In “The Summit,” the Batch tracks Dr. Hemlock to an Imperial summit. Once there, Omega and Wrecker place trackers, and Hunter, Tech, and Echo run into Saw Gerrera. He’s bombing the meeting, leveling the whole Imperial installation, and killing the officials there. The two factions clash, as the Batch needs Hemlock alive. Nonetheless, the facility is shut down, and the Batch runs into power issues.
“Plan 99” finds the Batch trying to escape the rail cars despite the lack of power. Tarkin sends in fighters to shoot them down, and Tech restores power to the cars just as they attack. Tech severs the cars apart, sacrificing himself to save Omega and his brothers. The Batch retreats to Ord Mantel, and Cid reports them to the Empire. Dr. Hemlock captures Omega, and the Batch flees Ord Mantel. On Mount Tantiss, Omega finds Crosshair as Nala Se is warned to obey, or Omega will suffer the consequences.
The Bad Batch season 2 has done a total 180, going from arguable filler like “Entombed” to late-stage Clone Wars quality. Season 2’s premiere had nothing on the show’s pilot, “Aftermath,” and I think season 1 has the superior finale as well. But “The Summit” and especially “Plan 99” bring the heat and end the season on a surprisingly dour note. Season 1 ended with the destruction of Kaminoan civilization and the only home the clones ever knew, but “Plan 99” makes it even more personal.
I’ve loved the increased characterization for Echo and especially Tech this season. Between their similar skill sets and lack of focus in season 1, it could be easy to mix the two up! Echo was already an established individual in The Clone Wars, but this is a new show. You can’t expect to rely solely on the work of your predecessor. All this build-up culminates in Echo’s reunion with the Batch and Tech’s decision to save Crosshair. I love that this choice was left to the most aloof, disconnected individual among the Batch. This is just excellent writing. Just like Crosshair went from dismissing fallen clones as “dead weight” to carrying Mayday across a frozen, mountainous wasteland, Tech is starting to openly express his emotions. He does care about Crosshair after everything he did, and he still wants him back. Tech went from having less humanity than a droid to making the ultimate sacrifice for Crosshair, Omega, and his brothers. I’m really torn here. They say you never know a character’s gone unless you see a body, and Hemlock has more than enough motive to lie to Hunter about this. Could he have Tech – or what’s left of him – in his research lab? Would he have tossed Hunter Tech’s glasses as a ploy while keeping the clone alive to work on? I may be reaching here, and part of me thinks Tech should be gone. The stakes need to be high, and I don’t know what the point of a sacrifice is if you pull through. However, Hemlock does tell Tarkin he needs more clone test subjects, willing or not, and they did some setup with Phee and Tech that the finale does not pay off. Phee shows frustration with Tech’s focus on the mission, reminding him that it’s called “a conversation,” not a briefing, when two friends talk. I really thought a romance was being set up in the last couple of episodes.
I liked some of the expository dialogue in these episodes, like Rex being on a different mission. One of the Imperials at the Summit even remarks that the clones “adopted a concerning amount of individuality” in the war; it may have been Tarkin who said this. Orson Krennic, the villain from Rogue One, is also at this Summit, voiced by Ben Mendelsohn. I didn’t care for that movie (although I’m loving Andor), but I like the sense of continuity. He’s running a major project, so it only makes sense that he would be at this high-level, clandestine meeting. The comedy is also strong in both episodes, although there’s not much of it. That was for the best under the circumstances. For example, when Omega is trying to sneak around the hangar, and Wrecker is spotting for her, she’s confronted by a mouse droid. Wrecker intentionally stomps on it and says, “Oops.” It fits his character so well to protect Omega and make a joke about his own clumsiness all in one go. I was surprised to see Saw Gerrera at the Summit. He pops up a lot across mediums in the new canon, and I like him very much; I just didn’t think we’d see him again in The Bad Batch. He serves his purpose well here. Much like in Rebels, Saw is less of an enemy or ally and more of a force of nature. He and the Batch are theoretically on the same side, but he’s going to kill the man they need to question, and he won’t reconsider. Then he goes his own way before the end of “The Summit.” Classy.
Is anyone surprised that Tarkin is willing to kill his men to take down the invaders? I certainly am not. This is another character they love to re-use. Aside from creepy zombie Tarkin in Rogue One, they’ve never gotten him wrong. The music and animation can’t be praised enough in “The Summit” and “Plan 99.” The atmosphere is unbelievable in the scenes with the rail cars, and Kevin Kiner must have poured his soul into this score. It’s particularly strong when Tech makes his big choice and after Omega is knocked out. This sequence is creepy and unsettling, as Omega can’t understand what’s happening. We see everything from her muddled, concussed perspective. The shot composition is great, too; a big highlight is when Echo glances forlornly at his empty co-pilot’s seat. That hurt my soul. I love these quiet moments when characters don’t speak, but you can feel what they feel.
Overall, while not free of all imperfections, “The Summit” and especially “Plan 99” are fantastic episodes. I both love and hate this dark ending for the season, and Lucasfilm had better greenlight season 3. We’re left with lots to ponder. Is Tech alive somehow? Will Omega learn too much from his self-effacing example? What’s with the female doctor saying she’s Omega’s sister? Okay, she must be another clone, which circles back to my question about Jango Fett having female clones. How does that work? Inquiring minds want to know! I wish we could have seen Crosshair interact with Omega this season, but we now have more to look forward to. Despite having a weaker premiere and some fluff in the middle, The Bad Batch season 2 is an improvement over its already pretty-good opening season.
Overall, while not free of all imperfections, "The Summit" and especially "Plan 99" are fantastic episodes. I both love and hate this dark ending for the season, and Lucasfilm had better greenlight season 3.