Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Bad Batch episode 14, “War-Mantle.”
There have been many intense, emotional and action-packed moments throughout the first season of The Bad Batch. But as the series moves into the home stretch of the first season, it’s clear things are getting serious from here on out.
Episode 14, titled “War-Mantle,” featured two major set-ups: the beginnings of the Empire’s Project War-Mantle to fill its armored ranks with conscripted soldiers instead of clones, and either a final battle between Hunter and Crosshair or the start of the sharpshooter’s redemption arc.
It’s difficult to think Crosshair will be redeemed after the Empire literally tweaked the inhibitor chip in his brain to make him unwaveringly loyal to its cause, but we can’t help but hope all of the Bad Batch will eventually be back together again.
Catch up with a recap of Episode 13, “Infested.”
While the Bad Batch is in the middle of a job for Cid, the group gets a message from Rex about an old ally in need of rescue from the planet Daro. A cloaked Rex appears in a holo message and tells Clone Force 99 that he’s a bit tied up at the moment or else he would go rescue CC-5576.
Hunter being Hunter, he’s hesitant to go off on another mission with little intel other than who they need to rescue. Omega being Omega, she quickly wins him over with some later help from Echo, who reminds the group of their mission to rescue him from torture and dismemberment on Skako Minor.
While Wrecker and Omega stay back on the ship as the getaway drivers, Hunter, Tech and Echo quickly and stealthily find CC-5576, who tells them he goes by the name Gregor. Clone Wars and Rebels fans will remember Gregor from both series in the episode “Missing in Action” and later joining up with Rex and Wolffe to help the rebels and the crew of Hera Syndulla’s Ghost liberate Lothal from the Empire.
While rescuing Gregor was the crux of their mission, the Bad Batch also discover some unsavory secrets about the Empire and the future of the clone troopers. The facility where they find Gregor isn’t listed anywhere Tech can access and at first, they don’t know exactly who’s running it or why.
Before getting more details from Gregor, they find the facility is being guarded by dozens of clone commandos and a thousand new soldiers known as TK troopers. As they try to blast their way out of the facility (after getting caught, of course), Hunter, Echo and Tech discover the TK troopers aren’t actually clones.
Gregor explains these troopers volunteered to serve the Empire and that he was ordered to help train them. He tells the Batch they are “our replacements.” That and the episode’s title point to the Empire’s Project War-Mantle, which was the program to rid the ranks of clone troopers in favor of non-clone soldiers, who would eventually be known as stormtroopers.
These TK troopers — a common Imperial designation for stormtroopers — also sport new armor that’s clearly the next step in the transition from clone armor to stormtrooper armor.
With the Empire beginning to recruit troopers from around the galaxy, the clone-creating Kaminoans are facing the end of their importance to the new government. “War-Mantle” jumps back to Kamino several times in the episode, showing Vice Admiral Rampart ordering all clones to leave the planet and Prime Minister Lama Su attempting to form an escape plan for his people.
Rampart, of course, learns of this evacuation plan and thwarts it by claiming scientist Nala Se for the Empire and telling Lama Su that he doesn’t really have use for a politician in his new orders. He leaves the prime minister behind with two troopers, implying they either executed him or took him into custody.
They meet again
As the Bad Batch is trying to escape the Daro facility with Gregor, Hunter falls from the ship and is confronted by a squad of troopers in the nearby forest. Though Omega screams to tell Tech to turn the ship around and grab him, Hunter commands his team to get out of there.
Hunter is then taken to a cell within the facility, where he’s confronted by none other than Crosshair, who he’s not surprised to see.
“I was hoping for the whole squad, but you’ll do,” Crosshair says, implying he somehow rigged this mission to rescue Gregor to trap the Bad Batch.
The episode ends on the cliffhanger of Crosshair and Hunter glaring at each other, setting up the showdown we’ve all been waiting for. And, there are only two episodes left of this first season.
The Bad Batch episode 14 is available to stream now. Episode 15 drops next Friday, Aug. 6, on Disney+. The season finale, episode 16, is expected Friday, Aug. 13.