The Bad Batch season 3, episode 2 review: Paths Unknown

Star Wars just broke my heart even more with these kids

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 Poster. Image Credit: Star Wars.com
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 Poster. Image Credit: Star Wars.com /
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I didn't think The Bad Batch could make the story of the clones even more tragic. But then the second episode of Season 3, "Paths Unknown," was like, "Hold my Mantell Mix," and threw some clone cadets our way.

The cadets Stak, Deke, and Mox (the latter being voiced by Boba Fett actor Daniel Logan, which is neat) was a story I had always hoped this show would follow up on. We saw these poor kids leaving Kamino in the series' first episode. They had these big dreams of being great soldiers for the Republic. They wanted to fight for the good guys. Horrifically, their dreams and purpose were stripped away from them.

Even worse, we found out the horrors these children suffered. They were turned into test subjects, living the life of lab rats. Their clone brothers, under order, left them to die. These three boys watched as their cadet brothers (again, children) were blown up and murdered by the Empire. Tossed into surviving in a jungle with a biological weapon of the Empire's making, these poor boys truly deserve to have a better life.

Nothing makes me happier than Hunter and Wrecker finding these boys and rescuing them. If anything, at least they get some kindness from their clone brothers. I have to assume the regs the cadets mentioned leaving them to die were either a) under the spell of their inhibitor chips or b) didn't know that the Empire would bombard the base with children inside. Regardless, from the point of view of the cadets, other clones can't be trusted anymore. It'll take time to rebuild that as even Mox and Stak consider leaving their friend Deke and the Batch behind. It's the kindness and love of the Batch that wins them over. Loyalty goes such a long way. Hunter and Wrecker were exactly who these boys needed in their life.

Putting on full display the trauma of these children was masterful, as it's all about what we don't see. We don't need a flashback as Deke and Stak explain to the Batch what happened to them. In this rare case, telling was far more powerful than showing because whatever the audience imagines is far more horrific than what the creators could show us on screen.

It's also refreshing to see Hunter finally get to this place in his character journey. I've often been frustrated with his waffling nature, going back and forth from wanting to fight the Empire and wanting to duck down for the safety of his team. However, one of the best ways to show a character's growth is when they can pass on the lessons they learned to another. Hunter tells the cadets the first lesson he learned from Cut Lawquane in Season 1: It's time for the clones to find their own purpose. It's refreshing to see him reach this point. While finding Omega is his mission right now, Hunter has come a long way in his own right to set up a future life for him and his team.

Star Wars is tragedy, but "Paths Unknown" took that to a new level with the clone cadets. What could have been an average episode of The Bad Batch became so much more powerful thanks to Mox, Deke, and Stak.

Next. The Bad Batch season 3, episode 1 review: Confined. The Bad Batch season 3, episode 1 review: Confined. dark