“The Bad Batch” has suffered some for not moving its plot along. The show has spent more time adding to other “Star Wars” properties than developing its characters. “War-Mantle” finally begins to change that and sets up the final conflict of season one. Hunter gets a character-defining moment, something we haven’t seen since episode two. We’re saddled again, though, with a character that has more history than our main cast.
That isn’t to say that we don’t want to learn more about Gregor. He and Rex are now a big part of the “Star Wars” universe. Developing these two characters is fine, but it begs the question, “What purpose does Clone Force 99 serve?” The season might have been more interesting if Rex had taken the place of Hunter, with Tech, Wrecker, and Echo following him instead. The fact that we know so little of our ‘heroes’ suggests they aren’t heading for much of a future post this show. “War-Mantle” does nothing to change this. Omega is the only character that seems destined for more, given her connections to Boba Fett. It’s just unlike Dave Filoni to telegraph so much of the future of the characters.
If anything, we can take away from “War-Mantle” is the growing lore that the departing clone force trained the Empire’s Stormtroopers. Stormtroopers have primarily become a joke in the canon, and this could go a long way toward explaining that. Gregor’s growing dissatisfaction would suggest maybe they aren’t getting the best training. Except we still have Crosshair, a competent clone soldier, training those troops as well. Perhaps this is setting up more of a story for Crosshair as well.
Rex sends Clone Force 99 to rescue Gregor after he attempts to deflect from serving the empire at a Stormtrooper training facility. They succeed, but Hunter ends up taking Gregor’s place. That leaves Hunter in the grasp of Crosshair and sets up Rex and Gregor to potentially be more the lead heroes we’ve wanted Clone Force 99 to be. That’s the problem with “The Bad Batch,” and with only two episodes to go, it’s not one easily resolved.
We do get a small glimpse of the shutdown of Kamino, but it’s frustratingly tiny. For now, it doesn’t offer much to Omega’s story either. Last thought before we head to the final showdown – is it just me or are the trooper helmets wrong? It seems that we have the clones in “A New Hope” era helmets, and the Stormtroopers seem to be wearing “The Force Awakens” era gear. Did I miss something?