Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

What I Bought:

In the short three days between the premier of and this episode, I pre-ordered two of the new Wal Mart Exclusive Clone Shocktroopers (one for me, one for my brother-in-law) and added a fourth and final Scarif Stormtrooper thanks to my buddy and fellow Midwest Film Journal founder Nick Rogers.

Cut & Run

The Bad Batch premiered with a massive episode that took the squad from the end of the Clone Wars into the Imperial Era with a bang. “Cut & Run” opens with the team (minus turncoat Crosshair and plus Omega, their newest companion) seeking safe harbor with an old friend of the group, Cut, a deserter Clone raising a family on a farm in the Outer Rim. Cut is from one of the early episodes of The Clone Wars, where his choice to desert the war created conflict with Captain Rex (mentioned in passing here as a potential ally for the Batch in coming stories).

Cut was one of the first Clone characters to introduce the idea that these legions of nu-Jangos were men in their own right once they left the cloning facilities. His existence implies that every Clone who died in combat at the behest of the Jedi (protectors of life) was as tragic as a “normal” soldier would’ve been. It ups the stakes of The Clone Wars and introduces the best subtext of that surprisingly dark children’s show, the idea that the Jedi were forced to lead “disposable” armies against armies of actual disposable droids in endless combat, with no real vision of victory. It’s a hopeless, wasteful war that drags down the spiritual core of the Jedi and makes them susceptible to ultimate betrayal. One of the themes developing in The Bad Batch is what happens to soldiers when they’re no longer needed and society has forgotten them. Cut is the case that shows that our heroes, for all their modified abilities, are still real men despite how they came to be.

It’s a shorter episode, although still ten minutes longer than a traditional animated episode thanks to the lack of cartoons and Disney+’s wonderful lack of standardized runtimes, and a sparser one than the first. “Cut & Run” feels like a second episode of any series, refocusing the stakes post-pilot to give a taste of what the show will look like going forward. As with most Star Wars series, we’re going to follow our group of heroes as they fly through the galaxy and face moral dilemmas on their travels. This episode sees them help relocate Cut and his family to a safer planet when the Imperials come knocking.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Bad Batch is that it exists in a world generally lacking in Jedi characters. Unlike The Mandalorian, which cheated somewhat by introducing Grogu and then completely lost its handle on the grounded aesthetic by the end of Season 2, this seems to be a series interested in exploring the galaxy without the Jedi and their direct influence. No doubt, more Jedi will appear as the Bad Batch travels across the stars — and I have a suspicion that Omega’s unknown unique ability will be Force-related — but the mood of dread and sadness during the first two episodes of The Bad Batch really capture a galaxy where the Jedi are suddenly unable to help enforce good over evil. Solo: A Star Wars Story, for all of its faults, did a great job of that, too, and I hope that The Bad Batch doesn’t chicken out on its setting.

I hope the Bad Batch also gets a more interesting ship than their Imperial Shuttle.

What I Would Buy

6-inch Scale Black Series Cut — $20

6-inch Scale GONK Droid — $20

6-inch Scale Phase 2 Clone (plain armor) — $20