TV Reviews

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Season Two) – TV Review

The first season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch was something of a bitter-sweet thing. For many fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars it felt like both a continuation of the series we loved, and the sign that it had come to an end.

Yes, we’d seen the final moments of the war play out in the series’ seventh season, but the opening episode of The Bad Batch beginning with the series’ logo burning its way through The Clone Wars logo made it clear that despite featuring some characters from the previous show, and being done in the same art style, this was not really a continuation, because there was no more Clone Wars. Instead of following galaxy-wide war, this new series shifted focus to a small group of clones gone rogue, the titular Bad Batch (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). Across the first season we watched as the team became a family, adopted a girl to protect, lost a brother, and fought for a place to exist within a galaxy that didn’t want them.

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The second season of The Bad Batch begins much the same way, with the team simply trying to get by the best they can. Some time has passed between seasons, with the Batch having customised their armour a bit more to further step away from the Empire, and Omega (Michelle Ang) having gown her hair out a little and progressed in her training. The team seems to have fallen into a more relaxed way of working with each other, and it really does start to feel like they’re less of a squad, and more of a family.

Over the first several episodes we spend some time focusing on each member of the group, and the series almost seems to be teasing ways in which the team could be finding their own interests, and places where they could one day settle down, whether that’s Tech finding out he makes a pretty good racing pilot, or Wrecker making friends with the Wookiees. We even spend some time away from the team to check in with their wayward brother, Crosshair, as he undertakes missions for the Empire. For the early parts of the season it’s this look at Crosshair that’s the most impressive, both visually and from a storytelling point of view. We begin to see the real divide forming inside the Empire between the old army and the new. Stormtroopers are replacing the clones, and the clones are being used as expendable assets to be thrown into danger instead of as living beings.


Whilst the early episodes that focused on the main team fell into what could be described as an ‘adventure of the week’ pattern, we get interrupted from our adventures at the halfway point in the season with a two-part story that further explores the lives of the clones in a wider way. We get to see how the Empire as a whole is changing, moving further away from the Republic, how it’s affecting every clone, and what the wider galaxy thinks about it. With the first of these two episodes not even featuring any of our series stars, it becomes the first hint that the series is not operating in a vacuum, that despite wanting to find a quiet life for themselves the Batch will never be able to escape the ever encroaching nature of the Empire.

The final six episodes of the season mark one of the best runs in Star Wars animation as the show brings back The Clone Wars threads that have been left hanging for 13 years (I screamed at my TV at this), pushed members of the team like never before in emotionally impactful stories, and gave us what is best described as their Empire Strikes Back moment of despair and an ending that leaves you feeling shaken. If the show doesn’t come back for a third season after this I will not be forgiving Star Wars.


The first season of The Bad Batch was a really entertaining show, but that almost felt like all it was, just entertaining. I had no major criticisms of it, but it never felt like essential Star Wars viewing for me. And at first the second season felt similar. It was telling good stories, but nothing that wowed me.

But it feels like the show-makers knew that, that they wanted viewers to think that season two would give them much more of the same as the first before it pulled the rug out from under them. This season tells the best stories this group of characters have ever been used in, and much like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, the show seems to have taken a while to find its feet and figure out what kind of show it’s going to be. If The Bad Batch carries on being what it is in the final stretch of this season for upcoming ones then it’s going to be one of the best Star Wars projects for TV.

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This series not only marked an improvement in writing, but in animation too. There are a number of episodes where the show looks absolutely gorgeous, and this style of Star Wars has never looked better than it does here. There are several episodes that seem to not only have improved upon the style of animation, but pushed it in new ways. Atmosphere physics and tiny details that make the worlds we visit feel real and alive turn interesting moments into ones that make you stop and say wow. Comparing the very first times we saw this style of Star Wars animation to now, it’ incredible how far it has come, and how gorgeous The Bad Batch gets to look.

If you’re a fan of this group of characters there’s a lot to enjoy with this new season. Things have never been more exciting for the Batch, and the costs of their adventures have never been higher. This season will make you gasp out loud at some of the twists and turns it makes, you’ll laugh along with our heroes as they get to have fun and let their hair down, and you’ll cry too. This season does not play around. It has big plans that are tying into some major things happening in Star Wars right now, and it feels like this is only just the beginning of where this story is going to go.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is now streaming on Disney+.

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