The Bad Batch: Return to Kamino Thoughts

The beginning of this episode has a plot device straight out of the show 24 Hours as you hear a faint ticking clock sound. The sound continues as we see an Imperial ship traveling through hyperspeed. Hunter is being taken back to Kamino, and Crosshair uses his communication link to signal the others, and this episode does not take its foot off the gas, so here we go:

Who Gets Rescued and Who Gets Left Behind

The Crosshair glare | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

This whole show can be a metaphor for this statement. The Bad Batch has spent most of the season deciding who to rescue and who to leave behind. And they have always chosen to rescue people when they can (with some convincing by Omega or Echo). Except in the very beginning of the show, when they leave Crosshair behind. As Hunter puts it when Crosshair throws not-so-subtle shade, they had no choice as Crosshair was trying to kill him. Crosshair retorts by saying he didn’t have a choice. Forgive me if I do not care. Even if they somehow managed to take Crosshair with them, they would still have to deal with the sharpshooter trying to kill them. 

No, what Crosshair is really mad about is they went back for Omega and left him behind. Throughout the whole series, Crosshair has been particularly hostile towards Omega. Calling her their “little side-kick,” while demeaning, is telling on how Crosshair views Omega. Crosshair does not see her as a part of the team because that would mean she was his replacement. Before ES-02 gets knocked out, Crosshair instructs her to put Omega on a shuttle off-world, not to protect her, but to get her out of the way. Well, now that Crosshair has been saved by his teammates and given a chance, what will he do? Continue to hold a grudge? Probably.

Crosshair’s Glorious Purpose

Darth Crosshair makes his case | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Crosshair is a bad person. A supremacist to be exact, which has been seeded since their arc in The Clone Wars. He thinks that he and his brothers are better than the regular clones and better than the conscripted troopers. Skill wise, he is not wrong, but that does not matter to the Empire. 

His superiority complex is on full display as he tells Hunter that the Empire cannot protect the galaxy without strength and that this is what they were made for. It is all sounding pretty Sithy. Crosshair then does a very Sithy thing and kills his own team, telling the Bad Batch that they all are meant for more than drifting through the galaxy. It is another twist as Crosshair intends to replace his current teammates with his old brothers.

And that leads to the big revelation: Crosshair tells the team that he had his chip removed a long time ago and that this is who he is. And if someone tells you who they are, believe them. As for the inhibitor chip being removed, the timeline is sketchy because this would have been after the Kaminoans scanned his head to confirm that the chip was activated. But the mark is there that he had some operation on his head when Hunter checks. Hunter stuns Crosshair and tells Wrecker to grab him as they make their way towards the exit.

I cannot stress enough that Crosshair should not be redeemed in this series. Star Wars has an ugly history of redeeming horrible people with one act of heroism. Both Darth Vader and Kylo Ren were mass murderers and did not earn their hero moments (Vader especially). Filoni’s animation-verse has been better at treating villains like villains. And even when there is redemption like Agent Kallus in Rebels, it is earned. What message would it send if someone like Crosshair, who has supremacists beliefs and has killed civilians (possibly without his inhibitor chip), gets redeemed? Not every person can come back from evil acts, and Star Wars needs to be better at making that clear. It is significant that Crosshair does not have that inhibitor chip and cannot fall back on that as an excuse. We will see how it plays out, but if this is another path towards redemption, that would be a huge disappointment.

One Last Look

No more cloning…for now | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Kamino is a major location in the Star Wars animation-verse, and the training room where the final showdown takes place has played significantly into character growth for clones like the Domino Squad. The shots of the empty hallways, cafeteria, and the lab while the team is fleeing the facility are haunting. 

Even though we knew Omega would return to Kamino, it was a good spin that she returned to rescue Hunter. And Omega was clutch in this episode from start to finish: from knowing the coordinates to a secret landing pad, the tube system leading to Nala Se’s private research lab, and using battle droids as a distraction. There should be no more doubts or hesitancy with her place in the team. The reunion with the droid AZI provided the necessary exposition to get the team up to speed with what has happened since their departure. Key Kaminoan medical personnel were forced into transports (those who refused were eliminated), and the clones were reassigned and transferred off-world.

We learn that not only was Omega created in Nala Se’s lab, but so was the Bad Batch. They were called Experimental Unit 99, echoing Cut’s point in “Cut and Run” that the Kaminoans have a reason for everything. Kamino holds a lot of history for every clone and, wherever the rest are, I wonder how they will feel learning that it was destroyed by the Empire.

When Admiral Rampart is speaking to Tarkin that the cloning technology and key scientist is secured, Tarkin gives his favorite order “you may fire when ready.” And one of the officers targeting the facility is a clone. The mystery still remains what the Empire is planning on doing with the clones. 

Earlier in the episode, Tech notes the tube transport system is not documented on any of the schematics, which means the Empire probably does not know about the transport system either. Later, the team retreats back inside the main facility for cover, and the episode ends as the building goes down in a hail of fire from the Venator Star Destroyers with all Bad Batch members supposedly inside. And the transport system is probably their way out. Kamino held many secrets, and there are still some on other planets (including the abandoned facility from “Bounty Lost”). 

But the door finally closes on Kamino this season. Farewell.

Some Love for Dee Bradley Baker…and all other Voice Actors for the Clones

Three of the five unique main voices | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

As if Dee Bradley Baker’s voice talents could not be outdone from The Clone Wars, he is almost a one-man show on The Bad Batch. Aside from Omega, he is having conversations with himself. Each voice is distinct enough but similar enough where you buy it (and Baker breaks down his Bad Batch distinctions in this ET Interview). I only have experience with Baker being in the US, but I want to give some love to the other voice actors for the clones in the international markets who have been putting up the work: José Luis Orozco (Latin America), Henrik Jandorf (Dansk), Martin Keßler (Germany), Jordi Ribes (Castilian Spanish), Markus Niemi (Finnish), Serge Biavan (who does everyone but Tech in French), Alessandro Ballico (Italy), Akio Kaneda (Japan), Jim de Groot (Netherlands), Halvard Djupvik (Norway), Ricardo Schnetzer (Brazil), José Neves (Portugal), and Steve Kratz (Sweden).

It looks like the finale episode might be the team figuring out a way off Kamino and possibly dealing with Crosshair. We officially got confirmation of a season two, so some of them must survive, but they all don’t have to survive. Star Wars shows are not prone to cliffhangers that have to be resolved in the following season, so expect the story for season one to wrap up in the next episode. Onwards to the end!

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