How Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 Is Setting Up Grogu In The Mandalorian

This article contains spoilers for "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" season 3, episode 10, "Identity Crisis."

After last week's episode of "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" saw Asajj Ventress return from the grave, the show took a pivot this week. Instead of visiting Clone Force 99 at all, "Identity Crisis" takes us back to Mount Tantiss and focuses on Emerie Karr. 

Karr, who's voiced by "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" alum Keisha Castle-Hughes, is another female clone of Jango Fett, albeit much older than Omega. Introduced in previous seasons of "The Bad Batch," she's thus far been part of the crew on Mount Tantiss working alongside Dr. Hemlock on Operation Necromancer. She was also the one who gave Omega back her makeshift Lula doll at the beginning of season 3, sowing seeds that are paid off in this episode. The "Identity Crisis" the episode's title refers to is Emerie's, as she's promoted to the position Nala Se previously held before the Kaminoan scientist allowed Omega to escape and was deemed no longer reliable enough to conduct her research. With new responsibilities, Emerie is exposed to more of the Empire's secrets, one of which causes her to rethink her place in the Imperial war machine.

Stolen children

What does Dr. Hemlock show Emerie that forces her to rethink her place? Children, stolen from various parts of the Empire. There are three kids — though a fourth is added to their ranks later in the episode — who are all given numbers. They are pretty normal kids for an Ikotchi, a Mirialan, and a Pantoran, and they just want to go home. One of them even pleads with Emerie to help her get home like Nala Se promised. Another one of the kids attempts an escape but is captured and sent to solitary confinement.

Dr. Hemlock assures Emerie that this is all fine and does his best to dehumanize the kids and refer to them as subjects. Nevertheless, something about this seems to crack Emerie's facade.

What do these kids all have in common? All of them have high midi-chlorian counts or M-counts and none of them have trained to become Jedi.

Hemlock needs to transfer their midi-chlorians into a new host without degradation. With Omega having a low M-count, Hemlock wants to take the bonding agents in her blood that prevent the M-count degradation and add it to the high M-counts of these kids. Presumably, he and his team will combine all of that into the Palpatine clones they will eventually be working on.

The Grogu connection

How does this all come down to Grogu?

One of the subplots of this episode has Cad Bane hunting down and kidnapping a Force-sensitive child to toss him into the program alongside the other high M-count children. Cad's no stranger to this sort of work; Palpatine had him on this trail during early episodes of "The Clone Wars" as well. The Empire using a bounty hunter to track down a Force-sensitive kid with a high M-count is also pretty much the exact plot of the first episode of "The Mandalorian." Grogu and these kids are facing very much the same situation, as they're both targeted and intended to be harvested for their high midi-chlorian counts for cloning experiments. It's unclear which version of the experiments eventually yields the body that Palpatine can transfer his consciousness into (those on Mount Tantiss, the ones Moff Gideon oversees in "The Mandalorian," or another experiment altogether), but we know they're all pursuing the same goal.

This definitely gives us an idea of what it might have been like for Grogu when he was briefly in the custody of Gideon and his goons because they were able to get samples from him. It also makes one wonder just how much cloning science progresses between the events of "The Bad Batch" and "The Mandalorian," seeing as Moff Gideon implies in the latter series that because of Grogu, his clones would be equally strong in the Force (not to mention they all look pretty close to him in terms of their age).

All roads lead to Palpatine

"Dark science. Cloning. Secrets only the Sith knew," is the response Beaumont Kin (played by Dominic Monaghan) gives in "The Rise of Skywalker" regarding Palpatine's unexpected return from the dead. Some have memefied that scene to death but with all of the added context from "The Bad Batch" and "The Mandalorian" that one line makes a lot of sense. These shows are doing a really great job of paving the way toward that second rise and ultimate fall of the Sith in "The Rise of Skywalker."

Some might argue that everything in "Star Wars" should be self-contained, but even going back to "A New Hope," the franchise hasn't really worked like that, with each new story and installment adding context and new twists to what has come before. "The Bad Batch" is out here doing precisely that in subtle ways, but first and foremost, the show is doing this by telling first-rate stories.

Here, for example, we get a narrative thread that connects directly to the one involving Grogu, which itself connects directly to the main Skywalker Saga. And I think that's great.

New episodes of the final season of "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+.