Star Wars: The Clone Wars Final Season Review – Episode 1 The Bad Batch

The opening skirmish in the final season of The Clone Wars, six years in the making, serves as a promising setup for better things to come. It doesn’t manage to bear the weight of years of expectation flawlessly, but it does lay some interesting groundwork to build upon. Most disappointing is its focus; it’s a clone episode.

The Jedi, in this case, Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker (looking ominously Revenge of the Sith-y), are mere footnotes, only appearing briefly in the first scene.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with clone episodes; season 6’s opening arc around Tup, Fives and Order 66 is one of my favourites. But with so much ground left to wrap up – Anakin’s fall, Ashohka’s whereabouts, Darth Maul, Palpatine’s preparation for his final strike – spending too many of the season’s limited 12 episodes on the clones risks feeling like a frustrating tangent, too far removed from the important events and people in the galaxy far, far away.   

The Clone Wars Final Season Review

The war has moved to Anaxes, a valuable shipyard for the Republic. The clone army has suffered a surprising number of setbacks. Puzzlingly so. Separatist forces are adapting to Captain Rex’s tactics far quicker than should be possible, and he becomes suspicious something sinister is afoot. To find out how, he and Commander Cody propose a behind-enemy-lines assault on a Separatist command centre.

Enter the titular Bad Batch.

The Clone Wars is at its most interesting when it expands upon Star Wars lore, and it does so here by introducing the concept of irregular clones. An elite task force of “defective clones with desirable mutations,” as Cody describes them, the Bad Batch are The Clone Wars‘ take on a Team Fortress squad.

There’s Wrecker, a gargantuan tank; Hunter, a Rambo-esque tracker; Tech, a cold, calculating hacker; and Crosshairs, an expert marksman. They don’t look like standard clones, and voice actor Dee Bradley Baker somehow manages to add new tones to the Polynesian-tinged accent the masses share.

They’re an undeniably cool addition to the ever-swelling ranks of uniquely painted helmets, and the animosity and resentment the Bad Batch feel towards “regs” – a slur for “regular clones” – adds an interesting class dynamic.

Rex and Cody, too, are given more depth. Rex in particular is clearly feeling the weight of the war and his countless lost brothers, possibly sowing the seeds for his inevitable escape from taking part in Order 66. “Regular folks don’t understand. Sometimes in war, it’s harder to be the one that survives,” Cody counsels.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger I won’t spoil, but it’s safe to say the incursion into enemy territory doesn’t go off without incident. Along the way there’s some excellent cinematography during firefights; a lengthy over-the-shoulder tracking shot during a compound infiltration is of particular note. The stunning aesthetic standard set by the end of the previous season has been maintained. 

I’m intensely curious to see where this season is headed, and were it not an episode in the show’s final ever season it’d be easier to forgive its apparent lack of proximity to key events. It’s not a great episode in isolation, but this season still could be.

PowerUp! was given early access by Disney in order to write The Clone Wars Final Season Review.

PowerUp! Reviews

Name: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

  • 6/10
    Disappointingly focused away from key events - 6/10
  • 8.5/10
    Great cinematography - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    The Bad Batch are a good addition - 8/10
User Review
3 (1 vote)
David Milner
David Milner
David Milner began writing about games in 2011 as a distraction from the history thesis that was consuming his life. He fell in love with the hobby as a five year old who saved up all his coins to play Street Fighter II, and never quite understood how Alex Kidd in Miracle World worked on his Sega Master System II without a cartridge. In 2018 he won best games journalist at the Australian IT Journalism Awards for his investigation into crunch and unhealthy working conditions in the industry. Beyond games, he's fond of Star Wars, heavy metal, football (soccer), and snowboarding. He tweets too much.

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