Max takes a retrospective look at the première season of The Bad Batch to offer his overview of what was landmark season of Star Wars animation
The debut season of The Bad Batch has wrapped and I introspectively want to look back on the season as a whole. And speak about places it was successful and places it needed work on. Like everything else, this show is not perfect. And while I love it, some issues popped up frequently in the show’s duration. You have to adjust your criticisms when dealing with the first season of a show. It is still finding its sea legs with establishing characters, and the purpose for those characters.
THE CLONE WARS MANTLE
The series started relatively strong with the characters. Yes, we knew about Clone Force 99 from the final season of The Clone Wars; but in the process of being re-introduced, we were able to get a good feel for each character’s personality traits. Omega was also an easy character to introduce. And her demeanor seemed very natural due to her non-accelerated growth and lack of superhuman talents. We also got to see Clone Force 99, interact with the regs or normal “clones”. They are outcasts, but they also feel superior so it has a very interesting effect.
Cid was also a fun character, although being secondary. The characters were introduced well but didn’t progress too far in terms of change. Everyone was basically the same from Aftermath to Kamino Lost. And Season 2 needs to show more character growth. Season 1’s biggest accomplishment by far, was showing the transition from Republic to Empire, and in the form of Clone Trooper to Stormtrooper. The Empire did not want to use clones after the conclusion of the Clone Wars, and there are many theories as to why this is.
RISE OF THE EMPIRE
On the surface, it looks like a matter of money. Growing and training clones is very expensive, and the Empire always wants to be the top dog. Relying on the “superior” science of an alien race is NOT something the Empire would ever submit to. And I knew from Day 1 that the Kaminoans had a quickly approaching expiration date. Armor also costs money, and there is also some evidence that the clone trooper armor was made from better ceramics than the stormies. Again money. The Empire doesn’t know how badly it’s shooting itself in the foot. Imperial Stormtroopers are notorious for not being able to hit the side of a barn with their guns. Despite all the heavy training and conditioning, the Empire employs.
In a way, the Empire’s greed and xenophobia were its downfalls. Because in providing inadequate soldiers, it made the jobs of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia much easier because I cannot even begin to speculate how they would fare against clones like Cody and Rex in a shoot-out. This transition is the crown jewel of the season and the main reason why I enjoyed it so much.
While the plot moved very smoothly, this show also suffered from an unhealthy dose of filler. Many episodes were busywork adventures or projects that did not affect the clones as a whole. While, realistically, when you are wayward and on the run, you tend to stray from the main path. But a lot of times I felt I was reading a boring part of an otherwise, book. Some characters appeared once and then left in that same episode. And I would have liked to have seen consistent characters, instead of Cid and occasionally Vice Admiral Rampart.
Many adventures just fell flat and did not employ anything creative or game-changing. You can’t have excitement all the time, but at the end of the day, Clone Force 99 is still basically in the same place they were when the series started.
Finally, the third component of the season I have identified is both good AND bad. The Bad Batch wanted to give us fun cameos. And they did deliver in the form of Rex, Tarkin, Kanan; Hera; Chopper; Cham Syndulla; Orn Free Taa; Scorch; Taun We; Cad Bane, and Fennec Shand. The list goes on! However, a lot of the fun cameos were not done properly and ended without much preamble. Rex was a total fail, he was just shoehorned into it, and it didn’t flow organically.
Young Kanan was the most successful, and it was fine to have the whole ship passing in the night encounter. But some characters I feel left too quickly and I almost felt it was like watching a talk show where every week/day they would have a new celebrity guest. So, it goes both ways.
As an addendum to my analysis, I must point out that one of the most important things a series that has been renewed must do is set up cliffhangers for the next season. They certainly did give us a lot to think about. The Empire is not done with the Kaminoans, and they are still very interested in cloning, which is implied to come from the top. Emperor Palpatine was obsessed with immortality. And it is safe to say he learned how to clone his body from the info the Empire harvested from the Kaminoans. Also, we haven’t seen the last of Crosshair. And this stubborn guy still believes he has a place in the new Empire, even though he was left for dead with the other clones. He has some good in him for sure, but I doubt he will ever come around. He’s too cold and calculating to be in The Bad Batch team.
Anyway, I can’t complain about this season. It was a decent start and I look forward to Season 2. Let’s hope it’s even better.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!