Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Bad Batch are given a mission. Hunter is hesitant, but someone changes his mind. The Bad Batch goes in to what seems like a simple mission, but it’s suddenly complicated.
Of course you’ve heard that one… it’s literally every single episode. Some handle the formula better than others while others practically slap a blinking neon sign on it that flashes the word, “FORMULA” over and over and over again. Add to that the fact that this show is already populated by a formulaic pack of walking stereotypes and you can see why this series frustrates me so… why, after a season of these characters trying to learn not to be soldiers, it still frustrates me so.
Here we have, “War Mantle,” the first episode in the season finale arch of the first year of The Bad Batch and, like the series so far, it does exactly what it is expected to. A big event that we all saw coming tacked on to the same old formulaic ride. The only difference between this episode and the ones that came before is that Hunter doesn’t learn his big lesson because we needed a cliffhanger.
“War Mantle” is a stunningly subpar episode despite the change in the status quo on Kamino and the reintroduction to everyone’s favorite doomed damaged clone from Star Wars: Rebels, Gregor, there is so little actual takeaway from this installment that it’s almost amazing. The only think that really surprised me is that this is the first time in the entire series that Echo’s ordeal and PTSD has even been marginally touched on. The Bad Batch has made the central clone characters so dull, a small hint of individuality and history stuck out like a sore but welcome thumb.
While I am certain that bigger things are on the horizon for this finale arch, “War Mantle” isn’t exactly an encouraging beginning.
This series should be so much better than what it settles to be.