Maybe Gina Carano should be watching ‘The Bad Batch’ because the creators of the show clearly have a better understanding of fascist oppression than she does. This second episode of the new Star Wars show digs into the repercussions of what the formation of the First Galactic Empire means for it’s ordinary citizens and signposts all the hardships that are to come. With no one to serve and protect the galaxy the jackboot is coming down.
Clone Force 99 arrive at the planet Saleucami to visit their friend Cut Lawquane (yet another character voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) and his family. Cut is a clone trooper who deserted from the Republic in an early episode of ‘The Clones Wars’ and made a life for himself, with his wife Suu and her two kids, as a farmer. He has been living off the grid and now that the squad are fugitives they are looking for advice about how to survive. But now that the planet is swarming with loyal Imperial troops he is looking to leave.
The Empire are coming down hard and confiscating everyone’s vehicles, making everyone convert their money into Imperial credits at an exchange rate that they control, and forcing everyone to register their chain code (essentially their DNA) so that, as Tech puts it, they can create a database to identify anyone in the galaxy. The parallels to the early days of Nazi Germany are heavy (take note, Gina). Cut and his family can’t risk registering as he is a wanted man so they need the squad’s help to get them some chain codes so they can be smuggled off planet to start a new life some place else.
Family becomes a big theme of this episode as Hunter struggles with his commitment to protect the young clone Omega. Their story could be a Star Wars ‘What If…’ Rey had accepted the job with Han Solo. The similarities are between Omega and Rey are strong. To be honest, the similarity between Omega and any of the main young Star Wars protagonists is strong but Omega’s reaction when she arrives on Saleucami is very reminiscent of when Rey sees Takodana for the first time. There is a wide-eyed innocence where everything is new and she is learning how to be a child. She is the polar opposite of the world-weary Hunter and he’s not sure he’s father material and feels that his life is to dangerous for a child. He sees how well Cut is raising his kids and decides Omega would be better off with him.
Hunter’s fears are soon proven correct when Tech and Echo’s plans to get the codes goes wrong and they and Omega end up in an Imperial compound when their ship is impounded. Tech soon forges the codes they need and Omega snatches them to take to the family, eager to prove her worth to the team. It is only at the point of handing over the codes to Cut that Hunter tells Omega that he wants her to leave with the family as it will be a better life for her. As Hunter leaves Omega is visible upset about being separated from The Bad Batch.
Hunter and his team have to fight they way back to their ship to get off planet and just as they are about to leave Omega returns. She has chosen to be with them as they are the closest to real family that she has. Hunter apologises and say “If this is where you want to be, then this is where you’ll stay.”
This episode excels at establishing the relationship between Omega and The Bad Batch, especially Hunter who has now become the surrogate father figure. We are also getting a lot of the blanks filled in about the formation of the Empire and it’s immediate effects of the people of the galaxy. The idea of the Empire building a database of all the citizens gives a explanation for the tracking fobs that have been featured in ‘The Mandalorian’. It was nice to see Cut again who, although he only had a brief appearance in ‘The Clone Wars’, is an important character when it comes to discussing the idea of free will and freedom, something that has always been a major Star Wars theme.
This show has the potential to be a cut above the rest.