With the announcement that The Bad Batch will return for a second season preceding the two-part finale, one might assume that things are going to get worse before they get better. Given the cliffhanger separating Part 1 from Part 2 — things might get really dicey in the finale next week.
The Bad Batch: Episode 15, “Return to Kamino”
“Return to Kamino” opens with Hunter and Crosshair en route to Kamino, where Rampart is waiting to see what happens next with one of the few remaining clones directly under his command. Crosshair has been a stalwart ally, but Rampart seems to expect him to flip — in favor of the Bad Batch.
Kamino is a shell of what it once was. The clone troopers are gone, the Kaminoans have been taken away, and all of the equipment has been stripped out, leaving a bare and ominous facility in its wake. The parallel from the premiere, when the mess hall was filled with “regs” and alive with activity. The somber note bleeds through the entirety of the episode.
Back on Ord Mantell, Echo and Tech are busily repairing The Marauder as Omega frets about Hunter. She is determined to get Hunter back, no matter the risk, and she seems angry that the other Batchers aren’t acting quicker. But of course, Hunter isn’t on Daro anymore — he’s been taken to Kamino and Crosshair knows exactly how to lure them in. As they’re preparing to leave Ord Mantell, after dropping Gregor off with Sid, Hunter’s comm is activated and they’re off to find him.
The remaining members of the Bad Batch head to Kamino and utilize a secret entrance into Nala Se’s lab, which Omega is familiar with, to get into the facility unnoticed. AZI, Omega’s friendly little droid, is hiding out in the lab and he explains what has been happening on Kamino in their absence.
In the lab, where Omega was born and the Bad Batch was perfected, Echo immediately notices Omega’s distress and gets down on her level to make sure she’s okay. There are several little looks that Echo and Wrecker share, in regards to Omega, and it gave me life. Hopefully, season two will give the series more time to develop these little flickers of connection between the Bad Batch. This moment also reveals what many fans have been saying all along — despite being a child, Omega is actually older than the Bad Batch because she, like Boba Fett, was not created with accelerated age in mind.
The Bad Batch make their way into the main area of the cloning facility and discover it barren. They follow Hunter’s beacon, until they wind up in a room just beneath the training room — a location that played a pivotal role in the premiere. Leaving Omega behind with AZI, Echo, Wrecker, and Tech head up into the training room and they find themselves surrounded by Crosshair and his squad. Because of course Crosshair knew what their plan was.
They may be highly trained soldiers, but The Bad Batch seems oblivious to the fact that Crosshair was once one of them, which implies that he knows what their plans would be — even their unexpected plans. So why don’t they recognize a glaringly obvious trap when they see one?
Despite having limited screen time throughout the season, Crosshair’s sense of betrayal is palpable as he expresses his desire to give the Bad Batch a chance to join the Empire alongside him — a chance that Hunter and co. never gave him. While this worked, the impact would’ve been even heavier had Hunter and the Bad Batch reflected on the loss of Crosshair at all beyond giving Omega everything that once belonged to him. It paints Crosshair quite sympathetically, because we as the audience know that the Clone Force really didn’t care about the loss of their brother.
The most shocking turn of events was the moment that Star Wars fans predicted at the start of the season. As Hunter tries to reason with Crosshair, explaining to him (again) that their inhibitor chips are what make them loyal to the Empire, Crosshair reveals that his inhibitor chip was removed — some time ago. Hunter, likely thinking back to the moment on Bracca when Crosshair mercilessly tried to kill them, presses for specifics about the removal, which Crosshair doesn’t provide.
Rather than following orders and returning to the shuttle to call Rex for help, Omega decides to take matters into her own hands. In an effort to cause a diversion, Omega and AZI release wave after wave of droids, which forces Crosshair to fight alongside his former squad. While Omega’s quick-thinking plan could’ve gone very badly, it ends up working in their favor. Mostly.
Hunter stuns Crosshair and, for a moment, seems to consider leaving him behind, but ultimately takes him and his equipment as the Bad Batch starts to leave the Kaminoan facility. Unfortunately for them, Rampart is in a ship above the facility, ready to sink it into the ocean. As they attempt to escape from Kamino, Rampart gives the command to fire on the facility and the Bad Batch narrowly avoid the first explosions that start to take down their former home.
The final moments of the first part of the two-part finale ends on a rather somber note as everything we have ever known of Kamino sinks into the ocean. Losing one of the most iconic settings from the Prequel Era was perhaps the most shocking part of The Bad Batch thus far. This is definitely the last “Return to Kamino” we will ever see.
Have the Bad Batch met an early and watery grave? Who will rescue them in the nick of time next week? I guess we will have to tune back in to find out.