Star Wars has always been just as much of a political allegory as hit has been a series of adventures in a galaxy far, far away. The allegory certainly became more overt during the prequels, however, as those stories took the audience into the Galactic Senate where Sleepy Sheev Palpatine played the long game and finally imposed his authoritarian rule over the galaxy. Sheev’s shifty and shady machinations all served his own endgame and the Senator from Naboo used anybody and everybody he could on his way to becoming the Emperor. Once someone served Palpatine’s purpose, no amount of loyalty or years of service could spare them, a lesson towards which Season 2 of The Bad Batch had slowly been building before Episodes 7 and 8 brought the idea into the spotlight.
The Bad Batch has taken its time dealing with the fallout from the destruction of Kamino seen in the Season 1 finale but The Clone Conspiracy and Truth and Consequences do a wonderful job of finally putting a bow on it. The two episodes weave together a nifty narrative that continues to tell the tale of the transition from the state of the galaxy in the prequels to the state of the galaxy in the original trilogy and remind the audience of the devious chess master behind it all. Now that they’ve served their purpose and all but eradicated the Jedi, the Clones, like the droid armies before them, are set to be decommissioned following the tragic “incident” that wiped out the Kaminoan cloning facilities and made the further production of Clone Troopers all but impossible.
Clone Force 99 finds themselves at the center of a high-stakes mission to stop the decommissioning of Clones (part of the Defense Recruitment Bill which also proposes a conscripted military take their place) that would also expose Season 1 villain Vice Admiral Rampart’s part in the Kaminoan genocide. Alas, the Batch and Rampart find themselves as pawns in Palpatine’s 4D chess match. Though they procure the evidence of Rampart’s evil act and relay it to their ally in the Senate, Riyo Chuchi, the Clones learn the hard way that Palpatine can and will twist anything to his advantage when the evidence they provide is twisted by the Emperor and serves as the nails in the coffins of their fellow Clones.
There’s a bit of historical horror as Palpatine, presiding over the Senate, announces that these acts of terror are reason enough for him to pass the Defense Recruitment Bill and usher in the era of the Imperial Stormtrooper. As fans of series in which stories are told anachronistically, knowing the heroes of The Bad Batch played a major role in the coming terrors that these Stormtroopers will commit is a hard pill to swallow. But as evil as Sleepy Sheev is, these two episodes go a long way in reminding us why he was able to keep his grip on power for so long: his prowess as a Sith Lord is matched only by his incredible political acumen and spin tactics. It’s Sheev’s galaxy, everyone else is just barely surviving in it.