After last week’s brilliant episode, The Bad Batch continues its great form with season two episode 12 titled ‘The Outpost’. Crosshair finally returns to the spotlight after his absence since episode three, and wow. This episode is amazing. From the snowy visuals, the worst Imperial officer that has ever existed and an emotional and powerful end, this week delivers on the show’s potential to be a sequel series to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Crosshair is paired with an insufferable Imperial officer, Lieutenant Nolan, who demands that Crosshair wears his helmet even before he introduces himself. His bored voice and dialogue that’s disrespectful at every turn really drives audiences to hate him. Voice actor Crispin Freeman does an excellent job here.
The reference to a helmet is a constant thematic device in Star Wars, but especially in this episode. Crosshair’s dark, Imperial helmet has been with him since the very start of the show, obscuring his face and blocking out his humanity. Later in the episode, he loses it and regains his humanity as a result.
But before that, the mission is to link up with clones at an icy outpost with high value cargo that needs protecting. There audiences meet new clone Mayday, who in a short time becomes endearing. He’s caring, humourous and even gets Crosshair to open up. He also tells Crosshair the truth about the Empire, that the clones are constantly neglected. It’s something Crosshair has seen before, but refuses to accept.
After an attack on the base, Crosshair and Mayday are forced to recover the cargo from the raiders. Again, Mayday relates to Crosshair, which is all Crosshair wants. He tried it with the Bad Batch, and he tried it with Cody. But each time he lost them, so he cut himself off.
After some explosive action, the crates are finally opened. And what’s this super important cargo that needs to be guarded? New armour for the clones’ replacements. This leads Mayday to deliver a heartfelt line of good soldiers follow orders, a flip on its normal, more creepy expression.
The explosions cause a terrifyingly detailed avalanche, forcing Crosshair and Mayday to run. Of course, it catches up to them, symbolising the fact that no matter how long Crosshair keeps kidding himself that the Empire cares about him, the truth that they’ll bat him aside because he’s expendable will swallow him whole.
He finds a severely injured Mayday, and instead of leaving him for dead, like the Crosshair from The Clone Wars would have done, he drags both of them back to the outpost. It’s a truly moving montage, and sets up the next scene very well.
At the end of this ordeal, they both make it back to the intolerable officer, Nolan. And he doesn’t have any sympathy at all, and despite Crosshair pleading, refuses to save Mayday. He just stands and watches as he dies. This is as heartbreaking for the audience as much as it is for Crosshair. After this, Crosshair finally realises the Empire is just using him and, in a cheer worthy moment, shoots Nolan.
After passing out on the floor, Crosshair wakes up in the bowls of Mount Tantiss, with Emerie Karr standing over him, no doubt preparing him for messed up experiments. This is truly a dark turn for Crosshair’s story, and it might lead him to become the first Death Trooper, or a soulless, brainwashed clone assassin as seen in episodes seven and eight. It also points to the importance of Mount Tantiss for the final four episodes.
Overall, this episode was easily one of the best episodes of the season, perhaps of the show as a whole. It shows how much this show can shine, the true moral depravity of the Empire, and features a well executed redemption. Hopefully it can avoid the Star Wars trope of killing off the redeemed character, and can continue with this level of excellence going with the last quarter of the season.