The Bad Batch, Episode 2: “Cut and Run” Review

Numero deux…

As part of a recent, friendly bet (which you can see outlined here on Twitter) I have committed to not only watching every single episode of this season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, but I must also write 500-word (minimum) reviews about the series!

Yay!

That’s not actually sarcasm. I’m excited to write about Star Wars again, and am using this as an excuse and a bit of a prod to kickstart myself back into some writing. Without further ado…

I Liked Dirt as a Kid, Too

After the premiere episode, I was looking forward to The Bad Batch‘s second–in spite of my distaste for the continuity clashes in the first and the reactions to that online (from both fan and creative). But enough has been spilled about that online for the time being…

Yesterday’s episode, “Cut and Run,” saw the ragtag team of deviant (but not defective!) clones travel to Saleucami, one of the most beautiful and interesting worlds from Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars, seeking advice from Cut, a clone who deserted the Grand Army years before. Cut and his family, the Lawquanes–a Twi’lek mother, Suu, and her two children, Shaeeah and Jek–return from The Clone Wars, where we previously saw them interact with fan-favourite clones like Rex and Jesse; in this episode, we learn that, obviously, the clones of the Bad Batch had also met and interacted with Cut. One has to wonder when that occurred, and I hope it would be neat if that story gets fleshed out one day. As has already been established in “Aftermath” and The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch is less susceptible to the Kaminoan’s conditioning (at least regarding their aptitude or lack thereof for following orders), and so I have to wonder if that could have extended to their opinions about Cut having deserted the Grand Army and gone against what he was created for–whereas regs like Rex notably had reservations about the decision, for a time.

One of the more interesting (if slightly unrealistic) moments occurs early in the episode, right after the heroes arrive on Saleucami: Omega, exciting the Bad Batch’s ship, is confused and awed by a new substance underfoot–dirt. This is seemingly intentionally reminiscent of Rey’s wonder at the beauty and diversity (and relative lush nature) of the galaxy in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but seems (on first glance, at least) slightly less realistic that a child who would ostensibly have been educated by her Kaminoan creators is unaware of…what dirt is. Or perhaps that’s a too simplistic read of the scene; after all, Omega doesn’t react with further confusion when Tech informs her the substance is “dirt,” so perhaps what’s happening here isn’t ignorance of the concept but of the reality–having been “born” and raised on Kamino, a stormy waterworld, she hasn’t actually had a chance to see some of the common, earthier elements. No matter how we’re actually supposed to interpret the sequence, I hope they kept this aspect of the character in mind when writing later episodes, because it could be a core aspect of Omega’s character and place in the plot, if her ignorance or perhaps innocence were to drive the action forward (or forestall it in some way).

Throughout the episode, I have to admit that I felt tense–Internet rumour and a foreboding about the formulation and execution of the Bad Batch’s plan in the episode led me to believe that things would not end up well for Cut, Suu and the kids; things could still go awry if the Bad Batch is traced there and connected to the clone-looking man who got on that transport. We’ll have to wait and see. But I did ultimately enjoy the fact that in this episode, the Lawquanes were able to escape unscathed–assuming they felt it, the writers reined in the destructive force of the Empire that could otherwise have come down on their heads.

This episode seems to establish that chain codes, previously mentioned in The Mandalorian, came into being following the Clone Wars under the Empire. This is interesting because, as others have pointed out online already, it suggests that the Republic didn’t have a centralized system of registration and identification of its citizens–something that’s portrayed as forebodingly fascist in “Cut and Run,” but is something anyone of at least working age is usually subject to in our world. (Do you have a SSN?) The seeming fact that the Republic lacked this might help explain (on the one hand) how seedy some elements in that society seemed and how something even as socially destructive and evil as slavery could occur under the Republic’s watchful eye, yet at the same time, it seems to clash with that government’s depiction as overly bureaucratic and capitalistically corrupt. It’s probably most likely that some form of registration existed under the Republic, but perhaps it was decentralized and sectors (or some such) had some autonomy in its implementation; no matter that largely lore-connected question, I was happy to get some background info on a concept that hitherto we knew frustratingly little about, and can’t wait to see if we get even more of that in the episodes to come.

“Cut and Run” was a good episode. I thought it had nice character work with Omega and Hunter, and it was good to see Echo be useful–although his pairing with Tech may have reinforced a sort of doubling effect with those characters and their mechanical/technical aptitudes. I hope future episodes continue to build-out the post-Clone War world, and I’m excited for next week’s!

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