Seven episodes in, almost at the halfway point if you can believe it, Star Wars: The Bad Batch has given Star Wars fans plenty to digest. Us fans are like Sarlacc Pits in this way, give us a bunch of lore expansion nuggets and we’ll digest them for years. Unless these nuggets are Boba Fett in which case we spit him out so he can show up in the second season of The Mandalorian. More seriously though, The Bad Batch has done a great deal of work in short time to add depth to an always expanding universe. I didn’t know how badly I needed to see the origin story of Caleb Dume (a.k.a. Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus) until I watched the opening minutes of the premiere episode through misty eyes. It was a moment that felt earned and only served to further flesh out Kanan as a tragic/heroic character as opposed to being a cheap stunt to lure in new viewers. The Star Wars animated universe is all about expanding as opposed to getting the cheap pop from the audience as if they were Mick Foley in front of a live audience. Yes, that was a wrestling reference.
I never expected to see the Martez sisters again but when they showed up in episode six, “Decommissioned”, I was instantly intrigued and not just because they have ties to Ahsoka, who I imagine will show up here sooner or later, but because their arrival means something. Not only to the narrative but the future of the rebellion. Clearly someone (*cough* Ahsoka *cough*) put them in touch with Captain Rex who the sisters in turn put in touch with Clone Force 99. Rex’s inclusion wasn’t a stunt but instead used to expand on what we know about Order 66 and the impact it has on the clones… beyond killing Jedi. His reaction to the Bad Batch still having their chips helped to further illustrate just how dangerous Order 66 has made the clones and how deeply it affects their personalities. Rex went from hugging Wrecker to reaching for his blaster real fast and it’s little moments like these that redefine something we’ve known about since Episode III. Order 66 wasn’t just about killing Jedi and the ramifications are far-reaching. Having a platform like The Bad Batch allows for us to explore those reaches and see these moments in different lights enhancing their impact.
Outside of those tasty treats we’ve gotten to spend more time with Fennec Shand, the badass bounty hunter from The Mandalorian, who we last saw drinking booze at Jabba’s Palace, and speaking of Jabba, we even found out how Jabba obtained his famous rancor that would eventually have its head caved in by Luke Skywalker. An episode that does not age Luke’s actions well at all. We’re pro-rancor at I Am Geek.
I also can’t help but feel the overbearing weight of a further possible Jedi: Fallen Order connection as the Bad Batch just had their chips removed on the planet of Bracca which just so happens to be the planet that Cal Kestis calls home immediately after Order 66 and at the start of the game. Is it possible the young Padawan makes an appearance next week?! Cal helping the Bad Batch escape the clutches of the Empire certainly seems to be in the realm of possibilities. The Bad Batch makes it seem that anything is possible within the Star Wars universe which makes it a viewing pleasure.
This has become a series where you can’t help but feel that every decision being made in the writer’s room is broken down to the very last ripple that will be felt throughout the galaxy far, far away. Each moment is presented as if it’s a question all on its own, if a renegade clone troop meets a bunch of pre-rebellion rebels what does this mean for the growth of Saw Gerrera? Honestly, this is the type of depth and story respect that we’ve come to know and love from Dave Filoni and why the animated universe has been such a complete and utter joy. Filoni’s love of Star Wars is contagious and has helped reinvigorate a fandom that has been, umm, A New Hope garbage compactor levels of toxic as of late.
All that care and respect for the larger universe basically makes Filoni a real-life representative of the Keeper of the Whills but seriously makes you consider the importance of a character like Omega. Introducing a child clone could easily be misconstrued as trying to cash in on that Mando/Grogu energy but I would argue that’s not what’s happening here. Sure, Grogu has been whisked away to Jedi Day Care by Luke Skywalker but Omega and the Bad Batch aren’t here to replace that void in our hearts. Talk about impossible tasks anyway. Yes, Omega’s accent is all types of adorable but have you ever looked at Grogu’s ears?! Like, really looked at them? It’s like wrapping yourself in a blanket made purely of love and hope and dreams and unicorn sniffles. That’s not something that can be duplicated or re-created. So, if she’s not here to replace that void, then what is she here for?!
With last week’s fantastic/season best episode, “Battle Scars”, we have now answered one of the show’s largest lingering questions, what happened to Clone Force 99’s Jedi Killer Chips. Since brain surgery apparently doesn’t take all too long in the Star Wars universe we can now focus our energy to different matters for the back half of this first season. Story threads like the group in hiding while also trying to catch a payday from Cheers’s Carla will be the show’s platform to addressing its bigger questions like the rehabilitation of Crosshair. Can his chip be removed and if so will it change who he is or is he just a bad dude who enjoys doing bad dude things? While that could be a driving force for these next episodes one has to believe that the mystery of Omega will play itself out just like Wrecker’s continued head injuries has.
We barely know who Omega is at this point. Yes, she looks at Hunter as a father figure and has a strong brother/sister vibe with Wrecker and has no idea what dirt is but there are more questions than answers concerning her. The first episode seemed to imply that she’s possibly Force sensitive when talking to Crosshair before his chip was fully activated. Did she sense something or did her time in the Kamino labs give her the inside scoop? And if she’s Force sensitive, why haven’t we seen that trait again? Wouldn’t the Force help her shoot a space bow and arrow a bit better? Wouldn’t she have sensed what was happening with Wrecker before his fifth concussion? Does everyone have to be a potential Jedi or can she just be some kind of unique clone? Like, hear me out, maybe the way she’s coded is the secret to developing clones? Maybe that’s why, what’s her neck, on Kamino was so cool with Omega bouncing out with the Bad Batch. Is Omega carrying some sort of coding secret in her DNA?!
Or maybe this is related to the Force. It seems that Moff Gideon wants Grogu for those sweet, sweet, m-counts which everyone believes is the design to bringing back the Emperor from the dead. Is it possible that Omega is a test to see if clones are capable of connecting with the Force? I found it strange that Omega didn’t have a chip in her brain but maybe having a connection to the Force is her “chip”? This would explain while the Bounty Hunter’s Guild is sending people like Fennec after Omega. She’s precious cargo to the Empire.
Perhaps it’s something simple like the Kaminoians saw Jango make himself a child and thought, “Hey, that’s cool, I want one too.” Allowing her to make an escape with the Nine-Nine was similar to a parent letting their child spread their wings.
A part of me doesn’t want this to be Jedi/Force-related. It seems too convenient. Rogue One proved that not every Star Wars story needs a Jedi. The galaxy is pretty freakin’ big and at this moment in time, there isn’t a whole lot of Jedi on the map. If Omega is one of the “defects” like we’re made to believe, then what’s her power? We’ve got a breakdown of everyone else’s skills and her omission is the show’s biggest mystery and where the majority of the focus should be centered as we head through these final episodes. Whatever the answer ends up being, I trust Dave Filoni to have designed it for maximum impact. Not only on the viewers but on the Star Wars Universe as a whole. This is his way after all.