Warning! This story contains spoilers for The Bad Batch premiere.
There’s a lot to unpack from The Bad Batch episode 1, titled “Aftermath.” There’s the reintroduction to the troopers of Clone Force 99, a.k.a. the Bad Batch, the appearance of the mysterious little girl Omega on Kamino and the chilling moment Palpatine dubs himself emperor and transitions the Republic to the Galactic Empire.
A recap of the 72-minute episode is in order, with special emphasis on explaining the episode’s bittersweet but hopeful ending. You can also check out our spoiler-free review of The Bad Batch.
The Bad Batch recap: Episode 1 “Aftermath”
The first episode of The Bad Batch ends with a touching moment first seen in the show’s trailer: a blonde little girl named Omega seeing the brilliant blue lights of hyperspace for the first time from inside Clone Force 99’s ship, Havoc Marauder. By the end of the episode, we’ve learned Omega is actually a genetically mutated clone like original members of the Bad Batch: Hunter, Wrecker, Tech and Crosshair. Echo, as fans will remember, became a member of the Bad Batch after being rescued from the Techno Union, which tortured the ARC trooper and turned him into an android.
From the first moment we meet Omega, it’s clear she’s something special and related to the clones in some way or another based on her similar accent. When she meets the Bad Batch in the halls of Kamino during their return from the battlefield, she immediately takes to them like a fangirl meeting her celebrity role models. The interaction is short and sweet as Kaminoan Nala Se tells the Bad Batch that Omega is her medical assistant and whisks her away for more tasks.
But later, the Bad Batch’s relationship with Omega is made all the more permanent when she joins them in the mess hall and helps Wrecker start a food fight with other clones. Tech expresses surprise that Omega actually wants to sit with them, but she tells him why: “I like you; you don’t fit in around here either.”
So, how did the Bad Batch get here, with Omega aboard their ship after they rescued her from Kamino but left Crosshair behind?
“Good soldiers follow orders”
It all started on the planet Kaller, where the Bad Batch is recruited by padawan Caleb Dume (yes, THAT Caleb Dume) to help his master Depa Billaba and other clone troopers fight off Separatist forces. The Bad Batch troopers end up being the ones to relay the news that the Clone Wars are finally at an end since clone forces had been rerouted to the capital on Coruscant and General Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated General Grievous on Utapau.
But just as Caleb is walking away with the Bad Batch to help them “do what they do,” a clone trooper nearest Depa Billaba receives the infamous hologram order from Palpatine to “execute Order 66.” Depa Billaba is killed by her own clone troopers as her padawan looks on, then he flees from the Bad Batch because he fears they will kill him as well.
As the group searches for Caleb in the nearby forest, they all wonder what the heck is going on. None of them were “activated” by the pronouncement of Order 66. Except for Crosshair.
Crosshair sees Caleb in a tree and takes a shot and misses (very unlike him) and Hunter tells him to “stand down until we know what’s going on.” As Hunter walks away, Crosshair repeats, “good soldiers follow orders” — the same mantra exclaimed by clone trooper Tup in The Clone Wars season 6 episode “Orders.”
Tech discovers through comm chatter that the “regs” have been ordered to execute all of their Jedi leaders as Palpatine claims the Force users have committed treason. Hunter allows Caleb to get away, telling him “I’m just as confused as you are,” and lies to Crosshair about the Jedi padawan dying.
“A civil war is about to begin”
Later, when the Bad Batch is back on Kamino, a brooding Crosshair tells the group that “Hunter let that Jedi kid escape” and that “an order is an order.” Hunter and the rest look at the sharpshooter incredulously, wondering when exactly he started to care about following orders.
Tech, helpfully, explains that the other clone troopers’ behavior is likely because of their programming and that the Bad Batch’s genetic mutations probably make them immune to the effects.
After an intense battle test for Tarkin, who recognizes the Bad Batch’s prowess but is no fan of clone troopers, the Imperial admiral sends the group to the Onderon sector to hunt down a group of supposed Separatist insurgents. It’s another test, Tarkin says, to show where the Bad Batch’s loyalty truly lies.
Omega begs Hunter to let her go with them to Onderon, telling him Kamino is dangerous too and they all need to leave. But he reassures her that there’s nothing to worry about and “a mission’s a mission.”
Narrator: There was a lot to worry about and this was not a normal mission.
The “insurgents” on Onderon, the Bad Batch learns, are actually mostly women and children refugees and a handful of former Republic fighters led by Saw Gerrera (yes, THAT Saw Gerrera). Hunter questions why Tarkin would send them to attack their own forces, and Saw explains “because we refuse to fight for an Empire.”
“The Clone War may have ended,” Saw says. “But a civil war is about to begin.”
Despite most of the Bad Batch being convinced by Saw’s words not to kill civilians, Crosshair is adamant that they “complete the mission.” Crosshair continues to challenge Hunter’s leadership until the enhanced tracker realizes that Omega had warned him about this mission and returning to Kamino. Always the one with perfect timing, Tech then reveals that Omega is one of them — one of the five genetically enhanced clones created by the Kaminoans.
“She’s one of us”
Crosshair again challenges Hunter’s decision to go back to Kamino and rescue Omega: “Disobeying orders again over a kid… bad play, Hunter.” But, Hunter counters, “she’s one of us; we’re not leaving here there.”
Unfortunately, not too long after returning to Kamino, the Bad Batch and Omega are stripped of their gear and thrown in the brig. After Crosshair is taken away by other clone troopers, Omega helps the rest of the Bad Batch break out of the jail and regroup and re-gear up in the hangar bay.
Elsewhere, Crosshair is placed in an MRI-type machine as Kaminoan Nala Se tells Tarkin that Crosshair’s inhibitor chip is altered by his genetic mutations, but it’s still working. Tarkin then smiles as he tells Nala Se to intensify Crosshair’s obedience programming.
Moments before the Bad Batch escape Kamino with Omega in tow, there’s an epic showdown between them, other clone troopers and their now former comrade Crosshair — his obedience to the Empire cemented through his inhibitor chip. There’s a chillingly quiet standoff moment before Crosshair fires the first shot at Hunter and the hangar erupts in blaster fire.
Wrecker gets shot by Crosshair (don’t worry, the big lug is OK), and Omega saves the day again by nailing a shot at Crosshair’s rifle. She had never shot a blaster before, but it’s clear she has some of Crosshair’s sharpshooting skills and Hunter’s heightened awareness.
The Bad Batch escapes Kamino aboard their ship, taking Omega the farthest away she’s ever been from her homeworld. Before she gapes in awe at all the ship’s controls and the stunning lights of hyperspace, Omega reunites a grouchy Wrecker with his beloved stuffed creature, who he named “Lula.” We’re not exactly sure what type of creature Lula represents, but the toy has rabbit-like ears and the same painted markings as Wrecker’s helmet.
What’s next for the Bad Batch? They don’t have many friends, but Hunter tells Tech to plot a course for the sector J-19, which is the Saleucami System.
The Bad Batch episode 1 is available to stream now on Disney+. Episode 2 will be available Friday, May 7, with subsequent episodes dropping on Fridays.
Check back every Friday for recaps and explainers for The Bad Batch on Dork Side of the Force!