The Bad Batch season 3 premiere review | a promising start to Star Wars show’s final season

Omega in The Bad Batch season 3.
Share this Article:

The animated Star Wars show about rogue clones fighting the Empire is coming to an end – here’s our review of The Bad Batch season three premiere.

This article contains spoilers for seasons one and two of The Bad Batch.

When the final season of long-running Star Wars show The Clone Wars included an episode about a group of clones who weren’t like the rest, no one imagined it might prompt a spin-off show all about them. Even more unexpected is that The Bad Batch, while full of adventure and appearances from other characters in the franchise, has been a surprisingly serious addition to the animated Star Wars world.

Season one saw the misfit members of Clone Force 99 meet a young female clone, Omega (Michelle Ang). Adding her to their crew, that first instalment of the show was full of lighthearted adventures. It also saw characters from live-action Star Wars, such as Ming-Na Wen’s The Mandalorian character Fennec Shand, appear in animated form for the first time. But, with Lucasfilm’s Chief Creative Officer Dave Filoni being the mind behind it, The Bad Batch has progressed into much more than a fun adventure show or an exercise in tying Disney’s Star Wars series’ together.

For one, it’s set in the immediate aftermath of Order 66, where the clones were forced to turn on the Jedi and serve the Empire. These events were seen in both The Clone Wars show and in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. Throughout season two, and certainly at the beginning of this new season, The Bad Batch has used its clone protagonists to explore a period of the Star Wars timeline that we don’t know much about – the Empire at its very beginning.

Throughout the show we’ve seen how the fascist regime that is the Empire treats and sees clones, first as disposable soldiers, then as lab rats used in mysterious experiments. The latter is exactly what Omega is at the start of season three. Trapped in an imperial facility, she’s a subject in a cloning experiment led by the coldly menacing Doctor Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson). Also a prisoner there is former Clone Force 99 member Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker), who’s been locked away following his betrayal of the Empire.

The first three episodes of The Bad Batch's final season have been released on Disney+ simultaneously, and they tell the story of Omega’s captivity and her friends’ efforts to locate her. They provide a lot of variety, with the threats the characters face growing with each passing episode. The first follows Omega and her monotonous existence in imperial captivity. With Hemlock and fellow female clone Emerie (Keisha Castle-Hughes) being the main supporting players, we see (not for the first time) the unpleasant reality that while all clones are slaves to the Empire, not all of them wish for escape.

With its first episode focusing on the characters and developing the sense of threat of their situation, the second brings some much needed action. As Hunter and Wrecker search for Omega, they encounter wild threats on an abandoned planet. With this being Star Wars, it would’ve been interesting to see more inventive creature designs – what’s Star Wars without Ewoks or, dare I say, Porgs? But the episode is nonetheless action packed and sets a faster pace for the season going forward.

The animation style also allows for a really interesting aesthetic difference between the Bad Batch adventuring in the wild and the imperial facility that houses Omega. The planet Hunter and Wrecker explore has a lot of texture, as do they as characters. The scuffs, scratches and wear on their helmets and armour make it look lived in, and convey the time that’s passed as they’ve searched for their friend. The imperial facility, by contrast, is almost weirdly polished and pristine, which makes it seem all the more menacing.

With the tension growing, the final episode of the season’s premiere is most exciting. Providing action and intrigue in equal measure, it hints at what the purpose of the Empire’s experiments may be. Kevin Kiner returns to score the last season of the show, and he effectively creates a score fitting of a Star Wars project while also using well known motifs from the films. It helps that Kiner has contributed much to shaping what a Star Wars score sounds like with his extensive work on The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels and Ahsoka.

These first three entries into The Bad Batch's final season set up a darker instalment of the show that’s prepared to delve into the evil actions of the Empire even further – especially where the fate of the clones is concerned. It’s an incredibly promising start to the end of a wildly entertaining show.

Episodes one to three of The Bad Batch season three are streaming now on Disney+, with further episode streaming weekly on Wednesdays.

Share this Article:

Related Stories

More like this