As seen in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” the Clone Wars further created a political division within the galaxy. Some planets aligned with the Galactic Republic, while others aligned with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) or the Separatists.
Even before the war, people and leaders in the galaxy feared that the galaxy was on the verge of civil war. Many people in the galaxy did not know that one man was pulling strings on both sides: the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
While Sidious publicly served as Chancellor Sheev Palpatine of the Republic and his apprentice Count Dooku publicly served as leader of the Separatists, he was the puppeteer putting on a show by controlling both sides. He was a great actor that nearly played everyone. Citizens, politicians from both the Republic and Separatists, Clones, droids, and even the Jedi Order were fooled by the cunning Sith Lord.
Even though the days of the Clone Wars may be long past, it’s evident to notice the political sentiments or ideologies fostered during the war can still be felt in the Imperial Era.
The writers behind the “Clone Wars” TV series that precedes “The Bad Batch” did not just create a story about the brave Jedi and Clones battling the ruthless Separatist battle droids and Sith Lords. They made a story about how politics was just as powerful as the mysterious Force. Like the Force, it has two sides and middle ground. The ‘Clone Wars’ politics can also be viewed as an effective tool like the Light Side of the Force. It can also be considered a destructive weapon like the Dark Side of the Force. A subtle dichotomy that one can argue rivals the Force. And Palpatine was a master practitioner of both entities.
The fantastic thing about the “Clone Wars” is that the show had viewers gradually process what was right and wrong. The 2008 film and the first season of the TV series that followed it were good versus evil. Everyone was gung ho about defeating Count Dooku, General Grievous, and the Separatists. But as the seasons progressed, you begin to see the shades of grey between the two sides. And we see ripples of that in “The Bad Batch.”
Cid tasks the Bad Batch with rescuing former Separatist Senator Avi Singh of the planet Raxus, the former capital of the CIS. In this scene, the nomadic clones of Clone Force 99 are a little hesitant due to Singh being a Separatist. Cid tells them that a job is a job, especially with the debt that the clones owe. Having no choice and needing the money to pay off the debt and to survive, Hunter accepts the assignment. However, the feeling of helping out a Separatist bothers him and his fellow Batchers.
Clone Trooper Echo is particularly against the idea of rescuing a former Separatist, and it can be argued that the “The Bad Batch” writing team made it so that we could not blame him. For example, Echo was presumed dead during the mission to Lola Sayu but was severely injured. In “Counterattack,” the 19th episode of the third season of “The Clone Wars,” the clone ARC trooper was part of a team led by Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The mission assigned was to rescue Jedi Master Even Piell from a Citadel on Lola Sayu.
When the Jedi and Clones tried to escape on a shuttle, Echo sacrificed himself to protect his team and got caught in an explosion caused by a turret firing on a shuttle. Trim to the Jedi and Clone’s knowledge, Echo, presumed dead, was captured, and the Separatists experimented on him by turning him into a reluctant puppet for their military operations. The Separatists used Echo to predict the Clone Army’s military tactics during the Battle of Anaxes.
However, Anakin, Clone Trooper Captain Rex, and the Batch rescued Echo, who was now more machine than man. However, Echo’s loyalty was in question until he proved instrumental during the Battle of Anaxes by using his newfound technical knowledge and skills to turn the tables against the Separatists and win the battle. After the battle, Echo joined the Bad Batch and has stayed with them since. However, the experience under custody and control of the Separatists has left the ARC trooper traumatized. It’s clear to understand Echo’s reluctance to rescue a Senator who was aligned with the enemy.
At the beginning of the episode, we can see that Senator Singh is not evil or ruthless like his former leader Count Dooku. While the Empire has occupied his planet and has forced him to become a reluctant puppet to carry out their rule, Singh is not on board with the dictatorship’s plans. During a speech at Raxulon, the capital city of Raxus, Singh at first tries to appease the Imperials by telling his people to follow the rules enacted by the Empire. However, he ultimately turns on the Imperials defiantly by saying that he wants what is best for his people and that the Imperial occupation is wrong. As a result, Singh is arrested by the Imperials, and his droid GS-8 contacts Cid to request help.
Senator Singh’s commitment to serving his people and Echo’s resentment towards the Separatist seen in “Common Ground” echoes the sentiments shown in the 10th episode of the third season titled “Heroes on Both Sides.” In the episode, the Galactic Republic debated whether to deregulate the banks to provide more clones to keep the war going or negotiate peace with the Separatists. Some senators were Warhawks and wanted to escalate the war effort even within the Republic, while some wanted to end the war. The war-driven senators wanted to escalate war so that they could profit from it, and to do so, they went as far as to conspire with Count Dooku to find a way to keep the war going.
Senator Padme Amidala, one of the anti-war senators, came up with a brilliant plan to negotiate peace with a former Republic Senator turned Separatist and friend, Senator Mina Bonteri. With help from Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, Padme traveled to the Separatist capital Raxus. Although Bonteri was a Separatist Senator, she too tried to broker peace with the Republic. Bonteri was very successful in convincing the Separatist Parliament to vote for negotiating peace with the Republic.
I noticed this episode illustrated many moralistic and evil people in the Separatist Parliament, just like the Galactic Senate. Another example of this was the family of future Rebel Alliance hero Captain Cassian Andor from the 2016 film “Star Wars: Rogue One.” Cassian’s family supported the Separatists since they saw the Republic as tyrannical.
This would shape Andor to become a hardened Rebel who, along with Jyn Erso, would be instrumental in helping the Rebels get the Death Star plans during the Battle of Scarif. Another example of this was “The Last Battle” the sixth episode of “Star Wars: Rebels” where Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger was able to find common ground between Captain Rex and Separatist Battle Droid Kalani to help them put aside their differences to defeat the Empire while escaping from their clutches.
While the peace deal between the two galactic governments seemed to be at hand, the Separatists General Grievous sent droids to bomb the Coruscant power grid. With the bombing of the power grid, the Republic Senate was quick to vote for further escalating the war effort and having the banks deregulated. Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano’s events perfectly summed up the overall tone of the politics behind the Clone Wars: “The politics of this war are not as black and white as I once thought they were.”
I felt that Ahsoka’s view on the politics of the war could be echoed in this episode.
When the Batch travels to Raxus, they are very skeptical of the mission from the start. The skepticism is further escalated when they meet Singh’s droid GS-8. Echo, in particular, is very skeptical since he believes they are falling into a trap. Being the level-headed leader he is, Clone Trooper Hunter tells his team to put politics aside.
With help from GS-8, the Batch can free Singh from home confinement at his residence. While hijacking an AT-TE walker, the Batch becomes surrounded, but Singh helps them fend off the Imperial clones by breaking a valuable vase on a clone’s head. The senator proves to be more helpful in the escape when he instructs the Batch to get closer to a wall at an alleyway. He tells the Batch to blow a hole in the wall, which would lead into an underground passage. This clever plan helps the Senator, GS-8, and Clones escape the Empire.
The common ground comes full circle when the Clones, GS-8, and Singh reach the Marauder. The senator looks back at Raxulon and feels remorse for not being able to help the people he swore to serve. GS-8 tells her master that he will help his people but not while he is in Imperial custody. Echo, who was reluctant to help a Separatist, assures the senator that his droid is proper and tells him to live to fight another day.
Another notable thing about this episode was that it was the Bad Batch’s first mission without Omega since the first episode. Before the Batch is assigned the task to rescue Singh, Tech advises the need to keep a low profile since the events of the last episode. Hunter makes it his mission to not have Omega attract too much attention since two bounty hunters (Cad Bane and Fennec Shand) are after her due to her being a valuable target for the Kamioans. Plus technically, Omega is technically Boba Fett’s sister. The leader of the Batch orders the young clone to stay with Cid on Ord Mantell, much to her dismay. Omega’s absence could be felt during the mission to Raxulon.
However, Omega and Cid form a partnership of sorts when the clone helps her win a Dejarik game. They agree on a percentage of earnings, and very soon, Omega starts using her keen strategic skills to win every Dejarik game and make enough money to pay off the Bad Batch’s debt. Hunter is upset at first but after learning that Omega wanted to pay off the team’s debt so that she could be helpful while sitting on the sidelines, he is grateful. The Batch leader wants to put her skills to the test by challenging her to a game of Dejarik with the stipulation that if she won, she would not have to sit out on missions anymore.
I feel that this episode also helped to continue to showcase Omega’s growth. The story of “The Bad Batch” is also Omega’s story, just like “Clone Wars” was Ahsoka and Captain Rex’s story. Omega may be a direct clone of Jango Fett and sister to Boba due to her first-generation DNA, but she is her person who began on the rain-soaked planet Kamino.
With Senator Singh safe in the mean streets of Ord Mantell, where will our favorite clones go next? Will they continue to keep a low profile, so they don’t run into Crosshair and the Empire. Will they run into more Bounty Hunters? Or would Omega eventually meet her “brother” Boba Fett?
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is available for streaming, and new episodes release Fridays on Disney+.