“Cut and Run” creates even more explicit connections to The Clone Wars while also deepening the characters of Clone Force 99 and Omega.
This recap of Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1, episode 2, “Cut and Run”, contains spoilers.
The idea that The Bad Batch is just another season of The Clone Wars isn’t exactly dispelled by the latest episode, “Cut and Run”, so-called for a couple of reasons. It reintroduces a couple of completely peripheral characters from that show, deserter clone Cut and his wife Suu, and gives new character Omega a chance at “freedom”, at least of a kind, away from the highly sought remains of Clone Force 99. While the former thread helps to give the show some large-scale macro worldbuilding texture, it’s the latter that really helps to set it apart, honing in on Omega as a conduit through which to unpack the personalities of the Bad Batch themselves, though Hunter in particular.
This is obviously a crucial difference since The Clone Wars was never so focused on the same clutch of characters. There were series regulars, of course, but a lot of them, and thanks to the way the episodes were structured – sometimes in multiple-part arcs, often out of chronological sequence – you could feasibly not check in on various important characters for half a season or longer. The unwavering focus of The Bad Batch episode 2, continuing directly on from the feature-length premiere, gives the story a sense of cohesion that really works, with Omega bolstering the emotional stakes and providing a new angle of childlike discovery and wonder that the hardened, well-traveled clones can’t supply.
Cut, Suu, and their children have been living in isolation for ages, hiding from first the Republic and now the Empire, but that transition to Imperial rule has imperilled them further since they now need chain codes to get off-planet, so travelling legally would expose Cut as a deserter. That’s the key obstacle of “Cut and Run”, but it’s a lower-key episode that mostly uses the Bad Batch’s interactions with Cut’s family, and Omega’s wonderment at seeing a planet that isn’t Kamino, to humanize everyone. When Clone Force 99 were introduced in a backdoor pilot in the final season of The Clone Wars, they were uncomplicated defective badasses with little depth. This is obviously an attempt to rectify that before the stakes are raised.
The Bad Batch is obviously relying on Omega for a lot of its emotional heft, so it’s just as well she’s a good character. Kids are so hard to like in film and TV; there’s a fine line between vulnerable and cloying, after all, and Omega balances along it well. Her fascination with natural flora, her lack of understanding of how to behave like a kid, the obvious kinship she feels with Clone Force 99 since she’s a “defective” outsider herself – all of this really works, and her decision to remain with the Batch feels organic as a result, rather than the contrived a*s-pull it might have been.
The Bad Batch season 1, episode 2 still seems, to me, like something much better-suited to existing fans of at least The Clone Wars, perhaps even more so after “Cut and Run”. That’s not such a bad thing, though, and anyone looking for a continuation of that particular style of Star Wars storytelling will continue to be well-served here.