The Bad Batch: Battle Scars Thoughts
Rex finally shows up just in time for things to go bad for the Bad Batch.
“Battle Scars” starts mid-mission for the team as they are carrying live cargo (a winged/lizard type creature) back to Cid. Of course, it gets loose just in time to cause Wrecker to bump his head again but, otherwise, they get the creature to Cid with limited damage. For the first time, Hunter questions Cid on who she is working for but Cid doesn’t seem to know either. All the while, a stranger is sitting by themselves in her bar observing. Not much happened in this episode except what we, the viewers, expected to happen and might be one of the weakest episodes for me this season even though it has a major character return. But let’s discuss what did happen in episode seven:
At least we did not have to wait long to find out the mysterious contact that Rafa was talking to at the end of “Decommissioned.” Rex shows up in Cid’s bar and, after scaring off the two regulars, greets the guys and meets Omega, who identifies Rex as a first-generation clone from the lines on his face. We also learn that Rex is presumed dead by the Empire and is working in some capacity for a group fighting back.
For someone who has identified as a soldier his whole life and whose armor is a point of pride (with the tally marks of his kills), it is strange to see him in robes to cover that up so I’m sure it’s strange for him, too. His reunion with the Bad Batch is calm and friendly…until he learns that Wrecker is having issues with his head, and the team hasn’t removed their inhibitor chips. Then he prepares to draw his blaster and puts it to them plainly: remove the chips immediately. We get hints of what happened to him in season seven of the Clone Wars but not the full details and he insists that as long as those chips are still in their heads, they are a danger to everyone, including Omega. It has been frustrating to see the team ignoring Wrecker’s head issues and not even considering the possibility of his chip malfunctioning, and that Wrecker said nothing about what happened to him in the last episode. It also feels like uneven storytelling that Tech brushed it off and was so certain that their chips were not a threat, even though he was creating a scanner to test their functionality. I supposed one needs to suspend disbelief so that what happens next can happen.
Rex is ultimately proven right and the dangers of the chip activating are on full display when Wrecker starts attacking the team, accusing them of being in violation of Order 66. They can’t fight him one on one and it ends with Wrecker chasing his best friend, Omega, in an Alien-style corridor. He finally corners her and nothing she says gets through to him, almost similar to the Rex/Ahsoka face-off and like the latter, Wrecker had to be knocked out.
It is nice that they are staying consistent with the clones not being able to fight an activated inhibitor chip. In the Kanan: The Last Padawan comic, Kanan is saved by Commander Grey who ultimately fights the chip. That wasn’t necessarily retconned as it took place after Kanan escaped in the first episode “Aftermath” but making the chip an immovable object that can only be defeated by being removed raises the stakes.
Speaking of raising the stakes, it is revealed that it’s not just the Jedi who are in danger of activated clones but the clones who did not execute Order 66. So, now that all have their inhibitor chips removed, they will need to figure out disguises from other clones (Omega should at least have a disguise already since she is also wanted by someone). At least a malfunctioning chip is one less thing the Bad Batch has to worry about before the inevitable showdown with Crosshair now that the Empire is being alerted to their location by Bracca scrappers.
The Literal and Figurative
All three arcs from season seven of The Clone Wars have now connected together on this show and we have seen how those events affected the Bad Batch, the Martez sisters, and now Rex. The aftermath of the Clone Wars is still fresh and the wounds haven’t even begun to heal. Seeing Wrecker going down the same path as Crosshair forces the guys to complete their transition to enemies of the Empire. They don’t have the luxury of being declared dead like Rex so there are many battles ahead for the team as they have to face Imperial forces and Fennec Shand (and possibly more bounty hunters). And now they have scars from their procedure to remove the inhibitor chips, which could be a red flag for other clones they meet but a possible relief if they come across any Jedi who escaped Order 66. It is also a nice dose of reality to the team that, despite what they might have believed initially, they are just as vulnerable to the influence of the chip as the “regs” they claim to not like. In the eyes of the Empire, they are all just property.
Omega is also developing some trauma from the aftermath of the Clone Wars, having to battle Crosshair in the first episode and now seeing someone she is close to turn and almost kill her. Couple that with trusting the wrong person in Fennec Shand and almost getting melted in an incinerator, this has to be leaving some internal scars that will prevent her from ever being able to have a normal childhood.
Meanwhile, Rex is very guarded and cautious even around the Bad Batch and we get a little bit of an Echo/Rex conversation with a Fives reference but not substantial, which leaves out potential character development for Echo. By the end, when the chips are removed, Rex still keeps certain information from them, not telling them completely how he removed his chip and that he had help from a Jedi. It could be that he does not fully trust other clones or that he doesn’t want any attention drawn to Ahsoka, since she is also presumed dead. Hunter’s last words to Rex are promises to be there for him if he needs help so we can take that to mean we are likely to see the former Clone Wars Captain again.
We also learn that Omega doesn’t have an inhibitor chip and that is just brushed over, save for Wrecker’s “no fair” declaration. But if she doesn’t have the chip, then it is also possible that she doesn’t have age acceleration either and is more like Boba Fett. She also can translate Tech’s tech-speak to the rest of the team hinting that her enhanced skill might lie on the intuitive aptitude scale.
Omega and Wrecker’s bond seems to be the strongest out of all the members and the roles are starting to fill out. Hunter plays the part of the father, Wrecker the big brother, and Echo the teacher. The only one we haven’t seen connecting with her as much is Tech but, given that she can speak his tech language and hands him the exact tool he needs without him having to ask while working on the scanner, maybe that’s just the nature of their relationship.
It looks like the Empire’s inspiration to use a Dianoga on the Death Star in A New Hope came from Bracca. Speaking of which, seeing the junk planet and some character designs that were first introduced from Jedi: Fallen Order brought to animation could mean more characters and places introduced in the game could come into play in The Bad Batch.
Originally published at http://creditsandcanon.com on June 14, 2021.