TV Recap / Review – “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Takes a Darker, More Serious Tone in Three-Episode Season 3 Premiere

Now available on Disney+, the three-episode third-season premiere of Lucasfilm’s hit animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch kicks off the final round of episodes starring Clone Force 99. Below are my brief recaps and thoughts on these three installments.

When we last left off with The Bad Batch at the end of season two in the spring of 2023, Omega (voiced by Michelle Ang) had been captured by the Galactic Empire and held in captivity at the Weyland Facility on Mount Tantiss. Other major turning points near the end of that season included the apparent death of Tech (Dee Bradley Baker, who voices all the male clones of Jango Fett) and the conversion of Crosshair– who is also being held against his will at the Tantiss research facility– back to the “good” side. So season three kicks off with that status quo, and Omega still adjusting to her current life on Weyland, serving as a lab assistant to Emerie Karr (Keisha Castle-Hughes), another female clone of Fett who is working for the Empire, and the Kaminoan scientist Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo).

The first episode of this third and final season, entitled “Confined,” sees Omega bonding with a dog-like creature being utilized by the Empire to fight off Weyland’s natural wildlife, while trying to convince Crosshair to assist her in an escape plan. Meanwhile, she’s also crafting a replica of Wrecker’s tooka doll Lula out of straw, which is confiscated and eventually returned– perhaps out of sympathy– by Emerie. The scientists at the Weyland Facility are systematically testing the blood of clones, including Omega, in an effort to duplicate the donor’s “M-count” (which those who have been paying attention will know means Midichlorian levels) under the command of Dr. Royce Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson). When one of the dog-like creatures– which Omega names “Batcher”– gets insured and is set for extermination, Omega helps it escape into the wilderness and is reprimanded for it by Hemlock and Karr.

The second episode, entitled “Paths Unknown,” shifts the focus to Hunter and Wrecker aboard the Marauder as they complete missions as mercenaries in an effort to uncover the location of Hemlock’s base. One particularly fruitful bounty (featuring guest star Anjelica Huston as a Devaronian queen) sends them toward a jungle planet that is occupied by a few abandoned teenage clones (Julian Dennison and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones star Daniel Logan) who live near a different facility that had been bombarded from space by the Empire. Here our heroes face off against some deadly plant life– the source of which resembles Return of the Jedi’s Sarlacc monster– and escape with information that may actually point them closer to Weyland, rescuing the young clones in the process.

The third installment in this three-episode premiere is entitled “Shadows of Tantiss,” and as that title implies, it is once again set on Weyland with a focus on Omega and Crosshair as they continue to plan and enact their escape. But first, a ticking clock is set into motion when Emerie takes over testing the clones’ blood (Nala Se had been disposing of Omega’s samples in an effort to protect her). Plus, a surprise guest arrives at the station in the form of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid, reprising his famous role from the Star Wars films once again), who wants to check in on Dr. Hemlock’s progress concerning “Project Necromancer.” Palpatine is satisfied with Hemlock’s advancements, but just after the Emperor leaves Weyland, chaos breaks out as Crosshair and Omega do the same– spurred on by Nala Se’s insistent warning and helped out at the last minute by the creature Omega rescued in the premiere. This episode also ends with Karr and Hemlock’s discovery that Omega is in fact the clone they were looking for, once her M-count is tested, though the good doctor says her escape into hyperspace with Crosshair aboard a stolen shuttle is “only a minor setback.”

I really enjoyed these three episodes, and I’m impressed by how smoothly The Bad Batch has transitioned into a much darker, more serious show over the course of its first two seasons. This final season is already dealing with some heavier themes and more adult-minded threats and consequences for these characters, though I do feel that follows a pattern that creator Dave Filoni set with his previous Star Wars animation work like The Clone Wars and Rebels. I suppose kids growing up on the show are going to mature into being able to absorb and appreciate this kind of subject matter as they get older along with Omega, and it's great to see that the creative team isn’t talking down to the younger members of their audience. Looking back at previous years, I honestly thought the first two rounds of episodes were hit-and-miss, but I’m hoping there’s a more consistent level of quality to season three, and if this launching point is any indication, we could be in for a real treat.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch will be released on Wednesdays throughout season 3, exclusively via Disney+.

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Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.