Just as everything started to heat up on “The Bad Batch,” “Common Ground” comes along and brings the pace back down. We do get the team questioning their programming more. This is the kind of thing that should have come before Omega’s arrival, though. “The Clone Wars” did a lot of the heavy lifting for this series, but character development is underutilized.
“The Bad Batch” is showing that good and evil generally don’t apply in a conflict at a human level. Sure, Luke are “good,” and Darth Vader is”evil,” but it’s more complicated for the everyday person. “Common Ground” shows the conflict of Avi Singh and Raxus falling to the hands of the Empire. The “Star Wars” universe hasn’t explored this idea before. What do you do when the side you spent years fighting for turns out to be worse than the side you were fighting against? Short of the team and his droid telling Avi he needs to live to fight another day, we don’t explore this idea in the episode. If this were a live-action series and not aimed at children, more exploration might have happened. Here’s hoping Disney+ will give us something set in this specific era.
Clone Force 99 doesn’t fare much better when it comes to expanded plot in “Common Ground”. Echo gets some building moments as we realize that he’s not as comfortable with the team’s new direction. Once a troop is done with war and operating without general orders, do they remain a troop? We haven’t seen any compelling reason for them to stay together or split up. That is one of the problems at the heart of “The Bad Batch”. The show needs to unite its characters more indelibly. So far as yet, the most connected are Wrecker and Omega. Tech remains largely forgotten in the series, and Echo only barely gets more than that.
There are a lot of promising ideas in “Common Ground”. A series devoted to seeing how familiar location fared” post “The Clone Wars” is fascinating. It would be best if you had interesting characters to carry you through that journey, though. While there have been some breakout moments, “The Bad Batch” almost seems to be guarding its crew, afraid to let them shine for the audience.