Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 1, Episode 7: Battle Scars

Filoni and crew don’t leave us waiting for an answer to the previous episode’s cliffhanger of the identity of the mysterious figure who is looking for Clone Force 99. After a brief space battle, in which Wrecker manages to bang his head again, the squad wrap up their latest mission for Cid and Omega and Wrecker continue growing their big brother/little sister relationship by going to by some Mantell Mix which has become their post-mission tradition. Hunter and the team are growing tired of working for low pay, not know who has hired them or why and are looking for a way out of their situation. Their argument with Cid is cut short by a commotion at the bar and when the squad to to investigate it is revealed to be Rex and he was the one talking to the Martez sisters.

What should be a happy reunion soon turns tense as Wrecker suffers from another one of the headaches he has been getting and the moment Rex realises it’s because of the inhibitor chip he goes for his blaster. The voice, again amazingly all done by Dee Bradley Baker, and animation acting here are all spot on. Rex knows the horror of these chips and can’t believe the squad haven’t had their ones removed. Tech says their genetics are stopping them from working but you can see the fear and lack of faith in Rex’s eyes. The chips could fire at any time and the priority becomes to get them removed and Rex has a plan.

‘The Bad Batch’ has been making great use of the expanded Star Wars universe and in this episode it’s the turn of the game ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’. Rex meets the squad to the planet Bracca which is the starting location of the game. It is a junk planet, run by the Scrapping Guild, where they are disposing all the military machinery of the Republic. Amongst the debris is a Venator-class Star Destroyer which has the same type of medical pod that Ahsoka used to remove Rex’s chip. The team have to get to there with out being spotted by the Scrappers but there is also something stalking them in the water. They have to cross a ravine to reach their location and, using a rope, they all cross successfully until it Wrecker’s turn. The rope gives way and he is left dangling over the water at the bottom. In another callback to ‘Fallen Order’ he is attacked by the Ibdis Maw, a Cthulhu-esque creature, that feeds off the scrap metal on the planet. Fortunately for Wrecker his teammates rescue him and they make their way to the medical pod.

When it comes time to have the chips removed Omega becomes scared. Although she is not chipped herself she is worried for the team and fears being left alone. Hunter comforts her and assures her that everything will be okay and that they are in it for the long run. He is truly becoming her father. It’s at this moment that Wrecker’s chip triggers and the episode takes on horror tones. Wrecker becomes like the Terminator, instantly turning on his teammates. He chokes out Tech, throws Echo into Rex, and slams Hunter into a wall telling him “All clones in violation of Order 66 shall be terminated.” He then turns his attention to Omega, chasing her down a corridor, but fortunately she is small enough to escape through some cracks. Wrecker has gone full “Good soldiers follow orders” but Rex manages to sneak up behind him and take him down with a stun blast.

With Wrecker now unconscious Tech is able to carry out the chip removal surgery. Wrecker doesn’t come too straight away and Omega refuses to leave his side until he is awake. When he recovers he apologises to Omega and she hands him some Mantell Mix because the mission is now complete. Their bond, rather than being damaged, is now stronger than ever. The rest of the clones go through with the surgery and they are now free from their chips. Rex asks in Hunter if he and the team want to join him on his new mission but Hunter is now more convinced than ever that it is their job to keep Omega safe. As the squad leave the planet the are spotted by some scrappers who report them to the Empire.

This episode feels like it is the end the end of act one. The team now have their mission and they are free of the chips, even if it was a bit easier than we thought it was going to be. Omega has been cemented into the squad and has a clearly defined relationship with both Hunter and Wrecker. We are now set up for them to be the ‘A-Team’ of the Star Wars universe, helping those in need while dodging the Empire, a threat that has been absent since the first couple of episodes. Hopefully we can get some focus on Tech and Echo and their place on the squad as they have felt sidelined up until now, especially Echo who is the character we have the biggest relationship with up to this point. It is now time for plots revolving around Crosshair and whatever the Kaminoans are up to to come to the forefront.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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