Director: Steward Lee
Starring: Dee Bradley Baker, Michelle Ang, Bob Bergen, Gwendoline Yeo, Noshir Dalal
Welcome back to this week’s episode of guess who in the Star Wars universe. Oh, wait, no, sorry – this is a review of ‘War-Mantle’, episode 14 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which was written by Damani Johnson.
Nonetheless, why waste a fun framing device? Let’s work out who this week’s guest star from the expanded universe is.
Is the character male? Does he have a short haircut? Is he a clone? Is he slightly unusual? Does he call people “insubordinate plebe”?
Ten points to the Zabrak at the back – this week we’re re-introduced to clone commando Gregor (Dee Bradley Baker), who we previously saw in The Clone Wars.
Gregor was an elite clone commando who suffered from amnesia.
After a troop of droids found him, he eventually returned to the Galactic Republic, even though the last time we saw him he was amidst various explosions in a chemical plant (a fact he candidly acknowledges: “I was blown up once and survived”).
A poncho-wearing Commander Rex (Bradley Baker) commissions the Bad Batch to rescue Gregor, who (somehow) is on the planet Daro training non-clone troopers.
But the extraction goes wrong, leaving the Bad Batch separated.
Return of the Clone Commandos in Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14
These commando troops might be familiar to some older fans: Star Wars: Republic Commando was a successful video game from 2005 that has an enduring reputation amongst fans.
In the game, players commanded a team of these troops on a number of top-secret missions.
The episode does give a glimpse of how capable these troopers are, but they fall prey to the Bad Batch’s overbearing skillset.
Much like their one-off appearance in The Clone Wars, however, the Commando’s role in this episode is akin to a cameo, a passing reference to the wider universe.
It could have been more interesting to see the return of the bounty hunters who were training the clone army.
Or, give a wider sense of how these Commandos feel about being phased out.
In the previous episodes, we saw through Captain Howzer that not all clones are happy nor are they completely subservient to the Empire.
More chances to see alternative stories that humanise the clones are always welcome.
Commander Gregor, your lovable teacher?
Whilst I’ve been critical of filler episodes, I’d love to see some scenes of Gregory instructing these new troopers.
It would be like watching that zany cover teacher you all loved in action.
It must also be noted that Bradley Baker’s performance as Gregor is a lesson (as much of his clone acting is) in how minor variations in your voice can create a completely new character.
I truly hope Bradley Baker is making a fortune from this show – he deserves it.
Add in some traditional Star Wars vehicles like the pulsing Republic Gunship and the sleek V-Wing fighter with some further developments on Kamino – President Lama Su (Bob Bergen) has been deposed (or killed) for trying to get some of his people off-planet – and this is a perfectly serviceable episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
However, at the episode’s end, Hunter has been captured and faces down Crosshair.
That Hunter is captured not by his previous team-mate but by the forces on Daro contradicts both last episode’s cliffhanger and the show’s attempt to suggest that these non-clone troopers are unsatisfactory.
Yet there might be some reasons to be optimistic.
The next time we see Gregor, he’s with Rex and another commander, Wolffe. During an episode of Rebels, these three troops join the Rebellion.
Perhaps, then, in the final two episodes of the season, this batch of renegade clones together must fight against the new empire.
It’d be an exciting conclusion, but whether or not that happens remains to be seen.
What do you make of this review?
Did you like Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 14?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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