“The Solitary Clone” is a darker episode of The Bad Batch than usual, and works as a sobering reminder that the cost of a Galactic Empire is blood.
This recap of Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 3, “The Solitary Clone”, contains spoilers.
Going much darker than The Bad Batch usually tends to, “The Solitary Clone”, framed in the perspective of the eponymous Crosshair, is a sobering reminder that the cost of the Galactic Empire’s reign is blood, and that one’s morality has to be surrendered at the feet of the Emperor to survive in it. To thrive in it requires something else entirely, characteristics that Crosshair might have proven he has, or realized he doesn’t, throughout the course of this half-hour.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 3 Recap
Clone Force 99 are nowhere to be seen this week. The episode begins and ends with Crosshair alone in his bunk, dining alone, and being summoned mid-meal by Vice Admiral Rampart. He is, and has always been, apart from the others. The other clones distrust him for his genetic mutations and his previous membership of the Bad Batch, but he abandoned that team to serve the Empire. Now, he has no allies left except his own ambition.
Rampart needs Crosshair on the former Separatist planet of Desix, where the leader, Tawni Ames, has made a hostage of the Imperial Governor, Grotton, sent there to force her into bending the knee. She has a cadre of reprogrammed Battle Droids left over from the Clone Wars, and she isn’t afraid to use them. She wants independence for Desix, and Rampart wants Crosshair, under the command of Cody, to make sure she doesn’t get it.
We hear chatter among the Clones about the Defense Recruitment Bill, and Cody tells Crosshair that many of the regs have been questioning Imperial rule after Order 66. Many are going AWOL. Crosshair considers them traitors. Cody doesn’t give away much about how he feels, but while one presumes it’s differently, he nonetheless goes about his duty for now.
The team infiltrate Desix under the guise of a diplomatic envoy, but Tawni, who at one point quotes Count Dooku’s claims that the Republic would eventually be replaced by something far worse, sees through the ruse, and the droids attack the ship. Cody, Crosshair, and some grunts survive, and begin to make their way through the building where Tawni is holding Grotton. A good chunk of “The Solitary Clone” is a very impressively animated action sequence.
There’s no banter here, as there usually is. Cody and Crosshair have an easy familiarity, rooted mainly in their competence, but they don’t really crack jokes and play slapstick as Clone Force 99 usually do. The episode loses something there, I think, but it replaces it with a more serious depiction of what Imperial rule comprises. Andor was pushing the same message, a reminder that an entire galaxy doesn’t just suddenly submit to totalitarianism. It has to be brutalized and broken first.
When Crosshair and Cody reach the very top of the tower where Tawni is, she holds Grotton at blaster-point. Cody is only able to talk her down by promising her a peaceful resolution, but Grotton, the second he’s free, orders him to shoot her. He won’t, but Crosshair does. “So much for peace,” intones Tawni, sadly realizing there’s no way out for her, and no future for Desix, that doesn’t involve death. Grotton, one of those awful front-office functionaries who revels in the power but isn’t cut out for the action, orders her body to be displayed in the town square as a message.
Cody, rightly, questions if this is truly making the galaxy better. Crosshair, as usual, hides behind his sense of duty. If he’s just following orders, as a good soldier should, then the blame must fall on those giving the orders, not those carrying them out. But Cody knows better. He reminds Crosshair that what separates the clones from droids is being able to make their own choices, and having to live with them afterwards.
Cody, it seems, can’t live with his, or doesn’t want to face what the next one might be. When Rampart gives Crosshair his next mission, he says that Cody has gone AWOL.
You can stream Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 3, “The Solitary Clone” exclusively on Disney+.
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