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Star Wars: The Bad Batch - War-Mantle - Review

One of my biggest problems as regular readers of my Bad Batch reviews will know with this series is its reliance on cameos that don’t feel like they matter to the team. Up til now, it’s largely been something along the lines of Firefly but with clones in space, doing a bit of good, a bit of not so good, or The Mandalorian but with a larger regular ensemble. It’s been fun but the reliance on Cid sending the Batch on missions and Omega getting captured every other week is starting to grow tiresome.

So to shake it up a bit, this time, we have Hunter getting captured! I guess originality in their cliffhangers are still not The Bad Batch’s strongest suites – but a confrontation with Crosshair was always brewing and the Batch have no reason to capture Crosshair yet so it makes sense for one of them to get caught. And in this case, it’s Hunter. But what this inevitable showdown between the two does allow us room to explore is the gradual transition between the Clones and their replacements, as we all know the Empire prefer the means of mass recruitment as opposed to smaller but more elite Clones. Makes me think they would have loved the Droids if they’d had access to them.

War-Mantle is an exciting half-hour of television penned by Jennifer Corbett, who gets the essence of what The Bad Batch is about better than most writers have this season - she also wrote the excellent Battle Scars - and that the show hasn’t really touched on to its full potential yet. For a series that’s mainly about exploring the switch from the Republic to the Empire, it’s been rather reluctant to do so. But War-Mantle showcases the Batch realising that they’re the ones that are being replaced when they’re called into rescue a regular Clone at the request of Rex, bailing on a job from Cid to do so. This dilemma between doing jobs for profit vs for honour has been biting at them throughout the course of the series – saving people is good, but does it pay? The answer there is to join the Rebellion. But there’s no Rebellion yet – and the Batch are still on their own, on the fringes of society.

The return of Gregor answers questions from The Clone Wars after he showed up and we learnt that he spent time training Imperial soldiers before he was eventually replaced by them. Bridging the gaps between The Clone Wars and Rebels has been The Bad Batch’s goal from the start – and whilst Gregor isn’t quite there yet, this goes some way to tie up loose ends. Gregor’s personality is nailed down to the letter – and he ads a bit of levity to the situation, especially when he tells Hunter that he didn’t train all of the Imperial soldiers in everything, keeping a few tricks up his arsenal. Besides – we already have Crosshair who knows how the Batch operate – having other similar soldiers counter them the same way would be repetitive.

The Empire cancelling its contract on Kamino is a big deal. What happens to the Kaminoan cloned children who aren’t soldiers yet, and never will be? They’re rushed off the production line without a war to fight in. It’s an added air of complexity to the situation that really gives the Kamino residents a sense of purpose, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t expecting at least one more return to Kamino before the end of the show.


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