This week on The Bad Batch, we take a moment to catch up with Crosshair, the lost member of Clone Force 99. Last season, Crosshair’s betrayal was revealed to be a result of his own twisted loyalty to the Empire, not because of a biological inhibitor chip controlling his behavior. Now, Crosshair’s loyalty to the Empire is being tested once again.
When Admiral Rampart hears a report that a Separatist holdout planet has kidnapped an Imperial Senator, he’s eager to defuse the situation by any means necessary. So, he calls in Crosshair and partners him with a stalwart clone commander that many fans will recognize right away–Clone Commander Cody, the former leader of Obi-Wan’s 212th Battalion.
This episode makes it clear that Crosshair is alone. We see him awaken in an otherwise empty room where he once had the rest of Clone Force 99 as a squad. He tries to eat lunch with some “regs,” but they shun him and give him a wide berth due to his mutations, making him an “outsider.” Rampart even mentions that Crosshair spent a month waiting on a flooded platform on Kamino for rescue and questions why the clone is still loyal to the Empire after being left for dead.
In short, Crosshair’s life seems miserable without his clone brothers. Still, he persists, insisting that his role as a soldier necessitates making hard choices in the name of following orders. After Rampart orders Crosshair to travel to the holdout planet, Desix, he appears more than happy to get back to work.
Desix’s rightful governor, the former Separatist general Ames, has an army of battle droids that she seems to have reprogrammed following the Clone Wars. It’s refreshing to see these iconic symbols of the prequel era squaring off against clones once again, but, for once, the audience can’t help but root for the droids as they valiantly try to defend their governor and planet from Imperial overreach.
Crosshair is, as always, a dangerous element on the battlefield. He single-handedly destroys an AAT battle tank and effortlessly mows down B1 battle droids as he helps Cody’s squad infiltrate Ames’ stronghold. Cody is as dependable as ever, even encouraging some hapless bystanders that the Empire is “here to help.”
But his heart isn’t in it. As Crosshair continues to spearhead the assault, the clones cross paths with dangerous droid models like Droidekas, BX Commando Droids, and even a super-genius Tactical Droid that commands Desix’s defense force. Predictably enough, Crosshair and Cody make a great team and carve a path clean through the droids to Ames’ office, where she holds the Imperial governor hostage with a blaster.
After Cody manages to convince her that there’s a peaceful solution to the crisis, laying his DC-15 blaster on the floor, Ames relents and releases the Imperial politician. He quickly rounds on her and orders the clones to execute her for crimes against the Empire. Cody is aghast, refusing to harm her after offering his word that the situation could have a peaceful resolution. Ames is unsurprised by his conduct and remarks that peace was never an option.
Eager to please his new Imperial bosses, Crosshair pulls the trigger and follows his superior’s order. Cody is disgusted by the senseless violence and tells Crosshair that clones aren’t like battle droids. While droids have to follow their programming, the clones are human beings with free will. They can make their own decisions–and they have to live with them, too.
The episode ends on a somber note, with Crosshair again awakening in his empty room on Coruscant. He casts a mournful look at his gear before eating another solitary meal and being called, again, to Rampart’s office. Rampart is impressed with the mutant clone’s conduct and wants to send him on another mission.
Crosshair is disappointed to hear that Cody won’t be in charge of the next operation. Somehow, Rampart notes, Cody has gone AWOL. He’s likely having the same crisis of conscience we saw in Clone Force 99 and Clone Captain Rex before him. Crosshair, more alone than ever, dutifully trudges on to his next mission.