Reunions Are Brutal – Review of “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Episode 8 “Reunion”

I’ve been waiting for this episode since the end of the first episode and it didn’t disappoint. When Dave Filoni decides to do epic, he doesn’t hold back. The latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, titled “Reunion”, brought the troopers of Clone Force 99 into direct conflict with their old squad mate Crosshair. The ending of the episode lays the foundation for the second half of the first season in a spectacular fashion.

As always, spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.

Taking place shortly after the end of the last episode, the Scrapper’s Guild has reported the Batch on Braca, which reaches Kamino and the clone troopers there. Crosshair, itching to take down his former squad, takes a large contingent of troopers with him to capture the Batch. Hunter and the rest of the squad spend the first portion of the episode raiding the armory of the Republic starship they went to in order to remove the inhibitor chips in their head. I like that Hunter’s logic is based on paying off their debt to Cid, the Trandoshan underworld contact they’d been working with for the last several episodes. But I have to say the moment where Echo suggested the Batch should have joined Captain Rex (a fan favorite clone from The Clone Wars series), Hunter doesn’t have a good reason for why they didn’t go with Rex. They are soldiers without a war to fight, which begs the question: what other purpose can they serve at this point?

When Crosshair arrives with his contingent of troopers, he’s two steps ahead of the Batch at every turn, which is a great position to place characters in, from a storytelling perspective. The tactics Clone Force 99 relied on in the war are exactly what Crosshair expects them to use, such as tapping into the Empire’s communications to track their movements and move to a different section of the ship than expected. Regardless of the reason behind Crosshair’s turn to the Empire, he is an effective villain and part of me doesn’t want to see him be anything else. Star Wars is rife with redemption stories (its one of the core concepts of the series as a whole). Perhaps if they can neutralize the chip, it’ll bring Crosshair back to his senses. Personally, I’d prefer it if the chip is removed and Crosshair continues to tow the party line and still side with the Empire, but that’s just me enjoying a good villain.

The sequence in the exhaust chamber of the ship was well-paced and genuinely tense. With the Batch cornered by Crosshair and his troopers outside and the engines coming back to life, they were caught in a veritable no-win scenario. That is until Tech suggests they plant explosives at a key junction point and split the exhaust vent in half, which could kill them just as easily as the engines firing up and cooking them in seconds. Like I mentioned above, when Filoni commits to doing something epic, he does not hold back in the slightest. The entire series of events were thought-out and executed well, leaving me as a viewer wondering how the Batch were going to get out in one piece.

The Batch end up getting separated, with Hunter and Omega off on their own. And this is where the final twist happens. Over the course of the episode, it’s revealed that the Kaminoan Prime Minister has hired bounty hunters to retrieve Omega. The purpose behind this is left unspoken but it’s clear that Omega has a role to play in some kind of power move meant to ensure the Kaminoans either remain in the Empire’s good graces or have a wild card they can play to make the Empire keep them around. The rumors I’ve been seeing online is that Omega could be the first Force-Sensitive clone created by the Kaminoans, mainly as a way to bridge the gap leading to The Rise of Skywalker. I find it sad that genuinely good storytellers like Filoni and his writers (as well as the writers for The Mandalorian) have to now backfill in explanations for the crap storytelling used in the Sequel Trilogy. But that’s a topic for another essay.

When Hunter and Omega approach the Batch’s shuttle, they find a litter of dead clone troopers. Waiting for them in the entry way of their shuttle is Cad Bane, one of my all-time favorite characters from The Clone Wars. Cad Bane is a Duros bounty hunter who often appeared in The Clone Wars as a minor antagonist who reappeared from time to time. Ruthless, highly-intelligent, and deadly with a blaster, Bane became a thorn in the side of many characters over the course of The Clone Wars series. Seeing him appear was an awesome moment. Even better was the showdown between Hunter and Bane, which Bane won handily. After stunning Omega, he made off with the young clone, most likely to return her to Kamino. Having reached the halfway point of the first season, the Batch are in the toughest spot they’ve been in since the start of the series. Owing a large debt to Cid, hunted by Crosshair and the Empire, and now losing Omega to a bounty hunter, the Batch are down but not necessarily out. Where the show goes from here is going to be an interesting ride. I can’t wait to see what happens from here.

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