REVIEW: ‘The Bad Batch’ Thanks Its Good Soldiers for Their Service

Crosshair in a scene from “STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH”, season 2 exclusively on Disney+. © 2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Good soldiers follow orders. The motto of the Empire’s Clone Army and the basis of the rift between CT-9904 and his Bad Batch brothers, those words are as etched in the minds of fans of Star Wars animated series nearly as deeply as in the minds of the clones. Throughout the course of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch, “good soldiers follow orders” has been the rote and retaliatory response given any time evil deeds were done by Clones in the name of the Empire. Of course, following orders in the service of evil is still doing evil (indeed the phrase seems to be a reference to the “superior orders” defense that Nazi war criminals attempted to use during the Nuremberg trials, continuing a long-running allegory within the Star Wars universe) and the phrase was never going to hide the evil acts.

Crosshair has always been severe and unyielding. It is his nature. You cannot change that. He cannot change that.

Tech, The Bad Batch: Kamino Lost

After a bit of a slow start, Season 2 of The Bad Batch has quickly gotten very interesting following Emperor Palpatine’s Defense Recruitment Bill. The bill not only ushered in the era of the Imperial Stormtrooper but also emphatically ended the era of the Clones, who for all their order following, were decommissioned. The latest episode, The Outpost, is a beginning-to-end indictment of the Empire’s dismissal of the Clones and a parabolic reminder that you reap what you sow. At the center of it all is Clone Force 99’s “do what needed to be done” loyalist Crosshair who by the end of the episode finds himself in a very bad place under the special care of the series’ new bad lad, Dr. Hemlock.

I am a soldier of the Empire.

Crosshair, The Bad Batch: The Solitary Clone
Lieutenant Nolan in a scene from “STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH”, season 2 exclusively on Disney+. © 2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Though it’s laid on pretty thick, the episode’s depiction of the dismal treatment of the Clones seems necessary as a teaching tool not for the audience but for Crosshair. From the moment the ennuyé Imperial Officer drones on to the Clones about their service to Crosshair’s mission to Barton-4 under the uber-douchey Lt. Nolan to the anticlimactic discovery of the purpose of that mission, the humdrum pacing of The Outpost lures fans into a bit of a trap: Crosshair gonna Crosshair. And then…he doesn’t.

This is who I am.

Crosshair, The Bad Batch: Return to Kamino

Having a character go against his very nature, especially one whose nature has been the sole focus of nearly every interaction with the character since the show’s debut is no small thing. What’s more, having Crosshair betray that nature in order to kill Lt. Nolan over the death of a few “regs” symbolizes a near-total metamorphosis for the Bad Batch’s resident cynic. By pulling the trigger and killing Nolan, Crosshair followed his own orders and, by his own beliefs, is no longer a good soldier despite doing what he believed needed to be done. It would seem the fate of his brothers in Clone Force 99 is destined to intertwine with his once more as the new clone king, Dr. Hemlock, now has Omega in his sights. But will the reborn Crosshair soon have Hemlock in his?

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