Features and Columns · TV

‘The Bad Batch’ Puts the Final Nail in the ‘Clone Wars’ Coffin

As they race toward the Season 1 finale, Clone Force 99 exposes all their secrets. With revelation only comes more struggle.
The Bad Batch Episode 15 Season 1 Finale Part 1
By  · Published on August 6th, 2021

Welcome to The Bad Batch Explained, our weekly column dedicated to those rough and tumble Clone Wars leftovers and their march through a bold, new galaxy far, far away. In this entry, we’re charging into Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15, a.k.a. the Season 1 Finale Part 1 (“Return to Kamino”) and witnessing the dying gasp of The Clone Wars. So yes, there are spoilers here.

You may fire when ready. Grand Moff Tarkin delivers his five favorite words to Admiral Rampart, and Tipoca City prepares for annihilation. Whatever glory or purpose the Kaminoan cloning facility once served is now over. With their Stormtroopers on the march, the Empire’s need for a costly bottle-bred army has evaporated. Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 concludes the first part of the Season 1 finale by incinerating the trash. It’s just another day at work for the soldiers aboard the Star Destroyers, but for the Clone Force 99 grunts below, it’s their last scramble for survival.

Finale Part 1

We have to wait until next week, with the ending of the first season of The Bad Batch, to see how Hunter and his pals escape destruction, but what’s clear today is that the Republic is long dead, and whatever honor they found during Star Wars: The Clone Wars is buried alongside the previous Galactic government. All they have is each other. They can’t afford to leave a Clone to the wind. Even if it’s a Clone who hunted for their blood all season long.

Crosshair reveals as much faith in his old Clone Force 99 co-workers as they do in him. Neither can quit the other. The Imperial sharpshooter drags Hunter in handcuffs to Kamino, activating his comm, knowing the others will come racing to his rescue. Having watched Crosshair command the death of civilians, we worry that he’s itching to prove himself by killing his mates. But we don’t know what’s really going on in that killer’s noggin.

His proto-Death Troopers get the drop on Clone Force 99 easily. The secret tunnel that led them into the city was for naught. When brothers are concerned, they can’t do anything but meet each other face-to-face. Sneaking ain’t an option when it comes to family.

Return to Kamino

And they’re more connected than they think. Omega‘s underground passageway delivers Clone Force 99 to a previously unknown laboratory. Since Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 1, we’ve postulated on Omega’s creation. The Bad Batch Episode 15 — “Return to Kamino (Finale Part 1”) — does not unfurl every detail. But we learn that she and the other Clone aberrations were deliberately manufactured.

Hunter is the tracker. Tech is the smart one. Wrecker is the strong one. Crosshair is the marksman. These attributes were not accidents. Clone Force 99 is, in actuality, Experimental Unit 99. Their mutations were gifts, enhanced by Nala Se in an effort to build a better soldier.

In the lab, Omega slowly ekes out the information. Before the Bad Batch Season 1 began, her time as Nala Se’s assistant exposed her to several Kaminoan secrets. She’s kept mum for quite some time, but this week’s episode exposes her knowledge. What other dark secrets is she keeping? Does she know more about her own gifts than she has previously let on?

The answers are not ready. Hunter needs rescuing. Crosshair calls.

Pinned in their old training compound, Clone Force 99 pleads with Crosshair to call off his Death Trooper goons. Hunter attempts to explain the Imperial horrors they’ve seen throughout this season. He tries to explain that Crosshair behaves antagonistically because of the inhibitor chip barking orders in his skull.

The Truth About Crosshair

Crosshair bursts Hunter’s bubble. He had the inhibitor chip removed long ago. Crosshair’s actions are his own. Just as Hunter resisted Order 66’s directions, Crosshair leaned into them. Maybe you can blame the chip for that initial wave of Jedi deaths, but what the Clones did after rests with them.

Hunter is shaken. He can’t believe what he’s hearing. Crosshair begs Clone Force 99 to join ranks and to prove his loyalty to them; he murders his Death Troopers. But he still believes the Empire is the winning side, and to oppose them is beyond foolish.

While Crosshair may have the better aim, Hunter is quicker on the draw. He stuns Crosshair, and Wrecker throws his chum over his shoulder. As they make their getaway, Grand Moff Tarkin utters his five favorite words. Tipoca City’s days are over.

The Destruction of Kamino and Tipoca City

The Bad Batch Episode 15 prepares for Kamino’s destruction by giving us one last tour through the facility. We see various shots of laboratories, the birthing chambers, the training facility, and the mess hall. Tipoca City is desolate, without life.

The ghost town imagery underscores the tremendous loss that’s occurred throughout The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch. The Empire devours planets. They’re not interested in who or what’s on them. These landscapes are merely part of their collection. When they grow tired of them, they toss them away.

Is reconciliation possible between Crosshair and his brothers? The inhibitor chip revelation cuts deep. They can no longer dismiss the horrendous acts Crosshair committed. But they can’t leave him on Kimona to burn either. The Bad Batch Episode 15 ends with Crosshair cradled in Clone Force 99’s protection. They’ll get him out of this scrape and worry about their familial status later.

The Ending of The Bad Batch Season 1 and Beginning of Season 2

Lucasfilm and Disney+ just announced that The Bad Batch will be back for Season 2. That’s great news for fans clamoring for more—bad news for those seeking a neat and tidy climax next week. One episode will not heal the wounds between Crosshair and Clone Force 99. And one episode won’t stop the Empire’s galactic sweep. The dark days are only beginning.

What we can expect is a little help from their friends. Clone Force 99 is in a tight spot. Their destruction seems imminent. But they’ve made several pals over The Bad Batch Season 1. Captain Rex gets another name check this week. His return seems inevitable. And if Hunter can’t accept an Imperial offer by Crosshair, maybe he can accept a Rebellion position from Rex.

There are many unaccounted-for Clones. The Empire yanked them from Kamino, and they’re destined for the incinerator. It’s easy to imagine Clone Force 99 making them their mission. That could also be a mission Crosshair could accept. No Clone gets left behind.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 – Season 1 Finale Part 1 is now streaming on Disney+.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)