The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 Series Finale

By George & Josh Bate

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episode 15: “The Cavalry Has Arrived”

When Clone Force 99 was introduced in The Clone Wars Season 7, the first line of dialogue that came from a member of Bad Batch was from Wrecker as he triumphantly proclaimed, “The cavalry has arrived!” Now, over four years later, the cavalry arrives again – albeit under decidedly different circumstances. With the 47th and final episode of The Bad Batch, aptly titled “The Cavalry Has Arrived,” this emotional rollercoaster of a Star Wars show comes to an end. The Clone Wars and Rebels both ended with such resounding conclusions, making the bar quite high for The Bad Batch to close out on a satisfactory note. And, for the most part, the series finale does just that.

Before the events of the series’ finale episode unfold, “The Cavalry Has Arrived” begins with a different introductory sequence. The usually blue and red-tinted helmets and faces that precede the Star Wars logo for all Disney+ shows are replaced by a muted, gray color. This is also the case for the logo of The Bad Batch, now devoid of the red markings that typically accompany the title. More overtly, this shift to muted colors aligns with the team’s decision to black out their armor and remove it of color in the last episode in order to covertly infiltrate the Tantiss base. But it also signals dark times ahead. Notably, the episode following Kanan’s death in Star Wars Rebels featured a black-and-white series logo, a contrast to the typically colorful title. As such, the beginning moments of The Bad Batch’s final episode start things off on an anxious note to say the least.

In typical Star Wars fashion, “The Cavalry Has Arrived” interchanges between different groups of characters for its climactic event (this is a pattern seen in everything from The Empire Strikes Back to The Rise of Skywalker). One of these groups is comprised of Hunter, Wrecker, and Crosshair as they attempt to rescue Omega. Meanwhile, there is Echo and a reformed Emerie Karr, who have teamed up to also find and rescue Omega and the other imprisoned children. Omega and the other children make up the final group of focus in this finale as they launch an escape plan involving the dangerous Zillo Beast. All three groups of characters collectively contribute to what ends up being a rapidly paced and intense final episode. Once things start, it’s full speed ahead until the very end.

Hunter, Wrecker, and Crosshair’s role in the episode begins with the characters journeying through the tumultuous forest of Tantiss as they make their way to the Imperial facility in an attempt to rescue Omega. Wrecker’s injury from the last episode persists, which, coupled with the ominous title sequence beforehand, definitely makes one suspect the beloved member of the team could meet his demise in this episode. Then there’s Crosshair, who tries to convince Hunter and Wrecker that he should execute Plan 99 and sacrifice himself to save Omega. Given Season 3’s focus on the relationship between Omega and Crosshair, it really felt like everything was leading to Crosshair’s death, but this ultimately wasn’t the case.

Meanwhile, Echo and Emerie Karr make an unlikely duo as they also attempt to rescue Omega and the other children. As we’ve noted in previous reviews, Echo’s limited role this season has been both surprising and somewhat disappointing, which makes his significant contributions to this series finale stand out. Echo proves to be indispensable to the achievement of the team’s goal, especially when the other members of the Bad Batch are captured by Hemlock’s forces. 

Things go full steam ahead with the other group of characters as Omega hatches a plan to break out of The Vault. It’s nice to see Omega take on a leadership role within this makeshift squad given that she is often seen following the lead of Hunter and others. This episode shows just how far Omega has come as a skilled tactician and soldier as she takes matters into her own hands to plot their escape. The previous episode hinted that this escape plan would involve the Zillo Beast, and that came to fruition in the series finale. Omega manages to break the Zillo Beast out of captivity, creating chaos at the Tantiss facility and creating a perfect opening for the Bad Batch to enter. This brings to full circle a plot thread that began all the way back in The Clone Wars. In that show, Palpatine commissioned the cloning of a Zillo Beast after it ran rampant through Coruscant. Years later, this desire to experiment on the Zillo Beast backfires for Palpatine as it is the Zillo Beast’s escape that leads to the facility’s destruction and, in turn, progress on Project Necromancer coming to a halt. 

With the Zillo Beast on the loose, Hemlock knows he has to do something to protect his work on Progress Necromancer. His solution to this predicament is to activate various elite Clone X assassins from The Vault. Earlier this season, Hemlock showed Palpatine what was contained within these red cases, but the audience wasn’t given a glimpse at what they were looking at. Now we know that, amongst other things, Hemlock was cultivating a group of expert assassins by brainwashing captured clones. Although these Clone X assassins offer a formidable challenge to the Bad Batch and evoke the aesthetics of both Purge Troopers and the Knights of Ren, this reveal is a little disappointing. That Hemlock had more of these elite assassins in waiting comes as no surprise and offers somewhat unsatisfactory payoff for the tease of what’s contained in these red cases from episode 3 of this season. Regarding the positives of this reveal though, it does lead to some of the episode’s best action, which culminates in the capture of Hunter, Wrecker, and Crosshair.

As Crosshair is captured, he loses his hand in the fight with the Clone X assassins. Crosshair is far from the first Star Wars character to lose a hand, but Crosshair’s loss serves a different symbolic function. All season, Crosshair’s hand has trembled anytime Tantiss is mentioned. In turn, the once-expert marksman now has difficulties using the very skill that makes him unique. On Pabu, Crosshair discovered that this tremor is of psychological origins, not physiological ones. So, when Crosshair has his hand cut off in the episode, it could be seen as a symbol of him finally letting go of his trauma. This is explored later on in greater depth.

Meanwhile, Omega and the kids are able to eventually find Emerie and Echo. Whereas Emerie takes the children away aboard a shuttle, Omega stays with Echo to rescue the imprisoned clones and the rest of the Bad Batch. Throughout The Bad Batch, Omega has often tried to tag along with the team, only to be told to stay put as the mission will be too dangerous for her. Here, however, Echo offers no such protests and effortlessly allows Omega to accompany him to see this mission out. Again, this final episode demonstrates how far Omega has come as a character. Over the course of three seasons, she’s grown up immensely and has accrued enough experience in the battlefield to gain the trust and lessen the anxieties of her father figures.

Omega and Echo make their way to the holding cells of Tantiss, where they uncover Rampart, Nala Se, and a host of imprisoned clones. Echo’s departure from the Bad Batch last season came about as he joined ranks with Rex to liberate clones around the galaxy. In this series finale, there’s some resolution to this plot thread as Echo achieves his goal of freeing clones. Rumors have circulated that a clone rebellion may be the focus of the next Star Wars animated series, which would make sense given that Rex’s mission is ongoing. Whether this comes to fruition remains unclear for the time being, although there is undoubtedly plenty to explore here if this story is continued in some way.

As Omega, Echo, and the group of clones make their way to rescue Clone Force 99, Nala Se goes to destroy the Progress Necromancer databank and is followed by Rampart. In many ways, it’s fitting that Nala Se and Rampart find themselves at odds here. Rampart oversaw the destruction of Nala Se’s home and exploited her people’s cloning technology for the good of the Empire. In a last gasp attempt at obtaining justice for these losses, Nala Se uses a thermal detonator to destroy the Project Necromancer databank, which, in turn, also kills her and Rampart. This is a solemn yet fitting ending for Nala Se. The character’s love for Omega persisted to a point where she was willing to sacrifice her life in order to erase any record of Omega’s involvement in Project Necromancer. However, this ending isn’t quite as satisfactory for Rampart’s journey. Although things seemed to be heading in a direction that would’ve seen Rampart get revenge against the Empire for using him as a scapegoat, instead, Rampart uses the opportunity to try and find out more about Project Necromancer in order to hold it over the Empire. Off-screen, Rampart learns more about Project Necromancer right before he and Nala Se meet an explosive death. In all, Rampart’s inclusion this season was enjoyably surprising, despite concluding in an underwhelming manner.

The three groups of characters finally converge as Omega and Echo make their way to Hunter, Wrecker, and Crosshair and break them out. The brutality and expertise of the Clone X assassins is on full display here as many of the recently liberated clones meet a quick and unfortunate demise. 

After Hunter kills one of the assassins by impaling him with a staff (just like Arnold Schwarzenegger does in Commando!), Hemlock handcuffs himself to Omega and escapes with her to a landing platform. They are followed by Hunter and Crosshair in what ends up being a terrific showdown. The rain is pouring down, the animation is stunning, and the stakes are high as Hemlock aims a blaster at Omega’s head. The once confident Crosshair has now lost a hand and expresses to Hunter that he cannot make the shot to destroy the handcuffs connecting Omega and Crosshair. With a touching word of encouragement from Hunter and a deft move by Omega to make the target easier to hit, Crosshair manages to shoot and destroy the handcuffs and, in turn, kill Hemlock. In doing so, Crosshair is able to make an extremely difficult shot, despite losing his hand. His marksmanship remains, while his hand (and the trauma of Tantiss) are left behind. 

What follows is one of the best’s most emotional moments in which a tearful Omega sprints to her brothers and gives Crosshair and Hunter massive hugs. How the whole team made it out alive of this finale is incredible, but, ultimately, it’s an intelligent decision from the writing team. Tech’s death was the darkest moment of the entire show and compounding this death with another loss may have been too overwhelming for the tone The Bad Batch tried to strike. The greatest strength of The Bad Batch has been its ability to tap into genuinely touching emotions, primarily through the relationships Omega has with the other members of her team. Another member’s death here would have likely shrouded this finale and, in turn, the series in an uncharacteristic darkness. 

With Hemlock dead and Omega in safe hands, the team leave Tantiss. And just in time – as seconds after departing, Tarkin and his fleet arrives. This fleet includes an Imperial Star Destroyer accompanied by two Venator Star Destroyers. This marks the first appearance of the Imperial-class ship in The Bad Batch and demonstrates how the Republic military of the prequel trilogy is transitioning into the Imperial military of the original trilogy.

In one of the episode’s cooler easter eggs, Tarkin demands that funding for Project Necromancer be reallocated to Project Stardust. This is a reference to the Death Star, which, as revealed in Rogue One, was codenamed Project Stardust by Galen Erso after his daughter Jyn Erso. Tarkin’s desire to push Project Stardust makes sense here and aligns with what we see in Rogue One and A New Hope. Unfortunately though, Project Necromancer is given somewhat of a lackluster resolution in this series finale. Season 3 has expanded greatly on what Hemlock’s secret experiments entailed and explained more about how Palpatine returned in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s clear this isn’t the end to Project Necromancer as members of the Imperial Shadow Council discuss it in The Mandalorian Season 3, but The Bad Batch finale doesn’t do anything to establish that Project Necromancer will go on. A tease that the project will continue may have been difficult to execute given Nala Se’s destruction of the Project Necromancer databank brings a finality to the Empire’s pursuit of Omega. But, nonetheless, a final touch about Project Necromancer would’ve been nice.

The team return to Pabu and finally settle down after such a hectic run of events. Sitting side-by-side, Hunter says to Omega, “Now we get to choose who we want to be.” Omega asks, “Like what?” “Whatever we want, kid,” Hunter responds. “Whatever we want.” Following this, Omega endearingly rests her head on Hunter’s arm.

Following in the footsteps of The Clone Wars and Rebels, The Bad Batch then makes a time jump for its epilogue sequence. Years have past and Omega has grown up, now sporting longer hair and Hunter’s old red bandana to tie her hair up. Omega is readying to leave Pabu and join the Rebellion, while a bearded Hunter takes on a fatherly protective role in wanting her to stay safe. “You’re our kid, Omega,” Hunter says. “You always will be.” The Bad Batch manages to leave the audience with a tear in our eye as Hunter and Omega lovingly hug before Hunter sees Omega off. With Omega heading off to join the Rebellion, the door is wide open for the character to return. This may be in her own show or perhaps in live-action (maybe even in Dave Filoni’s upcoming movie set between Episodes VI and VII). Either way, Omega’s journey to this point has been a lovely one and has made Omega rank among the most endearing Star Wars characters of all time. 

VERDICT: 8/10

The Bad Batch comes to a conclusion with great intensity, suspense, and emotion. Adopting a structure similar to many Star Wars final battles in fluctuating between different groups of characters, “The Cavalry Has Arrived” is a resounding finale to what is one of the best Star Wars shows to date. The series finale overcomes the repetitiveness of trying to escape Tantiss again with rapid pacing and a tight focus on the Bad Batch and their love for one another. Crosshair, who has been the highlight of this season, is given a fitting end as he is able to move past his trauma and retain his expert marksmanship despite losing a hand. While Rampart and Project Necromancer are given somewhat lackluster resolutions, the episode concludes with a brilliantly emotional epilogue that fittingly closes this story out while leaving the door open for more adventures with Omega. It’s with great joy and a tear in our eyes that The Bad Batch wraps up after 47 episodes. The series finale underwhelmed in some areas, but overwhelmingly excelled as an endearing conclusion for one of Star Wars’ most endearing stories.

The HoloFiles

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