The final episode of the Bad Batch arc “Unfinished Business” is so good. It’s a great ending to the first four episodes.
Trust is a big theme of this episode, because we get to see how trust effects our heroes and the Separatists. The Bad Batch don’t trust Echo, wondering if he’s now a Separatist spy. Echo has to prove to them that his intensions are good. He doesn’t have problems with Rex and Anakin. They’ve known him long enough to support his choices. But Echo must go above and beyond to prove himself to the Bad Batch. And he succeeds allowing him to have a new place to start over (more on that in a minute).
This is the opposite of the Separatists, who are all out for themselves. Last episode, Wat Tambor doesn’t tell any of his allies that he lost Echo. He’s more concerned about how this loss will affect his money. His fear of confiding in Admiral Trench is what makes Trench lose his battle. Also, Trench fears the wrath of Dooku so much that he’d rather blow up the planet than say he lost. If the Clone Wars hadn’t ended with Palpatine calling on Order 66 to wipe out the Jedi, I think this lack of trust would have been the eventual cause of the Separatists ultimately losing. Most of them are not like Mina Bonteri, who was actually a good person that left the corrupt Republic on moral grounds.
To use my best judging Obi-Wan Kenobi voice, “Oh Anakin…”
Anakin has two sides this season. He has his public self and his private self. Around other people, he’s the fun loving general messing with Rex and Obi-Wan, cracking jokes, and being a super star Jedi parkour master. But when he’s alone with Admiral Trench, we can see how far he has slid away from the Light Side. He’s not taking prisoners anymore. You can see the anger on his face. He’s not trying to hold that back. Unlike earlier seasons where killing might have been a last resort, he straight up murders Trench. And he makes a little quip about killing him too.
Clone Wars has done such an amazing job at showing how Anakin has slowly been corrupted. His fall to the Dark Side make sense. He has lost so much. He’s almost at the point of no return.
I’m so glad this arc got to focus on the clones, especially Rex. Like I said in my review for the first episode, it’s a smart choice to ease us back into the series with a clone focused arc. Rex has been a staple character since the beginning, and he’s had such an amazing journey up to this point. Like Anakin, Rex has lost so much and is getting pretty tired of this war. I mentioned in my podcast covering the Ahsoka Leaves story that Rex didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Ahsoka. He’s lost just about every person he cares about. Which is why I love the end of this episode with him letting Echo go.
For once, Rex has a choice in the matter. He has the choice to let someone he loves walk away. Instead of pressuring Echo to stay for his [Rex’s] feelings, Rex encourages Echo to be with people like him. He also has a say in the matter unlike the Ahsoka arc. Echo is not taken away by death or carnage. He’s not forced to leave by the Jedi Order. Echo gets to go enjoy a new path, and Rex had the option to let him do it. We clearly see that this is a hard choice for Rex. I’m sure his reaction to Ahsoka leaving was similar. But seeing Rex have his own agency on this matter is empowering for him and for me as a viewer who has watched his journey unfold for the last decade.
Echo’s story is so well written. He’s suffered through so much and experienced a deep amount of trauma. Instead of letting that consume him, he learns and grows from it. He decides to take his fate into his own hands. It’s inspiring to see.
But he also knows that he can’t return to his old way of life anymore. It will never be the old normal for him. The rest of Domino Squad is gone. My heart breaks thinking about him learning about Fives’ death. And Echo’s not like regular clones anymore. Rex will always accept him. But we saw in episode one of this season how Kix and Jesse viewed the rest of the Bad Batch, clones who are vastly different from them even though they’re all brothers. This kind of prejudice would probably follow Echo too.
It’s fitting he chooses to go with the Bad Batch. He earned their trust and a new little family with them. For the first time since the Citadel back in season three, Echo gets to choose his own path. Yes, the end of the war is coming. But for a short amount of time, Echo gets to live free with people who truly understand him.
Here’s some random thoughts I had to round out the episode:
-I love the moment Mace Windu gives the droids a chance to surrender, and my lovable battle droids are like, “NAH!” and shoots at them.
-I’ve missed watching Clone Wars Obi-Wan. He’s so sassy and fun even in battles. Though at the end of this arc and knowing how much of the rest of the season is going to be Ahsoka focused, I have to wonder how big Obi-Wan’s role is going to be this season.
-I love the sequence of Wrecker and Crosshair trying to one up each other with their droid kill counts. It’s very Legolas and Gimli from Lord of the Rings.
I really enjoyed the Bad Batch arc. It was a great way to kick off Clone Wars. But since I was familiar with the story from the released 2015 animatics, there weren’t many surprises for me. I am so ready to get into brand new content especially with Ahsoka. She’s my favorite Star Wars character. She means so much to me. I’m ready to see my girl come back into the series.
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