“Tipping Point” finds an Imperial vessel transporting clone troopers. They’re attacked by Rex and Echo, seeking to rescue the prisoners. Meanwhile, Dr. Hemlock asks Crosshair to help him locate the Bad Batch. He denies knowing anything, so Hemlock sets the probe on him. Senator Chuchi helps the troops recover and sends Echo to decrypt the data from the ship’s log. Crosshair busts out of his cell and sends a transmission to the Batch, telling them to hide. However, Dr. Hemlock finds Crosshair and immobilizes him. On Pabu, Echo arrives and gives Tech the encrypted ship log. After interpreting the data, Tech tells the others about Crosshair’s imprisonment and warning.
THIS is what I’m talking about! Season 2 has slowly but surely gotten better as it went along, but wow, “Tipping Point” is great stuff. “Tipping Point” reminds me of “War-Mantle” in that its title sets up big expectations that the episode actually manages to pay off. Sometimes while watching an episode like “Entombed” or “Retrieval,” I forget why I love The Bad Batch. This show was an underdog from the start; had I gone into Clone Wars season 7 with the knowledge that the show would receive a spin-off/sequel, the Bad Batch wouldn’t have been my first guess to star in it. This show excels when it carries on the legacy of The Clone Wars, showing us the struggles of the troopers as they’re decommissioned, abused, or in many cases, killed. I know Lucasfilm Animation wants to cater to children and families too. Still, The Bad Batch is at its best when it’s in the trenches, showing the Empire at its worst.
Aside from all the clone badassery, “Tipping Point” is also incredibly satisfying because all of the season’s narrative threads finally coalesce into something bigger and better. I wasn’t expecting to see Senator Riyo Chuchi again, but it makes perfect sense. She failed in her efforts to protect and aid the clones through legislation, so now she resorts to more covert operations. I liked this character in The Clone Wars, but I’m starting to love her here. She’s a woman of principles who genuinely cares for these soldiers who don’t have many people on their side. This may seem a strange comparison, but I think The Mandalorian could learn a lot about expanding its main cast from The Bad Batch. I’m enjoying Mando season 3, but the additions to the cast and story sometimes feel forced, and some people aren’t so pleased. Meanwhile, most existing and new characters brought into Bad Batch feel organic and serve a logical, satisfying purpose to the larger narrative. We also see Howzer from season 1’s Ryloth arc, Gregor, who has appeared in The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch before, and Rex in “Tipping Point,” and it feels like a natural progression of the story. The Bad Batch is fundamentally about clones and their struggle with the Empire and their own deeds in the wake of Order 66. It not only suits the story for these guys to go rogue and rescue their imprisoned brothers; the story demands as much.
I love how dark the show has been willing to go this season. In “Tipping Point,” the Imperial officer transporting the human cargo bites the Star Wars equivalent of a cyanide capsule, killing himself rather than explaining his actions to Rex and the others. I imagine this has something to do with the enigmatic clone assassin in the two-part midseason special, who also bit down on something electrical and died. Dr. Hemlock is also massively creepy and unsettling in this episode. I just love this guy, his voice, the way they frame him as this oppressive force lingering above Crosshair, just out of reach. I was shocked when Admiral Rampart was arrested, effectively removing him from the show. But I think it’s safe to say they’re already building a suitable replacement villain for the show. The Bad Batch needs a character like this because the boys aren’t going to barge into the Emperor’s office and fight him. I’m intrigued by Hemlock’s reasoning, especially when he says, “I actually think that shows quite a bit of initiative” regarding Crosshair’s decision to kill Nolan in “The Outpost.” Dr. Hemlock has developed an airborne toxin he is immune to, which appears to incapacitate the victim but not harm them. This guy is just so creepy! I need more of this and fewer silly treasure hunt episodes.
For once, the stuff with the main Bad Batch team isn’t only good, but it’s not the weak link of the episode. I enjoyed Tech fearfully showing Omega how to fly and affectionately accepting her compliment of calling a complicated move the “Tech turn.” In my eyes, this season has done a 180 for Tech, changing him from the least interesting Batcher to one of my favorite clones. It rings true when Hunter tells Echo that staying on Pabu might be best for the Batch, especially in Omega’s case. I think we all know it won’t last, though, which adds a twinge of sadness to these moments. It’s heart-warming when Omega excitedly calls Echo on the ship’s comms and runs up to embrace him. These episodes only make the early adventures in this season seem all the more bewildering. If this is where season 2 was heading, why was so much time spent on treasure hunts and Omega leading the Batch around death traps? There’s so much going on with all the characters now that I can’t believe the season started off with a petty robbery gone wrong. I’m also going to take yet another opportunity to sing Kevin Kiner’s praises. The tune he wrote for Crosshair and Dr. Hemlock’s scenes is chilling and a perfect contrast to the soothing sights and sounds of Pabu.
“Tipping Point” is my idea of a perfect episode. Every character contributes to the larger story and receives meaningful development. The visuals and music are above reproach, and for once, the story is too. I can’t wait for next week’s finale!
"Tipping Point" lives up to its name, as all major plot points and characters converge to set up the grand finale.
Yes, it was good to see a mission succeed for once. I’m afraid you may be onto something about a clone purge. Oof.
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This was very good. Loved seeing a successful rescue mission. It was cool seeing Howzer and Gregor again and I liked the new clones; Fireball and Nemec. I fear that the growing clone rebellion I’ll say might lead to a purge on them. Like the Jedi, Kaminooans, Geonosians, Lasans, and the Mandalorians, it could explain why we haven’t seen many clones and we only saw Rex, Gregor and Wolffe in Rebels.
I noticed that Hemleck is wearing one glove on his hand and I’m wondering it’s hiding a permanent wound or something