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The Bad Batch

The Outpost (The Bad Batch - S02E12) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: The Outpost

Season: Two

Episode: 12

Original Air Date: March 8th, 2023

Runtime: 28 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Remind me not to die on your watch!" SPOILERS.

Meet yet another psychopathic Imperial officer: Lieutenant Nolan

Did you ever hear the tragegy of Crosshair the Unwise? The clone trooper who only wanted to follow orders, whose whole ambition it was to be a soldier, who abandoned his comrades and friends and sided with an organization that has nothing but contempt for him? In some ways this tale of fictional Crosshair is almost as tragic as the tale of The Bad Batch, the series. Now that we are approaching the season (or series?) finale the episodes suddenly have actual plots, important things happen. But chances are high that many fans entirely gave up on the series, because in the first half of the season we had very few highlights and for the most part pedestrian, irrelevant episodes about nothing. Does anyone remember Phee Genoa? Exactly. Why was this character even introduced?

Mayday, the grizzled veteran clone trooper

Why in fact, did the series waste its time on irrelevant fetch quests and treasure hunts when instead we could have had a few more Crosshair episodes? This is his second solo episode this season and like the first one it's worth your time and one of the highlights of season 2. But it may all be too little too late. Ratings for the series must be very, very bad. On the Nielsen Charts the original series in 10th place has a little more than just 200 million viewing minutes, yet The Bad Batch didn't make it into the charts, not even once. In light of Bob Iger's announcement to cut the production budget for Disney+ and movies by $3 billion chances are that things like The Bad Batch won't make it. It's even more tragic that the episodes the showrunner had, 32 of them across two seasons, were so often wasted on inconsequential trivialities. It's even more tragic when you see that they absolutely can deliver perfectly good episodes. We had one last week, we had the Chuchi two-parter and the first Crosshair episode early in the season. That's four worthwhile episodes out of 12. Maybe it would have been better to produce 8 episodes per season if there isn't enough actual plot for 16 episodes.

Mayday and Crosshair risk their lives for mere standard stormtrooper equipment

About the episode though... it's the second Crosshair solo episode, which means this is the third episode overall in which the Bad Batch themselves don't appear in season 2. Yet another fact that makes you wonder if it would have been better to make it a proper anthology series. Anyway, Crosshair is one of the few clones left in the Imperial army and everyone lets him know he is a second class soldier.

Crosshair and Mayday make it back to base

The plot of the episode is fairly simple, some sociopathic Imperial lieutenant wants to inspect an outpost with Crosshair and a squad of new (human) stormtroopers in tow. The outpost has seen better days though, it's in a frozen landscape and local insurgents have been attacking the installation for quite some time now. Killing most of the clone troopers and stealing some crates of equipment. Here we meet Mayday, the clone in charge, he has only two troopers left. But these clones also meet their ultimate fate when yet another attack occurs. Lieutenent Nolan is hardly fazed by all that, he wants Mayday and Crosshair to retrieve the stolen crates of equipment, with no support from the stormtroopers. So it's just Crosshair and Mayday that look for the raider camp. Along the way Mayday saves Crosshair's life when he steps on a mine, Mayday knows a way to disable the mine so it won't set off. When Crosshair is asked about his background and reveals that he's Clone Force 99 Mayday inquires after his comrades... Crosshair's tight-lipped reply is that they are "gone". And it's left somewhat ambiguous, it may very well be that Crosshair displays his own regret here, with "gone" as in "out of reach".

Even Crosshair has a breaking point

Mayday and Crosshair manage to find the camp, they defeat the raiders all on their own. The "very important" stolen equipment turns out to be brand new (early) stormtrooper armor, a clear reminder to the veteran clones that they are no longer needed really, something soldiers like Mayday have to learn to live with. But before they can ponder their fate an avalanche hits them, seriously injuring Mayday. But even though Crosshair had displayed a very utilitarian, quite cold approach to leaving inured or dying soldiers behind before, he is not willing to leave Mayday behind, he wants to save his life. And despite Mayday's serious injury and the chilling cold the two make it back to base. But Lieutenent Nolan refuses to provide medical assistance to Mayday, who dies from exhaustion and his injuries. Mayday, according to Nolan, has served his purpose, helping him would have wasted the Empire's resources. And then Nolan tells Crosshair that Mayday is just as expendable as he is. And this is when Crosshair has finally had enough. He draws his blaster pistol and shoots Nolan who dies on the spot. Then he collapses. Crosshair wakes up in a lab, as it turns out it's the lab we saw in the previous episode, where Hemlock is conducting his cloning experiments. One of the female scientists injects Crosshair with something and tells him he might survive if he cooperates. And as Crosshair passes out again the episode fades to black.

It's somewhat tragic that The Bad Batch invested so little time in Crosshair, the clone who didn't want to defect and instead chose to be a soldier for the Empire. We could have seen more of the inner workings of the now Imperial clone army, sure the Senator Chuchi two-parter addressed the fate of the clone army, but Crosshair's tale is more personal. So the series never explored his psyche and character as thoroughly as it could have, it's mostly cursory. I wonder once more why the showrunners decided to give us so many pointless and stupid filler episodes instead in the first half of the season.

Ultimately, Crosshair is shown to have some compassion after all. Previously he was portrayed as a very cold character, bordering on being a psychopath. But it turns out that Crosshair can't even touch people like Nolan when it comes to sociopathy. Instead Crosshair does all in his power to get Mayday back to base alive, he won't leave him behind, even if Mayday asks him to do so. This stands in stark contrast to Crosshair's earlier remark about leaving dead or severely injured comrades behind, prompting Mayday to quip that Crosshair better remind him not to die on his watch.

Ultimately Crosshair's tale is the tragic story of someone who lost everything. abandoned everything, and who gets literally nothing in return. The people in charge consider him an aging tool, expendable, they exploit him and his skills but have no concern for his wellbeing. Loyalty is never earned, only expected. Lieutenent Nolan, the archetypical sociopathic Imperial officer, on the verge of parody, learns the hard way that even someone like Crosshair won't endure everything. It took a lot for Crosshair to reach his breaking point. Now the question is if the future will hold redemption or death for him. If I had to take a guess I'd say that Crosshair is rescued by his former friends when they attack or infiltrate the science outpost. Let's hope the showrunners don't kill Crosshair off as he sacrifices his life to rescue his team or Omega. Should there ever be a third season Crosshair's future path could prove to be interesting... how will he live with himself knowing that he made all the wrong choices in the past?

"The Outpost" is another The Bad Batch episode you can watch almost entirely out of context, if you only watched the previous Crosshair episode and some of season 1 this is all you need to appreciate this tale of a soldier who only wanted to follow orders... until he reached a point where he didn't anymore. In fact, I liked it about as much as the recent The Mandalorian episode, both are very different, one is more character focused and psychological than the other, and ironically enough it's the Bad Batch episode which delivers the bigger emotional punch. Whereas The Mandalorian is about fun and entertainment. "The Outpost" however was dark, bleary and tragic. And had more impact. The episode is worth your precious time.

Added: March 14, 2023
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
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