This Star Wars: The Bad Batch review contains spoilers.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15
“Return to Kamino” marks the end of an era for Star Wars. The clones make their final exit from Kamino to parts unknown, ushered away by the Empire, which, judging by the way Admiral Rampart fires down on Crosshair and the Bad Batch without hesitation, no longer has any use for these relics of the Clone Wars. But the ultimate destruction of the clone facility comes only after the episode has written one final love letter to its sights and sounds.
The art design and animation have been absolutely spectacular throughout The Bad Batch‘s debut season, and “Return to Kamino” is a showcase for the juxtapositions of the drowned planet, with the high-tech, blindingly white hallways of Tipoca City giving way to the post-apocalyptic waters of the rest of the world. Since its introduction in Attack of the Clones, Tipoca City has always looked like a lonely, final refuge on a dying place but never as much as in its own final hour. The Imperial ships looming ominously above the empty city, we knew this could only end one way: with the place that had been such a mystery to Obi-Wan Kenobi and theater audiences in 2002 sinking down to its final resting place, deep below an endless ocean.
But the city doesn’t vanish without first revealing some final secrets previously hidden behind closed doors. The underwater tube system that connects Tipoca City to other parts of the planet — presumably with other cities where Kaminoans are prospering and not just being killed off by their new galactic masters — is very cool, and it provides an opportunity for the writers to turn the tables on the Batch. Here is Omega able to act as their guide through a home planet they don’t really know at all. The soldiers have spent 15 episodes showing this former lab assistant turned mercenary the wonders of the wider galaxy — including dirt! — and here she gets to return the favor. She shows her friends exactly where they came from, the secret research lab where they were engineered to be different from the rest of their people. It’s a very brief but somber moment, broken up quickly by the impeccable comedic timing of Tech, who is annoyed at Wrecker’s charming bewilderment.
Other truths are revealed, too. We finally learn what compelled Crosshair to turn on his friends at the start of the season, and it’s much darker than mind control caused by a secret inhibitor chip. Crosshair betrayed his brothers and joined the Empire because that’s what he was ordered to do and clones follow orders. He feels it’s his duty to serve the Empire as the new government restoring order to the galaxy, something the Republic was ultimately too weak to do until the bad guys had taken full control. It’s a philosophical difference between Crosshair and his more rebellious former teammates, but a gap the clone villain hopes to close with one last offer in the episode’s best moment.
Crosshair is not just angry that Hunter and the rest of the squad abandoned the Empire, he’s also hurt that they left him behind. They never gave him a chance, he explains to Hunter, minutes before the Imperial cruisers begin firing down on all of them. But a chance to do what? To explain why the Empire was a better option? Why serving a cruel master was better than serving no one at all? Crosshair believes he’s offering the Batch renewed purpose with the Empire but he’s really trying to justify his own actions and a system of control that he seems unwilling to break away from. He doesn’t get why his brothers ran away from their duty, and regardless of what Hunter thinks, Crosshair doesn’t plan to start running now. It’s easier to hide behind orders than to decide for yourself what’s right or wrong.
The ending of the episode will definitely leave fans buzzing, as the clones rush back into the cloning facility just as it begins to sink into its watery grave. Of course, the Batch will make it out but will all clones be accounted for? That Hunter chooses to save an unconscious Crosshair as the Empire closes in shows that the damage done by his former friend could still be mended. But is that maybe too easy of a reunion? Crosshair has some redeeming to do to make good with his brothers. Could he choose to sacrifice himself to save his squad from drowning in the finale? That’s what a true hero would do.