Every time an episode of The Bad Batch lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the opening two episodes of season 1 of The Bad Batch – Aftermath and Cut and Run. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Paul Naylor

There’s a lot to like about The Clone Wars spin-off. The Bad Batch are the ‘A-Team’ in space. A bunch of renegades, avoiding capture by Admiral Tarkin and his goons, lending a helping hand to those they meet in the process.

When Season 7 aired of The Clone Wars and we were introduces to Clone Force 99, aka the Bad Batch, the rescue of a fan-favourite formed a four episode arc that was very well received. I looked at the ravaged Echo, with his ghostly skin tone and modifications, and felt quite sorry for him. He could quite easily have been bitter and twisted, but instead – at the story’s conclusion – he joined the team.

Now, with this promising series underway, Echo is now sporting a look akin to Lobot, with his wrap around headset, and the more I see and hear Tech I think of C-3PO. It’s visually about the circular eyepieces, but also the way the dialogue is delivered.

And it is down to the brilliant Dee Bradley Baker that each of the clones has a unique personality – Wrecker reminds me a bit of Zeb from Rebels and Hunter, who wouldn’t look out of place in Aliens alongside Sigourney Weaver, or battling drug barons as John Rambo, is your archetypal hero. But the most intriguing developments for the team so far has been what was lost and what was gained.

I wasn’t expecting to lose one of the crew so early on, with Crosshair’s apparent betrayal. He could prove invaluable to Tarkin – or is this all a plan by the Bad Batch?

Then there’s the feisty ray of sunshine, Omega Okay. We’ll see how this pans out. Regardless of where the story develops from here, it was good to see some familiar technology and faces on Kamino in that first lengthy episode. At 70 minutes, the almost-feature-length opener whizzed by at hyper-speed.

The chilling address to the Republic from Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, creating the Galactic Empire, was no less powerful in animated form and a great call back, reminding us of the point in the timeline we are viewing.

When it came to Episode 2, a highlight for me was seeing Omega’s reaction to fresh air and dirt upon leaving the ship. Anyone who has been shut away in a clinical environment for a long time without being able to stretch their legs and get a change of scenery will appreciate her reaction. Anyone out there? Yeah, all of us! And it was good to see a Nexu causing trouble. First seen in Attack of the Clones, the cat-rat combo nearly took a chunk out of Omega.

Not as pivotal as Episode 1 – and at half the length – the second instalment cements Omega’s place with the team and with that established, the series is set to kick off from Episode 3.

Becca Benjamin

The Bad Batch picks up not too far off base from where season 7 of The Clone Wars came to close. It pretty much runs parallel with Revenge of the Sith and Victory and Death from The Clone Wars. That said, Filoni and Crew come out of the gates with a real tear-jerker as we come face-to-face with a young Caleb Dume at the heart of Order 66.

The Bad Batch brings us up to speed with the transition from the Republic into the first Galactic Empire by jerking us at our heartstrings. As is Filoni’s style, he gives us heart, empathy, turmoil, and at the center of it all, family. And this is where Clone Force 99 really shines. As confusion sets it within their group, they need to figure out what or who they’re “fighting for?”

And that is where we meet Omega. Omega is a female clone of Jango Fett and the medical assistant of Nala Se on Kamino. But, she’s a lot more than that! As the story moves along, we discover that she is an enhanced clone with heightened perception or what we know to be a superpower for foresight. Interestingly enough, it appears that she has gone under the radar of the Emperor himself. Of course, the truth of this subplot is not yet known.

As the story plunges forward with episode 2, Cut and Run, we find our Dad Batch reuniting (briefly) with Cut and Suu while Hunter learns some lessons in parenting. It’s a “tug-at-your-heartstrings” episode as Hunter deals with what he feels is best for Omega and his own heart. In the end, he realizes that Omega deserves to choose, too, and that lesson number one in parenting is listening. And thus, Hunter has taken his first step from the hunter becoming the protector.

All in all, The Dad (Bad) Batch is quickly becoming the series I didn’t know I needed, and Omega has already stolen my heart. So, to Filoni and Crew, protect her at all cost!

Carl Bayliss

Having ‘rescued’ The Clone Wars in 2020 for a curtailed final season, Disney+ has set about launching its first original animated series for its Star Wars ‘channel’.

Fans of Lucasfilm’s animation projects to date will not be disappointed, as the first episode kicks off in familiar style with The Clone Wars logo burning away to reveal The Bad Batch logo beneath, and we even get the old Clone wars style intro, complete with motto and Tom Kane voiceover.

With lots of callbacks to both The Clone Wars and Rebels, these are done in such a way as many of the ones in The Mandalorian – nice if you know what they are, but not so central to the plot that if you haven’t read every book and comic and seen every show you’re left confused by what’s going on.

The animation style is naturally the same as The Clone Wars and as we saw in the 7th season, the backgrounds and rendering are really cinematic in feel and execution.

Kamino is obviously central to the plot in this first episode, and as Black Series collectors had already seen, thanks to a spoilertastic box biog for Crosshair, his ‘chip’ seems to be more functional than those of the rest of Clone Force 99 aka the Bad Batch.

The main new character is Omega, a young girl we are introduced to on Kamino, who has a fascination with the Bad Batch and is played in such a way as to avoid the pitfalls that led some sections of fandom to brand Ahsoka as the new Jar Jar when The Clone Wars debuted.

Over the two episodes we’ve had to date, she is shown as an inquisitive, yet naïve character – hardly surprising if she’s never left the safety ‘bubble’ of Kamino before.

The show is delivering on so many levels, tying into the events of Revenge of the Sith and more and I for one am looking forward to more from the weekly adventures of Clone Force 99.

Joey Clark

It has been a little over a year since we were introduced to the misfits in Clone Force 99, or as we know them, the Bad Batch. I loved the personalities of them right off the bat when they debuted in season 7 of The Clone Wars series, but I had felt in some way they were out of place and I never really understood why… until now. They were born to be the focus, not merely sideline characters. I went in with no expectations, wondering how Dave Filoni and company would pull off this series, but rarely does Lucasfilm Animation fail to deliver with Filoni and Carrie Beck at the helm, and this was no exception.

From the beginning they gave an insight to a beloved Star Wars: Rebels character and their personal experience with Order 66; revisiting the character was the perfect way to tie things together in the universe. I hope going forward this will be a trend that naturally occurs throughout the series given the nature of the era and who the Bad Batch are. There’s much we still don’t know and I look forward to filling in the gaps with these renegade clones.

A concern I did have going into the series was how the creative team would handle the Bad Batch’s reaction to Order 66. Overall, I thought they gave an explanation that was well conceived and made complete sense. It felt natural and also allowed for an opportunity to give the Bad Batch some trouble, I mean they’re always dishing it out, time to see how they deal with it right? The drama Order 66 caused Clone Force 99 amongst their own will be interesting to see as it unfolds and I have faith that this series will be a great piece of Star Wars lore for generations to come.

At the tail end of the debut episode Hunter said he had a friend who could help out Clone Force 99 and I never thought in a million years we’d see the return of Cut Lawquane and his family, but I’m so happy we had a chance to revisit the characters post Order 66. (Cut and Run was the perfect name for this episode!)

Along with the Lawquanes, we had a nice throwback to the arena scene in Attack of the Clones when Omega was confronted by a Nexu. While the beast was a sizable challenge, Suu Lawquane thwarted the beast with some impressive blaster fire. But the moment of peril was a wonderful opportunity to dig into the B story of this series: the father-daughter relationship between Hunter and Omega.

It’s a refreshing dynamic to see in the Star Wars universe and I look forward to seeing the journey as it unfolds. Hunter having to juggle the life of a soldier and being a father figure to Omega was a fantastic story element to add to the series. I think this journey is nice component, especially for those who grew up with the original Clone Wars series and are starting to become parents themselves; the franchise is growing up with them. Thinking back on it, having Cut in the episode made total sense; I mean what other clone out there has started a family and could give some parental tips to Hunter?

Another element that seems to be a nice through line is the explanation of how things have evolved under Imperial control. It hasn’t been jarring or displacing, which is appreciated because they don’t waste a large amount of time stopping the story to make sense of the Empire’s reign. The story seamlessly integrates these fundamental changes.

All I can say is that I will be waiting for the stroke of midnight next Thursday because this series is the embodiment of not just great Star Wars, but great storytelling.

Greig Robertson

Had been counting down the days until the release of The Bad Batch, looking forward to sharing it with my eldest son. The Clone Wars means so much to him and to say he was excited for The Bad Batch would be an understatement.

We were not disappointed! It was worth the wait in so many ways! The slow burn from Clone Wars to Bad Batch, Tom Kane’s narration and that opening scene, we were hooked!
The opening episode to the series was incredible and the 70 minutes flew by.

The second episode reintroduced Cut Lawquane a deserter from The Clone Wars and his family. It was a nice touch to bring him and his family back into the story. The relationship between Hunter and Omega reminds me of Din and Grogu and I’m excited to see how that develops as the show goes on.

Patty Hammond

What can I say about The Bad Batch. This series has gotten to a great start. The first episode takes place during the events of Revenge of The Sith and Season 7 of The Clone Wars. It was interesting to see that these Clones, except for Trigger, did not react to Order 66 at all and did not even know what it was all about. I am disappointed that Crosshair was following Order 66, but it did give me more insight on just how powerful that control chip overrode their thinking.

The stand out character of the first episode was Omega. She was a surprise even though she was in the trailer. I did not suspect her of being a Clone, I figured she was an orphan of someone working with those on Kamino and they took her in after that. I know that people are disappointed that she is not like the other Clones, in coloring, etc. However, that may be the point of the experiment. I am sure we will learn more in the coming episodes, especially now that Hunter has given up the idea of placing her with his Clone brother, Cut’s family.

Overall, I am looking forward to more episodes in the series and what happens next.

Brian Cameron and Mark Newbold discuss Aftermath and Cut and Run on Good Morning Tatooine

Mark Mulcaster and Mark Newbold discuss Cut and Run on Episode 90 of Making Tracks

Mark Mulcaster and Mark Newbold discuss Aftermath on Episode 89 of Making Tracks

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