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The Bad Batch

Identity Crisis / Point Of No Return (The Bad Batch - S03E10 & E11) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Identity Crisis / Point Of No Return

Season: Three

Episode: 10 & 11

Original Air Date: April 3rd, 2024

Runtime: 23 & 22 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"They are scientific assets, nothing more!" SPOILERS.

Experimenting on kids... what could possibly go wrong...

This week we get yet another double feature, you almost get the impression Lucasfilm / Disney want to get over it all as quickly as possible, without dumping all episodes on the same day, Echo style. That being said, the latest double feature is the highlight of season 3 thus far, or at least the first half of the double feature is, whereas the second part, while not bad and with some action, greatly suffers from being entirely too predictable.

Shooting a mother at point blank range...

So "Identity Crisis" is probably the very best season 3 episode thus far, and of course it is an episode without any involvement of the Bad Batch or Omega who are not seen at all in this episode, instead it focuses on Omega's big clone sister Dr Emerie Carr, who gets a promotion to head scientist by Dr Hemlock, now that Nala Se is under arrest. And along with Emerie the viewer finally learns about the true extent of the secret project. Hemlock is experimenting on force sensitive children, his goal: to be able to clone/duplicate the "m-count" of the Emperor so that his clone body still has the same Force powers. For that Hemlock has bounty hunters such as Cad Bane search the galaxy for force sensitive kids who are then kidnapped. But Omega is the only child thus far where this procedure would work. But they are still looking for more kids. Once they get a tip Bane will snatch the child and he will even dispose of the parents if need be. In the episode we even see how Bane murders a mother in cold blood (edit: it appears Cad Bane merely stuns the mother after all, to which I ask... why leave behind witnesses? Makes little sense for Bane to do that). This is classic Star Wars brutality, once more. In fact, the entire episode is rather dark and gloomy.

Oh, look, you can still test for m-count within seconds, no need for bullshit trials Ventress style...

And while Emerie was, thus far, mostly portrayed as a cool and detached person we quickly learn that she apparently draws the line at experimenting with and incarcerating little kids. She feels very uneasy about it all and while she at first tries not to become too close to the children, who are all referred to by their asset number, she does eventually make an important decision.

Tarkin puts the pressure on

We learn quite a few things in this episode, not just the full extent of the project is revealed, but we also learn that Project Necromancer is so secret, even people like Tarkin are not aware of what is going on. Tarkin does know Hemlock is doing something and that it costs a lot of money... and he puts the pressure on. In true Star Wars style it's more than just implied that Hemlock will pay with his life should he fail to deliver.

Emerie is taken aback when she realizes Cad Bane brings in an infant

Emerie meanwhile meets Cad Bane on a space station to pick up the force sensitive kid... and she is a little shocked it's just an infant. By this point it's more than obvious that Emerie will not go through with it. While seemingly loyal thus far, the revelation that Hemlock is abusing kids, experimenting on them and keeping them as prisoners is too much for her.

Emerie left a gift for one of the kids

And to further underline Emerie's turn to the light side at the very end of the episode she gifts Omega's old handmade doll to one of the kids. So Emerie's loyalty seems to be clear now, she's with the kids. Loyalty has been a recurring theme in season 3 and Emerie's episode made it clear where her loyalties ultimately lie.

The Assassin has successfully located the Bad Batch and Omega

The second episode is not remotely as good as the first one, but entertaining enough. Even though it's all horribly predictable. The clone assassin tracks down Phee Genoa (they intercepted her radio communications) and through her the clone finds out the whereabouts of Omega and the Bad Batch. So the assassin flies to Space Tahiti and calls in the cavalry. Hemlock does not mess around and sends a whole army of stormtroopers. Hunter and his team are already in the process of leaving the place for good after Ventress' warning, but their evacuation is cut short by the arrival of the Empire. And they do not dilly dally and make facts. The assassin destroys the Marauder with explosives and the Imperial gunships destroy all other vehicles (mostly boats) to cut off any means of escape and then the stormtroopers round up all the citizens and occupy the island. Wrecker is hurt when the Marauder explodes into his face, but he's fine, just unconscious for most of the episode.

The Bad Batch Marauder HasLab incoming in 3... 2... 1...

About halfway through the episode it became extremely obvious that our little girlscout will give herself up and surrender to the Empire to protect the poor people of Space Tahiti from further harm... and sure enough, that's what Omega does. She surrenders and the only plan they have is that Crosshair tries to shoot a tracking beacon at the ship of the assassin clone, so they can track Omega... but even that fails... because Crosshair has to fight off stormtroopers and runs of out time, the ship is already out of range when he fires the beacon and it just plunges into the ocean. So now we are where we were at the end of season 2: Omega is in Hemlock's custody and Hunter and the others do not know where the lab is... you wonder why you've been watching all of season 3 thus far if the entire thing is mostly an exercise in futility.

Full on invasion for one little kid

Like some other episodes this season the two-parter, especially the first half, is actually pretty good and entertaining, the plot is advanced, we learn a lot of new things, there is some character development and we are now entering the endgame of the series. But if you take a few steps back to take in the full picture things fall apart here and there.

Have you seen this girl?

First... what was the point of the Ventress episode last week? In this episode we learn once more (after The Phantom Menace) that you can easily check the Midichlorian count and thus determine the Force potential of a person in a matter of seconds. In fact, both Cad Bane and Emerie test the little infant for Force sensitivity (well, the m-count which is basically the same) in a matter of seconds with their mobile m-count device. So either Ventress didn't have access to such a device (but the episode with her implies otherwise) or she was just bullshitting the entire team for laughs and had Omega do ridiculous tests for her own amusement. Or the writers desperately wanted a reason to bring back Ventress "because" and came up with some nonsense plot about testing Omega, when all you really need to do is check her m-count in under 5 seconds to find out if she has Force potential.

....aaaaaand we're back to where we were at the end of season 2... it's almost funny

Then there's the issue that after episode 11 we are more or less exactly where we were at the end of season 2. Omega is in custody, and the Bad Batch do not know the location of the lab. You do wonder why we had all these episodes about trying to track down the location of the lab... all of which amounted to exactly "nothing", when they have to track down the location of the lab for serious now once again. You get the feeling the third season was padded out just to have 15 episodes and the way the season arc is planned they could have easily told the entire story in eight episodes, maybe even less. That visit to the ice planet... pointless. Ventress' visit... pointless, they could have easily sent Omega to the lab with the other kids instead early in the season, have someone test her m-count so the audience knows for certain what's up with that and Emerie could still have had a change of heart. Meanwhile Hunter etc successfully manage to track down the location of Tantiss. You can even include Ventress or Fennec for that, maybe Ventress knows about the lab from her Sith days or whatever. In short: about four or five episodes thus far are rendered mostly pointless by how things develop and the showrunner could have easily restructured the entire arc without losing ANY of the actual plot. But when your typical episode is 75% "monster tries to eat things" you do get 15 episodes of course.

Another glaring issue is that like in season 2 the best episode of the season (thus far) is not featuring any of the Bad Batch at all. The thing is that Crosshair is the only interesting Bad Batch team member, Wrecker is a meme, Hunter is also mostly a meme, Omega is a one note girlscout and that means people like Emerie Carr with some nuance to them, neither obviously evil or super naive girlscouts, who undergo actual character development, are so much more interesting to follow around. In fact, had most of the season played out on Tantiss and Hunter's search for the lab as the b-plot , with Carr as a more central character and Crosshair and Omega slowly befriending her etc I believe the overall story could have been so much stronger. Instead we got monsters of the week who try to eat everyone... and a fruitless search for Tantiss that never went anywhere. So now they have to search for its location again.

Also: while I can understand the reason for the plot progressing as it does it also comes across as an exercise in futility. It is never a wholly satisfying story arc when you go full circle and end up where you started. Also, with how things develop it is super obvious now that the endgame here is all about either freeing everyone from Tantiss and/or destroying the lab. Which also means The Bad Batch will almost certainly never unite Boba Fett with his clone sister, which is a massive missed opportunity.

All in all the two episodes are good, the first one much more so than the episode with Omega, because things are just too obvious and too predictable. Now Emerie slowly losing faith in the Empire or the project was obvious too of course, but still more interesting to see unfold than Omega doing the usual Omega thing.

Another thing that greatly holds back this season is, in my opinion, the reduction of the core cast... we only get Hunter and Crosshair with Omega, Wrecker is not really a character. That both Tech and Echo were removed (for the most part) changed the Bad Batch team dynamics not for the better. In fact, if they felt several Bad Batch core members are superfluous they should have drawn the natural conclusion and admit that Hunter, Echo, Tech and Wrecker are simply boring characters, with only Crosshair having true narrative potential. Omega is entirely too starry-eyed and naive to be interesting, they should have put the focus on Emerie, Crosshair and have Omega grow up while she's on Tantiss, so she's not this naive Disney princess anymore and dedicate only a short(er) action-filled b-plot to Hunter and his team tracking the location of Tantiss for the big finale, and get rid of space lassie in the process. Crosshair could have had his PTSD arc on Tantiss as well. And all of this could have easily been told in 8 episodes if you remove all the pointless monster parts and video game side quests (like helping Fennec so she gives them information in return) from the season. That the average The Bad Batch season is almost twice as long as The Mandalorian (not quite, some Mandalorian episodes are longer) is really weird. The final season should have been all meat. No filler. That being said the two episodes this week are certainly peak season 3 The Bad Batch and Emerie's episode in particular is strong, both from a plot and character perspective. We would have needed more of that, less giant monsters trying to eat people. I believe in hindsight The Bad Batch series will be filed under "missed opportunity". "Identity Crisis" gets 4 holocrons from me, "Point of No Return" is worth 2.5 or "average", as the entire episode is just way too predictable and therefore not really all that compelling. That averages out to three holocrons for the double feature.

Added: April 4, 2024
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
Score:
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