Thursday, May 6, 2021

REVIEW: 'Star Wars: The Bad Batch' - The Bad Batch Quickly Learns How the Empire Will Rule the Galaxy in 'Aftermath'

Disney+'s Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Episode 1.01 "Aftermath"

The clones of The Bad Batch find themselves in a changing galaxy after The Clone Wars.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Disney+'s Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

"Aftermath" was written by Jennifer Corbett & Dave Filoni and directed by Steward Lee, Saul Ruiz & Nathaniel Villanueva

The Clone Wars are over. Emperor Palpatine has issued Order 66 to wipe out all of the Jedi. The Galactic Republic has fallen. The Empire has risen. Everything changes in an instance. Caleb Dume and his Jedi Master Depa Billaba are impressed seeing Clone Force 99 aka the Bad Batch in action. They needed reinforcements in the heat of battle. They only get five. And yet, that's enough given the elite abilities this squad possesses. Instead of forging ahead on the battlefield that has always been known, Depa is killed and Caleb runs for his life. The perception of the Jedi and the clones shifts. The Jedi are perceived as the enemies that must be defeated. They are the biggest obstacle to welcoming peace to the universe once more. The clones serve as the delivery mechanism. They are effective as such because they are designed to follow orders no matter what. They aren't suppose to operate with any independence. They serve to do whatever they are commanded to do by their superiors. The Emperor sits at the top of the chain of command. The Bad Batch don't function the same way as other clone squadrons though. They are deemed genetically defective. They aren't suppose to be fit to serve in battle. However, the members of this squad possess unique skills that make them invaluable. The opening action sequence highlights all of them. Divisions exist amongst this group as well though. Tech describes how they don't listen to the inhibitor chips in their brains like the other clones do. Those chips still exist though. In fact, that is used as the ultimate plot device for establishing tension in this premiere. It threatens to remove some autonomy in Crosshair's decision to question Hunter's leadership and eventually turn against the remaining members of his squad. His connection to the chip is stronger and more susceptible than the other members of the Bad Batch. That makes him unique and easy to manipulate by Admiral Tarkin. Everyone knows not to trust this man. The clones still feel like they have to prove themselves to him. He is basically deciding their fates. He wants to know if the Empire still has a use for clones. The war is over. The expected plan was to use these forces to maintain peace throughout the galaxy. The audience knows that stormtroopers will continue to exist in this world. Clones are different though. They are soldiers programmed with a core directive. The viewer has seen the creative innovation in these figures before. That makes them wildcards for the Empire. The vast majority are completely willing to comply though. Even the Kaminoan scientists feel like they have to play along in order to see how all of this develops. Others can't operate with that luxury. So many people were fighting for freedom and independence in the war. Instead, they were consumed by a new leader. One who wishes to force his will onto all. Anyone who aims to fight against that is labeled an insurgent who must be eliminated. That includes children. That is the key morality question the Bad Batch must grapple with here. They prove themselves capable of questioning and disobeying orders. They return to Kamino to rescue Omega from the plight she is sure to face there. The big reveal of this premiere is that she is a genetically defective clone as well. As such, she forms a quick bond with the Bad Batch. She also presents as a child. That makes this another Star Wars project seemingly centered on a group of rogue actors trying their best to protect a child in this grim and vicious world. It's a formula that works though. Moreover, Omega proves very useful in the escape from the facility. That action immediately welcomes her as part of the team. She essentially replaces Crosshair. However, she also seems aware of the choice he is going to make. She understands because it's part of his programming. That may mean she is more wise and aware of the doomed fate they may all be on. And yet, the Bad Batch will fight to survive. The world is in a grand transition. It's heading down a dark path. One that is strikingly different than the recent war fought by Jedi, clones and drones. Soldiers with skills will always find employment in this world. It should be fascinating to see how ambitious the show hopes to be with its world-building. It has the potential to tell a smaller story pertaining to the development of clones and their individual identities. What purpose do they serve in a world that seemingly no longer needs them? That decision is yet to be made. Hunter simply leads his troops to safety knowing that the Empire isn't safe like the Republic was.