[Review] Star Wars The Clone Wars Bad Batch Story Reels

The Bad Batch arc is composed of four episodes written by Brent Friedman in collaboration with Matt Michnovetz and directed by Kyle Dunlevy.

Episode 1 : Bad Batch

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The first episode introduces the audience to this Clone Force 99 while being on Anaxes in a huge battle against the Separatists. Anaxes is the same place, we saw in Star Wars Rebels called Fort Anaxes which is the Republic Base. Here Anaxes is still a planet not in ruins yet. The Republic is stuck on Anaxes with the 501st Legion (Anakin who has his Revenge of the Sith outfit like in the Utapau arc), the 212th Attack Battalion (Obi-Wan same as Anakin for his outfit) and Mace Windu’s clones. It is actually the first time we see Mace Windu’s clones in Phase II, their color is the same as Commander Ponds (seen in season 1 and 2) but their marks are at different places. Interestingly, Mace Windu still has his clone armor gauntlets whereas Obi-Wan doesn’t have them anymore, so the update on Mace Windu probably came in later arcs I suppose.

As the Republic is having troubles to take back Anaxes, Rex suspects the enemy to use his war algorithm to anticipate their actions. Cody and him are put in charge to find out if the Separatists are using his algorithm this is where the Bad Batch comes in a masterful way. The camera show us them first one by one – Hunter, Tech, Crosshair and Wrecker then a general plan sequence showing us all of them with smoke surrounding them it gives a mysterious aspect to the scene and also heroic. After that we see them without their helmet. Crosshair gets a shot that reminds me of Clint Eastwood in the Man With No Name Trilogy – he has the same expression, a physical resemblance and holds his toothpick in the same way as Eastwood holds his cigarette in this Trilogy. The toothpick is also a reference to Cad Bane in season 2. Having a clone like this obviously makes a great impression on the audience. Hunter really looks like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo movies – the same hair cut, the same headband and also knives! Then we have Wrecker who is also impressive, the moment when he shows his knife or should I say GIANT knife almost a sword is quite funny. Finally, there is Tech who when you look at him is the real geek. With a team like this it can only be good. Rex, Kix and Jesse are impressed by them, Cody not really as it is not the first time he works with them. Jesse is now an ARC Trooper, it is always nice to see clones evolving. Now the adventure can begin!

Anaxes is a gigantic beautiful planet with big canyons and huge forests of strange tall flowers/trees. On their way to the Separatist center, the gunship containing the little squad is shot down and crashes. This is where we get our first glimpse of how strong the Bad Batch is. Indeed, Cody is wounded and cannot get out of the gunship so Wrecker comes in and literally lifts up the gunship and throws it away (as I mentioned before Wrecker is the MUSCLE of the group). He takes Cody and we have a beautiful shot of him holding Cody and behind the gunship blowing up. It is a kind of sequence we find in action movies and it fits very well here but this is just the beginning. This scene is followed by the Bad Batch taking down several battalion of droids, these clones are really super soldiers. This action sequence is mind blowing. Four clones against an army of droids and the droids are all destroyed. Wrecker uses a door of the gunship as a shield ! It is 100% of action here – knives, gunship door as a shield and as a weapon, blasters, grenades, sniper. We are not the only one impressed Rex and Jesse are also mind-blown by what they see.

Everything is not paradise in this little operation, Jesse, Kix and Rex are going over a little argument with Crosshair, Tech and Wrecker and Jesse probably regretted that as Wrecker holds him in the air with his super force. However, Hunter is a good and smart leader and knows that it is better to stop this foolishness as they are all on the same side. The rest of the episode continues without Cody and Kix as Cody is wounded and Kix stays with him. The rest of the group falls in front of a Separatist outpost before the center they need to reach and there is no need to say it but this outpost is taken down very quickly by our favorite team. Behind them the droids army is tracking them, we are introduced to a new droid speeder, it is a large one that acts like a transport. As this is story reels I don’t know but it looks like the droid commandos have received a new painting. To get to the Separatist center, our little team makes 3 group – Jesse and Rex attacking the main entrance, Hunter, Wrecker and Tech taking the back door, and finally Crosshair doing his sniper role. You will not find better sniper as Crosshair, he never misses his target and always shoot in the head. The first two groups join at the main entrance as the droids reinforcements are coming, Rex join Tech inside the center to discover what he did not expect – he hears Echo’s name and the signal comes from Skako Minor (the homeworld of Wat Tambor). The team got what they wanted to know if the Separatists were using Rex’s algorithm and it is the case, the episode ends with the little group leaving the center with the new speeder and an intrigued and surprised Rex who thought Echo was dead. The audience already knew he was alive as Dave Filoni revealed it last year. This episode makes a strong and fantastic introduction for the Bad Batch and is an instant classic.

Episode 2 : A Distant Echo

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This second episode mostly takes place on Skako Minor. Only the beginning takes place on Anaxes. The first scene features Obi-Wan expressing his disagreement on Rex’s idea to go to Skako Minor and Obi-Wan is as confused as us that for the first time it is Rex and not Anakin who gets the crazy idea! Before leaving Anaxes, we get one humorous scene. One the Bad batch’s ship there is a sexy Padmé Amidala nose art. It is the same kind of nose art we find on the Republic gunships but this time it is Padmé and Anakin is not happy at all and Rex knows it. Wrecker has this funny line “She can negotiate with me anytime” with Anakin telling Rex “This is not staying here.” This is really one of the funniest moment of the episode. About the Bad Batch’s ship – it is an awesome ship, it is a mix a NU-Class Attack Shuttle with other parts. A perfect ship for the Clone Force 99. In the ship, we get a reference to the Utapau arc as Anakin takes a look to Crosshair sniper (Anakin who turned in badass mode with blasters in the Utapau arc) and obviously Wrecker brings once again the fun by eating and at the same time doing some sport by using a droid as a free weights. So far so good, no troubles for the Bad Batch but we all know Anakin is kind of a magnet trouble and this is what happens once again here. Anakin is captured by the native species of the planet the Poletec riding giant creatures. The Bad Batch shows its ingenuity again and their force with Crosshair who launches a cable on one of the creatures and Hunter attaching himself to the cable to follow the creatures.

The rest of the Bad Batch follow them and Wrecker makes a great entrance in the village by pushing a huge rock falling in the middle of the native houses. These Poletec are in fact not villains, they just want to be neutral. This new species has their own language, it is some sort of English spoken backwards. So they lead our heroes to the Techno Unions buildings. These buildings are like giant trees. Before we get to this, there is again an argument between Rex and the Bad Batch, Rex really wants to believe Echo is still the same but the Bad Batch warns him he could have become a traitor by now. This time it is Anakin who is going to stop this argument. This scene shows again how much Rex cares about his brothers. Then our team gets inside the Techno Union buildings, Anakin wants a quiet entrance but by now we all know Wrecker and he does some spectacular entrance and he massacres the droids. These droids are all new, they remind me of birds (I think they were designed as bird droids as they also fly!) The quiet entrance is not a success after all. Our team divides itself in three groups to find the lost trooper Echo who they are able to locate but not before getting more action. The team once again faces an army of droids that they take down. Tech and Rex gets to the room where Echo is prisoner. Echo is quite changed, he has now a robotic arm and robotic legs and he is attached to a series of cables which Tech tries to find a way to disconnect this is where the episode ends Echo remembers about The Citadel, the place where we lost him. Echo is now the last survivor of the Domino Squad.

Episode 3 : On The Wings of Keeradaks

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The third episode exactly picks up where we left of in the second episode. The Bad Batch is still fighting the new droids as Rex and Tech tries to disconnect Echo from his “prison”. The Bad Batch starts to be overrun by droids so they retreat to Echo’s room. Wat Tambor tries to play his neutrality card but everyone knows he is far from being neutral, he clearly is a friend of the Separatists, in the first season he was captured by Mace Windu during the Ryloth campaign. This card does not work with our heroes so Wat Tambor and two of his Techno Union friends present us their new weapon the Organic Decimator – a droid able to kill any leaving form, Tambor makes a demonstration with a Poletec. Tech is able to free Echo in time and the team to leave the room before the Decimator destroys them and Wrecker does not go without a BOOM, indeed he puts explosive charges in the room before leaving, a nice gift for the Separatists.

Now is the time to leave the Techno Union headquarters, our heroes are found walking on steel pipe connecting two buildings, a risky situation as Anakin likes them but this one is also a trap as once arrived at the middle of the pipe on each side of it droids are coming. Fortunately they have the very intelligent Tech who calls the Keeradaks (the giant creatures we saw in the previous episodes) it is how they are able to leave the enemy’s headquarters. When Echo jumps on one of the Keeradaks, Rex follows him and he says “I begin to feel like a trooper again”, Rex replies “You never stopped being a trooper Echo”, I really like this scene, we feel that Echo is happy to be back and Rex knows he was right not to have doubt about Echo’s loyalty. The escape scene is not without action as the droids can fly and so they fly and follow the clones.

The Bad Batch, Anakin, Echo and Rex go back to the Poletec village where they explain the situation and tell them they cannot stay neutral, the Poletech agree to fight and they do not really have the choice as Wat Tambor send his army to the village. The Octuptarra droids first seen in The Clone Wars movie are back again but in the Techno Union colors plus they have a reactor allowing them to fly. The Skako Minor village battle is amazing. Wrecker does his number of the falling rock again. It is visually impressive when the Poletechs launch their assault charging on the droids and Wrecker, Rex and Hunter following them, Hunter attacking with his knives and Wrecker destroying a bunch of droids with his blaster and his super strength. This battle reminds me of the battle of Christophsis (my top one favorite battle of The Clone Wars, it was a big battle, the introduction to Rex but also to Ahsoka and fighting on a crystal planet adds a beautiful view) with the charging scene but also when the Octuptarra droids arrive and attack the Poletech and also the way the Rex, Wrecker and Hunter attack the first Octuptarra droid, one shot is filmed in the same way Rex and the jetpack squad attacked the Octuptarra droid on Christophsis. Bringing these feels from the movie is excellent as the movie is part of my favorite arcs. It was the perfect way to begin The Clone Wars series. Memories from it are always good to see. The clones and the Poletechs win the battle, the episode ends with the Bad batch leaving Skako Minor.

Episode 4 : Unfinished Business

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Unfinished Business is the last episode of this arc and is the biggest episode of it – it is the final stage of the battle of Anaxes and it is mind blowing! The episode is divided in two groups – Mace Windu and Obi-Wan leading the battle on the ground and the second group Anakin, Rex, Echo and the Bad Batch in Admiral Trench’s flagship trying to stop the droid army.

Mace Windu before the battle makes a funny speech, he asks the droids to surrender, the droids do not listen to him and they regret it. The battle on the ground is one of the biggest of the series, there are dozens and dozens of Y-wing bombing the droids and we see the pilots in their Revenge of the Sith suit (like we saw in Order 66 arc). We see the 501st Legion Jetpack troopers (seen in S05E17 Sabotage) in action, they fly with their jetpacks, they attack the Super Battle Droids Rocket, there are Mace Windu’s clones, Obi-Wan’s clones, the 501st troopers, Jesse. Droids and clones fighting everywhere on a huge scale it is just EPIC! Echo on the Dreadnaught cruiser orders all the droids to go to the battlefield so that is even more droids to destroy (it is a tactic to destroy them all at the same place more easily).

The Bad Batch team on Trench’s flagship are in a room of the Dreadnaught cruiser which was first introduced in the Droids arc of Season 5 also written by Brent Friedman. So it is good to see some connection with his previous arc. This is where Echo can have access to the cruiser and droid army’s feeds. Echo deactivates the droids on the ground but there is one big thing to resolve the bomb that Trench has activated. This bomb can actually destroy half of the planet. While Obi-Wan and the clones evacuate it is up toWindu do deactivate the bomb with the help of Echo giving him the numbers. The way Windu is filmed when he uses the Force to activate the code on the keyboard of the bomb is filmed in the exact same way Windu used the Force in S01E21 Liberty On Ryloth. There is a lot of small references to the beginning of the series in this arc and I love this. Deactivating the bomb is not so easy, Trench realizes what Echo is doing and uses Echo’s terminal to electrocutes him, Echo survives but now they need to find the last number of the code on their own and this is up to Anakin who goes to find Admiral Trench. Trench reveals the last number of the code and Windu deactivates the bomb. Trench tries to attack Anakin but this is not a good idea as Anakin kills him with his lightsaber so goodbye Admiral Trench. He was a nice villain and a very special one as this was the first spider-like species we saw in the Star Wars universe. Anakin also takes something to activate the auto-destruction of the flagship for later.

With the Bad Batch we see one last scene of action and this one is for Wrecker (and then Crosshair), Wrecker literally charges on the droids taking them on him and destroying them and then it is up to Crosshair to kill some droids. Crosshair uses a new technology, these are reflecting grenades, he shots on it and his shot actually is send to the other grenade and on and on killing every droid on the way. So who did it the best Crosshair or Wrecker? I would say Wrecker, I love his brutal way to kill droids but Crosshair also did a fantastic job at killing droids. The group leaves the cruiser and Anakin offers a little gift for Wrecker, the little activator to blow up the Dreadnaught cruiser. Wrecker immediately blows up the cruiser as he loves blowing up things.

The episode ends with the Republic celebrating their victory on Anaxes. The Bad Batch, Echo and Rex receive medals. This final episode is an amazing conclusion to this arc. I have noticed that the final seconds of the episode feature a semi-Imperial March soundtrack with a Rex looking not so happy. I think maybe in this moment he thinks about the consequences of the Order 66 arc but also what he mentioned in the Umbara arc what they will become after the war at least that is what his expression and the music suggest.

In general : This arc focuses on a special group of clone called Clone Force 99 (also called the Bad Batch). These clones are super soldiers, genetically modified so they do not look like the other clones. Hunter is their strong leader, Wrecker is the muscle of the group, Tech is the “geek”/ super intelligent clone and Crosshair is the deadly sniper. My two personal favorites are Wrecker and Hunter because of their very special way of fighting and Wrecker’s humor. As all the clones, it is Dee Bradley Baker who voices the Bad Batch too and as usual Dee does an excellent job ! He is able to give a different identity in the way he talks for each clones and keeping the same clone accent for each. It is something really challenging to do and Dee does it in an excellent way, he is the star of this arc! These four episodes are highly action-packed with the right dose of humor, probably one of the most action-packed episodes of The Clone Wars! Even in Story Reels, this arc is still visually spectacular and one of the best things you will find in TV series. I love these super fantastic awesome badass clones! Brent Friedman and Matt Michnovetz are amazing screenwriters and this arc showed it to us once again. These four episodes are full of ingenuity. This arc is one of my favorites, it is for me an instant classic so thank you Brent and Matt for doing this arc !

I will finish my review with this jedi fortune cookie of the first episode of this arc, two sentences that brought tears of joy to the fans of the series. I would like to say thank you to EVERYONE in the cast and crew of Star Wars the Clone Wars – thank you for this series, a masterpiece, one of the best pieces of the entire Star Wars saga. Thank you for all the hard work you have done during all these years for this series, for the fans. Thank you for these 5 seasons and the Lost Missions, and these 2 arcs in Story Reels and the Maul comics and soon the Dark Disciple novel. I truly hope that the rest of the stories from The Clone Wars will be all be released at some point in some form, the fans deserve and the cast and crew deserve it too for all the work they put in this series.

The Clone Wars is forever, thank you and May The Force Be With You.

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3 thoughts on “[Review] Star Wars The Clone Wars Bad Batch Story Reels

  1. Pingback: Star Wars The Clone Wars: The 2.5 Remaining Seasons | fanofstarwars

  2. Pingback: The Best of 2015 in The Star Wars Galaxy | The Midi-Chlorian Center

  3. Pingback: Star Wars The Clone Wars: The 2.5 Remaining Seasons | The Midi-Chlorian Center

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