The Bad Batch: The Solitary Clone Thoughts

All last season, the fate of CT-9904, aka Crosshair, and the remaining members of the Bad Batch were linked. The expert sharpshooter considered his brother’s traitors and blamed Omega for them abandoning him (even though Crosshair had more to do with that than he’d admit). 

Now the anger and burden are gone since their confrontation on the planet Kamino. Crosshair, letting the Empire believe that the Bad Batch are dead, moves on to other missions. However, this mission might not turn out any different for Crosshair as he still is a lone wolf in the Imperial machine.

Commander Cody’s Swan Song

Commander Cody looks on at the future of the Empire | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

“Well, you know what makes us different from battle droids? We make our own decisions. Our own choices. And we have to live with them too.”

The Bad Batch: The Solitary Clone

Let us get the big cameo out of the way. Commander Cody’s whereabouts have been a mystery since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Lucasfilm gave the Clone officer more to do in The Clone Wars series, though nowhere near as much as Captain Rex, who was an animated creation. And he is not one of the clones with the elder Rex in Rebels, which left many wondering what happened to him.

As the commanding officer of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s clone squad, Cody is the first clone the audience sees receive Order 66, ordering his team to shoot down General Kenobi. Those actions appear to haunt Cody still when he meets Crosshair at a memorial wall for their mission: To go to the planet of Desix where the Separatist Governer, Tawni Ames, has taken an Imperial-inserted Governor hostage. Under the guise of negotiating the planet’s independence, the team will remove the Separatist forces and install the Imperial Governor Grotten. Cody is not credulous like Crosshair. He knows the Empire does not have the same goal of peace as the Republic (even though the same person led both). But he is one of the last holdouts of hope for a bygone era.   

Governor Tawni Ames puts up a good fight, but the Separatist planet is no match for the Empire | Lucasfilm ltd.

After the mission is complete, ending with Crosshair killing Ames on Grotten’s orders, Cody sees more new troopers arriving as the clone troopers leave. A perfect snapshot of what is happening galaxy-wide. It is a turning point for the Commander, who has had every element of choice taken away from him, and he goes AWOL.

Where Cody turns up next is anyone’s guess, though this is something Lucasfilm could hold onto for a while. Cody would undoubtedly be a person of interest to the Empire, although I would not be surprised if Rex finds him first.

To Be So Loyal and Still Distrusted

Two clones discuss the Defense Recruitment Bill Act before Crosshair interrupts them with his presence | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Imagine this: You are a clone that has carried out Order 66. After isolating yourself from the rest of your teammates, removing your inhibitor chip, and waiting for 32 rotations for the Empire to pick you up from Kamino like a kid from after school, the institution that you have given your life to still doubts your loyalty.

Crosshair is fighting both sides. Sure, he might have lied that the Bad Batch is still alive, but that’s one good thing out of a series of villainous actions. For the record, I am against any Crosshair redemption, as Star Wars should begin to evolve beyond its traditional tendencies. Redemption arcs in Star Wars have been a mixed bag, including within recent storytelling. While Ben Solo was the best part of Rise of Skywalker, his redemption made no sense within the story’s context. Reva’s redemption in Obi-Wan Kenobi, in contrast, did make sense. A former Jedi youngling who carried much trauma and was in the constant presence of the source of that trauma, but the execution was full of missed opportunities.

Crosshair has unapologetically murdered people in the name of the Empire and admitted removing the one excuse most clones had to carry out these horrible deeds. He’s a villain. That does not mean he can’t have a compelling arc throughout this series, but it should not end with an “all’s forgiven.” 

And part of that arc can involve coming to terms with one of the many truths about the Empire: they will never trust clones. And, in the end, he is viewed the same way as all the other “regs.” 

Returning to Cody’s comments on the difference between the battle droids and clones, both were programmed, but the clones can now defy that programming. The battle droids continue to be a great comparison to the clones concerning choice in Star Wars.

Unfortunately, the Empire also views both the same. Despite his unique abilities, Crosshair is just as disposable as everyone else. Waiting for 32 rotations to be picked up didn’t get that point across, nor did standing in front of a memorial wall full of fallen clones, but something will eventually.

What Makes The Bad Batch Unique

The Bad Batch shines when Crosshair is in the battlefield | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Like many Star Wars fans, I initially wondered what this show could bring to the table in Star Wars lore. What warranted an entire series of this group of clones who had a middling arc in the final season of The Clone Wars? Omega and the concept of another first-generation clone like Boba Fett was one. Another is exploring what happens when an army of trained men with no personal lives is decommissioned. 

Then there is simply watching incredible action sequences. Never has watching a sniper been so fun. Crosshair draws the battle droids’ fire from a canon to position a beautiful barrel shot when the clones are trying to breach the city. And, of course, because it is just battle droids who are the victim, we can enjoy the violence of the subsequent explosion. Same with the reflected shot that takes out several droid commandos and the tactical droid.

Less enjoyable is watching Crosshair execute Ames after she releases Grotten, putting her faith in Cody that there can be a peaceful resolution. But the complexity of that viewing experience is also of value.

Star Wars started as a very black-and-white narrative, clearly dividing what is good and evil, but that is not life. And war is a part of life. While Star Wars started as a franchise for kids, those kids are now adults with children who still want to watch Star Wars stories. The Bad Batch proves that Star Wars animation can evolve and showcase these intricacies. 

A small mention of this episode but worth noting is the Defense Recruitment Bill Act. We hear two clones discussing that it is up for a vote again in the Senate, and one remarks that he hopes it doesn’t pass “for our sake.” It is the first mention of this bill in canon, and while the definitions of this bill have not been revealed, it is sure to be one of the threads this season.