The Bad Batch: Decommissioned Thoughts

We are still on Ord Mantell when episode six begins and the guys, and two regulars of Cid’s bar, are watching Echo train Omega to use her newly acquired Zygerrian crossbow. Then they get briefed by Cid on a new mission and the episode never looks back. “Decommissioned” flew by and was probably the most action-packed episode this season. Plus, Rafa and Trace Martez return with a mission of their own. Let’s get right to it:

The Return of the Battle Droids

Ye old tactical droid head | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Well, it looks like you can take the Bad Batch out of the Clone Wars but you can’t take The Clone Wars out of The Bad Batch. It makes perfect sense that, with the war over, all those droids would be decommissioned and destroyed and it makes perfect sense that certain parties would want to retrieve a tactical droid before that happens. This brings the team to Corellia, a key planet for the Empire as a ship-building hub where TIE fighters and Star Destroyers were made. The planet made its first on-screen appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story as it was the home planet of Han Solo. Now we are seeing it in animation as the Bad Batch has to infiltrate a decommission facility to acquire a tactical droid per Cid’s briefing. And Tech points out that since the clones now serve the Empire, knowing how to defeat them just went up in value.

That’s important. Before this episode, the reason given of why the Empire started to move away from the clone army and to conscripted soldiers was cost but this presents another possible reason: the clones are too much of a liability. There are probably hundreds of tactical droids that have intel on how to fight against clones and, as this episode proved, some ended up falling into third-party hands. Perhaps the Empire got wind of an infiltration of a decommissioned factory on Corellia and that helped move the decision along to decommission the clones.

And not only do we see an old tactical droid head but we also see the battle droids and their constant state of puzzlement. They are brought back online with the help of Echo, Tech, and Trace to battle the endless police droids guarding the factory and have no idea what’s going on at first. At least they get to have one last battle and we get to hear Matthew Wood’s droid voice possibly for the last time in this series but who knows? The galaxy is a big place.

And the Return of the Martez Sisters

The Martez sisters and the Bad Batch have similar missions | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

As mentioned, the tactical and battle droids are not the only things from The Clone Wars making an appearance in this episode. While attempting to locate the tactical droid head, Omega sees a random person grab it and run, then she runs into another random person. But they aren’t random…at least not to the viewers of The Clone Wars. They are the Martez sisters from the final season. From the arc that everyone seemed to not like. To be fair, many didn’t seem to care for the Bad Batch arc either but combining all of the characters from both arcs made for an entertaining episode.

When we last saw Rafa and Trace Martez, Ahsoka had helped them escape a dangerous situation with a spice run before saying goodbye to go off with Bo Katan to fight Maul on Mandalore. Rafa is still skeptical of everyone but has gotten better at shooting a blaster and Trace is still more open to helping people in need, no matter the threat posed to their mission. She saves Omega from certain death in an incinerator and comes up with the idea to use the tactical droid head to activate the battle droids in the facility. Since their appearance in The Clone Wars, which was not that long ago in the Star Wars timeline, they are running missions for a secret contact. They were sent to Corellia to get intel from a tactical droid for people who are fighting back against the Empire. We are not given any more information though we can assume that it is an early Rebel cell. The sisters fail to retrieve a tactical droid but Tech had copied the data from one before having to leave the facility and Hunter gives that data to Rafa, trusting that it will be in good hands.

But if you are just watching The Bad Batch and haven’t seen any of The Clone Wars, you don’t get any back story on the sisters and you don’t need it. The storyline still works if you are seeing Rafa and Trace for the first time. Though, I’m sure this is not the last we’ll see of the Martez sisters as they are now part of another mystery in this show: who is their contact? My guess is Rex because we know he is in this season from the trailer and Rafa would know he’d be interested in rogue clones. He also had a damaged R7 at the end of “Victory and Death.”

Wrecker’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Sad Wrecker | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

The abuse that Wrecker suffers in this series almost seems personal. As if one of the writers had a childhood bully named Wrecker and this is their way of getting revenge. I don’t know why else the writers would put Wrecker through having to climb up a long set of stairs when he is afraid of heights, swing on a giant claw over a scorching incinerator to get to the controls to reboot the facility, and then hit his head. And that’s the hit that does it. His chip gets activated, at least briefly and he utters those words “good soldiers” while hearing Crosshair in his head. He manages to pull himself together (thanks to Omega) and help buy them time while they try to get the battle droids online.

But that is not the end of his problems. No one was around when his chip activated or saw him struggling. Unless he speaks up and communicates to his teammates that something is wrong, this will come up again at the wrong time…like in the presence of a Jedi. Tech was working on a scanner to test the functionality of their inhibitor chips but we’ve not heard a word on the progress of that device since he mentioned it in “Replacements.” All signs point to things being left unsaid, culminating in some sort of disaster so it is another wait-and-see story beat.

That’s Luck, Omega, Not Skill

The form of someone who needs practice | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

The most important thing that happened in the last episode I didn’t even mention: while fighting off the Zygerrians and freeing slaves, Omega picked up a crossbow that fires energy bolts. There was a shot of Omega using it in the trailer but I had forgotten about it until she picked it up. At the beginning of the episode, Omega is struggling to hold and fire which is what a child with limited upper body strength would be doing trying to fire a bow. Cid says as much, calling attention to her “weak noodle arms.” Cid doesn’t hold back.

Her struggles come back when she is face to face with Rafa and tries to use her crossbow to hold her off, but Rafa is also observant and can tell she doesn’t have control over the weapon. By the end of the episode, and quite unrealistically, she seems to have gotten a handle on it by just focusing. While some conflicts take too long to resolve and span multiple episodes, others wrap up too quickly and this falls into the latter. Echo is stepping into a secondary father role trying to teach her in the beginning that hitting the target 3 out of 12 times is a reflection of luck and not the skill of a proficient fighter. Mastering a bow and arrow takes time and does require a lot of upper body strength so it would have been nice to see Omega slowly build from luck to skill during the season. I suppose that could still happen but she did seem to be proficient by the end. It could hint at her enhanced clone abilities as that is also still a mystery. Then again, maybe it was just luck in disguise.

Complete side note but early in the episode before Cid briefs the team she asks if any of them know what a tactical droid is, waits a minute, then starts answering but in those few seconds Tech looks like a schoolboy with his hand raised, waiting to be picked and excitedly starts talking over Cid to answer the question. It is a subtle, funny moment and The Bad Batch has had several of these blink-and-you-miss-it bits so just giving some love to the writers and directors (specifically Amanda Rose Muñoz for this episode’s script). Pure Star Wars humor.

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