Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines The Bad Batch season two finale, “Plan 99,” and why its bummer ending totally aligns with its franchise mission statement.
These days, The Mandalorian seems to command the Star Wars discourse, but hopefully, many of you have kept one eye directed toward The Bad Batch. While most internet chatter revolved around Zeb Orrelios’ live-action debut in Mandalorian Chapter 21, another section cried out in pain as The Bad Batch‘s second season delivered an absolutely heartbreaking season finale. “Plan 99” saw Tech sacrifice himself to save his family. Omega was snatched up and imprisoned in the same science facility as her brother Crosshair. And Crosshaird didn’t utter a word during the entire runtime.
Those watching probably anticipated a victorious reunion with the morally challenged Crosshair rather than a cliffhanger that shattered the squad. Sunny endings, however, were never The Bad Batch‘s deal. Placed during the darkest hour along the Star Wars timeline, when the Empire wrestled control from the Old Republic, Lucasfilm’s latest animated series challenged hope with every turn. Doin’ good when it’s all good is one thing. Doin’ good when it’s all bad is something totally different.
“Plan 99” is the Light Side answer to Palpatine’s Order 66. The command that brought death and destruction to the Jedi and signaled the Imperial rise was an utterly selfish act designed to control through fear. Plan 99 puts the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few. With everyone’s death dangling on a thread, Tech saw a chance to save his friends, but in doing so, he would plummet to his demise. He made the logical, loving decision. He ignored Wrecker’s orders like Wrecker would, as any Bad Batcher would.
Tech’s sacrifice is not a cure-all. The family is torn apart. Their “friendship” with Cid the snitch is donezo. Crosshair remains on Dr. Hemlock’s slab. Yet, they live to fight another day. Therefore, hope remains on the gloomy horizon.
The Bad Batch gets about as grimdark as a Star Wars property can get without actually tipping over into despair. The second season finale leaves us with quite a surprise. Omega is not the only female clone of Jango Fett, and while her elder sister reveals herself as an Imperial scientist, we shouldn’t necessarily assume she’s villainous.
In the episode’s final moments, the imprisoned Omega rushes to Crosshair’s catatonic side. Dr. Emerie approaches her, offering care. The young girl wants none of it, demanding to speak with Nala Se, her former Kaminoan superior. Emerie remarks on the irony of Omega trusting the cloner captor over her. When Omega fires back, stating they’re strangers, Emerie responds, “You might know me better than you think. We’re sisters, Omega.”
Now, we should never trust a person wearing an Imperial uniform. Emerie could be lying, but she’s about the right age as the other clones, which grew at an accelerated rate. We first met her in the “Metamorphosis” episode when Crosshair required re-education after killing Lieutenant Bolan. She was friendly enough, but an inherent skepticism toward those mucking about in people’s brains is healthy.
What are Emerie’s allegiances? Do they belong to the Empire? To Dr. Hemlock? To Nala Se? It’s impossible to say at this point. Assuming Emerie is telling the truth, Omega is no longer the sole female descendant of Jango Fett. Since the first episode, we’ve accepted Omega as a unique creation, which caused intense interest from Nala Se and the other upper-level Kaminoans. Her gender is still uncommon amongst the clones, but could there be something else about her that’s warranted such diabolical scrutiny?
Her age is unique. Or, at least, the manner in which she’s been allowed to age. So far, Omega and Boba Fett are the only Jango Fett spawns we’ve met who were grown naturally. We know why Boba was granted such a privilege; Jango wanted his own mini-me to pour his bounty hunter ways into. Omega’s purpose is a mystery and one The Bad Batch creators don’t seem interested in answering in a speedy fashion.
Frankly, one of The Bad Batch‘s best attributes is how it resisted the mystery box. The season one premiere elevated Omega as a real curiosity, but her purpose became less and less a driving force as the series progressed. As a child, she demanded care and attention from her older soldier brothers. In their fight to protect her, love grew between them, not just with their kid sister, but between all of them. Like the Ghost crew in Star Wars: Rebels or the core four from A New Hope, they became a family through adversity and adventure.
The “Plan 99” conclusion firmly roots The Bad Batch‘s second season as their Empire Strikes Back. The family is scattered to the winds, but they haven’t given up on each other. We’re in a dark moment during the franchise’s darkest moment. It doesn’t feel good, but it will feel great when they surpass this juncture.
As Hunter told Omega before Hemlock grabbed her, they have to flourish with the time they have. They owe it to Tech’s sacrifice. Rolling over and accepting a tragic fate would utterly betray his “Plan 99” play. We may have to wait for the next scene, but you can guarantee it involves Wrecker and Hunter tooling up and starting their Omega rescue mission. They will be whole again, and maybe, just maybe, they might be able to lure Crosshair back. Accepting him into the fold would certainly bring peace to Tech too.
Worryingly, a third season for The Bad Batch is unannounced as of this writing. It’s hard to imagine that Lucasfilm would go the way it did with “Plan 99” unless they knew more would surely come. The second season dropped a bummer and sparked more questions than answers.
It seems a safe bet that we’ll hear good news for The Bad Batch at Star Wars Celebration in May, if not sooner. It would be a shame if we had to wait for the comics and novels to finish their story. Yet, we’ll go where The Bad Batch goes. They’ve earned our attention.
The Bad Batch “Plan 99” is now streaming on Disney+.