What They Say:
Rex, Cody, and Clone Force 99, an unorthodox, elite squad also known as the Bad Batch, look to recover the Republic’s strategy algorithm from Admiral Trench. But a haunting truth awaits¦
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Coming back into the world of Clone Wars is something that I was glad to see. It was a completely unexpected development and it being a one-off and final run doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s a chance to get one more dive into a world in animated form that really did a fantastic job in expanding everything and adding the nuance and character development that the films couldn’t. While I can still get tales from this time period through the novels and occasionally the comics, there’s just something special about all of this and the stories it launched. An unfinished version of this episode showed years ago when there was a halt to the original production so for some folks this may not be new to them. It’s new for me and opens us up to the rest of the season where there’ll be fresher material as well.
The storyline for this takes us to the world of Anaxes where the Republic and the Separatists are deep in battle. This is one that’s been going for some time and turning into a war of attrition with the Republic losing. Worn down and weary, the Clones realize that the droids have learned Rex’s “playbook” in how he and others fight that they’re able to push back and turn the tables. They do have a plan on how to deal with this and it’s something that they have to do themselves because the idea that they can’t change and adapt is problematic. But Rex is also dealing with something else in that he’s got the crazy idea/fear that Echoes may still be alive because the fight that they’re facing is one that has his style all over it. With that in mind, they’re going unpredictable by bringing in Clone Force 99 in order to go behind enemy lines.
This group, known as Bad Batch, are Clones that didn’t grow like the rest of the clones but were deemed worth keeping going in order to see how their mutations would aid them. You can see this as a small experimental group and they’re definitely interesting since they have the standard aspects to them but are also different enough to stand out. For your regular clone, it has to be kind of surreal to see them since they’re similar but not the same. The group, lead by Hunter, has a dark and rough and tumble look to them while also filling out the usual group dynamic when you have four of them. You get a team that includes Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, you know what you’re getting in personality. Add in the friction that exists between these two very different types of groups and all the usual elements are in place nicely.
The mission goes a bit off the rails early on when the transport ship gets shot down and Commander Cody ends up wounded and out of commission. That has the two sides basically upping the friction as they deal with the Separatist droids that are realizing things aren’t going as the patterns have been – which means there may be a Jedi in the group. Hunter, to his credit, does try to draw down the tension from time to time but even Rex is easy to set off as he attempts to take control of the mission. What we have to get with is that the two teams have to learn from each other in order to work well and adapt routines in order to stay ahead of the droid army. It’s one that works well and makes for some good fight sequences, especially when they go through the front door with the Cyber Center outpost. The main building is more defended ahead of them and is being reinforced, however, which is what sets us up for the final act of the episode.
With this being the start of a four-episode storyline, The Clone Wars offers up essentially the opening salvo to the storyline here. There’s a good bit of action to it and some solid character material as we get to work with four new Clones that are unlike our regulars. The mission gets us to the point where we’re starting to learn a bit about what the algorithm is that’s giving the Separatists an advantage here as the war is turning into one of attrition on Anaxes. Whether what we learn is truth or a deception here at the end remains to be seen – there are changes in this episode from what the unfinished release a few years ago had in it. I really liked how this played out overall with its visual design as it looks great and has some really neat atmospheric designs to it. As much as I enjoyed Rebels for its story, I struggled at times with its animation style. And the Resistance series was weak on both animation and storytelling. So getting back to a mature product like this is thrilling.
Streamed By: Disney+