With the third episode “The Replacements,” the “Clone Wars” spin-off “The Bad Batch” continues to show the slow but gradual transition of the era of the Galactic Republic to the era of the tyrannical Galactic Empire.
The Batch is still on the run while the Kaminoans are starting to feel the pressure of Tarkin and the Imperial brass wanting to find other ways to produce soldiers. And the enhanced clone and former squad member of the Batch, Crosshair, is given his own squad of enlisted non-clone soldiers as a test to prove that the Empire won’t be needing clones.
At the beginning of the episode, we see our favorite band of Clone Trooper misfits continuing to be on the run after the events at Saleucami. The Bad Batch is slowly starting to feel the effects of being nomads and rogues as their food rations are running low and their ship has sustained some damage after the fire fight against their clone brethren while help transport their other clone brother Cut Leqwuane and his family off Saleucami. Clone Trooper Tech is building a device that can scan the effectiveness of the inhibitor chip which I feel that Dave Feloni has made into a character in of itself and the central focus on this series.
Think about it. The inhibitor chip has changed the course of history in the Star Wars universe and it has also helped Emperor Palpatine gain power over the galaxy. If it wasn’t for the inhibitor chip, Palpatine would have to find another way to gain power within the Galactic Republic and carry out his plans. The inhibitor chip was introduced in the second episode of the sixth season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” titled “Conspiracy” when the Jedi investigate whey Clone Trooper “Tup” attacked a Jedi Master and was having a severe mental breakdown during a battle against Separatist battle droids.
Originally, the Jedi and the Clones suspected that Tup’s breakdown was a part of a Separatist plot. When Tup was sent to Kamino to be examined, Fives volunteered to come with Tup.
While at Kamino, Fives, with the help of a medical droid, discovered that he and every clone trooper in the Grand Army in the Republic had an inhibitor implanted into their brain. Shaken by the discovery, Fives had his inhibitor chip removed. After several close calls with the Clones and Kaminoans, Fives and the droid told Jedi Master Shaak Ti their discovery of the inhibitor chip.
By orders of Shaak TI, Fives was sent to Coruscant to voice his discovery to Palpatine. Off screen, Palpatine told Fives of his plans which caused the clone to panic and attack the future Emperor. Fives tried to explain his horrific discovery of Palpatine’s plot to destroy the Jedi to Anakin and Rex but he was killed by Clone Trooper Fox.
The Kaminoans Nala Se and Prime Minister Lama Su along with Palptaine and Count Dooku went through a lot of trouble to keep the discovery of the inhibitor chip under wraps from the Jedi Order. However, little to their knowledge, Clone Trooper Rex did some investigating into Five’s allegations and with the help of Ahsoka, had his chip removed without complications.
Crosshair has been experimented on and it seems that his chip has been working on him. However, you can tell that there are some cracks within his programming which may help substantiate Tarkin’s, and the newly arrived Admiral Rampart’s, reason for regular recruits. The sharpshooter and former member of Clone Force 99 may be what I like to call the Empire’s Clone super-soldier but like his clone brothers, he is on the verge of becoming obsolete. A relic of the bygone era of the Galactic Republic. And he may very well be manipulated into helping create the Imperial Army the force it became in the original trilogy.
While looking for a part that could help powe their ship that was taken by an Ordo Moon Dragon, Omega explains to Hunter that Crosshair’s actions aren’t necessarily his fault. She understands that due to the inhibitor chip, Crosshair is being manipulated by the Kaminoans and the Empire. We also see that Hunter feels responsible for leaving Crosshair at the hands of the Empire who are clearly using and abusing him.
We see this when Tarkin and Rampart task Crosshair to lead a squad of new non-clone recruits on a mission to eliminate freedom fighter Saw Gerrera and his insurgents. This is a part of Tarkin and Rampart’s new initiative codenamed: Project War Mantle which is tasked with discarding the Clone Army for conscripted recruits across the galaxy. On their way to Onderson, one of the new recruits questions Crosshair’s leadership and points out that Crosshair is a clone and that he will soon be replaced.
Crosshair seems phased by this sentiment as he grimaces. Nonetheless, Crosshair’s squad manages to eliminate a group of Gerrera’s people but that one elite trooper who belittled Crosshair, questions the enhanced Clone’s leadership once more when he and his fellow troopers are ordered to kill everyone, including civilians. The new recruit wants his fellow recruits to ignore Crosshair and to take the prisoners for questioning. However, Crosshair, annoyed with the new recruit questioning him, kills him on the spot. The sharp shooting clone utters the words “good soldiers follow orders” and orders the recruits to execute the civilians.
I felt that this scene symbolizes that Crosshair wants to prove that clones are far more effective soldiers that the recruits. I had a discussion about the Galactic Empire’s military with my sister.
We both discussed how effective the Empire could have been if they kept the clones due to their efficiency as opposed to the recruits. My sister agreed but she also pointed out that the Empire probably wanted to spend too much money or resources to create more clones. A claim Tarkin has pointed out since the first episode of the “Bad Batch.”
One of the longest running jokes among Star Wars fans is that Imperial Stormtroopers were the worst shooters.
They could not shoot at a farm boy saving a princess who would later turn out to be his sister, they could not lay a blaster bolt on a certain Correllian smuggler who ironically was a recruit himself, and they could not defeat an army of small furry animals on a forest moon. Just imagine in an alternate universe where the Empire still used clones instead of conscripted soldiers. The Rebels and their allies would probably be fighting in a very tough war.
I feel that Admiral Rampart, with his claim that “with more time and training” the Imperial Army would become superior represents the slow-growing hubris of the Galactic Empire. A hubris that will set up the downfall of the Empire at the hands of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, or the Rebel Alliance.
I also think that Nala Se, in a way, sees the Jango Fett clones as her own children she wants to protect. She is fearful that the Empire won’t use them and that they would be phased out. And once the clones are phased out, the Kaminoans won’t have their money from the Galactic Empire. And let’s not forget that the Jango Fett DNA is beginning to degrade.
However, Kaminoan Prime Minister Nama Su has a plan that he is sure will help ensure a relationship with the nascent Empire. What could that plan entail?I feel that it might involve a certain clone like Omega or perhaps, another unaltered clone that was purely replicated and with no growth acceleration: Boba Fett. Those are the only two I can think of when it comes to preserving the Clone Troopers. I would also suspect that Boba nor Omega doesn’t have an inhibitor inside their heads.
The growing uneasiness between the Kaminoans and Galactic Empire in the episode reminds me of a level in the “Star Wars Legends” continuity video game “Star Wars:Battlefront II.” The level was based on the Battle of Kamino in which Boba Fett led a squad of Imperial Stormtroopers (who were veteran clone troopers) against rebelling Anti-Imperial Clone Troopers. Fett and the Imperial Clones were tasked with securing Jango Fett’s DNA and wiping out the clone rebellion. Fett and the Imperials were successful and the Empire ended the clone trooper project in favor of conscripted soldiers. One clone narrated that they never got used to the new recruits.
It would not surprise me if Feloni adds this to the Disney canon through the “Bad Batch” since he is a huge fan of the pre-Disney/Expanded Universe canon (I felt that the Ordo Moon Dragon was an nod to the pre-Disney canon character and Mandalorian Canderous Ordo from”Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic” game). If he could bring back Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most cunning and intelligent villains in all of “Star Wars,” he could definitely bring the battle of clones vs. the Imperial Stormtroopers to the “Bad Batch.”
While Omega and Hunter were successful in getting the part needed for their downed ship, Crosshair and his squad were successful in their mission but it was bittersweet. While Omega is given her own room aboard the Bad Batch’s ship, Crosshair has returned to his old barracks. Although cleaned, the barracks still had some reminders of his brothers that he once fought aside.
For instance, he saw that Wrecker’s scratch marks from tallying the battles won were still on the wall and the Clone Force 99 symbol was still on a wall of a bunk bed. As the enhanced clone goes to his bed, we can see that there is clear conflict on his face knowing full well that he may be replaced by new recruits. .
Now that the Batch is once more on the run, where will we be seeing them next? Are the Kaminoans planning on using Omega, or perhaps the unaltered Clone Boba Fett, as a part of their phase two plan to secure a relationship with the Galactic Empire? Or are we seeing the seeds of a potential battle between Clone Troopers and the Galactic Empire to test Tarkin and Admiral Rampart’s theory that conscripted recruits can be just as good as the Clone Troopers who helped Palpatine put the Empire in place?
“Star Wars :The Bad Batch” can be watched on Disney+.
Rating: 4 Daily Planet Globes out of 5