With plenty of hijinks from a lovable band of rebel clones, The Bad Batch reinforces the idea that storytelling as a whole produces the amazing ability to connect with an audience while sharing invaluable life lessons and values; hence, #StoriesMatter. If you are interested in viewing this series with your kids, it’s best to watch first if you have a younger age group, but this series seems appropriate for my own kids (ages 7 and 8) to handle.
Now, if you would like to remain spoiler-free, please go and watch The Bad Batch which drops a new episode every Friday on Disney+, and come back to this post. As Hunter says, “That’s an order.”
FOLLOWING ORDERS DOES NOT OUTWEIGH DOING WHAT’S RIGHT
The first episode of The Bad Batch brings back Clone Force 99 at the initiation of Order 66, where clones turn on their Jedi leaders. We see Caleb Dume, also known as Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels, protected by his Jedi Master Depa Billaba. Foreshadowing later moments in The Bad Batch, Billaba did what she could to save her Padawan, even if it meant her life.
As the leader of Clone Force 99, and the eventual departure of their teammate Crosshair, Hunter has to make many decisions that now involve a young child. Omega is also a clone, but her experiences beyond the station she grew up on are nonexistent. Hunter lost one teammate due to the inhibitor chip that allowed Order 66 to happen, but gained an intelligent, able kid who he now feels completely responsible for. If this doesn’t shout, “Welcome to parenting,” I don’t know what else will.
Not every member of Clone Force 99 has a parental mindset when it comes to Omega, but it’s safe to say this crew acts like a family. Hunter as the leader has to weigh all options before making decisions, but sometimes he has to learn, too. He has to realize that they’re all in this together, and, sometimes, that means depending on each person, Omega included, and their judgment when it comes to doing what’s right. Yes, these clones were ordered to kill all Jedi. Yes, it wasn’t safe for them to go back for Omega after they were sent on a mission to kill innocent civilians, but that’s what makes this show astoundingly satisfying. They protect her and take her in as one of their own.
The parallels between this show and parenting are astounding to me. Parenting isn’t always easy and our kids don’t always listen, but, sometimes, learning lessons are all about the journey, and in this case, Hunter and Omega are tied together in such a way that definitely makes them a father-daughter duo – and their journey is exciting to watch.
WHEN KIDS SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF HELPING OTHERS IN NEED REGARDLESS OF THE COST
Omega is absolutely phenomenal and a moral compass for the team. Yes, the team does understand right and wrong, but Hunter’s obligation is to keep them all safe is his number one priority. In some instances, this overprotective mode gets brought down to Earth by Omega’s reasoning when their friends need help.
Again, The Bad Batch reintroduces another Rebels character as we see Hera Syndulla as a child. After the Empire takes over and her home world is placed under a rule that her family spent years fighting against, her parents are captured; however, Hera being resourceful (as we know her to be) gets a message out to Omega. Despite the dangers of being outnumbered, Omega’s message of “She’s our friend and she needs our help” stick.
In this episode with Hera, “Rescue on Ryloth,” viewers even see clone Captain Howzer question orders to round up anyone who might fight back and arrest them. Then, later in the episode, he takes a stand to help “The Dad Batch” escape, while staying back to try and connect with the clones under his command. He wants to give them a chance to do what’s right, in the face of capture or death. Sacrificing one’s self, or the potential to face some kind of severe penalty for doing what’s right is an overarching theme that extends throughout. So, having our kids constantly see those messages of right versus wrong is a positive force in their lives.
VILLAINY OVERSHADOWS EVERYTHING ELSE WHEN IT COMES TO POWER AND CONTROL
Kids need to see “bad guys” in action, and there are plenty of those available in The Bad Batch and Star Wars as a whole. Our kids need to see that there are sometimes those who wish nothing more than to see others suffer, because it means their power reigns supreme.
The Empire is dastardly and their means of power and control come with force, fear, and misleading those they seek to control. It’s the ultimate stance of Clone Force 99, minus Crosshair, that following orders do not justify the means. They recognize the importance of seeing civilians as they are, many of whom are just looking to protect their family. In Crosshair’s case, his need for vengeance overwhelms his sense to do anything else. His misplaced loyalty to the Empire, because of an inhibitor chip, allows him to blindly follow an autocratic state that wishes to bend the galaxy to its knee.
Above all of the misgivings of trusting those that do harm, Omega finds herself able to look beyond the dark exterior of being a criminal in Episode 13, “Infested.” Despite her friend’s parlor being overrun by Roland Durance, and being threatened with death when a deal goes wrong, she pleads for his life. Understanding that all life is valuable, even for those that do us harm, allow kids to empathize with those who do harm, and ultimately realize each person is in control of their fate and how they treat one another.
Hunter asks Omega why she stood up for Roland, and her response shows a lot more grace than many villainous characters deserve, but proving she’s mature well beyond her years. She says, “I don’t know. Ruby likes him. Maybe he’s not all bad.” Hoping for a little inkling of good might mean heartbreak at some point for trusting the wrong people, but always looking for good is a strong signal for immense character on the inside. Hoping for good is what we should all want and I hope my kids will see nothing short of characters like Omega in their lives.
Have you watched The Bad Batch and have your kids joined in watching, too? What have your reactions been? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below or head over to Facebook and Twitter to start a conversation there. Don’t forget to like and share this article if you want to see more Star Wars coverage or let us know what you’d like to see us cover next.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.