*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode one of Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2*
If you followed me on social media when the first season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch premiered, I was livid for sixteen weeks. The show never justified its relevance as a spinoff from Star Wars: The Clone Wars seventh season and never fully developed its most exciting characters as The Clone Wars did. Instead, it had a “cameo of the week” from a known character in The Clone Wars/Skywalker Saga lore, rather than developing Clone Force 99 first, so we can ultimately get engaged in their adventures when they inevitably meet other characters that we know and love.
So why would I subject myself to another season of The Bad Batch? I think it still deserves its day in court. The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was abysmal but got marginally better in its subsequent seasons. The fans who tell you that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sucked likely didn’t watch seasons two to seven. I want to give the next adventures of Clone Force 99 a chance, even if I didn’t care for the first season, and I don’t believe Disney+ should’ve greenlit a second one. To my surprise, the first episode of The Bad Batch’s second season was fun and will hopefully be a sign of promise that the series will improve what didn’t work in the first season.
Already, the character dynamic is far more engaging, especially with how The Bad Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) interacts with Omega (Michelle Ang). The first episode opens, in media res, during an action sequence where Clone Force 99 fights off against what looks like giant crabs in a lush, tropical setting. The animation is stunning, and the action is vividly kinetic.
Then, we’re thwarted by their latest mission. Cid (Rhea Perlman) introduces the crew to Phee Genoa (Wanda Sykes), who tells Clone Force 99 that Count Dooku’s war chest is now up to grabs in Serrano in the aftermath of his death. They travel to the planet, and it doesn’t take long for them to be immediately spotted by Clone Troopers. From there, we have a standard chase scene that ends in a cliffhanger with Omega, Tech, and Echo in a cargo box about to crash. What happens next? The second episode is already available, but I like to hold my suspense for a bit.
Of course, this episode isn’t groundbreaking in terms of storytelling, but it’s still an enjoyable mission that effectively goes from point A to point B. It helps that the dynamic between the characters seems a bit more involved this time and doesn’t [immediately] rely on glup shitto characters. When the first episode of the first season of The Bad Batch opened, a young Caleb Dume (Freddie Prinze Jr.) appeared within minutes.
Finally, the first episode of the second season of The Bad Batch doesn’t do that. It focuses on The Bad Batch themselves and gives them a decent mission to start the show with. The action during the latter half of the episode is fun and engaging. The cliffhanger seems to be an excellent position to ensure that audiences will watch the second episode, no matter what they thought of the first. Of course, there are still elements that need work, such as the fact that this season will likely be another “mission of the week” schtick, where they go to Cid’s place, she tells them what to do, and they execute it for a twenty-some-odd minute time.
I hope they will soon subvert that format because there is so much they can do before it becomes redundant (it certainly did during the first season’s midpoint. Like, that’s all they had to offer?). But Cid has foreshadowed that the Empire’s presence is growing stronger by the day, giving me hope that they will give up the format sooner than later. Let’s put Clone Force 99 into a gripping adventure that challenges their emotional connection to one another after a few side-quests. That seems like the logical next step for the show to be something exceptional for me. It won’t be as good as Andor, but it’ll certainly be interesting if it does that.
The first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2 is now available to stream on Disney+.