By George Bate & Josh Reilly B.
WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for The Bad Batch – Season 2 Episodes 15-16
Heartbreaking. Tragic. Unexpected. The two-part finale of The Bad Batch’s second season can be succinctly described using any of these three words. “The Summit” and “Plan 99” follow the core Bad Batch as they try to rescue Crosshair from Doctor Hemlock and the Empire’s insidious Advanced Science Division. Meanwhile, Hemlock has his sights set on Omega, who he hopes will convince the Kaminoan scientist Nala Se to help him on a secret project.
The final two episodes of The Bad Batch Season 2 were set up with a primary objective in mind for the titular group: rescue Crosshair. In an interesting turn of events however, as the episodes unfold and misfortune follows misfortune for Clone Force 99, an ambitious mission to rescue Crosshair soon becomes a desperate mission to survive. As “The Summit” and “Plan 99” progress, there is a growing and palpable sense of vulnerability for the Bad Batch. Originally, the team aims to place a homing beacon on Doctor Hemlock’s ship in order to locate Hemlock’s base and, in turn, Crosshair’s location. On the cloudy planet of Eriadu (which will sound familiar to fans of Legends), it becomes clear that the crew underestimated the threat posed by the Empire. In most Star Wars stories, heroes can stumble and fall, but there is a security and an implied reassuring assumption that the protagonists will be alright. The tone of The Bad Batch’s finale, however, raises the stakes and the intensity – our heroes are not safe.
Before the crew makes their way to Eriadu, however, there is a touching moment worth noting that becomes all the more powerful come the conclusion of the two-part arc. As the Bad Batch prepare to leave their sanctuary on Pabu, Tech and Phee Genoa have a brief, endearing encounter hinting at the characters’ potential romance. Tech is characteristically shy and calculated, while Wanda Sykes’ Phee playfully teases the Clone that he was going to leave without saying goodbye. Various moments throughout Season 2 have hinted that a romance was brewing for Phee and Tech, and it’s nice to see this is acknowledged in the finale.
On Eriadu, the Bad Batch try to infiltrate the Imperial base and locate Hemlock’s ship. Meanwhile, Hemlock is accompanied by Tarkin and other high-ranking Imperial officials for a summit. When teased in a previous episode, ‘the Summit’ seemed like it would be a larger, more ominous gathering akin to the summit at the heart of Chuck Wendig’s first Aftermath novel. ‘The Summit,’ however, proves to be somewhat underwhelming, playing out like a conventional meeting of Imperial officers seen throughout Star Wars. Despite its conventionality, however, the meeting includes a number of interesting points. Orson Krennic, the central antagonist of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is at the table, as is the lesser known baddie Hurst Romodi and The Clone Wars veteran Barton Coburn. Also of interest in this scene is Hemlock’s detailing of the Advanced Science Division’s ambitions. Hemlock makes it clear that it is of great interest to Emperor Palpatine and the Empire that the cloning secrets of the Kaminoans are unlocked. Hemlock pushes back on the notion that these experiments can be rushed, and asserts a need for decommissioned Clone Troopers as test subjects. Between the recent episodes of The Mandalorian and this latest arc in The Bad Batch, it’s becoming increasingly clear why the Empire is so interested in cloning technology. This plot remains one of the most intriguing elements of Star Wars storytelling given its interconnectivity across different shows, potential relevance to The Rise of Skywalker, and its integration of elements from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire novel.
While executing their mission, the Bad Batch become entangled with Saw Gerrera and a fellow Partisan. Gerrera, another veteran of The Clone Wars and Rogue One, is coincidentally present at the Imperial summit for a different reason than Hunter and the others. Gerrera wants to make the most of this rare gathering of high-ranking Imperial officials by blowing up the compound and killing all inside, which is aligned with his “for the greater good” mantra. This motivation obviously conflicts with those of Clone Force 99, who want to place a homing beacon on Hemlock’s ship. Gerrera’s appearance is certainly surprising here and it provides nice closure to the pilot of The Bad Batch in which Gerrera went head-to-head with Clone Force 99 and argued with them about the Empire’s villainy and the state of the galaxy. Unfortunately, Gerrera’s inclusion feels somewhat tangential here, adding an additional unnecessary element to the already busy plot of the two episodes.
Bombs go off and the Bad Batch escape the facility, setting up arguably one of the most emotionally wrenching scenes of Star Wars animation to date. Tech falls out of a rail car, but manages to hang on to the dangling carriage with a grappling cable. Hunter yells to Wrecker to pull Tech to safety, although this action will jeopardize everyone as a change in weight will cause the whole carriage to fall. In a decision born of selflessness and brotherhood, Tech executes Plan 99 – willingly sacrificing himself to ensure the survival of his fellow members of the Bad Batch.
Tech’s loss hits hard, to say the least. The rogue Clone known for his incredible intelligence has shined throughout this season, most notably in regards to his relationship with Omega and their conversations about the different ways in which they mourned the loss of Echo leaving the team. Tech’s death is made all the more impactful when thinking back to the blossoming romance with Phee, which became more explicit than ever in this two-part finale. Some of the most devastating Star Wars stories have been realized in animation (“Jedi Night” and the death of Kanan, for instance), and The Bad Batch delivers a crushing blow that will take time to recover from.
The aftermath of Tech’s death sees the surviving members of Clone Force 99 escape Eriadu and return to Ord Mantell. A touching moment unfolds with Hunter comforting a grieving Omega and suggesting they start a new, more peaceful life on Pabu.
Unfortunately, The Bad Batch’s second season hasn’t finished with its emotionally devastating moments. Cid, who served as an ally of the Clones throughout Season 1, shockingly betrays the team, leading to the arrival of Doctor Hemlock and the eventual capture of Omega. At this point, Hunter and the crew have lost Crosshair to the Empire, seen Tech fall to his death, and now have had their youngest member captured by a villainous scientist. Any chance of this season capping off with a happy ending are long gone…
Hemlock and Omega arrive on Mount Tantiss, the hub of Hemlock’s mysterious experiments. With Omega in possession of the Empire, Hemlock now has leverage over Nala Se to force her into helping with his experiments. Interestingly, Nala Se tells Hemlock that what he seeks is not possible, to which Hemlock responds by saying she must make it possible or Omega will die. It remains unclear what Hemlock and the Advanced Science Division of the Empire are up to, but there are certainly clues suggesting the project is for the Emperor’s benefit and likely plays into the Sith lord’s desire to live beyond death.
It’s in the final moments of the finale that another bombshell drops: Doctor Emerie Karr, Hemlock’s colleague in the Advanced Science Division, reveals herself to be Omega’s sister. This twist, similar to much of this finale, is unpredictable and raises a number of intriguing questions. How are Karr and Omega sisters? How is Karr older than Omega and does this imply she has accelerated aging like regular Clones? And, perhaps most strikingly, why is this reveal important?
The Bad Batch concludes its second season in emotionally devastating fashion with crushing blow after crushing blow. Akin to the heartbreak brought about by the Star Wars Rebels episode “Jedi Night,” the two-part finale delivers a tragic story with cinematic scope and rich character depth. The intentions of Doctor Hemlock remain a mystery and the Bad Batch are now three members down, setting things up nicely for a third season that hopefully gets announced at this week’s Star Wars Celebration.