Star Wars: The Bad Batch -- Crosshair on Ryloth
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1, Episode 15, "Return to Kamino," streaming now on Disney+.
From the beginning of Star Wars: The Bad Batch
, the clones' inhibitor chips have been a major threat. In "Aftermath,"
the series premiere, Nala Se enhanced Crosshair's inhibitor chip under Admiral Tarkin's orders. While many of his actions since have been horrific, the rest of the team believed that they were a result of Order 66, not Crosshair's choices. However, in "Return to Kamino," Crosshair reveals that his inhibitor chip was removed, calling into question his actions in the Bad Batch
The removal of his inhibitor chip recontextualizes Crosshair's actions, at least in the second half of the series. We know that his chip was in tact for the Bad Batch
series premiere, so the removal must have been in more recent episodes. In "Return to Kamino," Crosshair's demeanor seems different from early on. When explaining his plan to use Hunter
as bait, Crosshair states, "They don't leave their own behind, most of the time." Hunter claims that the team did not have a choice about leaving Crosshair because Crosshair was trying to kill them, and Crosshair replies, "And I did?" This conversation shows that Crosshair is now aware of the inhibitor chip and its possible effects on his actions.
Crosshair and Hunter in Star Wars The Bad Batch. Hunter is in handcuffs, and there are two elite squad soldiers in the room as well.
Once Crosshair is reunited with the full team, he continues to declare his feelings of abandonment. While at first he claims to be upset because they betrayed their original purpose to serve a galactic world power, the heart of the matter is that he feels betrayed by the team. Still, his focus seems to be on saving the team, even if his version of saving them involves them serving the Empire. He asks Hunter to let Omega be sent away "for her own good." He kills his elite squad members when they refuse to stand down. He fights with the team after Omega unleashes droid fighters as a distraction. These choices are a far cry from his actions on Bracca in "Reunion,"
where he seemed intent upon murdering Clone Force 99 even if it killed him in the process.
After the droid fight, Hunter begs Crosshair to let them help him, blaming the inhibitor chip for Crosshair's actions. In response, Crosshair reveals that he had his chip removed "a long time ago." Crosshair is unwilling to admit exactly when the chip was removed, but Hunter is insistent that it matters. In the grand scheme of the series, when the chip was removed is crucial. In this episode, Crosshair fully leans in to his superiority complex, especially in regards to other clones, which could indicate that he may have chosen to stay with the Empire from the beginning even without the inhibitor chip. Whether Crosshair would have chosen to do so on his own does not negate the fact that all of his actions taken under the chip's influence are still not his fault. He does still bear responsibility for his actions after the chip's removal, but he was still robbed of his agency when the chip was active.
Hunter looks at Crosshair's injury Star Wars The Bad Batch. Crosshair is unconscious on the ground, and Hunter is mostly offscreen.
After Hunter stuns Crosshair, he significantly glances at the head injury Crosshair endured during "Reunion," which suggests that Hunter theorizes that the removal of Crosshair's inhibitor chip occurred after that injury. This possible time frame tracks with what has been shown in the series thus far. Crosshair clearly still had his inhibitor chip in the series premiere, as shown on the scans, and the difference between his treatment of the team in this episode versus "Reunion" could be seen as evidence of how he changed without the chip. However, the exact time of the removal has not been explicitly confirmed.
If the chip was removed after "Reunion," it means that Crosshair still participated in horrific deeds under the Empire, but his worst moment, the slaughter on Onderon, was when he was still completely under the Empire's control. Still, his actions on Ryloth
, including the attempted and possibly successful assassination of Senator Orn Free Taa, were probably his own choices. While escape could have been possible, Crosshair may have felt trapped by the weight of his actions under the influence of the inhibitor chip and his own feelings of betrayal.
Thus, Crosshair, without the inhibitor chip's influence, chose to remain with the Empire. While in some ways he might not have had much of a choice, he seems to have bought into Rampart's propaganda. Even so, Hunter chooses to take Crosshair with the team as they desperately flee Kamino, proving that Hunter does not make the same mistake twice and will not leave Crosshair behind despite Crosshair's actions. If Crosshair survives the destruction of Kamino
, he will have to reckon with his actions, both under the inhibitor chip's influence and his own choices. In that reckoning, he still could be saved.
The Bad Batch finale airs Aug. 13 on Disney+.