I love the episodes Reunion, War Mantle and Return to Kamino, and I’m fond of a few others, but overall I’m not big on the season. With only some golden moments, I felt it was mostly a mishmash of cameos and fumbled plot lines. It had an odd structure, and favoured connectivity and fan service over much needed character development. Although characters like Hunter, Omega and Wrecker are endearing, they don’t grow very much… I think the batch do learn to “adapt and survive” as Saw said, and Omega influences their idea of what an outcast soldier should do faced with completely different circumstances, but all this is quite subtle and it’s not sufficient for a compelling season. I wanted to see characters like Tech or Wrecker put in situations where they can’t use their usual skillset to survive, I wanted to see Echo grapple with his past or his identity as part of the Batch, I wanted to see Omega grow as a person other than just becoming a resourceful warrior. Crosshair is very interesting, but his story is full of twists, turns and uncertainties and they’ve almost lost my interest at this point.
Fan service can be important. But I much prefer it when it’s properly serving the story. Cad Bane appeared as if being introduced as a new main antagonist, and I thought - great! But he was introduced only to have his ass handed to him the following episode and we never see him again. Fennec also seemed to be set up as a main antagonist, but appears in only one more episode then drops out of the season, just half way through. These are cameos are their worst. Tarkin seemed to be the main villain of sorts, then gets replaced by Rampart, who is still a little bland right now. The whole season just seems to be a bit of a mess for me.
The one thing that’s exciting me for season 2 right now is the possibility that this is Wayland from the original Thrawn trilogy. It seems too much of a coincidence that it’s a secret Imperial base built into a mountain on a forest planet and a chief cloning scientist is working there. This would be very cool, but I don’t like that the one thing I’m hyped for is another bloody connection to other star wars media. The batch have much more potential as individual characters than has been realised so far. I hope they step this up in season 2!