“The Solitary Clone” opens on a planet called Desix as Imperial Forces clash with one Governor Ames. Vice Admiral Rampart orders Crosshair to join a squad headed there led by Commander Cody, who specifically requested Crosshair. Cody attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution, but the Imperial Governor orders him to kill the local Governor as soon as he’s free. Cody hesitates, but Crosshair blasts her. Back home, Crosshair receives another mission and learns that Cody has gone AWOL.
“The Solitary Clone” is a unique episode because we don’t see most of the primary characters at all, but I honestly didn’t miss them. This isn’t a knock on characters like Hunter, Wrecker, or Omega; I just think Crosshair is pretty cool. Time for our boy to get another solo episode. Some of the best episodes in season 1 involved Crosshair, and he’s undoubtedly the most interesting. You never know what he’s going to do, whereas Hunter and the guys will do anything to protect Omega. It was also pretty cool to see post-Clone Wars Cody. Cody didn’t get as much development as Rex in that show, for example, but we saw him with Obi-Wan and Anakin plenty. Of course, he originated in the prequels, unlike original characters such as Rex.
A detail I’m enjoying in The Bad Batch is all the holdover Separatist tech and culture. It makes sense for a Separatist planet to have and make use of battle droids. Likewise, these systems are still fiercely independent regardless of the Empire’s designs on them. This level of attention to detail just makes the galaxy feel more cohesive and fluent. They try to connect Governor Ames with Mina Bonteri and the Clone Wars arcs concerning plans she and Padmé had to end the war. Ames says Bonteri was her colleague, and their pleas for peace went unanswered, teaching her that peace was never an option. I believe this is a retcon, as I don’t remember Governor Ames, but I haven’t seen those episodes in a while. I’m surprised that Ames doesn’t mention Mina’s assassination, which played a crucial role in prolonging the war effort and turned allies (like Mina’s son Lux) into violent radicals. It’s not terribly relevant to the story of The Bad Batch, but if she were close to Mina, she would be outraged.
The Governor’s unmasking was underwhelming; it reminded me of Enfys Nest in Solo. She seemed cool and mysterious with the mask and muffled voice, but this just made her actual appearance and lack of charisma disappointing. It would make more sense if she had been in The Clone Wars, and I will go back and check, but I believe she’s a brand-new character. As with most of the episode, the best thing with Ames involves Crosshair. The scene where he stealthily ends her life is chilling. I saw it coming, but the music, pacing, and framing of the shot make it very satisfying nonetheless. This really brought me back to the Clone Wars episode “Voyage of Temptation,” where Obi-Wan is faced with killing a man or watching Satine die. Similarly to Anakin, here Crosshair takes action before Cody can even make that choice. Anakin and Crosshair aren’t that similar as characters, and I may be reaching with this, but it felt like an intentional parallel similar to Count Dooku’s treatment in Tales of the Jedi. This was actually my favorite scene in this episode and possibly a highlight for The Bad Batch so far. Kevin Kiner’s score shines a lot in “The Solitary Clone,” but especially here. The cinematography is striking, too. The presentation is just magnificent and displays what I would like more of from The Bad Batch.
From the very beginning of “The Solitary Clone,” there’s a clear focus on the idea of troopers going rogue. Cody shows sympathy for the people of Dexis as soon as he and Crosshair are alone, foreshadowing his decision to break from the Empire. This leads to one of the episode’s more interesting dialogue exchanges as Cody mentions all of the clones going AWOL in the wake of Order 66. Rather than questioning his position or offering some empathy to his brothers, Crosshair merely says they’re traitors, “just like the Jedi.” The dialogue in this episode is great in general, but this and the line about peace from the trailer are particular stand-outs.
I have a couple of nitpicks with this episode despite really enjoying it, for the most part. Likely due to the short runtime of these episodes, they rush conflicts and the antagonists, and “The Solitary Clone” is no exception. I wish we could have learned more about Governor Ames and the Imperial replacement. The only characters whose perspectives we explore are Crosshair and Cody, and it’s just assumed that Desix is right because the Empire is evil. Obviously, a system that wants liberty is in the right in the face of the Empire, but it would be nice to learn more about their motivation and culture itself. It also goes without saying that while this is an awesome episode for Crosshair and in terms of atmosphere, it doesn’t tie into the main story much. Three episodes into season 2, it feels like the story is stalling. I hope the main plot picks up soon.
“The Solitary Clone” is my favorite episode of the season so far, not that that’s saying a whole lot. Crosshair is the most interesting member (past or present) of the Bad Batch, and I always enjoy his episodes. The dialogue, themes, and action are spectacular. Subtler elements like the camerawork, lighting, and music really sell the most dramatic scenes. I don’t think it’s a perfect episode, as I’d have liked more information on the Imperial Governor or, heck, even the Separatist one. I like reasons to care aside from the obvious “Empire bad.” I also would have liked more quiet moments with Crosshair, like the shots of him alone in his barracks bedroom. Overall, though, this is a solid episode that I enjoyed quite a bit.
The dialogue, themes, and action in "The Solitary Clone" are spectacular. Subtler elements like the camerawork, lighting, and music really sell the most dramatic scenes, but I'd have liked more information on the Imperial Governor or, heck, even the Separatist one, and more quiet moments with Crosshair.