by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 7: Battle Scars
Tensions rise, questions are answered, and inhibitor chips are activated in the newest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The series’ seventh episode, Battle Scars, sees the Bad Batch join forces with Captain Rex as they seek out a way to deactivate the ticking time bombs inside their heads before it’s too late.
A stark contrast to the action heavy sixth episode, Battle Scars is a significant improvement – adopting a more slow burn pace that allows for plenty of suspense and intimacy. This is probably the most plot heavy episode since the terrific premiere and, while Crosshair, Tarkin and others are still absent, we’re treated to what ended up being a brilliant episode from start to finish. The return of Rex, while teased in promotional footage, was great to see and confirmed some suspicions after the appearance of a mysterious figure in last week’s episode. Rex’s inclusion added yet another sense of continuity between The Bad Batch and its predecessor series The Clone Wars. We’ve seen Rex in the waning days of the Clone Wars and his journey years later as a member of the Rebellion, but seeing him during this intermediary time added a new and interesting look at the character.
Rex’s inclusion also sparked the plot of this week’s episode: arrive at a medical facility and remove the inhibitor chips. And, due to this premise, there was a palpable sense of urgency throughout Battle Scars. Wrecker’s worrying headaches have increased and his utterance of “good soldiers…” was a chilling foretelling of what’s to come. It was a welcomed change of pace from last week’s episode with the slow burn, tension-building structure of Battle Scars.
In fact, there was relatively little action in this week’s episode, but, when blasters were raised, the action was intense and frightening. The moments leading up to Wrecker’s turn felt like every Bad Batch fan’s worst nightmare. Wrecker has been so endearing and sweet in the series so far, with Dee Bradley Baker conveying gentle giant energy to perfection. And his touching bond with Omega made Wrecker’s turn all the more gut wrenching. The sequence in which Wrecker tried to eliminate his friends, including Omega, was haunting and unpredictable. Will Wrecker remain this way as Crosshair did? Will we lose another member of the Bad Batch? Wrecker’s imposing strength also added a unique angle to this sequence as the brute force that often provides us with moments of humor suddenly became an imminent threat. This entire sequence was a “hold your breath” sort of moment and was executed superbly.
Speaking of superb execution, special attention should be drawn, once again, to the incredible animation on display this week. It was great to see Bracca make an appearance after its inclusion in Resistance Reborn and, more notably, Jedi: Fallen Order. The Bad Batch has done an excellent job so far in crafting unique settings for each episode, and Battle Scars continued this tradition. The wreckage on Bracca felt grand and vast, evoking what it was like to see massive collapsed Star Destroyers on Jakku in The Force Awakens. The beautiful water animation and design of the dilapidated ship were incredible to behold.
And, as the episode drew to a close, we’re left in an interesting position moving forward in the series. Rex encourages Clone Force 99 to join him in his efforts to defeat the Empire, but Hunter and the others are unsure what path to take. This concept of finding their way and their purpose in the changing landscape of the galaxy has been a central theme in The Bad Batch so far and it’ll be interesting to see how this continues to be explored in later episodes.
Greatly benefitting from a slower, more methodical pacing, Battle Scars tackles some important plot points in thrilling and chilling fashion. Tensions were high in an episode that saw Wrecker’s inevitable turn, and were beautifully balanced by touching moments of intimacy among the crew.
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm