With the release of the latest Mandalorian Season 3 trailer and the upcoming release date of March 1st, I decided to do a Mando rewatch of Seasons 1&2, as well as the two episodes in The Book of Boba Fett (and perhaps all of BoBF). Since it seemed so far away for so long, I hadn’t really thought about the show for the last year or so, but I’m definitely getting back into that Mando vibe. The spaghetti western beats, the music, and of course, Baby! I forgot how much I love it. Here’s the trailer for S3, in the off chance you haven’t seen it yet:
As expected, it looks like we’re going to get more focused on Mandalore, what it means to be a Mandalorian in this post-Empire period, what role Din Djarin will play, and of course, Grogu’s growing Force powers. I won’t unpack everything in this trailer, but suffice it to say, I’m psyched!
And of course I’ve been watching Season 2 of The Bad Batch. I really missed these guys, too. Here are some thoughts on the first four episodes:
Eps 1&2 “The Spoils of War” and “The Ruins of War”: The two-part opener has our crew going on a mission for Cid, but also for themselves–if they can snatch some of Count Dooku’s “War Chest” that the Empire is confiscating, then they can retire to an easier, safer life, which is something Hunter in particular would like for Omega. Echo thinks they should be doing more against the Empire, and makes his thoughts known to Hunter; unfortunately, Omega overhears and misunderstands him, thinking she’s put a wrench into their style of life. This makes her particularly keen on succeeding in the mission.
While not spectacular as a season opener, it’s still entertaining, and I really like how it focuses on character development. Echo and Tech, in particular, get more screen time; Echo has a few touching moments with Omega, and Tech has a learning moment with Romar. Tech also comports himself admirably in combat with the clone regs, despite a broken leg. Wrecker, not normally the innovative one, throws together a new weapon out of Separatist wreckage, and Hunter has to do a bit of tech work that, well, Tech usually does. Romar also reminds Omega just to be a kid.
The clone reg in charge of defending the War Chest mission for the Empire, Wilco, makes his report to Rampart, telling him that it’s Clone Force 99 that tried to steal the treasure. Thinking they had died on Kamino, and in fear of consequences for his failure, he tells Wilco to change the report and lie. Wilco refuses, and Rampart kills him. Truly, the clones are too good for the Empire. Despite the inhibitor chip (the influence of which seems to be waning), some clones are still operating under the principles of the Republic, as Cody will demonstrate in Episode 3.
Episode 3 “The Solitary Clone”: This exceptional episode catches us up with Crosshair, and reintroduces Captain Cody. Crosshair was finally rescued from Kamino after, I don’t know, 32 rotations or something, after being left for dead. And yet he still remains loyal to the Empire, something that even Rampart questions. “I’m a soldier of the Empire,” he responds. I’m starting to think that Crosshair stays with the Empire, despite removing the chip, because he doesn’t know how to do anything else except be a soldier. The rest of the Batch aren’t soldiers anymore, not really, and their future is vague. Perhaps he doesn’t know who he is outside of his assassin skills. The rest of the Batch are willing to find out who they are beyond soldiers, but Crosshair is stubbornly refusing, perhaps out of fear. Anyway, that’s my take on it.
So Rampart has a mission for him, although he’s not in charge–Cody is. Fans have been wondering what has happened to Cody after Order 66 (at least in canon), and I’m happy to see that he’s questioning the Empire and himself. (In Legends, he remains loyal to the Empire, which makes me sad, lol). So he and Crosshair are assigned to go to Desix to rescue an Imperial Governor named Grotton after he’s taken prisoner by the world’s rightful governor, Tawni Ames. The planet was a Separatist world during the Clone Wars, and feels the Empire has no jurisdiction there. The Empire, of course, feels differently.
We get a really amazing sequence of events as Cody’s team makes their assault and battles B-1 battle droids and droidekas, and it feels like old times with clones against battle droids again. But this time they’re fighting for the Empire, and the rules have changed. Cody and Crosshair are impressive as they work together to gain access to Grotton, but Cody negotiates with Tawni Ames (definitely Kenobi’s man) and convinces her to release him. He seems not to understand that the Empire does not negotiate, that the principles of the Republic do not apply here, and Grotton commands him to shoot her. Cody hesitates, but Crosshair doesn’t and kills her. Cody watches helplessly as stormtroopers arrive on Desix, and realizes this is not a galaxy he recognizes.
Back on Coruscant, Cody asks Crosshair if they’re making the galaxy a better place. Again, Crosshair replies with “We’re soldiers, we do what needs to be done.” Cody remarks that what makes them different from battle droids is that they make their own decisions, and have to live with them. Later, Rampart tells Crosshair that Cody has gone AWOL, and I’m so happy about that! I’m hoping he comes across Rex and we see him again, fighting against the Empire. But now Crosshair is, once again, all alone. The regs don’t like him, and now even Cody is gone. And despite his loyalty, the Empire doesn’t trust or respect him. What’s it gonna take, Crosshair??? Lol. I’m really looking forward to his arc this season.
Episode 4 “Faster”: Some fans might call this one “filler,” and maybe they’re right in a way. I don’t care for the word, though; I prefer “breather.” It is a bit jarring after the super-heavy episode 3, but it’s nice once in a while just to have a bit of fun. And this one focuses on Tech, who is my favorite at the moment.
This one has Tech, Wrecker and Omega (Hunter and Echo are off on a transport mission) accompanying Cid to Safa Toma, which hosts a form of podracing called “Riot Racing.” Cid has a droid racer named Tay-0 who’s quite annoying and funny, and who loses the race to a racer owned by a Dowutin named Millegi. Cid and Millegi, who seem to have a shady past together, made a bet on the race, and now Cid owes him credits she doesn’t have. Omega, who seems fond of Cid but probably shouldn’t be, proposes another race. But Tay-0 gets busted up and Tech decides he’ll step in and be the racer.
Tech employs his own strategy to win the race: instead of focusing on hurting or disabling the other racers, he gets rid of his own weapons in order to go faster; he also takes a risk on a shortcut, using his pilot skills to win the day. Using thoughtfulness over aggression is very Star Warsy, and I think George Lucas himself, who had a need for speed, would appreciate this episode.
I think this episode also sets up some trouble ahead with Cid. When they’re leaving, they’re warned by Millegi that their loyalty to Cid will not be rewarded in kind. Perhaps a Cid betrayal will spur the Batch on to bigger and better things. I can’t wait to find out!