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 seventh episode of season 1 of The Bad Batch – Battle Scars. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Daniel Lo

Timestamps show that Battle Scars was not the shortest episode of the season, but it certainly felt that way. Unlike The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch didn’t make us wait half a season to find out *maybe* who the mysterious figure was in the closing scenes. This time, the suspense lasted less than five minutes. Well, not counting the 168 hours between episodes. Welcome back, Captain Rex.

When the Bad Batch made their debut in season seven of The Clone Wars, Tech stood out as my favorite: Highly intelligent, yet exhibited no apparent shortcomings in combat. However, Wrecker has since taken over the top spot as the show’s undisputed comic relief: He’s an action-seeking overpowered brute with a pronounced fear of heights and child-like tendencies. Hunter apparently knows this too, allowing for the big guy’s fondness for rainbow space popcorn to eat into the squad’s earnings.

In this episode, Wrecker even came close to breaking the fourth wall with his “then why did we land all the way over here?!” gripe (there was a legitimate reason this time). So when his chip finally activated after weeks of headache teases I got slightly nervous, which quickly morphed to being nervous for everyone else who was now stuck facing him down. The resulting conflict was surprisingly brief considering the multi-episode setup, and ultimately served as a somewhat bumpy segue to the removal of everyone’s chips. More space popcorn for Wrecker. Then, just when I thought the episode was going to get started, it ended with another cliffhanger.

What was that water creature, by the way? Have we seen that before? Either way, a great callback to the trash compactor.

Time flies when we’re having fun.

Sheila Wright

I got a bit misty-eyed seeing our old friend, Rex, this week. Last week, I had complained about seeing too many familiar faces in “Decommissioned,” but I can’t complain about seeing Rex in this one. He showed some of that Jedi influence on him, too, with the hooded cloak and all. And, I am loving that a GNK droid is getting more screen time and getting more recognition than in A New Hope and as the FastPass machine for Star Tours at Disneyland.

Along the same lines, this planet, Bracca showed us more waste from the war, similar to our introduction to Rey the scavenger on Jakku in The Force Awakens and the decaying Death Star in The Rise of Skywalker. But, sometimes I feel it’s too many threads connecting us to previous Star Wars stories.

And, this episode felt predictable quite a few times. Cid’s character is going where expected. She is exploiting them and proves to be shady, accruing debts for them of which they weren’t aware. However, it does play into the paradox of the Bad Batch being highly trained and “programmed” soldiers who have little clue about the way the galaxy really works–a clear parallel with Omega.

I didn’t want the water creature on Bracca to be a dianoga. There must be other water creatures in the galaxy. The foreshadowing “stay above the waterline” didn’t need to be said–the movement in the water implied, enough, that this dangerous water creature would later be an obstacle in their path. Sometimes the writers need to trust that they gave enough inferences without having to state the conclusion for us (this is one of the problems I had with the prequels). However, I acknowledge that there are those in the audience who haven’t, like me, obsessively followed this saga.

I had suspected that Wrecker’s headaches had something to do with the inhibitor chip, that the trauma to his head, a few times in the last few episodes, triggered something. So I wasn’t surprised when he resisted crossing along the cable and that he turned on them just as he was about to have it removed.

The predictability is predictable, though. This is Star Wars, and it always has done this, so I don’t get grumpy about it, but sometimes that familiarity and being able to guess the end is distracting. Star Wars relies on uniquely adapting archetypes and tropes to connect us with the characters’ experiences so that along with the predictable, it also makes you accept the implausible, like the rusty medical bay of the decrepit Jedi ship still working and getting them free of the chips just in time. The balance was a bit off in this episode.

Omega is predictably bringing out a nurturing side in all the clones, but her relationship with Wrecker is precious. He’s as much of a kid as she is, and she really needs that, so that made him chasing her and trying to kill her really suspenseful. I knew that she would not be harmed, but I really thought that it would be her voice that would stop him, not Rex’s stun gun (so, a failed prediction on my part, there). The power of the inhibitor chip shows the power and terrifying capabilities of the Empire and upped the urgency in getting those chips out of their heads.

The implication from Rex, in the end, that there were “a few clones who were immune to order 66” was perfect–just enough to tell us that more like the Bad Batch and Rex are out there being sought, increasing the peril they face.

The clones’ naivety has made them quite careless. In this episode, we get their high-profile escapes among gunfire in the opening of the episode and the end of the episode with them forgetting to keep out of sight from the scrappers (in Kylo Ren-esque masks). The Empire will catch up with them in no time if they continue being so careless. But that is more of that intentional predictability–enough to let us kind of know where the action is heading but not enough to know if they’ll figure out their place–to join the remnants of the Republic and Rex or continue on their own path.

Paul Naylor

Rumours had circulated amongst friends that a beloved character from The Clone Wars animated series would arrive in The Bad Batch pretty soon. The rumours were true. Captain Rex, in his younger iteration, donning bleached cropped hair, was located by the protagonists of this Clone War era spin-off, and another piece of the puzzle fell into place. For the viewer, it was good to see him – for the Bad Batch, his arrival was critical. Over a number of episodes, Wrecker’s implanted inhibitor chip had clearly begun to give him – and the crew – much concern. Certain fans predicted that if his personality was to be changed, making him subservient to Order 66, we could even see him be killed by one of his fellow quirky clone pals.

Rex was dismayed when he discovered Clone Force 99 – apart from the diminutive Omega – still had their Empire-controlled inhibitor chips, forcing an unwanted stand-off between the adversaries. Thankfully Rex located a medical facility on the scrapyard planet Bracca, familiar to many gamers as homeworld to Jedi Fallen Order character Cal Kestis.

So, when the inevitable transformation occurred shortly after arrival, it was nail-biting stuff. Would this be the end of Wrecker? Rex was soon able to show the Bad Batch the benefits of removing the chip, first via Wrecker, and by the episode’s end the rest of Clone Force 99.

It was a great episode, joining more canonical dots, with Rex helping to save the day and opening the door for a Cal Kestis appearance – perhaps as soon as episode 8?

Eric Onkenhout

Battle Scars, the 7th episode of The Bad Batch, answered a few questions while prompting a few more. It had tension, sweet sincerity, and innocence—three ingredients for great storytelling. Battle Scars is the perfect title for this episode as it can be taken literally for Wrecker’s scars on his head, or it can be taken psychologically for the effects the war had on the clones. At nearly the halfway point of the season, The Bad Batch is working its way towards something I’m still trying to figure out, but I’m sure the payoff will be worth the wait.

Instead of summarizing what happened during Battle Scars, I want to talk about some thought-provoking moments. Firstly, the caped crusader. It was revealed pretty early that Rex was the caped figure that appeared at the end of Decommissioned as a hologram to Rafa and Trace. Speculators, myself included, thought it could be Bail Organa, Ahsoka, Saw Gerrera or even Maul. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and very wrong.

After Rex and Ahsoka went their separate ways, they likely kept in touch, and that Ahsoka told Rex about the Martez sisters off-screen and maybe used them as a liaison. I was relieved that Rex’s identity wasn’t dragged out. Sometimes too many questions are asked before answers are given. Such as who hired Fennec Shand? What are the Kaminoans up to? And who are the Martez sisters working with? At least that one was answered. Also, Tech confirms that the imperial database concludes Rex was killed in action. This rumor lines up with the Ahsoka novel, which mentions Rex’s false grave. For a split second, when Rex’s face was still covered by the cowl at Cid’s place, I thought, Maul? Because it reminded me of Maul’s appearance in Rebels on Malachor.

I have to admit, as a person who doesn’t play video games, Bracca’s mention slipped by me until a friend told me Bracca is in Jedi: Fallen Order, the 2019 video game that tells an original story about Cal Kestis, a surviving Jedi Padawan, five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. During the time of Battle Scars, Cal Kestis should still be on Bracca. So who knows? Maybe he’ll pop up in an upcoming episode.

The crashed Venator-class ship (maybe the one Cal was aboard) is similar to the one the clones served aboard, but it’s very different now. Despite only being weeks since the end of the war, it looks like it’s been sitting in the wreckage for years. The visuals very much reminded me of the crashed Super Star Destroyer on Jakku, but that was actually there for three decades. The atmosphere could have influenced how the metal erodes. Sandy dry environments would affect metal differently than the moisture on Bracca. I wonder if Bracca was developed simultaneously for The Bad Batch and Jedi: Fallen Order?

Wrecker’s inhibitor chip continues to plague him. I was also glad this was dealt with sooner rather than later; the chip has hindered Wrecker since the third episode. Rex knows all about the chips and quickly moves for his blaster. As Tech and Echo prepare to surgically remove the chip, Wrecker can no longer hold back, and he begins to execute Order 66. I’m no psychologist, but I’ve done some research on the subject. Psychologically speaking, a psychopath is a personality trait that includes acting without a conscience and not regretting the actions. Typically these traits are genetic.

On the other hand, a sociopath has a conscience, but it is fragile, and they usually feel regret afterward; they know what they did was wrong but can’t help themselves. Typically sociopaths are influenced by outside sources. Therefore, I liken the inhibitor chip to a conscience that urged the clones to perform heinous acts. The significant difference being, Wrecker was subdued by Rex, and his chip (the urge to perform these acts) was removed. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy in real life.

Wrecker’s demeanor changed from being a child-like teddy bear to a brutal force of nature possessed by the chip. I felt so worried for Omega. She is so pure and innocent and forgives Wrecker with no questions asked. It was so sweet when she placed her hand on his face! In an article on StarWars.com, Michelle Ang was quoted as saying that she had some input on Omega’s reactions, having a child of her own. I wonder if this is one of those times. Eventually, all of their chips are removed.

A couple more things I want to mention before I wrap it up. I appreciated that Hunter is tired of their deal with Cid. Too little pay for doing all of the work. After reconnecting with Rex, I imagine The Bad Batch leaving that lifestyle behind and begin work making the galaxy a better place through more moral pathways.

Lastly, the job of the animation team on the water on Bracca is nothing short of perfection. I can’t wait to see what else they have in store. As Wrecker always says, Gimme more!

Patty Hammond

Oh my! Just watched The Bad Batch and so happy to see Rex back and helping them out. Great introduction into the show! Knew that Wrecker was going to go to The Dark Side, but was so happy that Rex was there to help stop him and help get that chip out!
Love the interaction between Omega and Wrecker, it was so sad when he said he tried to stop himself, but could not. Darn Palpatine! I am so glad Omega has the snacks to share with him to say all was right with their world.
So worried about what will happen in the next episode now that they have been spotted by the scavenger crew. Wonder if Fennic is going to show up again? Cannot wait to see what happens next!
Becca Benjamin

The latest episode of The Bad Batch, “Battle Scars,” is the most emotional one yet. While we go through an emotional tug-of-war of the heartstrings, this episode does deliver with some fun callbacks to the Star Wars video game, “Jedi Fallen Order,” creepy creature scenes, and some heartwarming Omega moments.

Come to find out, our ragtag group of clones are still affiliated with Cid and yet, find themselves in debt to her financially. And while we know Cid runs a seedy establishment, she likes to know who is frequenting her cantina.

It doesn’t take too long for the writers and creators of this series to unveil the mysterious cloaked figure from the last episode. After all, most of us Star Wars fans have a problem with patience. That said, we find out pretty quickly that it’s Rex who the Martez sisters were talking to via hologram. No surprise there, right?

Flashforward to Bracca (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order), and our clone family once again finds themselves in a sticky but stinky pickle. Ok, a hungry and dangerous one too. Still, they push forward with the plan to remove their inhibitor chips before things get any worse. And that’s when things do go from bad to worse.

As they put the plan into action and scan for Wrecker’s inhibitor chip, Wrecker starts to exhibit a whole new array of symptoms. Essentially, the scan puts “Good soldiers follow orders” into overdrive. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

As a parent, the following sequence of events was hard to watch. Animation or not, seeing a young child hunted down by a burly man like Wrecker and an adult she looks up to in ways similar to a little sister and her big brother, well, it’s gut-wrenching. Thankfully, it all works out in the end, and all of Omega’s Dad Batch remove their inhibitor chips without fail. Well, for now, at least.

Carl Bayliss

As is becoming the norm for The Bad Batch, no time wasted in getting right into the latest episode ‘Battle Scars’.

Picking up presumably not long after the end of the last episode we join the crew aboard the Havoc Marauder being attacked by several Rhokai gunships, as they’ve “liberated” a lizard from them on yet another mission from Cid. Although there was a bit of debate over whether this would become the template of their operation it seems certainly for the moment their way of surviving in the new galactic order and by the sounds of it they still owe Cid a lot of credits too.

Meanwhile a cloaked figure appears in Cid’s cantina and a couple of the regulars take exception to them. This tuns out to be the reappearance of Captain Rex, who was the unseen hologram from the last episode when we saw the Martez sisters contacting their ally.

As Wrecker seems to be getting more headaches, Rex says he knows all about the inhibitor chips and advises them that they’re like a timebomb waiting to go off but he knows a way to get rid of them.

They head to the scrapyards of Bracca (familiar looking surroundings to anyone who has played Jedi: Fallen Order) where they find a jedi cruiser waiting to be scrapped, and they head for the med bay. Again, scenes very reminiscent of both ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ as they navigate through the abandoned wreckage.

They reach the medbay but almost on cue Wrecker’s chip kicks in and he is compelled to try and kill all opponents of Order 66 i.e. the rest of the team. They eventually manage to stun him and make removing his chip a priority – amazing how the medbay is still fully operational, although as they point out, it’s hardly what you’d call a sterile environment.

They eventually remove everyone’s chip and Rex agrees to meet someone at the ‘rendezvous point’ – before trying to see if Hunter and the team are interested in joining him to help ‘defend the Republic’ – a veiled hint that Rex is part of the fledgeling Rebellion???

As Rex leave, several patrol scouts from the Scrappers Guild spot Hunter via their macrobinoculars and call in that the Empire should be notified.

So as we thought, the ‘Wreckers chip going wrong and putting everyone in danger’ storyline came to a climax – to be fair earlier than I thought, but our heroes now have not only Bounty Hunters tracking them down, but presumably the Empire following up shortly.

Another action-packed episode (did we see a Dianoga or Rathtar in there??) that advances the story on several fronts – the Bad Batch are now ‘chipless’, have contact with Rex and the growing friendship between Omega and the team – especially Wrecker is growing.

Really enjoying this series and can’t wait for more.

Ross Hollebon

Dark vibes and “betrayal” haunt the Bad Batch through much of “Battle Scars,” in episode 7. Tension may be the magic word to describe numerous situations throughout the newest installment of the journey, starting with a blaster-slinging stranger showing up at Cid’s Cantina.

In a possible nod to the introduction of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s “Fellowship of the Ring” (FOTR) film, we get a fan favorite, hooded with a reveal providing relief and joy: Captain Rex. Stories are shared between all the clones but the most important—and tension-filled moment—is when Rex realizes Clone Force 99 has not removed their inhibitor chips, setting up this week’s mission. The clones meet Rex on Bracca, a junkyard of a planet overseen by the Scrapper’s Guild, to take advantage of the medical bay on a Venator class Jedi Cruiser. A second nod to FOTR is the introduction of a larger dianoga than the one we’ve seen previously (hello, “A New Hope” trash compactor) grabbing hold of Wrecker, similar to the multi-armed water beast with Frodo outside the Mines of Moria. After defeating the beast, the tides are turned as Wrecker becomes the monster, after his inhibitor chip finally bests him.

He attacks his team, and hunts Omega, as he recites laws and orders, accusing his friends of treason and being enemies of the Empire. This is the horror-film sequence with fast cuts and film noir lighting, building the tension with each shadow and quick frame. Rex saves the day, stunning Wrecker, who was not himself as he considered bringing Omega to “justice” based on his hardwired orders. It is reassuring to see Omega’s maturity and understanding of the situation when she refuses to leave Wrecker’s side as he recovers from the surgery to finally remove his inhibitor chip. Eventually, each member has his chip removed and Rex moves along—but not before letting us know more about his involvement with a group of others forming to stand up to the fledgling Empire, and an open invite attempt at recruiting Hunter and his unit.

So much of this episode is about getting into special moments and details of the blossoming affinity between Wrecker and Omega. From their shared, and expensive, victory snack of Mantell mix, to the heartfelt moments of true love and friendship, the fellowship between Wrecker and Omega is heartwarming and precious.

And seeing as nothing can be easy when the crew is on the run, the Scrapper’s Guild recognizes the rogue clones and ends the episode by alerting the Empire. Will we soon get another skirmish with Crosshair or could a different set of Galactic mercenaries be on the way?

Brian Cameron and Mark Newbold discuss Battle Scars on Good Morning Tatooine

Mark Mulcaster and Mark Newbold discuss Battle Scars on Episode 95 of Making Tracks

 

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