This review contains spoilers for ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch.’
The second season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch is stronger than the first, benefiting from the first season’s strong foundation and a permanent destabilization of the galaxy our characters had known. It has its fair share of flaws, but the sophomore season adds a welcome touch of sophistication in a franchise that can’t rely on Andor to do all the heavy lifting.
Omega (Michelle Ang) and Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker) are the prime beneficiaries of this added sophistication. Omega benefits immensely from writing that avoids a lot of the clichés child characters are often burdened with. Omega is not precocious, but a character who makes mistakes, learns from them, and has a naïveté that smartly observes parts of the world that don’t make sense. She is also the beating emotional heart of the show – now that she has a family, she doesn’t want to lose it and that’s an anchor the show really needs.
Crosshair’s character arc this season is particularly rewarding. The inhibitor chip designed to ensure Order 66 made sense from a story efficiency perspective, but it lost some sense of satisfaction because clones actively deciding to assassinate their Jedi leaders is a more interesting story.
The Bad Batch recognized that story beat and worked to address it through Crosshair’s arc. At the end of Season 1, he revealed that he was loyal to the Empire even though his inhibitor chip had been removed. It was a shocking moment that made sense; Crosshair is the type of soldier who is more loyal to a fascist system of law and order than the rest of his companions. This season smartly puts that loyalty to the test.
It’s not a simple change, thankfully, but rather a season-long process of Crosshair’s loyalty crumbling. Some moments are a bit heavy-handed, but the overall story works well enough to where it’s not much of an issue. It remains to be seen where Crosshair’s story goes but it was important for him to recognize that fascist structures of law and order don’t give a damn about anything but subservience, that everyone is expendable to the state.
As we leave the second and penultimate season of this show, Tech is dead and Omega has been captured. The cloning Imperial project is in full swing and things look particularly dire. How the third and final season of the show comes to an end is up in the air but with its commitment to there being actual consequences, there’s enough curiosity for me to come back.
Season 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.