*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode three of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2*
For the first time in the series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch has moved away from its titular characters and instead solely focuses on Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker), who has been tasked with a mission to free Governor Grotton (Max Mittelman) from Desix after separatist governor Tawni Ames (Tasia Valenza) fights off the Empire’s unjust occupation of Desix, which separated itself from the Republic before the Empire took over.
He is joined by Commander Cody (also voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), who is now a part of the Empire. But he is slowly having doubts about Order 66 and the Empire’s purpose, while Crosshair blindly follows orders without thought. His orders are to free Gratton and kill everyone in the Empire’s way. But Desix’s forces will not go down without a fight, and with that ensues the best action setpiece in The Bad Batch.
The action is not only aesthetically compelling, with deft use of lighting throughout the episode, but genuinely tension-filled, as you never really know who will come out on top. The battle droids are as dumb as ever (their “Roger! Roger!” calls are still terribly useless), but the droidekas are surprisingly more potent than the Jedi had made us believe they were. The Jedi would be able to cut through their “impenetrable shields” like butter through their lightsabers. Still, they prove to be an even more difficult foe to beat when disposable clones have to defeat them on tight, claustrophobic corners.
Most of the episode’s incredible action occurs inside a closed environment or a spiral staircase, with plenty of droids piling up as Crosshair and Cody attempt to make their way up. It’s nearly impossible for them to reach the top, and you never root for them to succeed. Instead, you want the droids to execute them, even Cody, who has proven himself valuable in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But now that he’s turned, you despise him as much as Crosshair, who is the antithesis of what a “good soldier” represents. But “good soldiers follow orders,” right?!?
Not even Cody can follow the order to kill Ames, who wants peace. The Empire’s occupation of Desix isn’t warranted because they separated themselves from the Republic before the fall of the Jedi. Therefore, they are not under any imperial jurisdiction. Cody negotiates for a peaceful transfer, asking her to free Grotton without any more bloodshed. However, once Grotton is released, he asks Cody to kill her. He can’t bring himself to do it, but Crosshair does, blindly following orders without asking what this means for the future of the Empire, the galaxy, and the clones themselves.
I think it’s pretty clear that once the Empire is done with the clones, they will be dismantled and replaced by stormtroopers. Crosshair doesn’t believe that will happen as long as he follows orders. However, before Cody disappears, he tells him that, unlike droids, clones have to live with the consequences of their actions. It seems like the tide has turned, and Cody will no longer take orders from the Empire. Where has he gone? Who knows.
I also believe that Crosshair will be making his journey to reunite with Clone Force 99, slowly coming to terms with the fact that the Empire isn’t in his best interests and that blindly following orders without thinking of the repercussions this could bring to him will inevitably cause his downfall. Crosshair has always been one of the most exciting characters of The Bad Batch’s first season. It was great to have an episode entirely dedicated to him that has hopefully set the table for what’s to come in season two: great action, stunning animation, and legitimate stakes that aren’t overwhelmed by “glup shitto” cameos. The Bad Batch is supposed to be about The Bad Batch, and so far, season two has delivered on that front brilliantly. Let’s hope the next episode will be as good as this weeks.
The third episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2 is now available to stream on Disney+.