This article contains spoilers from The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 2.
The exciting two-episode premiere of The Bad Batch’s second season not only reunited fans with all of our favorite characters from the first season but also unexpectedly taught us more about Count Dooku’s impact on the universe, even in the wake of his death.
In episode 2, “Ruins of War”, the Bad Batch journey to Dooku’s home on Serenno to recover a portion of the treasure trove of weapons and riches he had stashed there. During this mission, the team meets Romar Adell, who has been hiding from the Empire in the planet’s forests.
When Romar asks Tech to help him fix a data core with information about his people’s history, Tech is interested in using the information to learn more about the Separatists. Romar reminds Tech that his people were more than Separatists; they were part of a society that existed long before the war.
Although this information comes as a bit of a surprise for Tech, it brings increased awareness about the kinds of people who were on the side of the Separatists during the Clone Wars. Many cultures made up the overarching Separatist alliance, each with their own histories and practices. The groups who made up the Separatist planets were not simply evil, the way they were first presented in the prequel movie series. Subsequent Star Wars projects have expanded on the Clone Wars conflict, but not many moments have presented multiple sides to the fight, as “Ruins of War” does.
This moment between Romar and Tech reminds the audience that both sides of the conflict were made up of good and bad people, those who were trying to do the right thing and those who exploited others for their own gain. Another example of a show that seeks to humanize the Separatists is The Clone Wars. For instance, the episode “Heroes on Both Sides” introduces the Bonteri family. Although they are Separatists, Mina and Lux Bonteri are portrayed as kind people who are willing to talk to the Senate in order to find peace. In their government, many of the planets who joined the Separatists did so to escape the corruption of the Senate and the way that the Jedi Counsel often perpetuates the Senate’s exploitation of its citizens.
The Dooku episodes in Tales of the Jedi emphasize the harm that comes from the Senate’s actions when they do not support their people. This is a primary reason that Dooku seeks to leave the Jedi and what leads to the formation of the Separatists.
“Ruins of War” complicates Dooku’s history when it reveals that Dooku made some of his wealth by exploiting the people of his own planet, including Romar. His actions show that he became the very thing he began the war fighting against. Despite Dooku’s terrible actions, many other Separatists, including the Serennians, still believed in their cause.
This episode, and the introduction of Romar’s character in particular, allow us to see the Separatists as people, rather than the droid army or the evil Count Dooku. Like the Senate, they were a complex organization that cannot be pigeonholed into one identity. It is in this way that Star Wars is able to reflect our world, and the conflicts that entangle us.