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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Bad Batch Story Arc (The Clone Wars Story Reels) - Television

Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Title: Bad Batch Story Arc (4 episodes)

Season: The Clone Wars Legacy

Episode: NA

Original Air Date: April 17, 2015 (Celebration Anahiem Screening)

Runtime: 90 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

New The Clone Wars episodes! That's right! SPOILERS.

The battle for Anaxes! The home of the Republic shipyards is under attack from Admiral Trench's Separatist forces. Jedi Generals Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker lead a two-pronged attack on the ground and in the air. But after weeks of heated battle and mounting losses, the Republic's grip on Anaxes begins to slip away....

As much as I have enjoyed writing about Star Wars Rebels, it feels so good to be talking about new episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Yes, the animation isn't finished but that really didn't bother me while I was watching these episodes. The story, characters, performances, and direction kept me enthralled the whole time. With that being said, it is such a shame that animation was not finished for these episodes because they would have easily been among the most visually stunning entries in the series. The direction and scope of all four episodes is very impressive. Even in their unfinished form, the action sequences throughout the story arc, particularly the final battle, are a sight to behold. One scene in particular that stood out was the Bad Batch's assault on a Separatist cyber center in the first episode which was one long shot. This review is going to be a little different than my Rebels reviews simply because I'm reviewing four episodes at once. I normally spend half of my time recapping what happened in the episode, but if I did that this time this review would be so long that no one would want read it and I would have to be treated for carpal tunnel syndrome.

   

The basic setup for this arc is that Captain Rex believes an algorithm he created has fallen in Separatist hands and is the reason for Republic's continuing loses during the battle of Anaxes. According to Rex, only Fives and Echo knew about his algorithm. Clone Force 99 or the “Bad Batch”, a genetically modified group of elite clones, is brought in to assist Rex in his search for answers. The Bad Batch has four members: Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Crosshair. Hunter, the squad's leader, was easily my favorite member of the Bad Batch. He was more level headed than other members of the squad and I loved his fighting style, which usually incorporated a knife. Crosshair is expert sniper and he had several standout moments throughout the story arc. Tech is the squad's resident technology expert. Tech was mostly used to move the plot forward but he was a very likable character. Wrecker is a fun character but he was a little over the top for my liking, both in personality and strength. If the Kaminoans can create a soldier that can lift a republic gunship, why not make all of the clones that powerful? I really like the Bad Batch and they were one of the highlights of the story arc, but at times they did seem a little too good. Yes, they are supposed to be elite soldiers but the Bad Batch was often portrayed as basically unstoppable so I never really felt like they were in danger. After raiding a Separatist cyber center, Rex discovered that Echo is still alive. Rex's reaction to learning Echo was alive after all was a great character moment for Rex. In fact, the connections to previous storylines is one of the many reasons why these episodes were good. The return of Echo is the most obvious connection, but there were several other notable connections. We got to see Jesse and Kix again, Jesse was even promoted to ARC Trooper. Admiral Trench returned to serve as the story arc's main villain. You could hear the pain in Rex's voice when he talked about losing Fives. It was even hinted that Clone Force 99 was named after 99, who sacrificed himself during the season three episode “ARC Troopers.” This story arc was rooted in Clone Wars history in a way some previous story arcs were not.

   

After learning the truth about Echo, Anakin, Rex, and the Bad Batch set off on an unsanctioned mission to rescue him. Anakin joining the mission led to one of the funniest scenes in the entire series. Anakin's reaction to the Padme nose art on the Bad Batch's ship was absolutely hilarious. This may be a stretch, but Rex's reaction kind of made it seem like he knows about Anakin and Padme. The group's search for Echo lead them to the Techno union's home world. I know some fans were concerned about bringing Echo back from the dead, but I think it was very well handled. Besides, I'm just glad that one member of Domino Squad is still alive. It turns out that the Techno union kept Echo alive, hooked him up to a computer, and have been using the information in his head to counter Republic strategies. Rex's reunion with Echo was probably my favorite moment in any of these episodes. Once again, Dee Bradley Baker gave a great performance. After a desperate search to find his fallen comrade, you could hear the relief in Rex's voice but you could also hear how horrified he was by what the Techno union had done to Echo. Even though the Bad Batch got a ton of screen time, I'm glad Rex and his connection with Echo remained at the heart of this storyline. With some help from the locals, the group managed to escape Wat Tambor's grasp with Echo. Speaking of Wat Tambor, he's probably one of the worst villains to have shown up in The Clone Wars. Tambor is a one dimensional character and he wasn't even remotely intimidating.

   

The final episode in this story arc, appropriately titled “Unfinished Business”, shined the spotlight on the newly returned Echo. Echo's desire to make up for the Republic losses that occurred because of the information the Techno union got from his head adds an interesting layer to the character. Echo developed a plan that would allow the Republic to take back Anaxes. Mace Windu and Obi-Wan would lead an attack on the main Separatist fortress while Echo, Anakin, Rex, and the Bad Batch boarded Trench's command ship. Echo used his connection to Separatist technology to shut down the droid army and Anakin killed Admiral Trench in a final faceoff. Trench was one of the more memorable Clone Wars villains but I'm glad we learned his final fate. The Bad Batch continued to impress during their escape from Trench's command ship, particularly Wrecker and Crosshair. I brought this up earlier, but the action in this episode is among the best we've seen from the series. Echo has always been a favorite of mine so it was great to see him back in action. Watching the Bad Batch story arc made me miss The Clone Wars even more. As much as I've enjoyed watching and writing about Star Wars Rebels I honestly would've rather seen the remaining The Clone Wars episodes finished. I hope we continue to see the unfinished Clone Wars stories released in one format or another. At least we'll get to see Ahsoka and Rex again on the next season of Star Wars Rebels! I'm glad we finally got to see these episodes, because this was a story that deserved to be told.

What Worked

  • Echo's return
  • The Bad Batch
  • Top-notch direction and action
  • Callbacks to previous Clone Wars storylines
  • Focus on Rex

What Didn't Work

  • Wat Tambor has to be among the series' weakest villains
  • The Bad Batch was a little too good
External Links:
Added: May 15, 2015
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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