The Bad Batch episode 15, Finale Part I: “Return to Kamino” ending explained

Tech and Echo in a corridor. "Return to Kamino." The Bad Batch. Courtesy of
Tech and Echo in a corridor. "Return to Kamino." The Bad Batch. Courtesy of /

Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Bad Batch Finale Part I.

With the penultimate episode of The Bad Batch season one, the Star Wars series has come full circle in answering many of the questions left by the events of The Clone Wars. Specifically, questions about what happened to the clone troopers once the Empire took over.

Through the last 15 episodes, we’ve seen if and how the former Republic clones fit into the Empire’s grand plans; the ominous beginning of the Empire’s TK trooper program, which would birth stormtroopers; the lengths the new government would go to wipe out resistance and the fomenting seeds of rebellion. All of that was told from the points of view of Clone Force 99 and fellow mutated clone, Omega.

The first episode in the first season’s two-part finale didn’t hold back in showing intense action and a shocking cliffhanger after the team sets out on one last rescue mission — this one, to save Hunter from Crosshair and the Empire on Kamino.

Return to Kamino

Finale Part I started off as a rescue mission. In episode 14, “War-Mantle,” the Bad Batch were forced to leave Hunter behind on Daro after successfully rescuing clone trooper Gregor from the Empire’s training facility. That episode also ended on a cliffhanger with Crosshair confronting a captured Hunter.

In “Return to Kamino,” the Batch does just that — Crosshair uses Hunter’s comlink to draw the rest of Clone Force 99 back to Kamino. The stormy, clone-creating facility is all but abandoned as the Empire works to decommission clone troopers in favor of conscripted soldiers.

Hunter had previously promised that Kamino was the one place Omega would never have to return to, but the courageous, selfless girl doesn’t even flinch at the mission to rescue her older brother. Using Omega’s insider knowledge of the planet, she and the Bad Batch use a tunnel system to get to Nala Se’s secret research lab. They soon learn that Kamino has been evacuated and all of the city’s main data files have been wiped.

One last time

When the Batch pinpoints Hunter’s comlink signal to their old training area in the main clone facility, they make a heart attempt to surprise Crosshair and the Imperials to rescue Hunter. But with Crosshair being an old teammate, their stealth is not rewarded and instead they pop up right between the sharpshooter and his squad.

Though Wrecker, Echo and Tech tell Omega to flee Kamino if things go south, she runs around below the training arena activating a bunch of training droids. But instead of being a diversion, Omega accidentally activates too many attack droids. The battle, however, gives the Bad Batch one last time to fight together as a team, including Crosshair. The arena scene is a nostalgic echo of the one seen in The Bad Batch‘s first episode.

“This is who I am”

In perhaps the most shocking scenes of the episode, Crosshair reveals he’s had his inhibitor chip removed as Hunter tries to convince himself and the sharpshooter that his violent loyalty isn’t his true nature. After they fight off the training droids together, Crosshair and Hunter are in a standoff with blasters pointed at one another. It’s clear Hunter desperately wants to help Crosshair despite the clone’s betrayal.

Crosshair explains he had his chip removed a long time ago and that his loyalty to the Empire is true and directly connected to his brothers leaving him behind on Kamino earlier in the season. The Empire, he says, is all he has, and he and his brothers are perfectly created to serve.

“We’re not like the regs, we’re superior,” Crosshair says. “Think of all we could do…together. We were brothers once, we can be again.”

While Crosshair has been the antagonist for much of the first season, it’s heartbreaking to hear what he wants most is to be with his brothers again. Throughout the episode, there’s not really any moment where Crosshair appears to want to hurt Hunter or the others despite his harsh words. Instead, he wants to recruit them to his and the Empire’s cause to “have purpose again.”

We don’t get to hear the others’ thoughts on Crosshair’s chip removal or recruitment attempts because Hunter stuns him. As three massive Imperial star destroyers are bearing down on the facility, the Bad Batch grabs Crosshair to take him with them as they try to escape.

“You may fire when ready”

While the Bad Batch has an intense family reunion in Kamino’s training arena, Vice Admiral Rampart is onboard a Venator-class star destroyer over the planet. He learns of Crosshair’s fate and that all of the Empire’s essential personnel have been evacuated from the planet. He tells another trooper to “let the clones die together” and gets the signal from Grand Moff Tarkin via holo to “fire when ready.”

Seconds before the star destroyers unleash their cannons on the Clone War-era facility, we saw shots of empty clone pods, the Bad Batch’s quarters and the mess hall — all eerily quiet. It’s another heartbreaking moment to see another Republic stronghold be reduced to rubble as the Empire tightens its grip on the galaxy.

As the lights flicker out and star destroyer cannons blast away the Tipoca City platforms, the Bad Batch is still inside with seemingly no way out. Their fate uncertain, and we’ll have to wait for Finale Part 2 next week to find out what happens.

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The Bad Batch episode 15 is now available to stream. The first season finale, episode 16, drops next Friday, Aug. 13, on Disney+.