The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2, Episode 3

By Josh Bate & George Bate

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 – Episode 3

The Bad Batch’s second season premiere featured Omega, Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo, but the final member’s absence was notable. Episode 3 of season 2, titled “The Solitary Clone,” pivots away from the core Clone Force 99 crew toward a more contemplative, darker episode focused on Crosshair.

“The Solitary Clone” picks up sometime after Crosshair surprisingly refused to rejoin Clone Force 99 and was left stranded in Kamino. Crosshair and Commander Cody (!!!) are sent on a mission to the planet Desix to rescue an Imperial governor who has been taken hostage by locals demanding their home be recognized as an independent planet.

As evidenced in this latest episode of The Bad Batch, the topic of which side Crosshair will ultimately stand on continues to be an area of focus in this season. An early conversation with Admiral Rampart in the episode has the Admiral questioning Crosshair’s decision. Crosshair’s calculated response “I am a soldier of the Empire” showcases how dark and cold the Clone has become. Moments throughout the episode tease Crosshair will rebel, while other moments show his relentless loyalty to the Empire. Crosshair’s betrayal of Clone Force 99 was one of the most surprising moments of season 1 and season 2’s examination of Crosshair’s loyalty makes for a decidedly unique character arc distinct from anything we’ve seen in Star Wars storytelling.

While Crosshair’s allegiance remains of interest, “The Solitary Clone” best excels when it turns its focus to Commander Cody. The Clone Commander who once accompanied Obi-Wan Kenobi to Utapau in Revenge of the Sith now sports gray armor, with his unique orange coloring nowhere in sight. Early in the episode, Cody indirectly probes Crosshair’s loyalty to the Empire. “Rumors are more and more Clones have been questioning the Order,” Cody says. This episode does a fantastic job shedding light on the mindset of Clones sometime after Order 66. Crosshair has rationalized the decision to turn against the Jedi as good soldiers simply follow orders. Cody, meanwhile, is unsure of where he should stand, especially as the Empire continues to phase out Clone Troopers. In a particularly poignant moment, Cody finds two locals and says, “It’s okay. We’re here to help.” Such a line may have worked during the Clone Wars, but the galaxy is a different place now. Cody and other troopers are not viewed as the good guys championing freedom alongside the Jedi. They are now agents of the Empire and thus induce fear in others, despite Cody’s best efforts not to. 

The mission on Desix plays out like a classic siege adventure with Crosshair and Cody attacking and finding a way into the government building where the Imperial governor is held hostage. Seeing Cody and Crosshair’s interplay and their military strategy to siege the building is really interesting and makes for a more entertaining episode than more simple, straightforward action. Ultimately though, it is a sequence set in a spiral staircase that proves to be the coolest moment in episode 3. Crosshair places small mirror-like devices on the walls of the spiral staircase and expertly uses these surfaces to guide his blasts to seemingly impossible places. It’s always so much fun to see the members of Clone Force 99 use their special skills in the field, and Crosshair’s expert marksmanship is a highlight in this episode. 

The culminating event of the episode sees the leader of the insurgents Tawni Ames holding a gun to Imperial Governor Grotton’s head. A tense negotiation sees Cody’s kind heart proving useful, as Tawni puts the blaster down. Governor Grotton demands that Cody kill Tawni, which he refuses. Instead, Crosshair raises his rifle and finishes the insurgent off. 

In the concluding scene of the episode, Rampart states that Cody has gone AWOL and that “Clone loyalty does not seem to be as advertised anymore.” Crosshair doesn’t show how this news is affecting him, but it’s clear the Clone has much to think about as his fellow Clones continue to abandon the Empire he has dedicated himself to.

Verdict: 8.5/10

The Bad Batch’s latest episode excels in changing the focus to Crosshair and a returning Commander Cody. The mission-of-the-week features plenty of strategy, tactics, and creative action that make for a far more entertaining episode than simple back-and-forth action, but it’s the exploration of deeper themes that make this episode more intriguing. The ways in which Imperial rule affects the lives of Clones continue to be unveiled here in both overt and subtle, yet similarly interesting, ways. For instance, in a subtle, yet particularly effective note, Rampart and others refer to Clones by their CT numbers, dehumanizing the individuality of the Clones. It’s so interesting to catch up with Cody and see where Obi-Wan’s former Commander stands, especially as it holds relevance for Crosshair’s continued deliberation of his loyalties. With Cody choosing to abandon the Empire and go AWOL, the latest episode of The Bad Batch leaves the audience with much to think about as Crosshair must carefully consider his future.

The HoloFiles

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