Friday , May 17 2024

TV Review: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Series Finale – The Force Is With It Whether We Like It or Not

The Star Wars: The Bad Batch series finale is an entertaining and satisfying conclusion of the journey for Clone Force 99 – the “bad” batch clones that have enhanced capabilities compared to regular clone soldiers. They rescue Omega (the delightful Michelle Ang), their clone sister, from the cloning facility on Kamino at the start of the series, and she has been part of the team – Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo (all played by super-talented voice actor Dee Bradley Baker) ever since.

TBB provides a vital connection from the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith to right before Star Wars: A New Hope. In doing so it deftly tells the tale of what happened immediately after Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) issued Order 66, turning all the clone soldiers against the Jedi. We knew what happened in the film, but in this series, we get to see the often-cruel methods used to get rid of the clones in favor of human stormtrooper conscripts.

Disgruntled with the Force

There are people out there – perhaps not true Star Wars fans – who complain about the Jedi and the Force. They argue that a series like the very fine Disney+ show Andor proves that a Star Wars show could be about something that has nothing to do with the Jedi, the Sith, and anything remotely involving lightsabers. The problem is that Andor – like everything else in the Star Wars universe – is inextricably about the Force. Cassian is in prison and working on units that are part of the Death Star, Palpatine’s ultimate weapon that will eventually be destroyed by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) using the Force.

Whether we like it or not the Force – “the energy field that binds the galaxy together” as Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) tells Luke in ANH – hangs over season three like an invisible anvil. The Project Necromancer program that Palpatine has initiated – led by Dr. Hemlock (played with insidious glee by Jimmi Simpson) – is about finding clones who have high M-counts. M-counts are the midi-chlorians in someone’s blood, like the ones that Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) found in a young Anakin Skywalker’s (Jake Lloyd) blood in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This is why he takes Anakin to the Jedi Council, because he wants to begin his Jedi training.   

Clones and Midi-chlorians

For the first two seasons we have seen the Empire’s grip tighten as it destroys the Republic, and Palpatine’s followers will do dastardly things to gain his favor. Hemlock ruthlessly pursues Necromancer, using decommissioned clone soldiers as guinea pigs – including a captured Crosshair. He is also trying to turn some of the clones into super soldiers to do the emperor’s bidding.

At the end of season two, Omega is captured and taken to the secret testing facility on Mount Tantiss. Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo), the last remaining Kaminoan scientist who helped engineer the clones, keeps destroying Omega’s blood samples because she knows that her M-counts are high. Hemlock suspects this is happening and puts Dr. Emerie Karr (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who happens to also be a clone, in charge. Karr quickly discovers Omega’s enhanced M-count.

Omega learns that Crosshair is being kept prisoner on Tantiss and eventually they escape. Hemlock wants his troops to destroy the vessel they are escaping in, but Karr rushes to tell him about Omega’s M-count. Knowing that Palpatine told him “Nothing is more important” than Necromancer, Hemlock relents and sends troops to get Omega back.

Connecting the Dots

Necromancer is Palpatine’s attempt to find a way to live forever. In this way TBB is linked to The Mandalorian where we see imperial remnants led by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Stanton) attempting to make clones that will eventually lead us to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker where we discover Palp’s plans are finally realized as he is resurrected through the cloning process.

A Blast from the Past

In this season’s episode nine, Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman) appears on peaceful planet Pabu – viewers will remember her character from The Clone Wars series as a frequent Jedi foe. While Asajj is not exactly a Jedi, she has the Force and has come to assess Omega’s abilities. Clone Force 99 members recognize who she is and are leery, but Omega trusts her. They go through a series of tests, and like all masters and padawans before them, there is uneasiness. Asajj tells the Batch that Omega isn’t Jedi material, but secretly realizes that she does have the high M-count.

Of course, the imperials find Omega and her brothers on Pabu and begin to assault the town’s people. The clones are no match for the overwhelming number of imperial troops. To avoid the deaths of more innocent people and her brothers, Omega surrenders and allows herself to be taken back to the almost impregnable facility. Hunter and the gang know what they must do, but how are they going to break into Tantiss and save Omega?

Beware – Spoilers Ahead!

Toward the end of the last episode, there is a beautiful moment when the Clone Force 99 and Omega are safely back on Pabu. They are sitting and staring at a sunset. Hunter basically decides that they are retired because they have done enough fighting. The peaceful scene fades out and all seems right with the world.

But wait – we have a time jump! A now adult Omega comes to see an aging Hunter. It is disturbing to see Hunter as an older man and Omega as a beautiful young woman because we are used to her being a child. Omega has come to say goodbye to him because she is joining the rebel fight against the empire as a pilot. She leaves on a hopeful note, and plenty of room is left for more Omega stories as she is joining the fight right at the time before ANH.

The Force may or may not be part of Omega’s story moving forward – but I have a feeling that it will be. The whole season was about the Force and M-counts and the drive to preserve Palaptine’s evil for eternity. Omega will somehow rise to the challenge – as a Jedi or not – and will become an important contributor in the battle to defeat the empire. If Omega gets her own show, I know I will be along for the ride.  

As always, may the Force be with you!

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His new novel, 'Unicorn: A Love Story,' is available as an e-book and in print.

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