The Bad Batch opens in the midst of a firefight as Clone Force 99 engages a small scuffle with a Rhokai, following a mission from Cid to retrieve a dragon. The opening fight is far from the only heart-racing action in “Battle Scars.”
The Bad Batch: Episode 7, “Battle Scars”
Back on Ord Mantell, Cid and the Bad Batch discuss their work arrangement as Wrecker and Omega leave on their newly minted post-mission tradition. Hunter learns that someone has run up a bill of at least fourteen orders of Mantell Mix, which implies that they’ve run at least six missions for Cid in between Corellia and the Rhokai’s dragon.
Wrecker is so sweet with Omega. While we have been told, time and time again, that Hunter is the more fatherly figure in her life, we have seen a tremendous amount of Wrecker’s personality and attachment to Omega. We should have known that a little heartbreak would come from that connection.
As Hunter and the others wrap up their conversation with Cid, blaster fire draws them back into the main area of the establishment where a hooded figure has run off everyone. It is, of course, the hologram that Rafa and Trace spoke to last week and none other than Rex. Wrecker is almost as excited as I was to see Rex.
At long last, Rex has returned to our screens and he comes bearing vital information for the Bad Batch. He is, after all, one of the only clones (that we know of) that had his inhibitor chip removed. He is instantly concerned by Wrecker’s headaches that have been plaguing him and it appears that he hasn’t told his brothers about what happened on Corellia.
Though the Bad Batch seems hesitant about Rex’s plan — particularly Wrecker — they reluctantly agree to rendezvous with Rex on Bracca to start the process of removing the inhibitor chips. I can only imagine that hearing Rex say that he didn’t want to bury any more brothers likely spurred them on.
On Bracca, Rex and the Bad Batch venture across the treacherous junkyard (yes, the one from Jedi: Fallen Order) towards an abandoned Jedi Cruiser — much like the one Rex had his chip removed on. My anxiety levels increased as I wondered what would happen to the Bad Batch aboard a Jedi vessel, given their chips and Order 66.
Aboard the ship, they run into a small issue with the diagona, an aquatic creature lurking in the murky waters of the junkyard. The rest of the clones cross the schism without issue, but poor Wrecker is dragged under the water’s surface by the creature. This is two episodes in a row now that Wrecker has had to confront his fear of heights. Fortunately, he escapes the creature’s grasp, but he hasn’t yet escaped the Empire’s grasp. Ominous, right?
Rex and the Bad Batch make their way into the medical bay and Echo and Tech get to work powering up the systems and getting the scan programmed to remove the chip. Omega is, understandably, concerned about losing the Bad Batch, but I was far more concerned with Wrecker’s increasing agitation and the ominous music that began playing.
It had to happen. I have had weeks to prepare myself for Wrecker’s control to fail him, but I still wasn’t ready for him to choke out Tech and attack his brothers. This portion of the episode had me feeling so anxious and, in part, that was because of the gorgeous scoring behind it. It felt like the onset of Order 66 all over again, watching the characters that I cared about turn against each other.
While Wrecker hasn’t been at the top of his game in past episodes (Fennec Shand did, after all, easily take him down) Wrecker with a fully functional inhibitor chip dealt some pretty serious damage against Rex and the rest of the Bad Batch. Despite being told to stay in the medical bay, Omega defies orders and uses herself as bait — drawing Wrecker away from the Bad Batch. Despite their bond, Omega is unable to talk sense into Wrecker and she is saved by Rex before it’s too late.
Though I’m certainly not complaining that the Bad Batch made it through the chip removal process without issue, this felt too easily won. Wrecker was the only clone that they focused on, while the chip removal for the other three was brushed over. Within a twenty-four-minute episode, they were safely able to remove both their inhibitor chips and one of the major underlying plots of the season. What new horrors await the Bad Batch as we face down the back half of the season?
I loved the moments between Omega and Wrecker throughout the episode — and throughout the season. But the highlight of this episode was her concern for him, waiting by his bedside until he regained consciousness following the procedure. She even saved some Mantell Mix to celebrate the end of another mission with him. So far, Wrecker is the only clone I feel that Omega has a genuine connection with and that’s probably because he’s basically the “Fun Uncle” of the group.
Once the Bad Batch are safely inhibitor chip-free, it’s time for Rex to leave, but not without a parting conversation between him and Hunter. Hunter finds Rex talking to someone over his comm about rendezvousing somewhere, which sparks a conversation about Rex’s fight for the Republic. Rex tries to recruit the Bad Batch, but Hunter explains that they have different priorities. Namely, Omega.
As Rex leaves, we see that someone has been watching the Bad Batch. In the closing moment, the scavenger guild relays a message back to the Empire and, undoubtedly, sets up next week’s episode.
While “Battle Scars” is by far one of the best episodes of the season, behind “Aftermath,” it missed some vital connective moments that I have been longing for. With Rex’s brief return, I had anticipated some sort of moment between him and Echo — especially after Fives was brought up, but that didn’t happen. In fact, Wrecker seemed more excited to see Rex than Echo was. The conversation between Hunter and Rex seems to indicate that Rex will appear later on, so I can only hope that the two regs have a moment to themselves to reflect on everything.
Yes, The Bad Batch, is essentially a Friday morning cartoon for kids, but that doesn’t mean it has to remain surface level with its storytelling. So far, this has been the only area where the series has been failing for me. Looking back at the back-to-back episodes where Echo was sold off as a droid and then the concepts of slavery were introduced, the series had a prime opportunity to discuss the clones’ personhood or even reflect on Echo’s own struggles with bodily autonomy. Tragically, it was played off as a joke.
I want to see their personal battle scars laid bare.
Fandom has plenty of headcanons and feelings about the Bad Batch, but the actual source material hasn’t given appropriate depth to these characters yet. I doubt the general audience has any sentimental feelings about Tech. We know what they’re good at doing in combat, now show us their humanity. Hopefully, now that the inhibitor chip plot has been solved, there is room for delving just a little deeper into the psyche of the Bad Batch. Better yet, where is Crosshair? It has been four episodes without him and absence isn’t making the heart grow fonder.