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After last week’s low-stakes episode, the latest installment of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, “War-Mantle,” plays like the start of an exciting three-part finale. This show has always been good—you really care about its core cast of characters—but I don’t know that I’ve often felt as engaged as I was during the entire 70-minute premiere back in May.
“War-Mantle” (episode 14 of 16) gets things back to full throttle. Our heroes are in serious danger, the galaxy is changing in meaningful ways again, and we don’t know what’ll ultimately become of Hunter, Crosshair, Omega, or their brothers in the days and years ahead. This was a great episode.
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What happens in this episode of ‘The Bad Batch’?
This one opens with a nighttime scene on a planet called Daro, where a clone commando’s being chased through the woods on foot. He’s eventually caught, stunned, and taken prisoner by a couple of the Empire’s new “TK troopers”—early stormtroopers wearing armor faithfully styled after Ralph McQuarrie’s paintings from the mid-’70s.
Elsewhere, Captain Rex receives his distress call and forwards it to the Bad Batch because he’s not in a position to stage a rescue himself. The Batch is in the middle of a job for Cid already, but Omega—ever the group’s conscience—insists they’ve got to help their brother-in-arms.
Back home on Kamino, meanwhile, Admiral Rampart schemes to eliminate the Kaminoans and claim the world for himself when the time is right. Sensing this, Prime Minister Lama Su and his chief scientist, Nala Se, plot to flee the planet before that can happen. “I fear they will destroy us, rather than allow this operation to continue,” says Su. And he’s right. The age of the clone army is over, and the new guard has already begun to supplant it.
In fact, Gregor, the deserter captured at the start of the episode, had been training his own replacements—loyal recruits from across the galaxy—when he made the decision to run from the Empire. Among the Bad Batch, this mission means a lot to Echo in particular; he became a member of the Batch after being held as a prisoner of war on Skako Minor (in season seven of The Clone Wars). Walking into an Imperial mountain fortress full of trigger-happy stormtroopers is a tall order. But Echo knows getting Gregor out is worth the risk.
While Echo, Hunter, and Tech infiltrate the base and track down their comrade, Omega starts to worry back at the ship. Before long, she and Wrecker get a call from Hunter asking for emergency pickup near the summit of the mountain—they’re escaping through an exhaust port to evade the battalion of stormtroopers on their tail.
Unfortunately, the bucketheads find them soon enough. Enemy gunships and starfighters take flight to deal with the Batch’s shuttle, the Marauder, and a shootout ensues in the reactor shaft as Hunter and company wait for evac.
Tech and Gregor make it aboard the ship, but Hunter and Echo are left out on the ledge temporarily while their brothers deal with the fighters in the sky. Fleeing more blasterfire, Echo makes it back onto the Marauder, but Hunter takes a nasty tumble off the cliff, hitting a few redwood-sized trees on the way down. After a moment of consideration, he orders his squad to leave him and escape. They aren’t happy about it, but they do as commanded.
On Kamino, Rampart orders Lama Su’s execution as expected, but says he still has use for a scientist. This is ironic, of course, because Su has remained loyal to the Empire—or at least compliant—throughout the rest of the season. Nala Se, on the other hand, has quietly conspired against them at various points, helping the Bad Batch escape Imperial clutches and keeping Omega away from any potential Sith experiments.
At the end of the episode, Crosshair pays his brother a visit in a holding cell. “I was hoping for the whole squad,” he tells Hunter. “But you’ll do.”
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: ‘The Bad Batch’ season one, episode 14 recap: ‘War-Mantle’