Ever since the Star Wars Prequels were released, many fans have been fixated on one particular subplot of the larger franchise: how The Empire phased out The Republic's Clone Army and replaced them with the Imperial Stormtrooper. In many ways, the Star Wars: The Bad Batch series has been all about that very subject, as one particularly unique and gifted set of clones (the elite Clone Force 99) found themselves being some of the first to be phased out of rotation, due to their enhanced abilities and capability for critical thought and analysis.
Well, the latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch is probably the darkest and most bleak one yet when it comes to examining how the clones of Jango Fett were ultimately viewed and treated, once they became obsolete in the eyes of the Empire.
(WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW!)
Star Wars: The Bad Batch S2#12 "The Outpost" is a bottle episode following Crosshairs, the one member of Clone Force 99 who didn't defect from the Empire alongside his brothers. Crosshairs is assigned to a new commander, Lieutenant Nolan, a man who views clones as non-human assets, whose only remaining purpose is service to the Empire. Nolan takes Crosshairs to a remote Imperial outpost on Barton-4, where a squad of clones has been living a nightmare existence in the frozen wasteland. Led by an aging clone named "Mayday," the outpost soldiers have had to defend against raiders, beasts, and the hellish environment – all to protect mysterious Imperial cargo crates, whose contents they never get to know about.
Mayday reveals to Crosshairs that their squad is dwindling man by man, a grim death sentence that Nolan views as perfectly suitable for a clone. When another subsequent raid leaves Crosshairs and Mayday as the sole survivors, Nolan cruelly sends them out on a suicide mission to recover just a few crates that had been stolen. Against all odds (and they are considerable), Crosshairs and Mayday manage to track and wipe out the raiders and survive the environment. However, the two clone soldiers get mentally broken when the bloody battle reveals that the crates they are protecting are prototype Stormtrooper armor, which could've protected the clone soldiers fighting to protect the outpost.
If that all wasn't grim enough, the Final Act sees Crosshairs go against his own cutthroat nature by carrying a critically-wounded Mayday through the tundra back to base. However, Nolan refuses to waste medical resources on a clone, and Mayday dies from his injuries; Crosshairs then executes Nolan in cold blood, before passing out from his own injuries. An even darker epilogue teases that the Empire will experiment on Crosshairs, transforming them into some kind of new asset for their use.
Star Wars has largely left the inevitably of the Clone Army's lifespan and demise to the imagination. "The Outpost" makes all too real just what it cost to get those silly Stormtroopers, with all their terrible aim.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 is streaming on Disney+.1comments