Warning: This review contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1 Episode 2
Following up the Star Wars: The Bad Batch premier was always going to be difficult. The episode was a tight, almost feature-length premiere that offered up some of the best Star Wars animated content ever, and that's perhaps why the second episode of the new series, titled ''Cut and Run”, seems like a fairly significant drop in quality. However, it's still far from a bad episode – it just suffers from following up a near-perfect opening act.
Whereas “Aftermath” focused on the frenetic moments immediately after Order 66, “Cut and Run” sees The Bad Batch settle into what will likely be the show's energy going forward. And if this episode is any indication, The Bad Batch looks set to continue revisiting Clone Wars characters and storylines, which may end up being to its own detriment.
The Bad Batch (minus Crosshair and plus Omega) head to Saleucami to visit old friends Cut, Suu, and their two children. Cut Lawuane is a clone who deserted the army in Clone Wars season 2, but, since then, it hasn’t been mentioned how he's coping with – or reacting to – Order 66. That’s also not addressed in the new episode, a glaring omission considering how central the inhibitor chips have been thus far to the series (the chips are even mentioned moments after Cut's reintroduction).
Turns out, the main crew has just missed Rex, who was relieved of his inhibitor chip in The Clone Wars season 7. The look on Echo's face when he realizes he and his bestie passed like two ships in the night hits you square in the chest, a feeling that the episode attempts to recreate several times – and only sometimes succeeds. While there are a few lovely moments where Hunter struggles with his burgeoning affection for Omega and the Batch learns the difficulties of fatherhood, there are parts of “Cut and Run” that are lacking.
That might be because the episode feels like it's for a younger audience than its predecessor, focusing on Omega meeting other children for the first time and getting into trouble as only kids can, all while teeing her up for larger, more existential troubles down the line. There's a particular scene where the music is so jarringly un-Star Wars and much more children's TV show that I actually winced. That scene in particular is a strange juxtaposition to a 72-minute long mini-movie that feels like it could be seamlessly converted to live action.
However, there are still parts that shine: moments that remind us just how scary this fledgling Empire can be and how it mimics the worst parts of our (recent) history. The Empire is registering people and refusing travel to anyone who doesn't have a chain code that only it can assign. This means refugees or people seeking to return to their home planet are being turned away by Stormtroopers – it's a painful sight and one that hits close to home. Because Cut is a deserter, he can't register with the Empire, so the Bad Batch puts a plan in motion to get the refugee family on the ship – including Omega, who Hunter feels belongs with a family more accustomed to child-rearing.
But that's not what happens, of course, as Omega gets caught up in the Batch's plan and, once again, saves the day. It's no surprise that she runs from the chance to travel with the more nuclear family and prefers her ragtag batch of dads instead. It's clear to Cut and Suu that Hunter has a fatherly affection for Omega, and while none of the Batch have any idea how to be fathers (Three Men and a Baby, anyone?), it becomes increasingly obvious that Omega belongs with the motley crew. It's also obvious that Omega is incredibly special – as Cut says: "Kaminoans don't create without a purpose. You all have one, so what's hers?" For now, Omega is the glue holding the Bad Batch together, but just what will happen to this special clone remains to be seen.
There is an especially poignant moment where Omega is sitting in the cockpit of the Batch's ship, staring out into the sunset from the first proper planet she's ever been on, slowly removing the headpiece that clearly marked her as some type of servant. She is the series' beating heart, and the show sings whenever Omega is involved. Hopefully the last two episodes' revisits of Clone Wars and Rebels characters serves only to bolster up the Bad Batch and Omega so that they can take center stage later on in the season. If not, we're just getting another Clone Wars season that we didn't ask for.