Following Rex’s departure last week, the Bad Batch remains on Bracca scavenging for parts on the Jedi Cruiser to repay their debt to Cid. The planet’s scavengers have alerted the Empire to their presence, sending Crosshair to their doorsteps.
The Bad Batch: Episode 8, “Reunion”
The episode starts out innocently with Wrecker teaching Omega how to defuse a detonator, but the fun is cut short as they head back to the Jedi Cruiser with Echo and run into a bit of trouble with the scavengers. After a short tussle, they head back to Hunter and Tech who have decided to stay on Bracca a little longer to strip what they can from the Cruiser to make a little money.
Wrecker and Omega head down to the armory to see what the ship still has and much to Wrecker’s delight, the cruiser is still fully stocked with detonators and torpedoes. Has there ever been a greater love story than the one between Wrecker and his torpedo? While Hunter and Echo track down other profitable pieces to take, Echo finally mentions Rex — but it doesn’t make up for what was lacking in last week’s episode.
Omega heads to the bridge to help Tech retrieve valuable and profitable data from the ship and that’s when they discover that the Empire has arrived on Bracca. For the next ten minutes of the episode, the Bad Batch goes toe-to-toe with their former friend and brother Crosshair as he leads a merciless assault against them. Crosshair is, after all, a good soldier and he’s been instructed to terminate all of them.
Despite being caught twice in insurmountable situations where they’re completely outnumbered, the Bad Batch manages to escape from the clutches of the Empire through clever tactics. The final attack leaves Crosshair grievously injured and burnt up, which he kind of deserved after attempting to incinerate the Bad Batch in the ion engine. After escaping from Crosshair, the clones make the dash back to the Marauder, but things do not go as planned.
Early in the episode, we learned that the Kaiminoans have hired multiple bounty hunters to track down Omega and return her to them. But it isn’t Fennec Shand who turns up to retrieve the bounty this time, it’s Cad Bane. What’s a return from everyone’s favorite gunslinging cowboy bounty hunter without a western showdown? Set-up-wise this was a fun moment in an otherwise stressful episode, but ultimately it felt hollow.
At the onset of The Bad Batch, it was pretty obvious that at some point in the story Omega would be forcefully separated from Clone Force 99. The fact that it occurred in today’s episode was, in fact, surprising, but not for the obvious reasons. The Bad Batch has mastered two elements: stunning fight sequences that surpass anything that you would expect in an animated series and an inspiring orchestration that packs a satisfying emotional punch. What it hasn’t mastered yet is its characters.
The absconsion of Omega would have been better served if the necessary character work had been put into place first. As it stands, Omega has the most established relationship with Wrecker which is why last week’s episode packed the emotional punch as Wrecker turned against her and his brothers. She actually spent the better part of “The Reunion” with Wrecker, yet again building up their relationship. But Hunter remains largely unaffected by her presence.
Even Crosshair’s “reunion” with the Bad Batch felt stunted because we haven’t really seen the clones mourn the loss of him outside of a few stray references as they gave Omega everything that once belonged to him. They didn’t struggle with the fact that they might kill him or seriously maim him in pursuit of their own survival. There was no flicker of humanity as he tried to resist the chip. The emotional weight is only there if audiences are creating their own connections because the on-screen storytelling does not revel in character building.
The Bad Batch has a really great and familiar premise. Essentially, it’s a team of highly skilled soldiers that have to learn how to become caregivers and, in the process, learn to become more than just soldiers. There’s a reason why the Action Hero-Babysitter trope exists and Star Wars has been leaning into it in recent years, but they’ve breezed through so many of the necessary emotional hallmarks of the trope. While the cameos in past episodes have worked and have given fuel to the underlying story, they haven’t been used to their fullest extent. They haven’t driven the characters to become more than just two-dimensional ideas that are open to personal interpretation.
While “Reunion” was a lot of fun action-packed sequences, last week’s episode remains the best of the season because the necessary character work existed before the inciting drama. With half a season left to go, hopefully, Hunter’s character is fleshed out so that the loss of Omega has a believable on-screen impact.