Spoilers The Bad Batch - Season 1 Discussion [cue A-Team theme music]

Discussion in 'Star Wars' started by Reverend, May 4, 2021.

  1. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Since the news thread is getting inundated with spoiler tags, now seems the time to move things over here so people that haven't caught up don't have to worry about accidental spoilers.

    So....that was pretty awesome. Clearly designed as a direct follow-up/epilogue to the Clone Wars finale with the return of The Announcer, CW style recreation of scenes from RotS and the old logo burning away to be replaced with the new, very similarly designed one.

    Opening with Deppa and Caleb was honestly a surprise, and one that inspired instant dread. FPJ doing his very best pubescent squeaky voice was surprisingly convincing.
    The gradual shift in tone from (relatively) light hearted Clone Wars adventurousness to the more ominous and oppressive tone one would expect of an Empire is both subtly done and palpable (pun intended!) Action was excellent throughout, and the CW style has never looked as cinematic.

    Crosshair's turn while clearly telegraphed and not even remotely intended to be a surprise even to the others was nonetheless played out well. The Empire by it's nature is pretty faceless so the show is going to need someone chasing them that has some emotional stakes in the whole thing, and if any Bad Batcher was going to turn Imperial, Crosshair is the only choice. At least they showed him trying to fight it before Tarkin Winter Soldiered him.

    As I and many others guessed, Omega seems to be another Jango clone; presumably her being female wasn't intended and that's why she's classified as an aberration like the other bad batchers (though that may not be the only factor, we'll have to wait and see.) Nala Se seems to have developed an attachment to her though as she facilitated the breakout. At least I think that's why she did it; Kaminoans aren't usually given to displays of sentiment or indeed any emotion, typically coming off as coldly yet serenely logical and amoral. So it's possible there are more Machiavellian motivations in play as Kamino's place in the Empire is far from certain.
    Either way I like that they're keeping the show accessible to a younger audience by giving them a POV character (even though the clones will still probably be the favourites for most kids.) Star Wars is always at it's best when it's for everyone, not just grumpy old fans like me.
     
  2. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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  3. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The way she followed each button Tech pressed, and everywhere he looked, until the last moment that she could follow him without missing her first entry into hyperspace, it might not be force-sensitivity. Which I might find mildly disappointing, there aren't a whole lot of non-Jedi Force users on Star Wars, and it also seems fitting that Clone Force 99 have one of their own. But they also don't seem to need one, nor does she need to be.

    I don't ask how Han Solo can drop out of hyperspace inside an atmosphere without being Force sensitive. Well, not every day, at least. :p

    Possibly not immediately when Depa Bilaba appeared, but at latest when Utapau was mentioned, the question became how many of them would be affected by Order 66 any moment now. Not a surprise this could be. I guess some might be surprised it wasn't be Echo, but I never thought it would be Echo. He's already been through enough.
     
  4. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I'm relatively new to this animated world, having resisted watching The Clone Wars because I didn't like the animation style. I'm still not the biggest fan but it has grown on me and The Bad Batch's style is more nuanced and evolved since those early days. Ahsoka's appearance in The Mandalorian finally pushed me to watch both it and Rebels last year and now I'm a big fan of these characters (especially Ahsoka and Rex). I didn't think much of the idea of seeing the Bad Batch again but once the series was announced, I was intrigued.

    And it's off to an excellent start. I didn't know where the show was going to fit in the timeline (I avoided all of the spoilers aside from the trailer) so I found it refreshing that the series jumped right in with Order 66 and how it affected the Bad Batch. What I didn't expect was to see young Caleb. I took me a moment to recognize him and his voice, but once he pulled back his hood, everything clicked into place. Even though he understandably fled Hunter, I suspect we'll see him again.

    Not that that matters either way because the show is at its best when focused on the core dynamics of our heroes and I appreciate how each of them reacted deliberately to Order 66, from Wrecker continuously denying he's programmed to Crosshair's hyperfocus on following orders regardless of what they are. I'm glad the show didn't shy away from Crosshair's nature, forcing to ask difficult questions about orders and programming in general. I also appreciated that he was beginning to feel conflicted on the matter thanks to Omega and I thought he was going to do the right thing...until Tarkin further manipulated his programming, the fucking bastard. While I like having a formerly friendly face as the "day-to-day" antagonist instead of Tarkin or some new character, I do hope we'll get to see Crosshair's good side again if and when they're able to remove his chip.

    Speaking of Omega, she's an excellent addition to the group and I'm very curious to see how her story develops, why she was cloned the way she was, and why Nala Se helped her and the Bad Batch escape.

    Because my memory is complete crap despite having just watched Rebels a few months ago, I have a lingering question about the Caleb scene: Wasn't there a scene when Kanan told Ezra about what happened on that day and we saw an actual flashback? I could've sworn we did but when I searched through his and Depa Billaba's Wookiepedia articles, the only sources I saw regarding that moment before this episode was the comic series about Kanan.
     
  5. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This was a pretty nice start to the series.
    Love the whole opening with the Clone Wars logo burning away to reveal The Bad Batch one, and hearing the announcer again was fun. I wonder if those will be a regular features, or if they were just here to help with the transition from TCW to TBB.
    I was a little surprised to see them give us Caleb Dume and Deba Bilaba. Just out of curiosity I checked, and this was a complete retcon of how her death and his survival played out compared to the Kanan comic. But hey that kind of thing happens from time to time, so I'm not mad.
    It was pretty clear from the start that Crosshair was going to turn on them, but I thought it played out pretty well, with his building frustration before he was taken by Tarkin.
    I had already guessed that Omega was a clone, just because it was the only reason I could think that a human kid would be hanging around with the Kaminoans without any adult humans around.
    All of the actions scenes in this one were outstanding.
     
  6. Xerxes82

    Xerxes82 Captain Captain

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    One of my favorite things about the way these shows, both animated and live action, fit together is how stuff they introduce in these earlier in the timeline entries can inform stuff we've already seen that comes later in the timeline.

    Take Wolfe, for example. When we come to find him in Rebels with Rex and Gregor, he sells out Kanan and sends a message to the Empire. In the episode itself, it plays out like a kind of old and familiar loyalty kicking in, as it's implied that Wolfe served the Empire for at least a time before Rex found him. And we see that Wolfe regrets it even in the episode itself and helps make it right.

    But now? Now we can imagine that at least part of Wolfe's actions may have literally been beyond his control. He was presumably fully compromised by Order 66 and the inhibitor chip. We don't know how he came to be with Rex, it's possible that Rex did something to disable his chip, or that over time it simply became less effective and Wolfe came back to himself. But when faced with a Jedi again, it looks like some of that old programming kicked back in and pushed him back towards "A good soldier follows orders," mode.

    Which is fascinating in it's implications, and just really nice world building all around. There may be hope for Crosshairs yet!

    Though I do love how, in leaving one member of 99 loyal to the Empire, this show has left itself a reason to continue to dwell on the direct impact of the Imperial changeover on the clones. We don't need to introduce a new character, or make an excuse for the rest of the team to learn about what the Empire is up to in some forced way. We just check in with Crosshairs and get a first hand look at the mess Tarkin is almost certainly about to make of these tragic men.
     
  7. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While I wouldn't discard the possibility, I don't think it's necessarily the case.
    It could very easily just be those ingrained Fett reflexes. I mean Jango's DNA wasn't used as the template for an army for nothing.
    I think Omega's uniqueness may be more geared towards her intellect; curiosity, memory, analysis, maybe even an almost instinctual ability to pick up on things quickly.

    I was just about to contradict you before I remembered that there is a hanging plot thread that would allow for this: Kanan mentioned that "later" the clones claimed they had no choice and told him about the chips in their heads. So clearly he encounters some clones again down the line.
    Not depicted directly, no. Just a description of the broad strokes in conversations with the Grand Inquisitor and Ezra. The (now seemingly retconned) comic was the only direct depiction prior to this.

    Speaking of retconning that comic; IIRC the framing device is Kanan (circa season 1) recalling the events while injured and in a bacta tank. So it would be easy to call it a case of "unreliable narrator", in that his memories of that incident are intensely tied to his emotional state, so the details don't line up.
     
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that could work.
     
  9. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I assumed we would see him again because why else show that moment now if it was just an aside? Especially since Hunter went to great lengths in trying to earn his trust while Crosshair was doing the opposite. I suppose it could just be for the familiar face during Order 66 and to show where Crosshair's loyalties were going to lie, but I think we'll see more of Kanan.

    Okay, thanks. I guess I did such a good job visualizing that moment when he described it that I retroactively inserted a flashback. :lol:

    While I haven't read the comic and have no loyalty towards it, I do love squinting at such moments to make things work in that manner when later content contradicts past events.
     
  10. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    That's what one of yesterday's interviews implied. They wanted the Bad Batch to witness Order 66, have Hunter feel doubts because of it and Filoni suggested Kanan and his master be those Jedi. It was meant to be a bookend with him protecting Omega, because he felt bad about Kanan.

    I don't think we'll see Kanan again. He didn't even trust Rex and Co. in Rebels until they proved themselves.

    Though I wonder if we'll see other Jedi who are on the run at some point.
     
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  11. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Ah, with that in mind, I agree that it is unlikely we'll see Kanan again. Oh, well.

    I wonder the same. Of course, I'm hoping for at least on Ahsoka appearance. :D
     
  12. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Like I said, it's not impossible, and given that we know he does later encounter clones that 1) know about the chips 2) tell him about them, and 3) doesn't shoot him on sight...well that's a very short lost of clones, and given he won't meet Rex Wolfe & Gregor for another 16-17-ish years that narrows it down to either The Bad Batch, or some other rogue clones we've never heard of.
    Of course running into them doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a friendly encounter. Say for the sake of argument the Batch get hired by some criminal group (Black Sun, Crimson Dawn, the usual suspects) to capture some smuggler that's been stealing from their shipments. They corner the culprit, and wouldn't you know it, it's a certain young ex-Padawan who's none too happy to see them. Hunter or Echo try to talk him down, but he fights his way out and escapes into the night...again.
    Not saying that's how it'll go down, just demonstrating how it could work.
    Not that they have to stick precisely to the books or comics (as this episode, the season 2 premier of The Mandalorian, and the Clone Wars finale have proven) but the 'Ahsoka' novel indicates that she was basically on her own for the first year after her and Rex parted ways, right after dropped her lightsaber.
    There's some wiggle room there, but honestly I think that if they're going to use her best wait until season 2 to give the show a chance to find it's own footing. Which also means she'll be just starting out working for Bail as Fulcrum by then.
     
  13. Janeway’s Girl

    Janeway’s Girl Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I had zero expectations for this but I was pleasantly surprised. Good characters and it’s interesting to see the beginnings of the newly formed Empire.
     
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  14. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Yeah, I can see how that scenario or something like it could play out. Only time will tell.

    I wondered if that might be the case. I've been meaning to read the Ahsoka novel (bought it awhile ago but I keep reading other books I've been excited about) so I'll have a clearer picture about that sooner than later. But, as you said, the show doesn't have to strictly follow it.

    I do agree that the show should find its footing before she shows up, much like Rebels did. I'm just saying I hope she shows up at some point.
     
  15. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's a safe bet most characters you think ought to show up on this series will, sooner or later. I mean think back to the premier of Rebels and how unlikely at that point it seemed that we'd ever see Ahsoka and Rex ever again, or indeed that they'd eventually get Ian McDiarmid back as Palpatine, Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, that Forest Whitaker of all people would be playing Saw, or that Katee Sackhoff would return as Bo Katan?

    All that said, right from the off this show has already dropped two major cameos with Caleb & Saw, references to Anakin, & Obi Wan, plus from the trailers we know Rex & Fenic will show up too before long, so that's already plenty and they do really need to give the Batch room to breath on their own.

    Personally I'm still hoping for Barris, Delta Squad, Boba, and Dryden Vos to get a role in the story sooner or later.
     
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  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...How does Order 66 work exactly? We have seen it from a couple of points of view now, and both "its contents are already hardwired into the obedience chips" and "it's something Palpatine needs to spell out but the chip makes the Clones unquestionably execute it at once" are possible, depending on whether we postulate well-placed cuts or not.

    Here it seems it's possible for third parties to overhear the holo-Sidious spell it out, even though in most cases we fail to see the talking head talk the exact incriminating words, and in RotS there's scant opportunity for the words to be used on Utapau at least.

    I never cared much for Clone Wars, until towards the very end, but I'm quite the Rebels fan so the Caleb cameo hit home. I guess I'll be a fan of this one, too, even if of a probationary sort.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's one of those "it works however the plot needs it to" kind of things.

    Though if one were to hypothetically break down the mechanics of it; I'd say that the chip contains a set of pre-programmed behavioural routines & suppressants, along with a memory flash imprint that contains all of the details of what Order 66 actually is, and a set of "toggle" instructions that are activated or not according to the circumstances (i.e. specific exceptions like Vader & the future Inquisitors, and additions like Ahsoka and Maul.)
    The activation would be a two fold process: first the mnemonic trigger of hearing THAT voice say THOSE words. Second a subliminal audio carrier wave flooding the helmet com channels which transmits the "toggle" settings and reinforces mnemonic conditioning implanted during their pre-combat education. On top of all that, once the chip is activated it keeps running indefinitely, causing a permanent change in personality until the chip is deactivated (I'm assuming Palpatine made sure there was an "off" switch in case of unforeseen consequences) or surgically removed.

    So when activated a trooper just *knows* what they're doing, is incapable of questioning the order and indeed doesn't *want* to do anything but to conform and follow orders, because the chip neurochemically won't let them do otherwise.

    If it helps at all; recall how "education" was handled in THX-1138, and then draw a line from that to all those child clones sat at their desks with all the crazy headgear on.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
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  18. Crewman6

    Crewman6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I watched "The Clone Wars" off and on over the years and enjoyed it, mostly. But I could never get into the Clones themselves. I know Rex and the others have a strong following, but to me they were always dull characters and I absolutely did not need to see Rex reappear in "Rebels." (That said, the episode "Rookies" was aces.)

    I skipped the "Bad Batch" episodes of the final season for this reason and went into the show somewhat reluctantly.

    But, I'm glad I did! I found it very enjoyable.

    A few quick takes: Crosshair will make a great antagonist, but I kind of wish he was still with the team. It makes an interesting dynamic when there's a contrarian in your midst, always questioning and disagreeing with the leader. Now the team is pretty much going to be on the same page all the time, which is fine, but a little boring.

    I wish they hadn't "enhanced" his chip. I wish that all the Bad Batch characters had no chips at all and that Crosshair's loyalty to the Empire came to him naturally. He's the guy that loves authority and respects orders and would never go rogue, no matter how moral it may be to do so. Now, he's robbed of agency, which is a drag.

    It seems to me like they're making Omega to be a super clone, not a force user, who can pick up skills instantly. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up having ALL the super skills of the rest of the batch all rolled into one.

    I was very interested in the idea of a series set at the dawn of the Empire, but when I heard it was clones, my heart sank a little.

    But the world-building here is great and I love showing the transition from Republic to Empire. I hope the show deals at least a little with the fate of the rest of the clone army, as that seems rife with dramatic potential.

    And this group of characters really is a fun, eclectic bunch (if a little cliche. I mean, why does every "tough guy" have to also be an idiot? Whatever! Familiar tropes still work.)
     
  19. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    With the way things were playing out, I think Crosshair turning on the rest of The Bad Batch was pretty much inevitable, he already seemed to be getting close to that point before they screwed with his chip.
     
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  20. Xerxes82

    Xerxes82 Captain Captain

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    It's a bit of both, I suppose. From what we've seen, it looks like the "Execute Order 66" is less of a standing order and more of an activation code phrase which turns on the chip's programming. In The Clone Wars and again here, when the chip activates it's associated with the activated clones repeating the phrase "A good soldier follows orders," which certainly feels like some kind of conditioned programming element to make them more susceptible to questionable orders from their soon-to-be Imperial overlords. It certainly didn't appear as if Palpatine gave any other instruction during RotS, either. But once activated it seems the effect doesn't turn off and the clones continue in that mind-warped state, robbed of much of their agency and even free will. They still have their creativity and ability to improvise in battle, but otherwise they are now basically fleshy droids.

    But the Jedi killing command appears to be hardwired as well. When Tup's chip malfunctioned (from a head injury, if I'm remembering the episode correctly) during the Battle of Ringo Vinga he turned on Tiplar and Tiplee, two of the Jedi leading the charge, and killed one of them. He seemed to almost instantly switch to viewing them as traitors who needed to be executed with no other context. There was no kind of verbal activation or even orders of any kind involved.

    All of which makes sense when you consider that the clones are just Sith sleeper agents from the moment of their creation. Order 66 is the entire reason the GAR was created. It's the reason I love the individual clones we've met so much, the sheer weight of the tragedy they represent is appalling and compelling. Rex realizing he can't save his brothers in The Clone Wars finale just breaks my damn heart every time.