“War-Mantle” kicks off another multi-part story arc as Clone Force 99 set out to rescue a fellow clone.
This recap of Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1, episode 14, “War-Mantle”, contains spoilers.
In the dark, gloomy opening of The Bad Batch episode 14, a runaway Stormtrooper flees through a glum forest, being pursued by some indigenous creatures and a platoon of his fellows. Eventually, he’s stunned by his colleagues and dragged away, and the next we know, Rex is contacting Clone Force 99 to ask them to retrieve an old friend of his who has sent him a distress signal. It’s all very clandestine. Tech determines that the signal, sent by CC-5576 (that, by the way, is Gregor’s designation), is originating from Daro, a planet in the Outer Rim. So, that’s where we’re going in “War-Mantle”.
This does, though, mean abandoning a job from Cid, which isn’t great for the Bad Batch’s financial future, but doing the right thing is more important. Admiral Rampart and Crosshair, meanwhile, continue to “keep an eye” on the Kaminoans, who are now shipping their clones off elsewhere and can’t seem to get any other private contracts for their scientific advancements. The Prime Minister realizes the jig is up, and that the Empire would sooner destroy them rather than allow them to empower any potential adversaries, so plans are made to flee posthaste, which surely won’t go down well when they’re discovered.
Clone Force 99 arrives on Daro in The Bad Batch season 1, episode 14, and immediately discovers the source of the signal, but not the clone. Hunter puts his nose to the ground, literally, and uses his tracking skills to sense the chase we saw in the cold open. The clone was dragged back towards a mysterious mountain that seemingly belies the complete inactivity indicated by the initial scans of the planet. What’s going on here? “War-Mantle” keeps its cards close to its chest for now.
It seems that the Empire has, at the very least, built a nearly impenetrable base within the mountain, which makes springing CC-5576 a much more difficult proposition than before. Hunter is reluctant to go through with the mission, but Echo, calling back to the mission to Skako Minor that freed him in the first place, talks him around. But things get even more complicated when the Bad Batch discover that 1000 “TK” troops are apparently stationed on the base — a distinction none of them are familiar with. After springing Gregor, Tech’s efforts to redirect the base’s forces trigger a security alert, so the team is forced to fight through to the top of the base while Gregor explains that these Stormtroopers are the clones’ ostensible replacements, who he was training. They’re loyal to the Empire and come from all over the galaxy in endless supply.
While Omega and Wrecker wait back at the Marauder, Clone Force 99 and Gregor are forced to make a slight detour, during which Gregor catches a couple of rounds. They’re eventually able to get a message to Omega and Wrecker requesting a pickup, leading to a tense stand-off on a cliff edge when the Stormtroopers figure out their escape plan. This is one of the better-crafted action sequences in the season thus far. The setup is simple enough, but it takes place in the air and on the ground, has lots of little character moments like Omega MacGuyvering the Marauder, and leads to Hunter tumbling to the forest floor, where he orders everyone else to leave and is forced to surrender to the Empire, much to Omega’s distress.
“War-Mantle” ends — after a brief diversion on Kamino, where Rampart reveals he has no further use of the Prime Minister — with Crosshair confronting Hunter in his cell.