The Bad Batch: The Clone Conspiracy and Truth & Consequences Thoughts

The mid-season finale of The Bad Batch was a two-parter, and while it is not necessarily a mid-season finale in the traditional sense of a long break before the last half, it is undoubtedly the end of an era within Star Wars. The Empire officially ends its contract with the clone troopers. The group that helped Palpatine take over the galaxy has been retired through decree with no pension or home. So how did we get here? Unfortunately, this road was paved with good intentions.

A Familiar Plot Beat with a Twist

Senator Bail Organa offers guidance and a warning to Senator Chuchi | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Far from the lush forest of Kashyyyk from the previous episode, “The Clone Conspiracy” starts on the mega-metropolis Coruscant at 79s, the designated clone bar. Two troopers, Slip and Cade, are discussing the destruction of Kamino. The narrative for the Senate is that a particularly devastating storm destroyed Kamino. Cade cannot accept that Rampart, who ordered the bombardment of Tipoca City, is not facing justice. 

Cade tells Slip that he sent a message to Rampart: Tell the truth, or he will. And that goes about as well as you would expect when you threaten an Imperial Officer. A mysterious sniper promptly executes Cade, but Slip escapes.

The story starts with a similar beat to season six of The Clone Wars, with Fives stumbling into discovering the inhibitor chips. But the difference comes with the re-introduction of Senator Riyo Chuchi. The Senator from Pantora made an early impression in The Clone Wars’ first season, and it is great to see her used well here. Chuchi has grown as an orator and taken on a mantle similar to Padme, fighting for those without representation in the Senate. This time it is the clones she is trying to fight for and as the Empire prepares to phase them out. Understandably, the clones created to fight a war that ended have difficulty comprehending a life past that, but they give Chuchi a chance.

It is also nice that the writers did not feel the need for exposition on who Chuchi is for those who have not watched The Clone Wars. We get a sense of who she is through her words. Unfortunately, she is naive to the realities of the political landscape and the limitations of the Senate. It is a mistake that gets Slip killed, revealing his location to Rampart and the hired gun. 

Chuchi takes on the Five roles of peeling back the layers of the Kamino coverup and almost meets the same fate but is saved by Captain Rex, who was meeting Slip for extraction. The entire episode is without the presence of the Bad Batch, who are waiting in the wings for part two. 

Snatching Victory From the Jaws of Defeat

The ultimate party pooper | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Rex enlists the Bad Batch to retrieve holo footage from Rampart’s ship, the Venator, to prove he ordered the bombing of Tipoca City. The idea is that this would discredit Rampart and his bill for replacing clones with conscripted Stormtroopers, first mentioned in “The Solitary Clone,” from passing. Palpatine, through Maz Amedda, is publicly neutral on the matter but privately pressures Rampart to get the bill passed. The mission is successful and goes surprisingly smoothly. 

The whole operation is too good to be true. With any other foe, this victory would be sweet. Unfortunately, Chuci and the clones are dealing with a political genius.

Palpatine, as always, has a contingency. Using the evidence that the Bad Batch provides to seal the clones’ fate. First, he throws Rampart under the bus, calling his orders rogue and arresting him in the Senate. Then he deals a devastating blow: Stating that Rampart did not act alone and accusing the clones of blindly following his orders (cruel considering they carried out Palpatine’s Order 66 against their will). Calling them a danger to the security of the Empire, Palpatine now supports the passage of the Defense Recruitment Bill. Ouch.

Echo’s Exodus and Omega’s Anger

It’s goodbye for now but not the end of Echo | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

I have mentioned that Echo does not seem to fit within the Bad Batch, and the writers apparently agree. “Truth and Consequences” starts with Echo and Omega talking about meditation and loneliness. Omega is attempting to meditate from exercises learned from Gungi with no luck. Echo confides that he does not like solitude (referencing his time in captivity on Skako Minor). He credits the Bad Batch for rescuing him and notes that he joined because it was where he fit. I am sure there are many moments of this within the group; unfortunately, none have been put on the screen.

After little moments of development and growth for Echo, the former 501st trooper is returning to work under his captain. Echo has come full circle, and it is a good reminder in these shows geared toward younger audiences that you can pivot from a particular course if you feel like you belong elsewhere. At one point, Echo did belong to the Bad Batch. Now he is needed to help as many clones as he can not feel as lonely as he did all those years on Skako Minor. 

And because Echo is a Bad Batch member, like Crosshair, we can have episodes focused on him and Rex. Echo’s break from the group is an excellent development for the character, and I hope the writing team does right by him.

Of course, it is bittersweet as Omega is the only one in the dark when it is time to say goodbye because the two turned a corner in their relationship to become closer. Her heartbreak makes it difficult, but it is another necessary one in a series of lessons. 

Omega is learning more about the galaxy and might affect where the Bad Batch ends up in the end | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

In “Truth and Consequences,” Omega takes a step into young adulthood by expressing her truth but channeling them toward action. There were hints that Omega was repressing anger over what happened to Kamino. From her disbelieving utterance of “It’s all gone” in the season one finale to the lasting stare at the decimated Sereno city, she is harboring trauma over watching her home destroyed by the Empire. And she finally expresses it in front of disgraced Senator Halle Burtoni:

“It was my home. I was there. I saw the Empire destroy everything, and I’m angry. What they did, it’s not right.”

The Bad Batch, Truth and Consequences

Omega challenges Burtoni to do right by the clones, and the Kaminoan Senator confirms that Rampart diverted funds for Kamino before the destruction of Tipoca City, adding to his knowledge that Kamino would no longer be around.

Stick a Fork in Rampart

Rampart has spent most of this season trying to cover his tracks to no avail | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Rampart was great as a primary antagonist for the Bad Batch in season one, but once he decided to let them remain “dead” against the insistence of Captain Wilco, he sealed his fate. Despite all evidence, Rampart does not seem to view the Bad Batch as a serious threat, but things always have a way of floating back to the surface. Covering his tracks about the Bad Batch being alive and that he destroyed Topica City has come to a head, and the subsequent end, of the Admiral’s Imperial career. 

Rampart does not even look down at Omega glaring at him in the Senate halls, symbolizing the strange detachment from his former adversaries. It is a fitting end for Rampart, but I doubt it is the last we will see of him.

So What’s Next?

Some loose threads could continue with this arc’s survivors. There is no doubt that we will see Rex and Echo again, but will we see Rampart? He was arrested, not killed, indicating future plans for him. It is hard to believe that he is not considered a liability to Palpatine. Then again, who would believe a disgraced Imperial Officer caught on a holo bombing an entire city? 

Then there is Senator Chuchi, who must feel tremendous guilt that she unknowingly cut short the clone trooper’s service and left them without a safety net. Ultimately, she promises to continue fighting, but we know it is a losing battle. So what happens to her? 

The sniper, who turns out to be a clone, had his identifying number wiped. The nameless clone killed himself before giving up any information, so this might be a way to bring Rampart back. Rex might want answers to why a clone would turn on his brothers. By the way, it was brilliant to have a clone be the mysterious assassin (who else could identify specific clones in a crowd of clones?). 

But this is the end of the line for the clones under the Empire. If The Bad Batch continues to explore how various clones adjust to their new lives, the opportunity is ripe for rich storytelling not yet explored in Star Wars.