Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 begins the two-part season finale by bringing the series’ major players full circle. “Return To Kamino,” written by Matt Michnovetz and directed by Nathaniel Villanueva, picks up immediately after the end of “War-Mantle.” The Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang) devising a plan to rescue Hunter as they believe he’s still on Duro. However, Crosshair has taken Hunter back to Kamino, which is being stripped of its essential equipment and personnel by the Empire. As Omega takes charge of the rescue mission, Hunter attempts to convince Crosshair to rejoin the Batch.
In addition to the Batch’s ongoing conflict with the rising Empire, one of the major sources of conflict has been Crosshair’s defection to the Empire. Both troopers spend the majority of the episode trying to convince the other to see his side. Hunter wants Crosshair to rejoin the Batch, while Crosshair is dead set on serving the Empire—even revealing late in the episode that he has had his inhibitor chip removed and thus is serving the Empire out of his own free will. This is the meatiest part of the episode, given weight by Baker’s dueling performances as Hunter and Crosshair and how it has shades of Darth Vader attempting to convince Luke Skywalker to join his side in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Another Star Wars project is referenced as the Batch’s mission to rescue Hunter takes on shades of The Mandalorian‘s second season finale “The Rescue.” “Return to Kamino” flips the script by having the child figure save the parent figure, as Omega uses her knowledge of the Kamino complex to get the Batch in undetected and forming a distraction so that Hunter can go free. This episode is a testament to Omega’s growth throughout the season; once a child that was equal parts curious and naive about the galaxy, now she’s become a warrior in her own right and a skilled strategist. Before, I had felt that the dynamic between Omega and the Batch was far too similar to that of Din Djarin and Grogu’s in The Mandalorian; now, it truly is its own thing. Even though the Batch lost one member of their family, they’ve gained another.
Villanueva’s direction keeps an even pace throughout the episode, ramping up for the action sequences and slowing down for the emotional ones. The highlight of the action sequences is a moment where Omega lets out a series of training droids, which leads to the Batch delivering a variation on the training exercise they went through in “Aftermath.” This time, they manage to utilize their now-trademark way of turning the odds to their advantage and clear out the droids in record time (continuing the homages to The Mandalorian, the droids bear more than a passing resemblance to the Dark Troopers utilized by Moff Gideon).
And in one of the more emotional moments, a brief montage showcases the Kamino facility, once brimming with activity, as a cold and empty place. What makes it emotional is that this was the clones’ home. Previous episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars showcased clone troopers living and socializing while they weren’t fighting. Seeing it empty is a hard reminder of everything the Batch has lost since the Empire’s rise.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 finally delivers a conflict that’s been in the making all season, and ends with a literally explosive cliffhanger. With the series renewed for a second season, I’m eager to see how the next episode ends and if it sets up any plot points for future episodes.
The final episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1 will be available to stream next Friday.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 - "Return To Kamino"
- Rating - 9.5/109.5/10
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 15 finally delivers a conflict that’s been in the making all season, and ends with a literally explosive cliffhanger.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.