The Bad Batch: The importance of Echo

(L-R): Tech, Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, Omega and Cid in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Tech, Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, Omega and Cid in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

With The Bad Batch season two just days away, I wanted to take a moment to discuss a specific member of the team. The reason why I wanted to look at this individual, in particular, is because I think he’s going to be one of the big game-changers of season two. Let’s talk about Echo.

Let’s first look back at Echo’s role in the first season. Or, actually, more of his lack of role. There’s a reason I joked so much about him in my season one recap. A good portion of the first season is Echo essentially being ignored by Hunter. This is very much on purpose.

From the get-go, Echo is very vocal about finding Rex. There are multiple times he brings up finding Rex, helping Rex, or reaching out to receive help from Rex. It’s so much to the point where I was actually surprised that Echo didn’t leave with Rex in the episode “Battle Scars.” Looking back at it though, Hunter doesn’t give any of the other members of the Batch a choice in the matter. Hunter handles the final conversation with Rex on his own and doesn’t offer an out for the rest of his crew to leave with Rex if they want to.

Again, this is purposeful. A big part of Hunter’s development is trying to figure out the best way forward. He has to think of Omega and his team. At the end of the day, Hunter isn’t ready to jump into a Rebellion because the galaxy is changing so drastically around them. There’s a real fear of making the wrong choice and losing another member like with Crosshair. Also, fighting the Empire means fighting their clone brothers. One neat detail is most of the time when fighting other clones, you can see the Batch using the stun setting on their blasters instead of live rounds. It’s a small detail showing they’re very aware of not harming other clones. Hunter tries to bury his head in the sand for season one because he truly believes that’s the safest option.

Echo is the one through all of this who pushes back the most against Hunter. At every point, Echo is shut down by his leader. But as the season goes on, Hunter struggles more with this decision as he not only sees atrocities from the Empire, he sees how regular clones are being treated like Howzer and Greger. Echo’s words start sinking in more and more until he’s face to face with Crosshair. Crosshair flat-out tells Hunter they’re superior to the Regs aka regular clones. It’s a notion that Hunter finally takes a stand against in the season one finale.

This is one point where I wish they utilized Echo better in season one. It’s one of my biggest criticisms. Echo is a regular clone too. He has a very different point of view than the rest of his team. Battle after battle during the Clone Wars, he spent more time with regs than the elite clones of the Batch. The Empire targeting and phasing out regular clones should be way more personal for Echo. When Crosshair says stuff like, “They’re just Regs” with Echo in the same room, that should be a personal attack on Echo. He has such a unique and distinct point of view from the rest of his team that it should have been far more utilized.

After seeing the full season two trailer, I think we’re finally getting these Echo moments that I desperately wanted in season one. There are three very distinct scenes that stood out to me. The first one is him comforting Omega. This is the smallest of the three scenes, but it carries on a lot that has been built before it. In the opening episode of the series, Echo is incredibly protective of Omega from the start. He commands his fellow Regs that if they lay a hand on her, they’re “Dead men.” Throughout the season, there are many small interactions between Omega and Echo too. Many of them are in the background and have no dialogue. It’s small things like Echo keeping her from touching items or showing her a toy. If you watch them in the background, there are so many interactions between the two. He’s also the one teaching her how to use her energy bow, her main weapon. They’re very parental moments that I think the series is going to build upon more. Being a regular clone, Echo wasn’t a special teams person until later when he became an ARC Trooper. He more than likely has more experience around normal people than the super special unit the rest of the Batch putting him as the most parental to Omega.

The other two moments have a real chance of being from the same scene. The first one is of Echo specifically telling Hunter they need to be doing more in the galaxy. Then later in the trailer, Rex has called them asking if they want a job and it’s Echo, Rex’s longtime friend, asking what Rex needs. I have a feeling these are purposely swapped. I would put money on it that Rex calls them first, Hunter is unsure, and then Echo tells his leader they should be doing more. Based on how season one has gone, that seems like the most likely scenario.

Because Echo never liked the idea of them being mercenaries. He always wanted to fight for the galaxy because that was his job for the Republic. He’s not like the Batch where they were created to do special missions. They were made to get in, get out, and move on with no attachments. Echo was made to do the day-to-day work and help everyday people. He’s a lot like Brasso from Andor in that way where he’s risen from more humble ranks to be someone greater than where he began. This is probably why he has a lot more empathy for what’s happening to the galaxy around them and why he’s so vocal about doing more.

Echo has very much been the voice of Rebellion for the Batch since day one of this series. From the look of the trailer, it appears like his voice is finally going to be heard. I can’t see another season of The Bad Batch being an episodic format. And most animated series usually ramp up in their second seasons. Both Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance expanded the adventure in their sophomore seasons to help the characters and narrative grow. I think Echo is the dark horse of this show and actually the most important character in this series.