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‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3’ Episodes 1-3 Review: “Confined/Paths Unknown/Shadows of Tantiss” – Daily Disney News

Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episodes 1-3 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3.  Those who know me know my disdain for Star Wars: The Bad Batch . Two seasons rife with incredible opportunities, only for them to waste them at every turn. While season two was slightly better than its dreary first season, I am relieved to know this latest season, whose first three episodes premiered on Disney+ this Wednesday (that this critic is reviewing late due to having come down with the flu – the first since the pandemic, which didn’t feel great!), will be its last. Still, I’m not one to immediately have a preconceived opinion on something I’ve not seen. I went into the first three episodes of the series’ final season with an open mind, as I do with every piece of media I consume.  Credit where credit is due, its first episode, Confined , is quite good. It has a much slower pace than the usual episodes of The Bad Batch and doesn’t feel contrived to the “adventure of the week” format as it picks up [almost] immediately after the second season left off. Focusing on Omega (Michelle Ang), the episode chronicles her working for the Imperial Cloning Division by force, aiding her sister, Emerie Karr (Keisha Castle-Hughes), in her day-to-day tasks as Dr. Royce Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson) watches over Omega’s actions with an iron fist.  Clone Force 99 is nowhere to be found in this episode, but we see glimpses of Omega bonding with Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker), after the clone betrayed the Batch in the first season. He was severely underused in season two, but the moments the two share with each other are quite poignant in how Crosshair expresses some remorse for having caused all of this. Omega wants to escape the facility, but Crosshair discourages her, stating how dangerous it is with Dr. Hemlock supervising its operations. It’s smart to say because Hemlock threatens Crosshair’s life if Omega disobeys his orders. In an act of defiance, Omega frees the animal she has been bonding with after it is scheduled for termination, leading Hemlock to clearly state his objectives towards her and Crosshair as the episode cuts to black. Confined is the first time I deeply connected to Omega, with the character now seemingly way more rounded and compelling than in the first two seasons, consistently painting her as a kid in distress. In one episode, writer Jennifer Corbett and director Saul Ruiz almost fix everything wrong with the character, making her a far more mature and captivating individual than the first two seasons treated her. The animation is also a massive improvement over the first two seasons, with its textures more refined as the bleak atmosphere settles in with its characters. As far as the first episode goes, it made a great first impression. But will the momentum continue? The second episode, Paths Unknown , follows the bleak atmosphere of the first as it reintroduces audiences to Hunter (Dee Bradley Baker) & Wrecker (Dee Bradley Baker) as they gather intel to find Dr. Hemlock’s facility to rescue Omega. Their intel is from Isa Durand (Anjelica Huston), who tells the clones that Hemlock had another imperial cloning facility before he built his latest one, from which they can gather information.  They send them on their way to Hemlock’s abandoned facility, where the clones meet young cadets Mox (Liam O’Brien), Deke, and Stak (both voiced by Julian Dennison), who were former prisoners of Hemlock’s old facility and managed to escape when it got destroyed. The three accept to help Hunter and Wrecker to find information, but the environment around them is inhospitable – with slither vines making the air inside the facility toxic and consuming everything around them. The episode is basically a race against time as the clones and the kids attempt to extract data from the facility, which will help them find Omega before the facility gets consumed by the slither vines, and it’s a rather effective one, too. Perhaps the action isn’t very inspiring, with plenty of flourishes seen a mile away, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the atmosphere enough makes the overall episode feel tantalizing and lived-in. Who would’ve thought that Star Wars: The Bad Batch would greatly improve itself when real stakes would be the anchoring dramatic point of the series, as opposed to “adventures of the week” through missions with Cid? Well, everyone, really, because the first two episodes of season three are, so far, miles ahead of the entirety of the show’s first two seasons. There are legitimate stakes at play, and the sudden dramatic turn in the wake of Tech’s sacrifice in season two adds massive amounts of strong emotions to how Hunter and Wrecker will do anything to find Omega and rescue her from Hemlock’s control. I’m guessing this rescue will not happen in episode three, but I’m about to find this out…right now… In episode three, Shadows of Tantiss , Hunter and Wrecker don’t appear, but Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who pays a visit to Hemlock’s facility, while Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo) convinces Omega that she must escape before Dr. Karr analyzes her blood sample. She tells Omega to retrieve her datapad to control a shuttle, but all shuttles are grounded until his departure due to the Emperor’s arrival.  This proves the escape to be a complicated one, but she enlists the help of Crosshair, whom she frees from his cell. The two improvise an escape by running through a lurca kennel chute before ray shields activate. This happened as Dr. Karr attempted to prevent Omega from escaping the facility, with Crosshair stunning her, which triggered an alarm. It’s an average escape story elevated, once more, by its bleak atmosphere, with Palpatine’s arrival setting up a much bigger role for him in the final season than in the previous two, and a reveal that sets the main story in motion. The action is entertaining and engaging enough, with Omega and Crosshair stealing an Imperial Shuttle to travel far away from Mount Tantiss. However, once Hemlock learns that the M-count in Omega’s blood is far superior to other clones, which can be used for his “Project Necromancer,” he abandons the chase between his clones and Omega/Crosshair, citing a “minor setback,” since he has the Empire’s might at his disposal. In just three episodes, the third season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch sets up an exciting final season that will, hopefully, stick to its main narrative instead of veering off into unnecessary filler that seemingly added nothing to the grand scheme of things. The showrunners leaned into its dark atmosphere much bolder here than in the first two seasons, signaling that this season won’t be as upbeat as its previous two installments. And it’s perhaps all the better for it, as I was far more invested in the journey of members of Clone Force 99 here than in the first two seasons.  Perhaps I’m too cynical, but The Clone Wars perfectly balanced emotionally riveting storytelling with splashes of entertaining filler. The Bad Batch never seemed to perfect that balance in its first two seasons, even if it contained a splash of decent episodes. This season shows promise, not only through its trailer (with the highly-anticipated return of Asajj Ventress!) but through its first three episodes, which sets the table for a finale that will hopefully redeem The Bad Batch ’s reputation as a worthwhile animated spinoff to The Clone Wars . Here’s hoping an animated sequel series to Rebels is in the works… The first three episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3 are now available to stream on Disney+.

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