REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch,’ Episode 14 – “War-Mantle”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Star Wars The Bad Batch Episode 14

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14 is undoubtedly one of the best episodes in the series since the premiere, with a sense of urgency and intensity that was lacking from “Infested.” “War-Mantle” sees the Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang)  being contacted by Captain Rex in the middle of a mission, who has a request for them. Unfortunately, one of Rex’s comrades, Gregor, has been detained on the planet Daro, which leads to the Batch embarking on a rescue mission. While on Daro, they learn that the Empire has been slowly replacing clones with human stormtroopers and in far greater numbers.

Ever since the premiere of The Bad Batch, it’s been fairly obvious that the Batch would wind up fighting against the Empire. True, there have been diversions due to their jobs as mercenaries, but episodes like “Common Ground” and “Rescue on Ryloth” have shown the Empire slowly tightening its grasp on the galaxy. “War-Mantle” shows what happens when an immovable object (in the form of the Empire) meets an unstoppable force (in the form of the Batch). Director Steward Lee never lets up on the action once the Batch gets to Duro; they find themselves in multiple firefights and, in true Batch fashion, have to come up with an unorthodox rescue on the fly.

What makes “War-Mantle”‘s action sequences different from other episodes is the sheer number of foes the Batch faces. Gregor makes it clear that the Empire is a far different beast than the Republic and that it’s conscripted a large number of soldiers for its cause. The Batch has several advantages, however. They know how to work as a unit, they often go for the unexpected path, and unlike most stormtroopers, they were literally bred for battle. Part of Star Wars‘ appeal is that the heroes are almost always at a disadvantage and manage to turn it into an advantage, and The Bad Batch constantly finds new spins to place on this trope.

The episode finally fulfills some of the series’ untapped potential by shifting the focus to Hunter, Echo, and Tech while Wrecker and Omega stand by as backup. A large issue I’ve had with the series is that Echo and Tech have mainly served as background characters, with the lion’s share of character development given to Hunter due to his relationship with Omega. I understand that the crew is trying to recapture the same lightning in a bottle that The Mandalorian achieved with Din Djarin and Grogu’s bond.

Still, the Batch is an ensemble, first and foremost, and writer Damani Johnson manages to utilize that to great effect. Hunter and Echo have butted heads over their role in combatting the Empire before, and here Echo likens rescuing Gregor to when the Batch helped rescue him on Skekko Minor during the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Tech is also forced to improvise more than usual, as the Imperial facility on Daro doesn’t carry clone codes and immediately pings his slicing efforts.

“War-Mantle” also briefly returns to Kamino, where the Empire is slowly beginning to end the cloning operations. Not only does this sequence show the Empire’s ruthlessness in dealing with “loose ends,” but it also hints that the series will have its finale on Kamino. I’ve always said that the best endings are circular; the protagonist returning to their home is as circular as it gets. And given how much the Batch has grown since their initial escape from Kamino, the possibilities are ripe for an emotional ending.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14 begins the march to the season finale, ending with a cliffhanger that puts one of the Batch in danger. With only two episodes left in the first season, the series is ramping up to a major confrontation between the Batch and the Empire.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch will be available to stream Fridays on Disney+.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14, "War-Mantle"
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14 begins the march to the season finale, ending with a cliffhanger that puts one of the Batch in danger. With only two episodes left in the first season, the series is ramping up to a major confrontation between the Batch and the Empire.