Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2020) – The Bad Batch, A Distant Echo, and On the Wings of Keeradaks

“Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole.”

The final season of The Clone Wars got underway on 21 February, 2020 in this story written by Matt Michnovetz and Brent A. Friedman.

Rex, Cody and a squad known as Force 99 (or The Bad Batch) all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker go after Admiral Trench (also Baker) in an attempt to recover a strategic algorithm used by the Republic.

Unfortunately, they are going to make a troubling discovery instead.

And that discovery, at the climax of the episode of course, is that a clone we thought had been killed at the Citadel, Echo, is still alive and either working with the Separatists willingly or under duress. There’s no algorithm to recover, they are using the Separatists are using Echo, who developed a lot of the Republic plans aside Rex.

The Batch is composed of mutations, not that you’d notice so much, one is super-smart, one is super strong, one is a perfect marksman, and it gives Baker a chance to dole out variations on the clones voices.

It’s a tightly paced, well-executed season opener that reminds us of why we missed the show, and why so many of us celebrated its return. In terms of continuity, Anakin’s (Matt Lanter) look is more in line with his appearance in Revenge of the Sith, so we know events are drawing to their conclusion.

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“The search for truth begins with belief.”

The Echo/Bad Batch story arc continued on 28 February, 2020 as Michnovetz and Friedman gave us the next instalment that sees the squad travelling to Skako Minor (previously seen in the Doctor Aphra comics) in an attempt to rescue Echo from the Separatists, specifically the Techno Union.

I do like how Anakin sneaks away to have comm time  (with Rex’s equipment) with Padme (Catherine Taber) but that still doesn’t make some of his more masochistic actions towards her in the prior season forgivable. It makes him a flawed and layered character thought, but you can’t help but feel sorry for Padme for being involved with him. And despite the reveal won’t happen until Revenge, Padme’s hands are around her tummy, suggesting she knows already. And despite the secrecy of the relationship, Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor) is aware of something happening.

Deep within a Separatist enclave on Skako Minor, Echo is found jacked into a computer that has drained and used him, and Rex is shattered to discover his old comrade in arms in such a state, the episode ends with them trying to find a way to free him, before they even begin to think about escape, which no doubt will lead us into the next episode…

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“Survival is one step on the path to living.”

First debuting on 6 March, 2020, and written again by Michnovetz and Friedman, Rex, Anakin, and the Bad Batch, having recovered Echo, must escape from the Separatist/Techno Union base!

After their escape, they are plunged into another adventure as they have to defend a local village on Skako Minor from the attacking Separatist forces. And that being said, I totally dig the Techno Union droids, there’s something bird-like about them, and they definitely need an action figure.

It’s also cool to see Anakin fall back to a supporting role and letting Rex lead the way. It’s a nice nod to their friendship and how much both characters have grown over the seasons.

It’s a shorter episode, only running seventeen as opposed to the usual twenty-three minutes, but it’s a fast-paced tale that wraps up the initial Bad Bath arc rather nicely.

The final season of The Clone Wars continues next week, until then, may the Force be with you…

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