Star Wars: The Bad Batch’s third episode, The Solitary Clone, was a Crosshair episode, as I correctly speculated in my last blog. And what a fine episode it was!
And with this episode, I want to take the time to analyze Crosshair’s motivations and actions throughout the Bad Batch series thus far.
Is Crosshair Evil?
Simply put: no. Rather, he is the same kind of person as the rest of his siblings.. He is flawed, but not devoid of empathy. He deeply loves his brothers, even if he feels betrayed by them. After all, He didn’t kill them in the season finale of The Bad Batch season 1.
However, he is deeply afraid. And in the mythic world of Star Wars, it is fear that leads to the evils of the galaxy.
Okay, so what does our Solitary Clone Fear?
Crosshair’s deepest fear is the fear of chaos from both the loss of control (autonomy) and loss of purpose. The entire series of the Bad Batch is about the choices and reactions of the galaxy towards the oppressive upheaval and change in the galaxy.
All of the Bad Batch siblings are trying to find purpose in a world they never truly understood, and which has only become more incomprehensible.
To Crosshair, order is a form of security gleaned from purpose itself. It has been this way in his brief life so far, and to him is symbolized by the power that points him at targets. To Crosshair, this is the power that provides stability.
Crosshair is not wrong to fear chaos. Most of us psychologically require stability, and most of us will actively seek it. Even Hunter in this season’s premier is desiring jobs to provide the necessary stability to raise a little (if chronologically older) sister.
Star Wars, Chaos, and Order
The eternal promise of the truly evil forces in Star Wars is to provide Order. Anakin Skywalker seeks order as a symbol of the chaos in his own heart, from his fears of loving his loved ones.
Again, seeking stability isn’t evil. It’s how one does it that becomes the problem. Oppression creates order, but it comes at the cost of the freedom and lives of others. It removes control people have over their own lives.
In The Princess and the Scoundrel, Mon Mothma begs Leia to have her wedding and honeymoon with Han Solo, to show the galaxy that stability has returned. People need stability, they just don’t need oppression to provide it. True stability comes from having the sense of control over one’s own life.
Crosshair’s Fear of Internal Chaos
In some ways, Crosshair fears the loss of purpose and meaning in his life without direction. He’s not unique in this fear, all the clones have it to some degree. The Solitary Clone has a scene in which “regs” discuss their fears of conscription. Conscriptions takes away their jobs and purpose.
In the Solitary Clone, we can see that the clone’s base on Coruscant has been moved further away from the capital, as well. They are visually being increasingly marginalized, and their numbers fewer. They will soon lack purpose and meaning in the new Empire.
All the clones face an uncertain future with no purpose in life or death. Crosshair clings to the Empire as a form of structure he can understand, but it leaves him alone and further marginalized even among the regs.
Why accept the structure of the Empire over the structure of his small family of brothers? This is a more complex question, and it involves both his chip, and to some degree, Crosshair’s fear of his lack of control over his own life.
Crosshair, Cody and Autonomy in the Solitary Clone
Crosshair’s fear of chaos is rooted in his knowledge that he has not been the author of his own decisions.
It is a terrible irony in the Solitary Clone, that Cody is filled with regret over decisions he believes he has made. We, the audience, know that Cody was under the power of the inhibitor chip. However, Cody doesn’t, and Crosshair doesn’t enlighten him either.
For whatever reason, these chips are beginning to have a waning influence. Cody goes AWOL by the episode’s end, signaling he has become a truly autonomous man.
Crosshair knows that he had a chip. Much of his most terrible actions earlier in season 1, were done under an enhanced chip.
Crosshair is as afraid of having no control over himself as most of us would be.
It is not uncommon for people who have had control removed from their lives, to align with the oppressor or tell themselves they were fine with trauma and loss of autonomy they faced. This is a coping mechanism–to give oneself a sense of having had control over a situation they did not have control over.
This is why Crosshair aligns with the Empire, even with no chip. He doesn’t want to face the fact he was a victim that had no control of his actions. That terrifies him more than being separated from his brothers.
He would rather pretend he agreed with his own actions under the chip’s control, and continue to align with the Empire under this self-imposed pretense, than face the horrors of actions he had no control over.
Will Crosshair succumb to his fear of chaos?
I believe that Crosshair’s true loss of autonomy, and his understanding of it, further compounded his fear of chaos. Crosshair maintains a sense of control by telling himself he agreed with the actions of those over him.
Combined with his desire for externally derived purpose from authority, his insecurities have led him to cling to the very authority that has created the own chaos he fears in himself and in the world around him.
But such a coping mechanism has resulted in him being alone from his family.
With Commander Cody, we see a character that has realized his purpose cannot be derived from the comfort of an oppressive authority.
More importantly, Crosshair has seen it too.
I think it’s possible that Crosshair will find the courage to return to his siblings in episode 12, The Outpost. He has two paths: double down the path towards a sunk-cost fallacy, or realize he can find stability in his family, and find confidence in his own decisions.