The Spool / Reviews
Season 3 of The Bad Batch closes on a satisfying note
The final season of the Star Wars side adventure goes to some unexpectedly moving places.
9.0
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The final season of the Star Wars side adventure goes to some unexpectedly moving places.

Into a television landscape suddenly devoid of Star Wars content, The Bad Batch swoops in with its third and final season, a darker yet not grittier adventure that loops its way into the greater Universe’s timeline while still managing to surprise an audience who knows how much of this story ends. 

Picking up some time after the end of Season 2 (though there are several short time skips throughout the initial eight episodes), Omega (Michelle Ang) remains imprisoned in the Imperial scientific testing facility in Mount Tantiss. Ostensibly there to assist cloning expert Nala Se and fellow female clone Emerie (Keisha Castle-Hughes), it’s clear to both Omega and the audience that she’s there for more nefarious purposes, including mysterious bloodwork that Emerie has been conducting on all of the clones and of which Nala Se is insistent that Omega not be a part. Omega is the shining star of this season from the first episode; determined, loyal, and brave (not to mention generally smarter than all of her brothers), Omega is the sort of female character on which Star Wars (and internet controversy) thrives. Decried from her very introduction, Omega has cemented her place as the heart of the Bad Batch, both the series and its namesake group. 

Omega’s plans are simple: to rescue her fellow captive, former Bad-Batcher Crosshair, and reunite with the remaining members of their team, mercenaries Hunter and Wrecker. (Dee Bradley Baker voices every adult male clone.) Suffering from several different layers of PTSD, Crosshair refuses to believe that escape is possible or that, should it become so, he deserves it, and Hunter and Wrecker spend much of the early episodes information-seeking, leaving the story’s heavy lifting on Omega’s capable shoulders. 

Lurking around the edges of Omega’s plans is returning villain Doctor Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson), bringing a genuine menace to the proceedings as he threatens and cajoles his prisoners and peers in equal measure. Hemlock’s goals are pretty clear to anyone with a working knowledge of the First Order shenanigans to come, but The Bad Batch wisely dances around spelling these plans out entirely, allowing for fanatics and casual viewers alike to enjoy the story unfolding. 

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 (Disney+)
(Lucasfilm, Ltd)

It’s in the experience of those casual viewers that The Bad Batch, like Ahsoka and The Mandalorian before it, starts to falter. Viewers can ignore various Easter eggs or figure them out with context clues, but once again cameos clog a Star Wars series. By roughly Episode Six of the season, no fewer than five more clone characters have shown up (and should everyone be in their armor all of the time? They’re in hiding.), at least one pseudo-villain is back in play, and, as ever, Palpatine has returned, with the season’s trailer teasing even more appearances. It’s fun and often thrilling to see a familiar character grace our screens once more, but sometimes the new(ish) characters need a chance to breathe. 

This isn’t to say that the returning characters aren’t utilized to the best of their abilities, only that when every introduction is a moment, then none of them are. Hunter, Wrecker, Crosshair, and Omega’s stories lose something when every new turn has to allow for the applause to die down after Rex, Echo, or Gregor makes his entrance. 

Where The Bad Batch excels this season is in the emotional stakes. Actions have consequences, betrayals aren’t immediately forgiven, and there are visible, physical reactions to trauma, something that many live-action shows still have difficulty with. People are suffering, well and truly suffering, and while this might not seem like anything to celebrate, it’s a necessary evil in a story about occupation and war. The excellent score by Kevin Kiner heightens these emotional stakes and gives the show the flair that any good space opera needs. Tensions climb as the season progresses and we can only watch breathlessly as they coalesce. The Bad Batch’s final season is a whirlwind of pain, adventure, found family, and action, a fitting wrap-up to a series that has truly been a gem.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 3 premieres February 21 on Disney+.

The Bad Batch Season 3 Trailer: