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

War Mantle picks up steam compared to last week. The Batch is (finally) contacted by Rex, who needs them to help rescue a distressed ally on a remote world. Hunter is a real drip about it, but once again Omega and his squad convince him that it’s worth forgoing payment on their current mission in order to detour for Rex’s sake.

So they go and discover an Imperial base hidden in a mountain where Clone Commandos (!) are training TK Troopers. TK Troopers are Stormtrooper prototypes, with armor based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original sketches from the production of the first Star Wars. So that’s pretty cool. After a daring escape, Hunter is captured, bringing him face to face with Crosshair.

Meanwhile, Admiral Rampart tightens his grip on Kamino as the Empire’s use for the cloners reaches its natural conclusion.

Plot stuff actually happens here. We have two episodes left of the season and a bunch of intriguing concepts set up. And yet … it feels sort of empty. Let me explain.

I was happy to see Gregor again, who appears heavily in Rebels alongside Rex. I was happy to see a little more information regarding War Mantle and some movement on the Kamino situation. I was also happy to see Hunter and Crosshair finally tease a real conversation. I loved the invocation of John Williams’ music during the Imperial Base escape sequence.

However, all of this feels a little bit mundane compared to the elements The Bad Batch seemed to be building toward earlier in its run. We’ve gotten very little information yet on why so many Reg clones are now turning against the Empire, given the way we’ve seen the chips erase personality earlier in the season. Why is Gregor willing to abandon War Mantle when other Clones are clearly still engaged with it?

Omega’s special ability was hinted at heavily earlier in the season and feels like it has been dropped. As we see the Kaminoan leadership picked off one by one, it feels like that thread may be left hanging. Centering the main action seemingly off Kamino (but who knows, Crosshair may take Hunter back) would make for a downer of a finale, and I hope they return there for the big conclusion.

I assume we’ll get answers to ongoing mysteries, but it feels like the back half of the season has lost a lot of momentum. Even though I quite liked this episode as a whole, I can’t blame most of my friends who have dropped the series at this point. I just don’t know what the emotional core is any longer. For a long time, it seemed to be the plight of the Clones after the Imperial ascension. But honestly it does not seem like the Batch really cares at all about that. After all they’ve been through, Hunter is hesitant to help Rex at first. Why aren’t these Clones introducing new conflicts due to their individual wants and goals? Why doesn’t the Batch have a clear moral arc? Why are they still working for Cid, who is lame as fuck?

I’m kind of tired of heroes besieging Imperial bases, a trope that was worn out when it happened in one of The Mandalorian‘s weakest episodes.

I’m not losing faith in The Bad Batch, but it needs to evolve at this point. Bring on some new main characters. Diversify the personalities at the center of the show so that we can have more organic, interesting conflicts. Split up the characters and let them change on their own terms. Why not an episode where Echo goes to find his old Arc buddies to try to save them? Why not an episode where Wrecker ends up being forced to solve a dilemma using brains and not his brawn? Why not give Hunter something to do … or better yet, kill Hunter off and leave the group without a clear leader? Teasers for the next episode imply that the rest of the team will have to rescue him for Crosshair, but isn’t this like the third big rescue mission we’re going to have this season? I hope they try something different soon.

What I’ve Bought

My omnibus copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic finally arrived, and I’m anxious to break into it. Otherwise, still no more Star Wars purchases. It feels like nothing is coming out anymore.

What I’d Buy

At least this episode features the return of the Clone Commandos, a class of Clone that headlined the game Star Wars: Republic Commando back in the day and appeared again in Battlefront 2. Their basic physique is the model for the Bad Batch figures, so I hope this implies we’ll be getting some in the 6” line sometime soon. Probably a GameStop Gaming Greats figure, which are not too difficult to find.