It’s felt like a long time coming, but The Bad Batch has finally arrived and if this first episode is anything to go by, this is going to be a very special series!
Episode 1 – ‘Aftermath’ does a really good job in guiding you through the events during and post-Order 66. Any questions you might have had, in regards to Clone Force 99 and Order 66 itself, are answered very early on and other questions, such as the transitional elements from the Republic to the Galactic Empire are also explained in this first episode. By getting these issues resolved very early on, this will allow the series to focus on the new stories that they want to tell with an established framework and not one that is in flux by trying to tie up other known elements of this time period. I think this was the correct story decision and will serve the show well going forwards.
Throughout The Clone Wars, the animation just got better and better, and I thought that with ‘The Final Season’, Star Wars animation had set the new benchmark. If the first episode of The Bad Batch is anything to go by, then the animation has gone up to yet another level! The camera work for the action set pieces was incredible and the textures and colours are of the highest calibre. This show looks and sounds spectacular, there is no better word to describe it!
We saw in their introduction episodes in The Clone Wars, that despite them all being clones, they each had very unique and distinctive voices and personalities. Dee Bradley Baker managed to make subtle changes for the normal clones in the original show, but with The Bad Batch, he gets to really flex his vocal talent! You always can hear that distinctive ‘Temuera Morrison’ voice, but the different character inflections help create that uniqueness at the same time.
In terms of new characters, we have Omega, voiced by Michelle Ang, who is a young girl from Kamino. Ang did a great job and this episode gave us plenty of setup and a hint at the importance of this character, which will more than likely be explored and revealed as the series progresses. The thing I enjoyed most was the fact that she had a way of seeing the good and bringing the best out of every character.
The animation, action and pacing of the story in this first episode was exceptional and it really helped with the extended runtime. In terms of a jumping in point, if you just know the films then I think you can easily get on board. For fans of The Clone Wars and other Star Wars mediums, I think it really hits that sweet spot and I can see fans really enjoying this series.
The Bad Batch – Aftermath is an exciting and fast-paced introduction into this new series. With stunning visuals and a great voice cast, the story hooks you from the off and leaves you with plenty of questions and excitement as to where the series goes next. A very strong start!
The Bad Batch Spoiler Chat:
Depa Billaba & Caleb Dume – WOW! WOW! And WOW! I did not expect to see The Bad Batch start with the downfall of Depa and Caleb (later on being known as Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels). Kanan is one of my favourite Jedi’s, so to see him here as a young Padawan hooked me straight away! All the emotional history of his adulthood exploits in Rebels was amplified here as a young and scared Padawan trying to escape Order 66. It was an intense and emotional opening and really set the tone for the rest of the episode. It may have been at the very start, but for me this was a huge highlight!
Omega – She is a new type of clone and while she got a brief introduction in the episode, it’s clear that they are keeping her true abilities or purpose hidden for the time being. She managed to disarm Crosshair, despite having never fired a blaster, so she is obviously more than she appears. It’s going to be interesting watching her develop in the show. I can see some having an issue with this trope, as a lot didn’t like the ‘who is Rey’ aspect of the recent movie trilogy. I’m not so put off by the notion and am sure that Dave Filoni and Jennifer Corbett can pull this character off.
Echo – I loved the huge callback to his past trauma when he was being scanned in the medical bay. We’ve been with this character for so long and he has been through so much, so this little moment actually carried a lot of emotional weight. Another great callback was the trooper battle training scene, this was first seen in The Clone Wars episode ‘Rookies’ which followed Echo and the rest of Domino Squad. It was also one of my favourite episodes of The Clone Wars, so it was nice to see this setting and evoke those early memories.
Crosshair – He’s the one member of the group who takes to Order 66 and we later find out that his mutation hasn’t made the implant redundant. This is later amplified under Tarkin’s orders creating a new threat to the other members of Clone Force 99. I was shocked to see them turn a member of the group into an antagonist so quickly, but it makes for a very interesting villain. It is also not out of the realm of possibility that he might have undergone another change so that his new found villainy is a ploy and he could make the turn later on in the show. Who knows?
Dark Troopers – Last seen in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, these are an earlier version and after being dispatched, after some clever improvisation, by Clone Force 99, probably gave the scientists more than enough to work with to make improvements, resulting in the type we are more recently familiar with.
Admiral Tarkin – Stephen Stanton is back as Tarkin, and a great initial antagonist for the show. How much he will be involved in the series as a whole remains to be seen, but for this first episode and to set up the path that The Bad Batch now find themselves on, he is a great character to use. I hope that he sticks around as the main villain with Crosshair acting as his ‘man on the ground’.
Saw Gerrera – It’s always good to have Saw back! While his appearance was brief, he played an integral part in setting up the Bad Batch’s journey towards breaking away from the newly formed Empire. The freedom fighting effort and rebellion against the Empire is the perfect way to utilise Clone Force 99.
AZ – While he only had a minor role here, it was nice to see this character back as he helped provide a litter humour.