This week gave Star Wars fans part one of Star Wars the Bad Batch’s season 1 finale. Unsurprisingly, episode 15 is is called Return to Kamino. This watery and rainy planet has been at the center of the prequel trilogy, the birthplace of all the clones. This story finally shows us what happened to Kamino after the Clone Wars. The Bad Batch episode 15 also gives us two major revelations about Omega and Crosshair. This makes for an intense and emotionally charged episode, not for just the characters, but for a major location in the entire Star Wars franchise. The Empire destroys Kamino in a way that still manages to remain surprising, even if we knew it had to happen.
The Empire Destroys Kamino
This is the episode where Kamino ends, or at least the Kaminoan cloning facilities. We learn from Rampart that Nala Se is “secured”, and that all clone troopers have been transported away from the planet along with other essential personnel. Later, we learn that the Kaminoans who refused to leave were terminated.
With nearly everyone evacuated or killed, the Empire destroys the Kaminoan facilities. It is Tarkin who gives the order and Vice Admiral Rampart that executes it. The scene is devastating and beautiful. The facilities, that had seemed sterile to human eyes, were in fact bustling with life. Now, they are empty of the men and boys that filled its halls. The graceful and industrious Kaminoan aliens are gone as well.
Some fans had speculated a possible Kaminoan rebellion could happen, myself included. However, it seems that isn’t happening. It also isn’t an entire mass killing. We don’t see Kamino civilians being murdered. It is unclear if the Empire destroys only the cloning facilities or if it “sterilizes” the entire planet.
I was a bit surprised to see the fetus tubes were empty, as I would have imagined the Empire wouldn’t have bothered with saving them. However, the last we saw them was near the start of the season. If months have passed, it’s possible they were already decanted. If that’s the case, they may be the children we saw at the start of Star Wars the Bad Batch episode 14.
The Bad Batch Episode 15 Reveal #1 – Omega is Confirmed to Be Older Than Her Brothers
Nala Se’s secret lab on Kamino
Our first major revelation is that Nala Se had a private research center. This laboratory has its own transport tubes, and a submerged landing platform. According to Omega, few in Tipoca City knew of it’s existence. Luckily for the Bad Batch, this means neither the Republic nor the Empire knows it exists. This allows the Bad Batch to infiltrate the facility as the Empire destroys Kamino outside. Omega had learned the coordinates of the landing platform from Nala Se.
Omega’s emotional reactions to returning to this portion of Kamino is fascinating here. She is conflicted, but the source of the conflict is ambiguous. My general sense is that Omega sometimes had a complex relationship with Nala Se. The scientist was both her mother figure, and yet a necessarily detached researcher as well. Nala Se certainly is protective and maternal towards Omega. However, she did not always extend that compassion towards the other clones, as exemplified with the character of Fives in the Clone Wars.
This secret lab is where Omega was created, away from the rest of the Kaminoan facilities. It is also where Nala Se gave Clone Force 99 aka the Bad Batch their mutations. This episode confirms what I’ve suspected all along—that Omega is older than her brothers. She is their elder sister, as I’ve been saying this whole time. But, morever, Omega could still be the template and mother to the Bad Batch. Furthermore, it is confirmed that Omega knew them as infants or small children.
Omega as elder sister (and mother?) to the Bad Batch
This reinforces why Omega is so determined to meet the Bad Batch in the first episode. She knows them personally, even if though they were to young to remember her. I furthermore believe it is why Hunter is so fascinated by Omega from the start. I think a part of him remembers Omega. Notice that most of the tubes in Nala Se’s labs are just large enough to contain a child. Omega confirms that after their alterations, they were sent to live with the rest of the clone population.
This all further bolsters the theory that Clone Force 99’s genetic template is from Omega. It is possible that Nala Se cloned the Bad Batch from previous templates. But as I’ve stated in previous blog posts, the fact that Nala Se treats Omega as part of the experiment of Clone Force 99, suggests to me that they are likely created from Omega. It is possible they are a sort of strandcast of older templates and Omega. However, it would be more practical for Nala Se to create them directly from Omega.
The Bad Batch Episode 15 Reveal # 2 – Crosshair’s Inhibitor Chip Is Gone
The inhibitor chip is gone
In this episode, fans finally learn more about Crosshair’s chips and his motivations. Crosshair is angry and hurt that Hunter and the others abandoned him. Hunter reasonably points out that Crosshair was trying to kill them all. Crosshair states that he didn’t really have a choice.
Of course Hunter thinks this is a reference to the inhibitor chip. And it could possibly be. However, by the episode’s conclusion, Crosshair reveals he has had the chip removed. “When?” Hunter asks.
Crosshair replies that it doesn’t matter, he is who he is. It’s hard to say if that is true or not. If it is true, when did Crosshair have it removed? Was it in an earlier episode when Rampart asked Nala Se to strengthen it? Did Nala remove the chip instead? Or was it when Crosshair was burned in a later episode?
Crosshair offers his brothers a second chance to join him and also the Empire. He believes he is giving his brothers a purpose. Crosshair feels he needs an ideology to have purpose and projects that onto the rest of his clone brothers.
The Bad Batch and Purpose
It is true that for a while The Bad Batch was adrift and untethered without obvious purpose. But Hunter and the others have quickly started finding their purpose on their own. That purpose is to protect Omega, who represents the soul and mythological anima of the group.
In turn, she leads them outwards, outside of their own family, to help others across the galaxy.
As Hunter points out, Crosshair doesn’t really understand that you can have purpose without directives from an authoritarian group. But to a hurting Crosshair, who feels abandoned by his family, an authoritarian regime provides a quick and easy sense of purpose. Combined with the false notion of a genetic superiority, he believes this is his, and his brothers’ purpose. That the Empire would easily discard him, doesn’t cross his mind yet despite Hunter’s warnings.
However, Crosshair still wants to be with his brothers. To him, he and his brothers together serving the Empire solves all their [his own] problems. He suggests sending Omega off planet for her protection, appealing to Hunter’s concern for her. Crosshair sees it as an act of ultimately freeing Hunter from a misguided obligation to their sister. It is worth noting that there is no obvious reason for Crosshair to know Omega’s origin, and he may simply perceive of her as a random clone girl. He kills his trooper squad to prove his loyalty to his brothers.
Escape from Kamino and the return of a medical droid
Hunter ends the emotionally tense confrontation by stunning Crosshair and fleeing with the rest of the Bad Batch from Kamino. He apologizes to Omega for not having kept his promise of keeping her away from Kamino. But Omega forgives him—she would have done the same for him.
And as an aside, I am happy to see that the medical droid AZ is still around and was able to join the Bad Batch. He and Gonky will make a dynamic and fun droid duo. AZ may be able to shed some light on various aspects of the Empire’s take over of Kamino.
The conclusion to the season 1 finale of the Bad Batch promises to be emotionally intense. The destruction of Kaminoan cloning facility finally happened, but questions remain as to where the remaining clones will go. Nala Se is likely going to be a pivotal character moving forward as well. Will she meet Palpatine?