Arts, Television

‘The Bad Batch’ Showcases Freedom and Identity in Final Season


The premiere of The Bad Batch season three marks the beginning of the end for the infamous Clone Force 99. After the first three episodes released on Wednesday, Feb. 21, the show’s final season promised Star Wars fans an emotional roller coaster that leaves viewers with a seamless plot transition into the First Galactic Empire

In the show’s first two seasons, viewers followed the Bad Batch, a group of defective clones with special abilities, as they navigate the galaxy. Originally created for the sole purpose of being soldiers, the Bad Batch soon realized they needed to make a change in their lives. Instead of fighting for the new regime following “Order 66,” the clone squad decided to take their own path and abandon the only thing they know: war. 

This season, Hunter, Wrecker, and Echo, all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, need to find a way to rescue their squadmate and fellow clone, Omega (Michelle Ang), who the Empire took captive. Omega begins the season trapped in a maximum-security research base, while the rest of the team is trying to find any known trace of her. Season three sets up a typical Star Wars story that reminds fans why they fell in love with Star Wars in the first place. 

Seasons one and two set up the foundations for a potential massive story arc, so season three had big shoes to fill with only a few episodes worth of time to fill them. 

With this final season, The Bad Batch needs to fill the massive gap in time between the prequel and original trilogies and further the narrative toward the eventual return of Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in The Rise of Skywalker, all while pushing the thematic elements that give the show such a unique and refreshing perspective. 

Luckily for Star Wars fans, if the first few episodes are any indication, season three is checking all of those boxes.

While kinship, identity, freedom, and struggle continue to be the thematic focal points of the show, an important development arises between Omega and Crosshair (Bradley Baker) that captures the essence of these themes. Both are facing imprisonment under the Empire, but each have their own individual mindset on said imprisonment. 

Omega is highly optimistic about a potential escape, however, Crosshair is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He holds no hope in the slightest, which is directly reflective of his life up until this point. 

On this same thought, throughout her plans of potential escape, Omega never contemplates leaving her clone brother behind. No matter the harm he may have previously caused, Crosshair was still, deep down, a member of the Bad Batch, according to Omega. 

Their relationship can best be described as a young and naive girl, blind to the harshness of reality, constantly butting heads with the older, more experienced clone, who is permanently scarred by his past traumas. 

The theme of freedom is further dissected during Hunter and Wrecker’s search for Omega. The two meet a group of stranded clone cadets who were abandoned and cast aside by the Empire. The collective go on to complete a mission that leads the Bad Batch closer to Omega, but other positives come out of this situation.

The once-forgotten clones are now free and able to make their own choices—the clones are no longer soldiers, but individuals.

Dynamics like these shed light on the clone experience, which is generally disregarded when it comes to the history of Star Wars projects. The world through the eyes of the clones continues to expand on the previous seasons.

As the Bad Batch focuses on rescuing Omega, Palpatine and the Empire are formulating a top-secret plan. Viewers are finally met with what the Empire calls, “Project Necromancer.” The scheme is meant to help Palpatine fulfill his wishes of immortality, thus providing needed information that comes into play during the sequel trilogy. 

Originally, following the release of The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine’s return left spectators confused and disgruntled. The plot seemed as if the directors and writers were making up the future of Star Wars as they went. Now, The Bad Batch serves as necessary context to explain gaps in the sequel trilogy.

This will likely be of continued importance as the season continues, especially with Omega’s newfound role of being a potential host for Palpatine’s future clone. 

While the final journey has just begun, The Bad Batch’s three-episode premiere has laid the groundwork for a fun and action-packed season while still holding onto its original values and purposes as a show.  

February 25, 2024