Clone Wars. I mostly expected that to happen as The Clone Wars was an anthology series with many sides and perspectives. The Bad Batch is about a group of deserters and their adopted daughter. It would be strange to have an announcer for their more intimate tale that’s not making galactic news.

It was nice to see Cut and Suu Lawquane return to the series. I love the fact that an episode of the show that was rather memorable, but before The Clone Wars really hit its stride as a series, has returned to the screen for further extrapolation. The lessons about fatherhood and a life’s purpose Cut tried to tell Rex about is passed on further to Hunter and Clone Force 99 as they essentially set out to raise a little girl.

Omega as a character is working for m. I feel like lessons were learned from the past young animated heroes. The internal logic of the child is being handled wisely and with very little cringe at play. One of the cooler smart moments in The Phantom Menace is when Anakin Skywalker is really cold in space after having lived on a hot world his entire life. Omega playing with dirt was silly but it connected and it made sense since she lived on a wet sterilized ocean base her entire life. In this episode, Omega screws up but she also fixes it and the moments she is on the captured ship she’ ties into the plot but also returns the witch chain codes to save Cut’s family.

I feel like The Mandalorian’s success has influenced how Star Wars can handle the relationships between heroes and their adopted children in more successful ways than they have in the past. The Bad Batch seems to have really be Lucasfilm taking what has worked in the past as they apply it to the future.

The Lawquane farm in both The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch represents a safe place, a refuge from the war outside. In both The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch when the children step foot outside the perimeters of the farm’s fence, they find monsters. I felt like having the Laquane’s have to leave that space during Imperial rule was smart because as we come to learn, no where is safe once Palpatine declares himself Emperor. Will the deserter have to pick up arms again as the Rebellion picks up steam?

It was pretty telling that Cut does not buy into the idea Omega is a defective clone. He knows the clones have intent. She had some sort of purpose. I can’t help but think back to other Star Wars stories written for The Clone Wars where children are being used by the Sith for secret nefarious plans. I’m wondering if she’s going to have the ability to use the Force or something like that as this story goes on? What could her purpose be? Obviously that’s just conjecture on my part, but if you need a kid to be special, that works for most kids in the saga so far.

From the storytelling to the visuals, it appears that Disney+ is allowing Dave Filoni to deliver animated Star Wars at the truer cost without cheating the audience of strong visuals. There are clear cheats with trees and foilage at times, sure. We see a lot of extras being kit-bashed models from older episodes of The Clone Wars but it doesn’t feel cheap. It isn’t perfect but its has been worse for sure. There are moments where the space port did start to ring cheaply staged like Star Wars Rebels often was (and that show often made it worse by returning to those same settings over and over again). Thankfully, I doubt we return to the farm unless it’s minor like Crosshair trying to track them down and retracing their steps or something.

The Bad Batch most likely reused farm assets from Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ The Deserter from season two of that series. It wouldn’t make much sense to remake it all unless there was a good reason. So on one hand, I’m really impressed with the episode visually. On the other hand, I hope future episodes maintain a high level of visually appealing environments. I think this episode looked and felt pretty strong for the most part though.

I continue to like the antics and the plans the Bad Batch put together and execute as a team of misfits. The plot to steal the chain codes was funny. Tech continues to  play the role a droid usually dose but it’s funnier because he’s an elite solider. The are times I wondered how Echo is going to play against Tech as in some ways it seems like their characters could have been consolidated into one. But time will tell, as Echo’s PTSD from the war is really worth exploring in future stories.

Did Wrecker bump his head because he’s a Jango clone or am I just reading into the slapstick too much? He’s really growing on me as the series progresses.

I’m happy The Clone Wars spirit lives on here. I think the show is going to deliver. Before this show, my faith in Star Wars animation was not that strong and my interest had waned a bit. Now, I’m really excited for Thursday nights so I can get little sleep but enjoy a great Star Wars story in the tradition and quality of George Lucas’ Star Wars: The Clone Wars. 

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Jason Ward (EIC)

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