The tumultuous marine planet Kamino, first introduced in Episode II – Attack of the Clones, has long been one of the most distinctive and beautifully crafted environments in all Star wars. Outside: A dark, raging storm forever descending on a domed city perched above a bottomless ocean, a subtle deluge of visual forebodings. Inside: austere, tedious hallways and sterile laboratories where war is waged inside test tubes, a visual representation of what the Empire would ultimately impose on the galaxy: strict order, lack of identity, efficient, calm, silent. Not this week.
This week, Kamino’s elegant boundaries and all the various intrigues, ambitions and hopes of Prime Minister Lama Su and Chief Scientist Nala Se came to an end. Vice-Admiral Rampart accomplished what he set out to do from the start of Star Wars: The Wrong Lot: to move the Empire’s forces from dependence on clones to a new TK faction of born recruits. And in an act of evil cruelty, he ordered a clone to open fire on the only place a clone could ever call home. Rampart’s face betrayed no emotion about the order given or its subsequent bombardment, not even a hint of satisfaction at a job well done. For Rampart, wiping Tipoca City off the galactic map forever, it was just that he was thorough in his duties. So, in the Raging Sea, Kamino’s cloning facility is gone, with Omega and the Bad Batch trapped inside.
“Finale, Part I: Return to Kamino”, directed by Nathaniel Villanueva and written by Matt Michnovetz, marks the end of an era for Star wars. For nearly 20 years, the clone trooper helmets (and the endless parade of Jango Fett faces underneath) have been an enduring iconography for Star wars, representative of the calamitous Clone Wars and all the lives lost in this destructive conflict between the Republic and the Separatists. Star Wars: The Clone Wars bridged a narrative gap between episodes II and III; moreover, it told a unique story about soldiers who were literally forced to fight and die for an idea. Then that idea changed. The galaxy has changed. Which brings us to Star Wars: The Bad Lot.
The bad lot performs a function similar to the saga as The clone wars, answering questions about lore and putting an end to speculation about the final fate of certain characters and places. It’s a more intimate story than The clone wars in many ways, reducing the cast of characters to a rediscovered family unit (until there are no more) and follow them through the galaxy’s eventful transition from a Republic to an Empire. Hunter, Omega, Tech, Echo, Wrecker and Crosshair, another war-torn family, or rather the end of one.
This rift between Crosshair and the rest of Clone Force 99 (which were originally referred to as, we find out this week, “Experimental Unit 99”) is finally being highlighted, with Hunter and Crosshair both attempting to reason with each other even though their ideologies are apparently irreconcilable. “I had my chip removed a long time ago,” Crosshair reveals to The Batch, after firing a well-placed blaster and practically wiping out his Imperial Death Squad. “This is who I am.”
Yet is it? Later, after a frantic streak where the Batch briefly reunites with their rebellious brother against a horde of battle droids, Hunter searches Crosshair’s head for the scar that would confirm the sniper’s claims. The burns he suffered during “La Réunion” maybe could hide this scar, but if not, then what is the true nature of Crosshair’s gambit? Why would he kill his own unit in this desperate call for Hunter to essentially join the dark side? What good is it, if he remains loyal to the Empire? It’s clear that Rampart isn’t into this ruse (“let the clones die together,” he says), so it’s clear that Crosshair has his own plans in this post-clone paradigm. But, given that Hunter stuns Crosshair (in a strangely altered sequence) and non-drowning appears to be the next part of the batch’s itinerary, the Crosshair riddle will have to be kept until next week. (However, at least one line from the toothpick-heavy rodent indicates that there is more to discover here: “You still can’t see the big picture. But you will.”)
“Finale, Part I: Return to Kamino” is an important episode that leads the viewer on a path of revelation and calculation. This is a particularly important episode for Omega, who returns to the site of her birth in Nala Se’s private laboratory despite Hunter’s promise that she would never have to return to the water planet again. (He apologizes before things start blowing up.) Omega, who has long been a staple of this team, takes the lead and brings the Batch to Hunter’s rescue via a network of tubes, a system of Shimmering retro-futuristic shuttle hidden beneath the depths of the Kamino Sea. There, Omega reunites with his former fellow droid AZI, who helps him launch an armada of training droids to save his Batch brothers even after they sidelined the little clone for the umpteenth time. (When, oh when, will the Batch appreciate Omega’s great value? And while we’re on the subject, when does Omega get their own Batch helmet?) Arrows with expert skill. The timing of his rescue might have been a bit off, but it brought the lot, reticle, and all of them together. For a while.
It’s the last streak in the episode, however, that really highlights Omega’s growth. Getting to safety in the pristine hallways of Tipoca City with Hunter, Wrecker, and the others (with a downed Crosshair in tow), Omega gets ahead of the group. This is where the episode stops it all for one last look at the Kamino Cloning Facility, once the home of all Clone, Reg, and Deviant Soldiers. The dining room. The cloning chambers. The old districts of the Lot. All of these spaces, each a part of Omega’s house until the galaxy changes and things don’t make sense, now drained of life. There really is no going back. The Empire rains fire on the past to fortify its future, and Omega is forever changed.
- Since The bad lot hasn’t really followed Crosshair or looked into how he’s acclimated to how the Empire handles the galaxy, we had to deduce a few things about his station as one of the few clones high ranking remaining in the Empire. “I question the motives of the clone with his old team,” a member of Crosshair’s unit told Rampart at the start of the episode. “I don’t trust any of them.” I wonder what I might have seen if we had spent a little more time with Crosshair this season, witnessing his frayed relationship with his own Imperial unit.
- Looks like Gregor is dumped with Cid this week. Wrecker: “She wasn’t happy.” I can not imagine.
- AZI-345211896246498721347 returned to the show this week, having spent what I guess is half a season hiding from the Empire in Nala Se’s private lab. Is there room on the Marauder for another droid? I guess there will have to be. (Provided, of course, that AZI survives the fallout from Kaminoan.)
- Good talk: Crosshair: “They don’t leave theirs most of the time. Hunter: “You tried to kill us. We had no choice. Crosshair: “And I did it?”
- I enjoyed the visual bookending this season: the last time we saw the Batch on Kamino they were united as a team in the training hall, proving their value to Tarkin. They teamed up in that training hall again this week, Crosshair and everything, only under different circumstances. (Additionally, Omega and his Zygerrian crossbow intervene.)
- It’s like poetry, it rhymes: Tarkin gives the order “you can shoot when you’re ready” as someone’s house is about to be destroyed forever, just like he has was when he ordered the Death Star to shoot Princess Leia’s homeworld in Star Wars: Episode IV – New hope.
- To say! This week, Disney + announced that a second season of Star Wars: The Wrong Lot will decline at some point in 2022. Bring out the Mantell Mix!
- How are you feeling, band? Did that last look at Kamino destroy you like it destroyed me? Did the Marauder survive the imperial bombardment? Will AZI and Gonky become the new powerful droid duo of Star wars? Let’s pour one for Kamino in the comments below.