Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Aftermath
May 4, 2021 1:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The newest Star Wars series from Dave Filoni and friends picks up where Clone Wars left off.

The series follows the elite and experimental troopers of Clone Force 99 (first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch, as they prefer to be called — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill, which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew.
posted by bfranklin (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(I’ve only watched the main Star Wars trilogies and the Mandalorian, so I’m interested to hear if people who haven’t watched Clone Wars are finding this show makes sense!)
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:33 PM on May 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've watched the movies, Rebels, and a handful of Clone Wars episodes, and I never really caught on to Clone Wars the way I binged Rebels. I liked this episode fine--there's a sort of a (sporadic) arc in Clone Wars following this group a bit, IIRC. One of the difficulties that I had with Clone Wars is its attempt to bridge being about a war and also be geared towards younger viewers. That leads to some weird tonal clashes, whereas, even as Rebels tries to deal with more serious themes, it remains primarily an ensemble show about assembled family, meaning it oesn't have to play to the same patterns as the WWII-echoing parts of Star Wars.
posted by pykrete jungle at 4:57 PM on May 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just absolutely stellar performance by Dee Bradley Baker. A one man show, literally.

It's enjoyable but I do agree it's a weird story to tell in a kids animated show. Also I have never understood using the Starship Troopers style news report voice, always sounds wrong to me, like we're about to be inundated with gory satire.
posted by M Edward at 9:59 PM on May 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

It does seem strange to borrow a 1940s presentation style. The newsreel opening for “The Clone Wars” series was used in place of a Star Wars style opening crawl because the show’s production team imagined that some of the audience would be children who had not yet learned to read.
posted by chrchr at 10:07 PM on May 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit bothered by the positioning of Crosshairs as The Bad Guy, when the text makes it completely clear that he's been programmed. Additionally, the "regs" are blown away as easily as the droids, even though they are the Batch's brothers, and also programmed.

Cake, having and eating too: not possible. Especially in a kids' show, which I think this is. Why else have a child protagonist.

And why does Omega have an Australian accent?

I did appreciate Nala Se pulling some strings at the end in order to save the team. The Kaminoans are very capitalistic but apparently they appreciate the occasional sport.

Interesting to have them introduce Saw right off. But who are these refugees?

Finally, I like Kanan, but Freddy Prinze didn't do a great kid's voice there: Caleb Dume sounded like he was fully adult. I was surprised they actually showed up Depa's death.
posted by suelac at 10:36 PM on May 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, we were like " that Freddie Prinze Jr trying to do a kid voice??"

I've watched all of Clone Wars and all of Rebels so I'm definitely in the target audience. It's clear they got some focus group feedback that people like the clones but it's hard to follow a show when so many of the main characters look and sound the same. And they clearly also figured out it helps to have a token girl too - I remember speculating during the original Bad Batch arc about whether they ever screwed up and got a XX and I guess I got my answer.

I think it's clear that the Bad Batch don't consider "regs" their brothers and the feeling is mutual. I think we're meant to assume a lot of the fraternal loyalty is imposed by their control chips for the sake of unit cohesion, and that the clones don't recognize people who don't look like them as brothers. So it's not entirely surprising they'd shoot at clones the same as droids who got in their way, even if it is a little upsetting to watch. I think the whole intent is to draw the contrast that this is a unit whose loyalty is to one another, earned through trials and not imposed from above. Which makes the story of the regular Republic clone so much sadder - that even his love for his brothers, which felt so genuine and meaningful, is to some extent a byproduct of his slavery and mind control.

I found Omega a little irritating but I felt that way about Ahsoka at first too. I'm sure she'll grow on me.

I'm not head over heels for this yet but it's got potential and it's a time in Star Wars I find pretty interesting. I'll definitely keep watching.
posted by potrzebie at 11:36 PM on May 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Clone Force 99 didn't really grab me as interesting characters in The Clone Wars show (very cliched/one-dimensional), but the concept of this show is interesting and hopefully the plot picks up and the characters get some depth.

Just absolutely stellar performance by Dee Bradley Baker. A one man show, literally.

Never occurred to me it was one guy doing all the characters, which I guess is a credit to him!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:38 AM on May 5, 2021

And why does Omega have an Australian accent?

It sounded Kiwi to me - the voice actor is from NZ but spent a lot of time on the Australian soap Neighbours so I guess she's picked up a bit of an Aussie accent too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:50 AM on May 5, 2021

Aside from a moment of having to remember (and subsequently explain to my spouse) the end of Episode 2 ("wait, who are the belligerents here?"), so as to place the show in the era, it was... mixed. I liked it well enough, but I'm worried that Omega will end up dragging it down from YA (which we're fine with) into something tween-oriented or younger. But all of the other sort of episode 3->episode 4 history and bits that aren't just the Skywalker Family Story, sure, I'm there for it.

Should I dig into rebels / clone wars, or are those too far into the Star Wars For Kids appeal? I'm not sure I have a yardstick to explain our kiddie tolerance, unfortunately.
posted by Kyol at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2021

Kyol I strongly recommend you seek out one of the many "Clone Wars but just the episodes you should actually watch" lists out there and just watch those for clone backstory. There's a lot of filler you can totally skip, especially in the early seasons, but Clone Wars definitely turned out to be a show for adults by the end.
posted by potrzebie at 9:46 AM on May 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also watch some early Ahsoka episodes and some later ones if you want to feel reassured that there's reason to hope Omega will develop into a character you like a lot :)
posted by potrzebie at 10:27 AM on May 5, 2021

I dug it. Bad Batch clicked with me in the later Clone Wars series mostly because I liked seeing them work together in that very A-Team/heist movie way. The “one of their own hunting them” angle will be interesting and bring a lot of drama, and I’m interested in seeing what Omega’s special abilities are (force sensitivity??).

I’m excited also about the era of the show mostly because I want to know more about what happened to the clones post-Revenge of the Sith. I am anticipating tragedy.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2021

Clone Wars starts with Mildly Annoying Teen Asoka, continues as she makes friends with clone troopers, and ends with Order 66, so it definitely matures as it goes on.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I want to know more about what happened to the clones post-Revenge of the Sith.

I'm also interested, as this is a perfect opportunity to retcon why the stormtroopers in A New Hope onwards aren't clones.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2021

retcon why the stormtroopers

This episode sort of answers that straight up, Tarkin says a conscription army is cheaper than the clones. It felt pretty blunt honestly, maybe giving away too much about what might happen on Kamino and the clones. Especially since the Kamino PM appears to be protecting Omega, or at the very least the profits to be gained from clones with genetic variation.
posted by M Edward at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I thought there would be cannibal bikers in this one....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:42 PM on May 5, 2021

Given that in Star Wars there are supposedly billions of star systems with habitable planets that house quadrillions of sapient people they could conscript only a tiny number of people from each system and end up with an army orders of magnitude larger than the clone army. Really the only benefit of the clone army was that it was there and ready to go right when the republic suddenly needed a standing army. Once a fascist military apparatus is in place it's fairly straightforward to start conscripting grunt soldiers. It was likely more difficult to set up a brand new officer corps, seeing as Order 66 eliminated the previous officer population.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

(I’ve only watched the main Star Wars trilogies and the Mandalorian, so I’m interested to hear if people who haven’t watched Clone Wars are finding this show makes sense!)

Same - not really a huge SW fan by any means but am pretty much obsessed with The Mandalorian, which to me doesn't even seem like SW. Have never seen any of TCW. I watched TBB and it does seem to make sense to me, it does seem like a stand-alone story - I think you could probably watch it and be ok with it even if you had never watched anything else SW. The more backstory you know the more you can appreciate it, I suppose. I'm not going to go back and watch a ton of episodes of TCW just to catch up so I'll continue to be a bit behind the 8ball but that's ok. It gave me that same disoriented feeling that every single SW movie gave me though - how it seems like you're just sort of dropped into the middle of an already ongoing story and it's up to you to figure out what's going on.
posted by the webmistress at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

This episode sort of answers that straight up, Tarkin says a conscription army is cheaper than the clones. It felt pretty blunt honestly, maybe giving away too much about what might happen on Kamino and the clones. Especially since the Kamino PM appears to be protecting Omega, or at the very least the profits to be gained from clones with genetic variation.

Oh sure, I just meant I wonder if they will show any conflict between clones and recruits, or have a plan to dispose of the clones (let them die out? use them as expendable cannon-fodder*), etc. Given they immediately had Tarkin making those remarks, it seems like they will start an early transition to recruits and that plot point might feature in the show.

*wait they do that with the recruits anyway...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:25 AM on May 6, 2021

I'm surprised to see people think Omega is slightly annoying. I found her delightful. Her relationship with Hunter is really wonderful. Like I said, I know nothing about any of these characters but she is obviously very taken with him and he is very respectful towards her and you can see the beginnings of some Din Djarinesque paternal instincts coming to the fore. I saw several similarities between TM and TBB beyond that, such as the way they positioned Omega in the spacecraft, same seating arrangement as Grogu, for example.
posted by the webmistress at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2021

I enjoyed this more than I expected (since the Bad Batch-centric plot lines in TCW were some of the ones I liked least). I love in-depth, peripheral world building in my sci-fi properties, especially around politics , religion, social change, etc., so the placement of this series in the timeline is bound to appeal to me pretty naturally, and has maybe raised my expectations higher than is likely to be rewarded (what?! A Star Wars property getting me hyped up and inevitably disappointing me? Unheard of!). I hope they do as good of a job as they can do giving some depth and heft to this potentially fascinating transitional period (I'm excited to learn more about Saw and his "refugees," and enticed by the potential for some complex rebel radicalization plot lines there!) and don't just devolve into purely an episodic battle-of-the-week structure.....but given that this show (like Rebels, and TCW) still seems to want to sit in the comfortable-and-engaging-for-kids-and-mostly-not-terrible-for-adults sweet spot, I'm not holding my breath. I'll watch it either way, because I am incapable of not.

I know I'm not going to get "Rogue One" levels of satisfaction here, but am at least hoping to avoid "Attack of the Clones" type misery. I think I can trust Filoni and his team to deliver that much!!
posted by Dorinda at 12:35 PM on May 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I watched a few episodes of The Clone Wars but it did nothing to grab my attention--I get jealous when real Star Wars nerds geek out about it but I just couldn't find all the cool stuff in it when I tried it myself.

Pleasantly surprised by this and I'll hang around to see how it goes.

A bit of a tangent, but did anyone else listen to the Campaign podcast early on, when they were doing Star Wars? They had a character who was an ex-clone, heartbroken that he couldn't save the Jedi in his unit when the order came, and a little kid kicking around as well. Lots to explore.
posted by mark k at 9:52 PM on May 6, 2021

One of my bigger problems with this series (and the others that apply) is that I find the animation style ugly. But usually the stories are decent.
posted by PussKillian at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2021

Also someone who gave TCW a try and likewise wasn't grabbed by it, but was by this. I even went back and watched the Bad Batch group of episodes from the last season of TCW, and was very impressed--maybe the series got better, or more to my liking, but the animation for those eps was pretty great. I'll probably finish S7 and then maybe work my way back from there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:58 PM on May 8, 2021

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