On Anaxes, Republic forces trying to hold the planet's key shipyards are suffering considerable losses. Captain Rex and Commander Cody come forward to Jedi Generals Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker with a theory: the Separatists somehow know and are using Rex's battle plans and strategy algorithm. They propose sending a team behind enemy lines to the Separatists' computer center to figure out how they're doing it. However, Rex obviously has something else on his mind, not that he's willing to admit what that is to General Skywalker.
When Cody comes in to get Rex as they prepare to leave, he finds him staring at an old picture of the two of them with the late ARC troopers Fives and Echo. Rex admits that Cody might think he's crazy, which is why he didn't mention this to the Jedi, but the Separatists are using old battle plans that Echo helped him come up with, so there's a possibility that he might not have died at the Citadel. Cody isn't sure what to think about that.
Cody has called in an unusual force of clone commandos, Clone Force 99, to participate in the mission alongside him, Rex, Jesse and Kix: they're clones with "desirable mutations" that make them more effective in combat, and they don't usually work with "regs", although they have a history with the Commander. But when their gunship is shot down on the way in, leaving Cody too injured to continue, Rex winds up in charge...
Originally released as part of an unfinished story reel, the completed episode premiered on February 21, 2020.
- Alliterative Title: "The Bad Batch".
- All There in the Manual: The episode guide confirms that, as in the original unfinished story reel, Fives was the only other person besides Rex and Echo who knew about the algorithm.
- Art Evolution: Beginning with this episode, the art style and animation of The Clone Wars are more polished this season. For instance, the character models of the main characters are updated to have smaller eyes.
- Aside Glance: Hunter, when Tech explains that the Yalbec males that Hunter had said were trying to kill them after Wrecker cut off the queen's stinger were actually trying to mate with them.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: When the Bad Batchers engage the battle droids after crashing.Hunter: Bad Batch, Plan 82! "Shockwave"!
- The Big Guy: Wrecker serves as this for Clone Force 99. Plus he has Super-Strength, Blood Knight tendencies and a hammy personality to match.
- Big "WHAT?!": Trench, when informed that the clones who infiltrated the cyber center may have made a connection to Skako Minor.
- Brief Accent Imitation: During the attack on the cyber center, after Hunter and Wrecker come through the front doors as Rex and Jesse are holding off attacking battle droids, Rex sarcastically asks Wrecker what took him so long. When Wrecker snipes back that he thought this was supposed to be a "delicate operation", he makes an attempt at imitating either Rex or Tech's manner of speaking.
- Call-Back: Rex recalls the deaths of Echo, Fives, and Hevy. Then, it's revealed that Echo is still alive.
- Call-Forward: The chatter between two of the battle droids guarding the cyber center is somewhat... familiar.Battle Droid #1: Do you know what's going on?
Battle Droid #2: Maybe it's another drill.
- Clone Degeneration: The Bad Batch are defective clones that have beneficial mutations, so they've been arranged into an irregular unit to make use of their skills.
- Coming in Hot: The Havoc Marauder comes in for a landing with exactly this wording used, to the point that various people on the ground have to run out of the ship's way, although it ultimately lands just fine."Coming in hot on Platform TT-397."
- Continuity Nod:
- The Bad Batch's official name nods to the late defective clone 99. Rex lampshades this by stating "Nice touch", remembering the defective heroic clone and engaging in a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, as if congratulating the writers for including the reference.
- Fyrnocks can be seen in the background on Anaxes.
- Cutting the Knot: Tech tries to hack open the back door of the cyber center, but Wrecker complains that he's taking too long and just brute-forces it open.
- Delayed Reaction: Rex is too shocked by the discovery that Echo is alive to immediately respond to Hunter telling him they need to leave.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Early in the episode, Wrecker sits on the edge of the gunship troop bay, with his legs hanging off the side. The following episode in this story arc would establish his fear of heights, which would persist into Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
- En Route Sum-Up: Cody briefs the Bad Batch on the mission while flying to the Separatist base.
- Expository Hairstyle Change:
- Anakin's hair is longer than it was in previous seasons, now lining up with the length it is in Revenge of the Sith.
- Kix has, for no explained reason, grown his hair out from his old nearly-bald style since the last time he was seen.
- Expy: Hunter is designed after Billy Sole from the original Predator movie. He also resembles Rambo and Solid Snake.
- Expy Coexistence: The titular Bad Batch, who appear for the first time here, were developed as George Lucas's take on Delta Squad, who were established as canon by a cameo in an earlier season.
- Fantastic Slur: "Regs", what the Bad Batch calls the regular, Jango Fett-looking clone troopers.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: Trench's warning to the battle droids guarding the cyber center comes just a bit too late.Trench: Put all droids on alert. An attack is coming.
Battle Droid Commander: An attack is coming? When- [Boom, Headshot!]
- Incoming Ham: Disembarking from the Havoc Marauder, Wrecker removes his helmet and bombastically announces:"THE CAVALRY HAS ARRIVED!"
- It Only Works Once: Discussed. Rex noticed that as the Republic keeps repeating certain strategies that were successful the first time, they become less effective as the Separatists learn from them. Rex's algorithm was made to defy this trope so as to make their strategies more unpredictable.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Some of the droids when the clones attack.Droid: Hey, you're not authorized—(Boom, Headshot!)
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Rex says "nice touch" after discovering the unit of defective but desirable commando clones is designated with the number 99, realizing it's referencing the malformed Clone 99 who died heroically on Kamino, which is also something a viewer would say upon noticing the reference to the writers.
- Neck Lift: Wrecker gives one to Jesse during a disagreement about who is going to be in charge since Cody is too injured to continue.
- Never Found the Body: Since Echo and Fives were the only other ones who knew about Rex's strategy algorithm and how it worked, and Fives' death is confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, Rex theorizes that Echo must not have died immediately on Lola Sayu after he was caught in an explosion, since they never actually saw his body, and the Separatists extracted the algorithm from him. Then, it turns out he's actually still alive...
- Noodle Incident:
- Commander Cody's history with the Bad Batch (he's clearly worked with them before and they respect him more than they do other "reg" clones) is left unexplained.
- The Bad Batch's mission to Yalbec Prime just before they were called to Anaxes is only mentioned and never presented in this episode.
- Oh, Crap!: Trench is not happy when told that the clones who infiltrated the cyber center may have sent a transmission to Skako Minor.
- The Oner: The sequence of Hunter, Tech, and Wrecker fighting their way into the cyber center is all done in one shot, from when Wrecker busts the door in to the squad taking out the droids in the control room.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Separatist droids that discover the aftermath of the Bad Batch's crash site immediately report it to Admiral Trench directly, as the tactics and level of destruction are far different than regular clone troopers, or even Jedi. Trench, for his part, understands the threat and orders the tactical droid in command to track the clone incursion.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Rex and Jesse (who are both veteran soldiers) spend most of this episode playing second fiddle to the Bad Batch.
- Poorly-Disguised Pilot: This is the first appearance of the Bad Batch, laying the groundwork for their own spinoff.
- Precious Photo: Rex has an old group picture of himself and Cody with Fives and Echo, who are both dead. Or both thought to be dead, at any rate, as Echo is revealed to be alive by the end of the episode.
- Put on a Bus: Cody is seriously wounded in the gunship crash and has to be evac'd out with Kix, leaving Rex in charge of the mission.
- Rank Up: Jesse is now an ARC trooper, with new armor and gear to match.
- Reaction Shot: Rex is completely shocked when the human voice on the transmission Tech's picked up from Skako Minor responds to a request to identify itself with "CT-1409"... because that's the identification number of the thought-dead Echo.
- The Reveal: The Separatists have access to Rex's strategies from Echo, who was long believed to have died at the Citadel.
- Series Continuity Error: That Precious Photo Rex has of him, Cody, Fives, and Echo in better times depicts Cody and Rex wearing Phase II clone armor... even though that type of armor wasn't introduced for all clones until season four ("Darkness on Umbara" is the first time we see Cody and Rex in that armor), and the photo must have been taken during season three (specifically, between "ARC Troopers", where Fives and Echo got promoted to the rank of ARC trooper, and "The Citadel", the beginning of the story arc that features Echo's apparent death).
- Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: Looking for the stolen algorithm in the Separatists' computers, Tech discovers that it's actually a live transmission from the planet Skako Minor, and when he digs deeper, he finds a transmission that sounds like a human voice. Rex has him ask the person on the other end for their identity, and they receive the response "CT-1409", as Tech manages to strip away the voice masking to reveal what is unambiguously the voice of a clone trooper.
- Super-Soldier: Four of them make up Clone Force 99.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Bad Batch doesn't usually work with "reg" clones, and Crosshair and Wrecker especially have trouble with Rex being in charge of the mission after Commander Cody is injured in the gunship crash and thus cannot continue on.
- Tragic Keepsake: Rex has a photo of himself, Cody, Fives, and Echo.
- We Need a Diversion: During the assault on the cyber center, Rex, Jesse, and Crosshair distract the droids at the front entrance while Hunter, Wrecker and Tech sneak in the back door and secure the facility.
- Wham Line: Rex hears a familiar number when he asks for a response from Skako Minor.Rex: "CT-1409"... that was Echo's number. He's alive.