The Mandalorian was a triumphant return to the brilliance of the franchise, whilst Rebels offered that youthful charm that made the series so popular, and The Clone Wars finally returning for a proper send-off is spectacular. Its debut episode, The Bad Batch, brought the show into the next decade with an emphasis on its namesake, the Clones.
The designs of the new Clones are phenomenal and the passion behind the production well and truly bleeds in.
We're introduced to the merry band of mutated Clones that are more unique than their counterparts, with each sporting their own talents, visual differences, and personalities. They're dubbed the 'Bad Batch' which is in reference to them being defective in their own ways, although they still prove useful as a special ops squad. They team up with the 501st to embark on a mission of intrigue and mystery, leading into an unraveling plot that leaves viewers begging for more - damn Disney and their smart return to weekly releases.
The exposition isn't blatant and the narrative is well-written and engaging, making this kick-off to the finale a brilliant set-up without being too reliant on shoe-horning in wonky and jarring dialogue (yes, I'm looking at you Rise of Skywalker). There's a lot of questions to be asked and a lot of answers to be told, which acts as the perfect hook, but as a standalone episode, The Bad Batch is impressive for its own merits, with captivating characters that, whilst lacking in-depth for the most part, come to life brilliantly on the silver screen thanks to Dee Bradley Baker's impressive talents.
The animation, whilst a style that I've never truly liked (3D CGI pales in comparison to the original Samurai Jack style), is at its all-time peak, topping Rebels and previous Clone Wars seasons, with beautiful visuals, stunning shots and all the typical gush that comes with praising an animated flick's prowess. The designs of the new Clones are phenomenal and the passion behind the production well and truly bleeds in, making the fun romp an infectious one, even if it isn't quite up to the bar that The Mandalorian set, at least not yet.
There's a lot to look forward to, as The Clone Wars will be moving into the era of Revenge of the Sith, with Mandalorian lore galore and plenty of Order 66ing. Ahsoka's return will no doubt be a fantastic event and Anakin's dark turn will finally be shown in a way the prequels never quite nailed down - with The Bad Batch being a great start, I've nothing but optimism for the rest of the series.
Featured image credit: IMDb