This is a spoiler review for the full season of The Bad Batch. If you’d like to check out our individual episode reviews, click HERE.
My name is Katie, I’m a Star Wars fan, and I strongly disliked The Bad Batch season 1. Too many threads to follow in the plot, a guest of the week, failures in character development, and some similar storylines just make this season one of the more terrible things Lucasfilm has put out.
There’s a lot to take in in the first Disney+ animated series. After a backdoor pilot arc in The Clone Wars season 7 that settled and dragged in places, we’re dumped right into Clone Force 99 (Dee Bradley Baker) trying to tackle the events of Order 66. In the 70-minute premiere episode, we meet Omega (Michelle Ang), a pure, unaltered clone. We also figure out the alterations to the Bad Batch have prevented their chips from activating at the same times as the regular clones. By the end, Clone Force 99 leaves Kamino with Omega, and minus Crosshair, as his chip activates.
This then takes us once again down the road of a Star Wars character (Hunter) learning how to become a father to a kid (Omega), who’s technically also older than the father. It’s frustrating to see plotlines mirrored between The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, but I will and can always appreciate Star Wars‘ emphasis on found family. The relationship between Omega and Hunter always takes primary emphasis in each episode; leaving Wrecker, Echo, and Tech to the wayside in the main episodes. Not to mention the fact that Crosshair only appears in a little more than half of the episodes.
I understand trying to lead the way for multiple seasons, a bigger universe if you might say; but not when it’s detrimental to the development of your leading characters. We left off in The Clone Wars with Echo joining the group of special clones, and where’s the reaction to that? He experienced immense trauma, and there are glimpses of it on the surface, but never further explored. Hunter “sells” Echo as a droid so they can make ends meet, and it’s humiliating for him. But there’s no confrontation against Hunter for it, it’s just left in the dust.
Star Wars was always designed for kids. The kids have grown up, and still watch today. But we need to give the kids of today a lot more credit for what they can handle. The best shows I found as a kid were ones where I related to the characters within them. There’s no depth involved in these characters, other than maybe Omega. For the Bad Batch, it feels like there was more development in the backdoor pilot. Which is sad considering the show’s name is The Bad Batch.
The main cast features alongside a great plethora of guest characters, which make this show a small world after all. It gets to the point where the clones feature a grand total of almost two minutes out of the 26 minutes run time in one of the episodes. Individually, the episodes almost work as vignettes that help the present the Empire’s start off. But together as a full season, there’s a failure to establish an overarching plot throughout. Instead, we take little side missions, that will work towards the future of the show I’m sure. But The Bad Batch needed to lean more into The Clone Wars style of storytelling with arcs, or try for an overall plotline. They did neither.
The show started off with a 70-minute premiere, and the rest of the episodes were left with the traditional run time. They really should have done longer episodes, or combined some of the episodes to create a fuller story. Which would have allowed some of the episodes to align better in terms of a full season story. With the way they started off, there’s no reason they couldn’t have made that decision. They could have also gone with fewer episodes if the budget wasn’t there to account for a full 16 episodes. This is streaming, and there’s no need to stick to an exact episode count or a standard schedule.
To talk once more about the guest of the week aspect, there’s not a problem with Star Wars going small world; provided it makes sense for the story. In some cases, it made sense for the guests showing up in The Bad Batch. But in others, there was no reason the clones needed to be there. In each mission for Cid, there’s nothing special development-wise tying the clones in.
With how much this franchise explores the era between Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, The Bad Batch does nothing to prove it needs to be here. One of the things I have been craving from Star Wars is fresh stories outside of the prequel and original trilogy eras. So to have a prominent show take place in this era, and have it flounder for me is frustrating. As much as I love Star Wars, I’m honestly not sure I’ll check out season 2. But there’s plenty of other Star Wars for me to love, with the upcoming live-action shows, and Star Wars: The High Republic novels and comics, so I’m definitely not going anywhere far from Star Wars any time soon. – Katie Rentschler
The Bad Batch season 1 is now streaming on Disney+. The show stars Dee Bradley Baker and Michelle Ang.