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Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.1 Review – ‘The Bad Batch’

February 21, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Bad Batch Image Credit: Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm
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Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.1 Review – ‘The Bad Batch’  

Author’s Note: This will be a full in-depth look at the season premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Please read at your own risk.

Episode 701 – “The Bad Batch”

Courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

Nearly six years after the last Netflix season of The Clone Wars, the show returns for its seventh and final season, which will be streaming weekly on Disney+. Season 7 picks up near the end of the Clone Wars, and the Separatists have put the Grand Army of the Republic on the ropes with a series of defeats on the planet of Anaxes. Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker voicing all the clones) is worried that the droids under the command of the Confederacy of Independent System have used analytics to somehow predict all their tactics.

Commander Cody gets approval from Generals Mace Windu (TC Carson) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) to take a team behind enemy lines and infiltrate a top-secret cyber center to investigate the intel distributed by the Separatists. What Captain Rex neglects to tell the Jedi generals is that he believes his fallen comrade, Echo, is still alive and is the reason the Grand Army has suffered its recent losses. The Droid Army is now using battle plans that Rex and Echo created themselves. However, it doesn’t make any sense. Either way, Rex hopes this mission will give them some answers.

Considering this mission is a surgical, intel-gathering operation, Rex and Cody are joined by an experimental unit of defective clones called Clone Force 99, aka the Bad Batch. While the Bad Batch is a group of “defective” clones, their mutations are considered “desirable” for battle. The Confederate droid forces on Anaxes are under the command of the Harch Admiral Trench (Baker again).

Courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

The Bad Batch are easily the stars of this episode. Even for clones in the Grand Army who have more developed personalities and unique traits, they are anomalies. When they first appear, it’s like the opening scene when Dutch’s mercenary team gets off the chopper at the beginning of Predator. They don’t look like regular clones, or “regs” as the Bad Batch considers them. Their armor sets are quite unique as well, even for Star Wars. Their grimy, washed-out black armor gear with the red trim makes them look more like N7 specialists from Mass Effect than clone troopers.

The Bad Batch is led by Sgt. Hunter, whose design looks like a clear homage to Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo. Hunter was engineered to have heightened senses, making him an expert tracker who can “feel” electromagnetic frequencies, unlike other clones. Also in the squad are Wrecker, who is like the team tank, and he’s a giant blood knight; Tech, who is more diminutive and looks rather nerdy, but he’s a tech expert and strategist for the team; and finally, there’s Crosshair, who is the team marksman and sniper.

Sgt. Hunter is reasonable, but the rather irritable and aloof attitudes for Wrecker and Crosshair make them tougher for Rex and the others to deal with. On their way to the base, the clone commandos’ transport is shot down by the Droid Army. Commander Cody is injured in the crash, but we see just how strong and abnormal Wrecker is. Then, the rest of the Bad Batch easily prevent a droid ambush.

While the two squads don’t see eye-to-eye at first, they eventually make their way to an outpost and locate the cyber center. After infiltrating the cyber center, Tech and Captain Rex locate a signal transmitting to the cyber center. According to Tech, it’s not a data algorithm, but a “live signal” originating from another planet called Skako Minor. After decrypting the signal, Rex is struck by the number recited by the signal, “CT-1409.” CT-1409 is the designation number for Echo. Rex’s instincts were correct. The live signal is Echo’s voice.

With Confederate forces encroaching on their position and finding what they came for, the Bad Batch and Rex’s squad manage to retreat and head back toward Republic lines. While none of the data from the cyber center is missing, Trench is not too pleased that the clones made a connection to Skako Minor.

This was a fairly simple, yet effective, men on a mission episode. After hearing about the Bad Batch for many years, it’s fun to finally see them in action. The idea of exploring clones who have evolved and developed in unique ways, especially compared to the other clone commandos, is fascinating.

Courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

There is probably a whole subsection of the Star Wars fandom devoted to this series. This show was all Star Wars had for a while until Disney bought Lucasfilm and started making new films and shows.

While the writing and stories of The Clone Wars are generally good, they don’t always fit very well with the story told in the Prequel Trilogy. The Clone Wars went to great lengths to develop and flesh out the clone troopers as characters, something the Prequel Trilogy never did. The clones never really felt like “real” people in the prequels. Their camaraderie with the Jedi Knights was not genuine. Not to mention, the numerous plot holes involving their creation and how the Jedi constantly, conveniently looked the other way when the answers were staring them right in the face. Let’s see, the bounty hunter who served as the clone template for an illegal army that the Jedi Council had no knowledge of and never approved, was working for the Separatists? Does no one think that’s suspicious? There appears to be no connection there?

Another reason Rebels is superior to Clone Wars is that Rebels feels more like the classic trilogy and departs from the prequel-era stories. The animation quality is generally good for The Clone Wars. Considering CG animation is so prevalent in streaming TV series over the last decade, the animation for The Clone Wars is remarkably consistent. The character movement always looks fluid, and the animation never looks choppy. Something always looks off about the animation style for something like The Dragon Prince on Netflix, where the animation lacks a certain smoothness and fluidity.

The season premiere is a solid episode and nicely sets the stage for the next episode, now that Rex and the clones have discovered a signal that’s seemingly Echo, whom they thought was dead, coming from Skako Minor. Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker are only present for one scene, so all the focus centers on the clone troopers. And credit to Filoni because he did prove they can be genuinely interesting characters with this series. The ragtag Bad Batch seem like they could be stars of their own spinoff or miniseries.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 is streaming now on Disney+. New episodes will be released weekly on Fridays.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 is off to a pleasing start with the animated debut of the Bad Batch, who go behind enemy lines with a squad of clones led by Cody and Rex. They're a fascinating, interesting new group of characters who at long last make their canonical debut. The focus is mainly on the clone commandoes as the Jedi Knights take a backseat in this episode, and the series premiere explores this new, experimental unit of "defective" clones. Admiral Trench makes a return, and he also looks like he will be a recurring presence this season.