This article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
Let’s check in on Crosshair, kids. Little has been seen of the least loquacious member of the Bad Batch since his inhibitor chip was enhanced by the Kaminoans for the benefit of the Empire.
In last week’s drop of Episode 8, Crosshair reappeared for the first time in several episodes. The story was focusing on the adventures of the rest of the Bad Batch as they integrated young Omega into the group and struggled to find their identities in a rapidly changing galaxy.
Crosshair, never in a good mood to begin with, began exhibiting signs of coming under the influence of the behavior modification chip implanted into all clones except Omega.
Tech assumed that their “desirable mutations” and the physical damage Echo suffered overwhelmed the chips’ effectiveness.
However, after several nasty blows to the head, Wrecker began to follow the same pattern as Crosshair. He was stopped only when overwhelmed by Clone Wars hero Rex.
Rex helped the Bad Batch remove their inhibitor chips so that they could truly exercise free choice.
But life got a little more sideways for Omega and her protectors in Episode 8. She was captured by legendary bounty hunter Cad Bane after Crosshair, aided by an Imperial strike team, attempted to exterminate his brothers and “sister.”
Crosshairs’ heartless slaughter of innocents earlier in the season, combined with his willingness to take down his once-tightly knit crew, seems to be leading him to a place from which he might not be able to return.
Star Wars fans, however, have seen one too many Sith Lords throw his Master down a reactor shaft to count him out. Here are ten reasons to hold out hope for Crosshair.
The faults (and hopes) his name carries
The Bad Batch’s origin arc issued from The Clone Wars animated series. Four episodes established them as tough fighters with distinct characteristics—much as the Jedi received specific strengths through the Force. In this introduction, Crosshair’s name seemed an obvious play on his superhuman ability as a crack sniper.
The stylized targeting tattoo he wore over one eye cemented the expression of his identity as “the sure shot.”
However, the word “cross” not only refers to the center of a target. In this clone’s case, it can also point to his forced fate in “doublecrossing” his colleagues by siding with the Empire.
Since one of the themes of The Bad Batch is man’s ability to undertake free choice, there’s no reason why he can’t “cross” back over the emotional bridge to rejoin his brothers.
As in Vader’s example, there’s no place too evil from which a person can’t return.
The nature of his injuries
Crosshair was badly wounded in Episode 8. In one of the series’ creative high points, the Bad Batch and Omega were forced to find a way out of the Jedi cruiser they were looting by making their way through the ship’s ion engine.
Well aware that his former teammates had re-powered the ship, Crosshair used Tech’s handiwork against them and ginned up the engine to flush them out.
But the stratagem quite literally backfired: Although the Bad Batch escaped, Crosshair was severely injured, and in the worst possible place for a sniper: He suffered damage to at least one eye.
If the injury is permanent, this could cause the Empire to demote or even discard the former member of Clone Force 99. Without his identity as “the sniper,” who is he?
Should this happen, the Bad Batch would likely welcome him back. Such a plot twist fits well with the bedrock theme of redemption found throughout the Star Wars storyline.
After ordering his new task force to mow down innocent refugees, Crosshair watched his new teammates climb into the bunks formerly occupied by his brothers. He sat on his own bed, recently stripped of any personal mementos; gone, now, were the days of the clones expressing their individuality.
These new soldiers were recruits and not connected to him in any way—biologically or through the bonds of saving one another’s lives.
A long, quiet closeup on Crosshair seemed to show him truly recognizing this new reality. He’s not satisfied with a job well done at all.
In an early scene, as the crew was shut in the brig, Omega gently tells Crosshair that she understands that his orders are “not his fault.” She earns a quarter of a smile from the perpetually grumpy sniper, who just seconds ago had spoken roughly to her.
As he cornered Omega in Episode 8, she reminded him of this moment. While it might have seemed too late since he had come this far in a predetermined plan to wipe out all of Clone Force 99, he pauses, as if reflecting.
While Crosshair continues with his mission objective, he’s clearly in there… somewhere.
‘Regs’ and Rex
I just mentioned that Crosshair is battling. This orneriness is a previously established facet of his personality, even when everyone is on the same side.
Outside of his Anderson Cooperish appearance and sniping abilities, Crosshair was distinguished in his Clone Wars debut by butting heads with Rex. He was quite the insistent jerk about it.
Even though Rex was the lead on the Bad Batch’s mission to rescue Echo, Crosshair lived up to his name for the first time by presenting himself at “cross” purposes to his superior officer. He had little use for “regs” and made sure Rex knew about it.
Crosshair was more peevish than his brothers and ironically was the one most ready to disobey orders, too. We’ll see if that part of him pushes its way to the fore.
Separation of self and mission
In his Clone Wars introduction, Crosshair dispatched with cool efficiency an entire hallway of droids in a single shot and the help of some rather carelessly tossed mirrors. This feat, in addition to making for a really cool GIF, established his ability to concentrate under raucous circumstances.
That talent, at the very highest levels of shooting, is on Earth what separates Olympic gold medalists from someone who just had a really nice time marching into the Opening Ceremonies.
This is what has thus far gone unspoken about Crosshairs’ skill set—he was not merely a good shot. He was a machine of laser focus.
Such mental strength might just be enough to overcome even an enhanced inhibitor chip.
Time to practice
Clone Force 99 established itself as a dangerous unitary opponent not only because it possessed innate skills but because each member was willing to plow time, energy, and calories into sharpening his abilities.
We see proof of this when the burly Wrecker bench pressed a Gonk droid and in seeing Tech tinker just to tinker. They did not take their expertise for granted.
In Crosshair’s case, consider the posters he formerly kept in his bunk: They were battle droid targets.
This man practiced.
What the Bad Batch might have expected from one another is likely undervalued by the Empire. In an over-regimented life in which his individual skills aren’t particularly respected, merely used, Crosshair could find that the work and care he plowed into his craft simply aren’t appreciated.
That, my friends, leads to job dissatisfaction.
Willingness to self-sacrifice
The more I try not to allow Anakin Skywalker’s defining disdain for sand ruin my entire Clone Wars experience, the more I think about him whining on an overlook as a means of seduction.
So Crosshair’s wild daring to rescue General Skywalker is all the more incredible to me.
As a winged Keeradak made off with Anakin and Rex fired hopelessly after them, Crosshair saved the day with a nonchalant “Relax. I’ll handle this”—even though Anakin had just ignored advice to fire first and “talk to them” later.
Using Tech’s shoulder as a shooting rest, he swapped in a grappling hook for his rifle and made a fast pursuit possible. Later, he saved the life of a small village’s chief with little more celebration than a jaunty salute.
Such adventures were normally Hunter’s bag, but Crosshair did what was needed to be done despite his irritation with the entire mission to save Echo.
It’s not as apparent as his brothers’, but Crosshair is endowed with an element of self-sacrifice in dire circumstances. It could kick in when he least expects it where the rest of the Bad Batch is concerned.
Experience with life as an outsider
Crosshair ain’t care.
Bullied by the “regs” along with the rest of Clone Force 99 as the war ended and they were considered outsiders due to their individuality, the Bad Batch also felt like misfits even when differences were established amongst the clones.
No matter the setting in which he plied his trade, then, Crosshair was well used to operating as a loner, even within a closely bound unit. Such experiences could contribute to summoning the emotional strength to push back against the directive that “good soldiers follow orders.”
The ‘Replacements’ aren’t replacing anybody
An entire episode titled “Replacements” explored how Crosshair’s new squad and the Bad Batch attempted to substitute for one another. It didn’t work; there was no one powerful enough in Crosshair’s trooper set to truly stand up to him, and Omega couldn’t entirely compensate for the missing member of Clone Force 99.
Crosshair apparently felt this loss most keenly in battle situations and after contact with the Bad Batch. Although he was in the act of using his intimate knowledge of his former team against them, both Hunter and Omega’s pleas for him to return seemed to make at least a little dent.
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