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The Bad Batch

Spoils of War / Ruins of War (The Bad Batch - S02E01&E02) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Spoils of War / Ruins of War

Season: Two

Episode: 1 & 2

Original Air Date: January 4th, 2023

Runtime: 21 & 25 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"You can buy your freedom! We're already free! It's cute you think that!" SPOILERS.

Omega helps save the day 5 minutes into the episode

Here we go again! The last Andor episode was released only a few weeks ago and 2023 begins with the first of (probably) four Star Wars series on Disney+ this year. The Bad Batch season 2 is released roughly 16 months after the final episode of season 1. Was it worth the wait? To make things short: if you liked The Bad Batch in season 1 then season 2 - as of now - is more of the same and chances are high you'll enjoy the adventures of Omega and the clones. If you did not care too much for The Bad Batch in season 1 there's probably nothing that will change your mind here, since it's just more of the same.

Still doing oddjobs for Cid...

Lucasfilm decided to release a two part episode, so the episodes Spoils of War and Ruins of War tell one story. Cid wants the Bad Batch to go to Serrano, Count Dooku's home planet. His vast treasure is still on the planet and if the Bad Batch can recover at least some of it it would earn them so much money they would finally be free of any obligations to Cid and have the means to stop doing oddjobs for her. What follows is an action packed adventure about the Bad Batch trying to recover some of Dooku's treasure. However, the Empire is already on the planet and this complicates things. We get countless shootouts, the Bad Batch gets separated, Tech breaks a leg, Omega disobeys orders and tries to recover treasure from a crashed container, eventually the Bad Batch can escape the clutches of the Empire, however they fail to recover any of the treasure and it turns out the entire mission was pointless.

Serrano was bombed back into the stone age by the Empire

In fact, the meat and bones of the two episodes are a handful of short character scenes, whereas the majority of the runtime, while heavy on the action, adds little of substance. There is some character development sprinkled througout the episodes. Echo has a conversation with Hunter and insists that they should join the fight against the Empire instead of hiding and doing oddjobs. Omega also overhears a conversation in which Echo points out that they are all in the situation they are because they rescued Omega, which later results in Omega wanting to prove herself, when she tries to recover part of Dooku's treasure, so the Bad Batch can finally be free of all obligations. This does not work, however Omega gets reassurance that the clones wouldn't change a thing and don't regret saving her. And finally we learn that Imperial officers are still bastards who go to greath lengths to protect their careers. In this particular instance it's Rampart who kills Clone Captain Wilco in cold blood when he refuses to falsify a report that confirms the Bad Batch are still alive. They are officially dead according to Rampart's report on Kamino and he can't have Wilco prove him wrong. This in turn also means Crosshair actually didn't snitch on the Bad Batch after the events of the season 1 finale.

Recovering Dooku's treasure proves to be quite difficult

On the surface The Bad Batch is nice kid orientied, family-friendly entertainment. It's obvious this show is not Andor and aimed at younger audiences. Thus you get the same tropes in season 2 as before, particularly the precocious kid genius who saves the day again and again or provides helpful information. This is a staple of entertainment aimed at kids and has a long tradition. But it also means your personal enjoyment of the series greatly hinges on the question whether or not you can accept that a young kid does things no young kid should do.

Rampart goes over dead bodies to cover his tracks

However, the biggest issue of The Bad Batch, and this is something I already said about season 1, is that the series feels pointless. While it's perfectly entertaining on its own, it adds nothing new to the table. And the reason for that is that showrunners Jennifer Corbett and Dave Filoni (however, Corbett is more in charge here, since Filoni is busy with other projects, she's also the head writer) decided to have the Bad Batch go on random oddjob fetch missions for Cid. And when it's not about random jobs The Bad Batch veers into territory thoroughly explored by Rebels and now also Andor. And I feel with Andor we have reached peak early rebellion. So how many more times do we need to see how the early rebellion gets going? To make matters worse season 1 of The Bad Batch outright mutated into a Rebels prequel for two episodes. So what is the actual purpose of the characters and the series? In many ways the series feels redundant. And the few things that are maybe of interest, like Omega's actual purpose, are left entirely unexplored. There also is no meeting with Boba (and it's not clear this will change in season 2).

My biggest gripe about the first season 2 episodes is that the entire mission was ultimately pointless. Yes, we learned that Omega feels a bit insecure and maybe even guilty, because she believes the clones are worse off because of her, but that is quickly resolved and this topic could have been addressed in any episode. The vast majority of the runtime is dedicated to action here though. And while the action itself is not bad, it also lacks any tension. There are no stakes. The former clones of the Republic lost all shooting skills when they became Imperial soldiers and they never ever hit anything, whereas the Bad Batch stun stormtroopers left and right with their blasters. It would almost be comical if it weren't so silly. And of course you know that nothing will happen to Omega, ever, and, at least so early into the season, nothing will happen to the Bad Batch either. So what you get are action scenes that eventually become a bit tedious, because it feels just like filler, there is no danger here, ever, all the main characters are safe, to focus so much on action then is maybe not the way to go. The episode - most of the series - lacks plot.

I also feel that the plot device with Cid and her oddjobs is holding back the series. That the season 2 opener dangles the possibility of the Bad Batch leaving Cid's services in front of the audience's nose, only to return to the status quo, feels lazy.

But where can the series go? Season 1 and the first two episodes season 2 imply that the Bad Batch will eventually join the rebellion in some capacity. But as I said before, this is something that has been covered in depth by Rebels and now also Andor. So what is the reason for The Bad Batch to exist? Other than to provide yet more content?

The reason I am somewhat disappointed by The Bad Batch is that the series, after 18 episodes now, seems to be treading water and the direction it is most likely headed will take the series into territory already explored in great detail by two other shows. Another factor is Omega. Now, as I said, the kid genius is a staple of kid-oriented entertainment, but it also means that adults may have difficulty liking the series because it stretches credibility more often than not. Any resonsible person would never ever take a young child on dangerous missions. But of course not everything needs to be for adults and it's perfectly fine to have series that are aimed a kids and families, just as Andor was aimed at adults only. Still, I think it would have been the much better decision to make Omega older, a teen, maybe 15 or so, so that her being part of all the dangerous missions is not as much of a stretch of credibility.

Overall I feel The Bad Batch should focus less on mindless and often quite pointless action and have more actual plot. The few tidbits of actual plot or character development we get in the first two episodes are nice, but when 90% of the scenes are just action it can be a long wait until you get a scene with more substance. And the sooner the Bad Batch leave Cid and her random fetch quests behind the better. But the alternative, Rex and the early rebellion, means the series will always be in the shadow of series like Rebels and Andor. In my opinion it would have been better to focus more on the secret and purpose of Omega's origin, and to have the Bad Batch roam the galaxy in their ship, exploring regions we have not seen before, instead of being based on Ord Mantell doing random jobs for Cid, being chased by the Empire, getting involved with the early rebellion and Rex.

All in all Spoils of War and Ruins of War are ok entertainment, it's not boring, it's something for the whole family. You can have fun here, if you can ignore the fact that the many, many, many action scenes amount to ultimately nothing, the lack of tension can make the action feel a bit tedious after a while. You can watch Stormtroopers not hit a thing and getting mowed down (stunned) by the Bad Batch only so many times when there are zero stakes. And after Andor it still feels very difficult to return to standard Disney Star Wars. The Bad Batch season 2 is perfectly average entertainment, yet more content for a streaming service.

Added: January 4, 2023
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
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