Paternal instincts are strong with this Disney+ era of Star Wars.
Hunter found that out the hard way, as his burgeoning fatherly relationship with the clone child Omega reaches a heart-melting zenith with the second episode of The Bad Batch. “Cut And Run”, so titled for reasons that soon become patently clear, is rife with chain code intrigues and deep-cut guest appearances, but it’s all in service of underscoring what we were already beginning to suspect by the end of the premiere episode: Hunter and Omega are Star Wars’ latest found family unit, Din and Grogu version 2.0.
We’re probably still weeks away before the braintrust behind The Bad Batch really starts playing high-stakes emotional checkers with our hearts, but it was enough to dangle the mere possibility of Omega leaving the Batch’s modified Omicron-class attack shuttle for safer shores to make us better appreciate its emotional stakes. As far as long-game plot positioning is concerned, it was necessary to get Hunter and Omega where they were by the end of this week’s allotted 30 minutes—let Tarkin and Crosshair and all their nefarious ilk keep for now.
Directed by Steward Lee and written by Gursimran Sandhu, “Cut and Run” down-shifts the premiere episode’s bombast for some much-needed character growth from the new kid in the batch, Omega. This week, she enjoys her first glimpse at broad daylight outside of the perpetually stormy Kamino, and even experienced her first handful of dirt. (“It’s amazing,” Omega declares.) She meets two small kids her own age and even contends with the complexities of a game of catch. All the while Hunter watches on, grimly calculating the risks of keeping a child around when there’s a literal armada of Imperials currently scouring the galaxy for their hides. His brain tells him one thing, his heart… another.
Hunter’s internal conflict comes to a head during the series’ first planetary pit stop. The Havoc Marauder sets course for the Saleucami system, home to vast fields of Seussian basketball-tipped stalks and gigantic cat-monsters, as well as Cut & Suu Lawquane, the outcast couple from “The Deserter” episode in The Clone Wars’ second season. (I suppose Rex, who gets a mention this week, suggested offscreen that Hunter should visit Cut at some point?) Cut, a former clone trooper who has since carved out a quiet life for himself with Suu and their adorable kids (Shaeeah and Jek), has come to a stark conclusion regarding his home and the imposing presence of a post-war Empire. Saleucami has become too dangerous for his family—he intends on leaving with them on the next available transport—which gives the episode a ticking clock and forces Hunter to make a rash decision concerning Omega.
So, yes; while the Batch came to Cut for some advice about how they could effectively lay low, Cut’s personal dramas quickly takes precedent. But not before Cut shares a tantalizing bit of Rex gossip: “He was going on about some ‘behavioral implant’,” Cut says to the Batch, which prompts Omega to inform the crew about the now infamous behavior-shifting inhibitor chips implanted in every clone. (Hunter: “Tech, you said the regs were programmed but you never mentioned a chip.” Tech: “How else did you think it worked?” Real helpful, Tech.)
Getting the Lawquane family on a transport, it turns out, requires a bit of impromptu hacking and subterfuge on behalf of Tech and Echo—and, of course, Omega, who continues to quietly observe the Batch and their various wartime methods. This caper nudges the young clone a little closer to the series’ core, where it’s starting to feel like her fate might have larger consequences for the Batch, and this show, than the fates of most of her older, more battle-hardened contemporaries.
What does this mean for Hunter, ostensibly Omega’s new dad? He spends most of the episode observing Cut’s lovely family life with a faint mix of confusion and wanting painted over his skull-tattooed face. Will taking Omega under his protection cause this renegade warrior to go soft in the crucial episodes to come—or will Hunter become even more of a John Rambo in her defense? There’s something telling in the way the show frames Cut’s small piece of advice to Hunter before he took his family and booked it for parts unknown: quit being a soldier and start making a new life for yourself. That would be sound advice, were it not for the target painted on Hunter’s back.
- Clone Wars narrator Tom Kane made a stirring introduction for The Bad Batch’s premiere, but he sat this episode out. Maybe he’ll be back for the finale?
- Still waiting on that Echo/Rex reunion, show.
- Is it just me, or did that feral cat monster look exactly like the Nexu from the Geonosian gladiator sequence from Episode II—Attack of the Clones? Nexus are native to Cholganna, not Saleucami, but the resemblance is there.
- Omega, sitting alone aboard the Havoc Marauder and pondering her very-near future, removes the… jewel or trinket (?) from her forehead—what do you suppose its symbols represent?
- Cut’s insistence that they leave on the next transport just as the Batch walked through his door felt like he was rushing things a bit, maybe even putting his family in danger unnecessarily. Was he using the Batch to get what he needed, or was the Empire actually closing in on Cut and I just missed it?
- Tech: “We can’t get caught with these chain codes.” Echo: “We can’t get caught at all. What are you talking about?!”
- “This great plan of yours is looking really lousy about now.” Echo has all the zingers this week.
- So what do you think, group? Will Crosshair actually hit a couple of his targets until what we’re left with is ostensibly Star Wars: Logan? Will Wrecker find a more suitable use for that gonk droid than an unwilling dumbbell? And what has become of Lula? Sound off in the comments below.