We’re closing in on the last few episodes of The Bad Batch on Disney+. So far, viewers have been riding a wave of curiosity on just how Clone Force 99 fits into the world now that the galaxy has fallen under the Empire’s control.
The first half of the season was spent primarily on the threat of the inhibitor chip in the clones. A ticking time bomb, the device is all that stands between the clones’ autonomy and their subjugation to the will of the Empire.
In the series opener, “Aftermath,” Crosshair fell victim to Order 66 just like his “reg” counterparts. Wrecker nearly suffered the same fate but now that the inhibitor chips have been removed from all the Batchers — with exception of Crosshair — that threat is no longer on the board.
While it’s true that the soldiers-turned-guns-for-hire are still being hunted, the series seems less concerned about it now outside of how being captured could affect Omega. Lama Su wants her returned to Kamino so he can extract her DNA and then decommission her.
She is one of two clones — the other is Boba Fett — who has pure, first-generation DNA from Jango Fett. The threat against Omega and the Empire’s attempts to bring them to heel are enough for the Batch to take a stand against the Empire. However, it seems The Bad Batch is leaning toward a more ideological reason for Clone Force 99 to become active in the fight against the regime’s oppressive control.
The Bad Batch will have to fight the Empire for more than themselves
Throughout the season, the Batch have been confronted with the growing rebellion against the Empire. It started in “Aftermath” with Saw Gerrera who declared, “the Clone War may have ended, but a civil war is about to begin.”
Since then, our misfit crew have come across Rafa and Trace Martez in “Decommissioned” while their vying for the same battle droid. The sisters explain they’re helping to fight against the Empire by giving the droid’s intel to their contact. They don’t see why the Batch aren’t also doing what they can to help save the galaxy.
In the following episode “Battle Scars,” Captain Rex enters the story. He’s the catalyst for the Batch’s mission to remove their inhibitor chips. But, it’s also made clear that he’s the Martez sisters’ contact. Rex has been fighting to protect what’s left of the Republic.
He tells Hunter that his squad’s skills could be of use to their cause but Hunter responds that their priorities have shifted. Their focus is Omega, and he has to do what’s best for his team. Hunter, however, doesn’t know what best looks like, so Rex tells him to let him know where he lands on the issue.
That small opening for a change of mind somewhere down the line is enough of a narrative hook to suggest the Batch will have to make a standing against the Empire. Their efforts to keep a low profile haven’t been entirely in vain, but they keep brushing up against the rebel’s agenda and the regime’s take over of the galaxy.
It happened in “Common Ground” when Cid sent them to collect the Separatist senator Avi Singh, which forced them to sidestep their ideology to carry out the mission. Singh was on their opposing side in the Clone War. To the Batch he’s the enemy. But times have changed, lines have blurred, and the two forces now have a foe in common.
In order to defeat the Empire, bad blood will have to be put aside. The Batchers could find themselves working alongside separatists at some point. Judging by Hunter’s slip of attempting to include an absent Omega in the extraction of Singh despite leaving her behind with Cid because he deemed the mission too dangerous, Omega has now become an integral part of his team even in combat.
It’s likely that the events that unfolded in episode 11 will pull the Batch even further into the conflict between the rebels and the Empire. Taking a backseat to a plot that centered on Hera Syndulla, Clone Force 99 only made an appearance long enough to deliver weapons requested by Gobi Glie. But, it’s a significant moment.
Omega and Hera bond as the adults handle business. Outside of fanservice, there’s really no reason for the girls to have an extended scene together and not plant a seed of connection between the two. A connection that could lead to the Batch interfering in the Empire’s takeover of Ryloth and their hold on Hera’s parents, General Cham and Eleni, for treason.
The events that have stacked up in The Bad Batch so far point to our misfit crew having to take a stand against the Empire. Not only for their survival but for that of others. They’ve been pulled into the conflict multiple times and, now that Omega has paid off their debt to Cid, they have the opportunity to choose to jump into the fray to help.
We’re coming into the final stretch of the season and one of the essential questions the Batch has been faced with has been centered on how they fit in the galaxy now.
They’re fugitives, the Republic is gone, and guns for hire has chafed. The only thing left besides hiding, which hasn’t worked out for them, is to embrace the role they played before. To be soldiers, working for a singular cause, and protecting the galaxy how they see fit.
The Empire is their enemy not only when it comes to their autonomy and agency but also in their ability to make a safe place for Omega to grow up. “Cut and Run” already proved early on in the season that the Dad Batch can’t squirrel Omega away for her safety. She’s going to choose them every time just as they will choose her, which means they’re in this fight together.
That fight is against the Empire, there’s no getting around that. At some point, their hand will be forced and the choice on whether to join the rebellion will have to be made. The past few episodes of The Bad Batch have seemed to build a path toward that decision being centered on helping others.
It makes sense that the first steps of that decision being made would happen in a plot involving Ryloth, Hera’s home destined to become an Imperial protectorate plagued by a rebel movement led by her father.