Having bolted from Seleucamai in episode two, Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode three brings back the marksman Crosshair as the remaining members of the ‘Batch’ crash land on a moon. The episode, titled “Replacements,” deals with two types of replacements. Firstly, the Batch’s necessity for repairing their ship with a replacement capacitor, and, secondly, the Empire replacing the Batch with four ‘free-born’ soldiers. “Replacements” is chilling at times, but also heartfelt and hopeful in its best moments, with Omega increasingly being a bright spark in Clone Force 99 and a valued member of the squad.
Episode three begins in a similar fashion as episode two: on the Batch’s modified Omicron attack shuttle. Hunter brings rations around. Wrecker comes in and wolfs down his portion. When he appears dissatisfied, Omega volunteers to give him hers. When Wrecker, impulsive and shameless as ever, goes to accept Omega’s food, Hunter pulls him away. It’s at this point the ship shuts down, and is ripped out of hyper-space. Omega’s reactions are the sell for this scene. Throughout the Star Wars franchise, we’ve seen countless crash landings, but there isn’t many that really exhibit the same raw level of fear, making it more memorable.
Echo and Tech land the craft on a moon when a native pest steals the capacitor. The plot of crash landing in unknown places with irksome species feels akin to moments from Star Wars: Rebels and The Mandalorian. Hunter and Omega set off to track down the thieving beast and get the part back. Omega is a quick learner and fast becoming a strong addition to the team, despite her relative inexperience with anything beyond being a lab-rat. Her growth is touching and well visualised. She’s an active character all the time, despite often being found to mimic the actions of her companions.
Meanwhile, not a fan of clones, Governor Tarkin brings in a new face, Commandant Rampart, to manage the Empire’s transition from clones to ‘free-born’ soldiers (essentially, recruits who willingly choose to fight for the Empire). A test is in order. Tarkin commands Crosshair to lead four of these new recruits to do what the Bad Batch could not: wipe out the insurgent camp on Onderan. Content with the results, Tarkin concedes the responsibility of this project to Rampart. It’s sensible to bring in a fresh character for the imperials because the average fan knows Tarkin lives on until the events of A New Hope.
Back on the moon, Omega confronts the dragon, realising it’s just hungry, and feeds off electrical energy (why it stole the capacitor in the first place). Omega satisfies the beast by giving it her flashlight and escapes with the part. She returns to Hunter, and they return to the ship.
Episode three generates a wide emotional spectrum, moving from the fearfully, new-born eyes of Omega to the chillingly sad circumstances of Crosshair. There is enough room to tug on heartstrings. It’s a solid episode, added to creator and producer Dave Filoni’s collection of top-quality Star Wars content.
New episodes of The Bad Batch season one drop every Friday on Disney+.