The season finale of The Bad Batch has arrived and despite last week’s nerve-wracking cliffhanger, “Kamino Lost” managed to wrap things up neatly, without leaving us on the edge of our seats, waiting for season two. Which is both a good and a bad thing.
The Bad Batch: Episode 16, “Kamino Lost”
As Tipoca City sinks into the ocean, Rampart watches on with glee, unaware that — against the odds — the Bad Batch have managed to survive the attack. They are briefly separated, as the water begins to rise, but Omega and AZI are able to free Crosshair from the debris trapping him under the water, just as Wrecker breaks through the door. But they aren’t out of trouble yet.
The Bad Batch attempt to find a way out of Tipoca City, but disaster strikes again as the city is fully submerged beneath the ocean. Their former home pitches onto its side, causing debris to plunge towards them as they cling, hopelessly, to exposed pipes and equipment. Eventually, the city settles onto the ocean floor and they are able to find a mostly secure location that happens to be their former barracks. It’s a nice little homage to a location we only saw briefly, early in the season, but it underlines that, for better or worse, Tipoca City was as much their home as The Marauder is.
Conveniently, their former barracks have settled atop the secret tunnel system that they used to get into Tipoca City, giving them an opportunity to escape. But even that route is not without potential risks. A creature, living in the oceans of Kamino, attacks the tunnel system, but AZI’s quick thinking saves the day and they make their way into Nala Se’s private lab.
With the rest of the tunnel system destroyed, the Bad Batch devise a new plan to get back to the Marauder by utilizing the medical capsules. AZI is tasked with guiding them through the debris-filled water, but the droid’s power is slowly running out. Wrecker, Echo, Tech, Hunter, and Crosshair make it to the surface in their capsules, but Omega’s capsule is ensnared under debris.
In a moment that felt like the Titanic, AZI uses the last of their power reserve to try to free Omega, in hopes that she will make it to the surface. The light in AZI’s eyes dies and the droid drifts downwards into the darkness of the ocean. Omega, who has more heart than sense sometimes, opens her capsule and dives downwards to rescue her droid. Above the water, Crosshair grabs his rifle and appears to turn it on Hunter, but he fires past his brother, into the ocean and sends a line down to rescue Omega.
Despite knowing that the Empire left him for dead, Crosshair chooses to turn his back on his brothers, vowing his dedication to the Empire and the place he feels like he will have within the new galactic power structure.
The final moment takes audiences back to the Empire, where Nala Se is being escorted off a cruiser and greeted by a cloning enthusiast. I don’t know if the reminder of Palpatine’s future cloning projects was the strongest cliffhanger for The Bad Batch, but it certainly was a choice.
Overall, the first season of The Bad Batch was fine. Spin-off series are notoriously fraught with growing pains, as the showrunners try to find the perfect balance for the characters. The two-part season finale had some of the strongest character development and character moments in general, which is a shame since it took fifteen episodes to get there. The development that was utilized in the finale, underscores just how many missed opportunities there were throughout the first season.
The loss of Tipoca City was a gut-punch for anyone overly attached to the Prequel Era and The Clone Wars, but it was underutilized throughout The Bad Batch. With the finale centered around its loss — even the titles, “Return to Kamino” and “Kamino Lost” — you would expect to have seen more of it throughout the season. Both Crosshair and Kamino were put on the backburner this season, with the majority of the episodes focused on adventure-of-the-week missions for Cid. While fun, they did very little with developing the characters and allowing them to grow beyond their caricature-like personalities.
The tense and forced truce between Crosshair and The Bad Batch in “Kamino Lost” was, admittedly, compelling. But where was this storytelling all season? The characters were actually communicating with each other. There was interpersonal conflict. They were all struggling to grapple with working together and while clearly being angry with Crosshair for being aligned with the Empire.
The only character that truly felt well-rounded by the close of the season was Omega. From her introduction in “Aftermath” and her kind words to Crosshair when they were being held by the Empire, to her final scene with Crosshair as he made his choice to return to the Empire, we have seen her worldview evolve. From hopeful optimism to the realization that some people can’t change. Omega has come into her own as a “bad batcha” and I am excited to see where her story goes.
The first season of The Bad Batch was a valiant attempt to build off of the enthusiasm for The Clone Wars. The breathtaking animation, gorgeous orchestrations, and talented vocal cast held the show together where the storytelling faltered. Hopefully, with season two, The Bad Batch finds its individuality and takes advantage of its missed opportunities. Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, and Tech have the potential to be very interesting characters if only they were given the opportunity to grow beyond their archetypes.
Where is the second season of The Bad Batch headed? The season finale didn’t give many clues, but hopefully, the creators have listened to fans and they will address the whitewashing controversy in the new season.