WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S6, E2, "Allegiance"

Outlander season six, episode two–aptly titled "Allegiance"–had more than a few uncomfortable moments. If you've been keeping up with my Outlander article series here on Couch Soup, you know what happened in the previous episode. We were introduced to Tom Christie and learned that he and Jamie don't exactly get along. The two have very different worldviews, and now that Christie is living on the Ridge, things are getting tense. Jamie has also agreed to become an Indian agent for the King so that Major MacDonald doesn't select Richard Brown (their troublesome neighbor) to do it, instead. Because let's face it, if Brown did it, it would have been horrible. Meanwhile, Marsali and Fergus are having relationship issues, and the trouble pot is starting to bubble. This week's episode jumped right in with even more information on the Christie family and what's been going on with Marsali and Fergus.

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You've been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled.

WHAT HAPPENED

Jamie meets with the Cherokee

First things first: Jamie goes to meet with their Cherokee neighbors. The chief asks Jamie to speak with the Crown on their behalf and request guns. They want to defend their land and livelihood against the colonists who are steadily encroaching on their territory–a completely rightful and understandable request. However, Jamie is hesitant because he could either be arming a potential ally or a potential enemy. Claire regrets she can't advise Jamie, unable to remember if the Cherokee side with the Crown or if they side with those who rebel during the American Revolution. Ian asks Brianna about what happens after the war, and she briefly explains how the United States of America came to be, but they don’t answer which side their neighbors fight on. According to history, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Cherokee actually announced their choice to support the crown (a choice that was not rewarded for them long term). Claire and Jamie talk about it for a while, but at that point in the episode, he remains undecided. 

Meanwhile, the Christies are building a church. They want to hold a funeral in the unfinished building, but they don't have a minister at the moment. So Roger, who has some experience having been raised by a Presbyterian minister, is called to stand in and conduct the service for a woman named Granny Wilson. But not so fast! Granny Wilson wakes up in the middle of her funeral! Claire rushes to her aid and diagnoses that she's had an aortic aneurysm. There's too much damage to the tissue and not enough time to do anything, so Granny Wilson will be dying soon, anyway. She has a moment to speak with her family, and she's able to get herself and her affairs in order before she passes on moments later. 

This is an opportunity for the show to explore more of the customs of the time, and also demonstrate that Tom Christie is experiencing mixed emotions. He liked Roger's preaching and how he handled the unique situation enough to invite him back to lead more services. However, because Claire happened to be in the room at the time this woman woke up… and Claire had the medical knowledge to diagnose her condition… Christie thinks she's–you guessed it–a witch. This is nothing new, of course; people have thought Claire's a witch a bazillion times since she went back in time, so Claire is unaffected. 

About mid-episode, Brianna makes an important announcement during a family dinner. She's figured out how to make matches! Historically, the invention of the first friction matches is credited to John Walker, who was an English chemist. His ledger records his first sale of the new matches in 1827, and this season of Outlander is set half a century earlier, so Brianna is quite before her current time. Before she could complete her announcement, though, everyone thought she was going to say she was pregnant, and so you know, they were a little let down. Personally, I think matches at that time would be absolutely lit (pun intended). All jokes aside, that leads to a brief discussion of women's roles at the time. Claire is supportive of Brianna's invention and happy that she's working on her goals of becoming an engineer. I’m actually worried that this invention might be a use of the writing tool and dramatic principle Chekhov’s Gun, and am worried of a potential fire or other calamity heralded by the dangerous material used to make the matches. 

Marsali goes into labor and Claire invites Malva, Christie's daughter, to help out. It appears I judged Malva too harshly too early. This episode gives us more insight into her family life, and she is living in an environment that is definitely not supportive of her interest in learning medicine. She has an absolutely badass moment with her father while they're at home; he’s about to punish her for something she didn’t do, but he has difficulty doing so due to less mobility in one of his hands. She just stares him down, clearly twisting the knife that he can’t be an ass, ironically, because of his own choice not to let Claire operate and fix his mobility. It was such a quiet display of fearlessness that I couldn’t help but give her some props. Clearly Malva is tougher than she lets on. 

Marsali goes into labor. Fergus is not there, so Roger rides off to get him. After finding Fergus, who was drunk yet again, Roger gives him a "get your act together" speech. After Fergus joins Marsali at the Fraser's house on the Ridge, the couple engage in some unexpected physical intimacy as Fergus recalls childbirth aiding techniques used in the brothel where he lived as a child. The audience is just as uncomfortable as Jamie and Brianna are as they slip away to give the two some privacy. I wish I could've done like Brianna and excused myself to go for a walk, but I had to watch the rest of the episode. Though this certainly aids in the childbirth, the state of Marsali and Fergus' relationship makes their intimate scene somewhat discomforting.

Marsali and Fergus share an intimate moment before the birth.

Anywho, the couple sort of reconciles for a moment, and you can see that their relationship is still very important to them. The love is still there, they still have that romantic chemistry, and they genuinely care for each other. Obviously, we want them to be happy together. 

…But then Marsali delivers her baby. Fergus is holding the baby, and he looks confused. Claire diagnoses the baby with dwarfism, and Fergus reacts poorly. He feels conflicted and leaves the room quickly. We don't see much of him for the rest of the episode. 

Ian goes to visit Marsali and drops an absolute bomb. During his visit, he reveals to Marsali that he's had a child with a woman from the Mohawk tribe, who I believe is his wife. Presumably, this happened during the time he was with the Mohawk during seasons 4 and 5. Jamie overhears this from outside the cabin; he came by to visit but hadn't entered yet, so he kept his presence a secret. This information informs Jamie's decision to arm the Cherokee. He realizes that the indigenous people are Ian's family, now. As the episode briefly discusses the many cruelties and injustices the Cherokee and others will face from white people, Ian wants to take a stand. With this revelation in mind, Jamie does request the weapons for his Cherokee neighbors. However, he is already on uncertain ground with the chief. Hopefully, he'll be able to make amends for his mistake and move forward with a positive relationship.

WTF

I don't expect a resolution for Marsali and Fergus's relationship struggles early in the season. However, I think their pre-birth intimacy was surprising on purpose. The writing, the pacing, the filmography, and the entire situation leads me to believe that the showrunners wanted viewers to feel slightly uncomfortable.

For starters, her labor is painful and difficult, and viewers (like myself) are genuinely worried this might be the last we see of Marsali. Claire is worried throughout the birth because the baby isn’t moving as much as it should be, and Marsali expresses her fear of dying multiple times. Fergus does get there in time to be with her, but it’s not all we’ve been hoping for for these two. We learn earlier that Marsali has a bit of a temper, and her bruises are not from abuse, but from Fergus defending himself. However, his drinking problem continues, and isn’t resolved during this scene. As a Game of Thrones fan, I've become accustomed to "Oh, you thought everything was fine, but it most definitely is not fine" moments. So when Fergus was holding the baby and looking increasingly concerned, I thought for certain their new son may have died somehow. Thankfully this was not the case; their new baby is happy and healthy, and though Fergus storms out after Claire shares her diagnosis, Marsali adores her new child and thinks he’s absolutely perfect. Crisis averted… for now.

On the one hand, viewers are rooting for Fergus and Marsali’s relationship because these two deserve to be happy. They've been through a lot, they have a family, and they're characters that we have followed for a long time. On the other hand, they are going through emotional turmoil right now. Right after the birth, Fergus is unable to process his child's diagnosis due to the ableist mindsets of the time and his own guilt. I'm keeping my hopes up for a lasting reconciliation between the two of them when neither are in pain or afraid for their life, and when both are at a point where they're able to move forward and forgive themselves and each other. 

WHAT STANDS OUT

A primary theme in this episode is the importance of being there for your loved ones. Roger's speech to Fergus highlights this: he basically tells Fergus if Fergus doesn't get his act together and be there for his wife and child he'll regret it in the future. Digging a little deeper, this episode's focus on familial ties and duty underlines the coming conflict. With the revolution on the horizon, these characters are all vitally important to each other. The Cherokee's desire to protect their land, Marsali's painful labor, and Ian's secret past all ask the same question: "How much can and will one do to protect their home?" 

How will the Frasers defend the Ridge when the homefront is in shambles?

All this ties in to Claire's speech in the Season 6 trailer, where she promises that nothing will come between Jamie and herself. The many things they have experienced have occured, in part, because of her decision to come back in time and be with her husband. Claire, Brianna, Roger, and her grandchild don't belong there in that time. And yet they find themselves on the cusp of revolution, the birth of a new country, and everything is trying to tear them apart. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

My reaction to the Episode 3 preview.

The only thing that I remember from the next episode preview is Fergus and Marsali’s newborn son Henri-Christian in a basket in a river. We see a few glimpses of a very upset Fergus. The others are chasing after the basket, obviously panicked. If he put his baby in that river…

I'm also looking forward to seeing if Malva will be more of a focus character. I'm still waiting to see which side she's actually on. She may end up being a cool character.

Have you watched "Allegiance"? What are your predictions for Episode 3?

WTF Just Happened In Outlander? S6, E1, "Echoes"

Outlander Season 6 premiered Sunday night with an extended first episode, "Echoes." I tuned in right on time and sat through about an hour and a half of shady, shifty, and salty new characters. If you haven’t watched, Jamie and Claire are starting to butt heads with new settlers on the Ridge while dealing with their own healing. These are some suspicious characters to say the least. Let's get into the recap!

SPOILER ALERT: We're recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You've been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled.

WHAT HAPPENED

We spend about a third of the episode flashing back to Ardsmuir, where we’re introduced to Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones). He and Jamie clash throughout these scenes, and his worldview differs from Jamie's considerably. Now that he’s been established as an old rival from Jamie's past, he shows up on the Ridge unexpectedly. He speaks with Roger about needing a place for him and his people to stay. Roger welcomes him, thinking that since he's an Ardsmuir man, he might be a friend of Jamie's. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Mark Lewis Jones as Tom Christie in Outlander Season 6
Mark Lewis Jones as Tom Christie

In the past, Jamie and Christie had been able to reconcile their differences due to having to labor beneath common authority in Ardsmuir. Now that Christie is on the Ridge, likely to stay, Jamie faces a conundrum. On one hand, it’s annoying having someone so stubborn always second guessing you. On the other, war is afoot, and they need people ready to fight for what they believe in, which seems to be right up Christie’s alley. However, when push comes to shove, Jamie is the one who has to put his foot down. Unlike their days in prison, there’s no common authority now beyond what Jamie is able to establish. It's his land, his family, and he says what goes and what absolutely does not go. Christie isn't one to smile and nod, however, and tensions grow.

Meanwhile, Claire is trying to return to life as usual in the aftermath of her assault. She, Jamie, and Brianna share dialogue about her healing process, and how she is throughout the episode. But there's no peace to be had. Richard Brown rides up to the Ridge to address a theft, and Christie's son is found guilty of stealing. Back and forth talk of punishment occurs, and Jamie decides he'll deliver the agreed upon lashes since it's his land. This is especially triggering due Jamie’s history with lashings, and though Claire is indoors as he metes out the punishment, there’s no mistaking what's going on. The event, and the presence of the Browns, triggers flashbacks and nightmares. She's experimenting with ether as a way to treat her patients, and finds it helps her sleep. This could become a dangerous practice, and I’m concerned for her welfare, as is her family.

After delivering the lashes, Jamie agrees to become an Indian agent, only because he discovers Brown is next in line for the job if he refuses. Brown is the one who requested the lashes as punishment, and continues to be a troublesome presence overall. This puts Jamie in a very precarious situation, and we have yet to see how it plays out.

Brianna and Roger seem to be doing well enough helping the newcomers settle on the Ridge, but Fergus and his wife Marsali are not. Fergus is conflicted, and believes he's a disappointment. Presumably, there is some boiling over from Marsali being knocked unconscious during the Browns' raid on the Ridge. Fergus was not there to defend her, and he fights his guilt with drink. It's leading him down a dark road. Marsali is also expecting their next child soon, and they preview a troublesome birth in the "next episode" portion.

WTF 

The…salt…levels…in…this…episode. I do so enjoy snide and snarky dialogue, and it's fun to see characters engage in some verbal sparring. But there's something very shifty about the Christie family. It could be too early to tell, but Malva in particular creeps me out. Jessica Reynolds, who portrays Malva, is doing a fantastic job giving the audience just enough reason to feel hesitation without us really being able to put our thumb on what’s off.

WHAT STANDS OUT

The dialogue in this episode is so good! While the conflict between Jamie and Christie feels a little shoehorned right now, I expect that will rectify itself as the story progresses. It certainly adds tension. The episode calls out the shortage of tea, the impending Boston Tea Party, and the escalation of tensions between those allied with the Crown and those whose allegiances lie elsewhere. Or, in our characters’ cases, with their families. Everyone is feeling the weight of the taxes, and unrest awaits.

The Christie family in Outlander Season 6
The Christies

WHAT'S NEXT?

According to the next episode preview, we can expect Marsali to have trouble going into labor. I hope Marsali and the child will be okay, and that this Christie family gets on with it. Jamie has a point: someone so stubborn may be an asset, come war times. But are they villains? Are they antagonists? Are they just salty? We'll see. 

Are you keeping up with Outlander? What do you think of the Christies?

Monthly Update: September 2021 Game Releases

September will be kicking off with a bang with the fall release schedule of games. There is a lot of variety getting released to boot, from little indie’s to big-budget action; we have a lot to look forward to this month. Get your pocketbooks ready! It’s about to get crazy this holiday season!

 

September’s Highlights

Tale of Arise - Sept 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Tales of Arise is the latest installment of the long-running RPG “Tales of” series. The planet of Dahma has always been ruled by the planet in the sky, Rena. You play as residents of Dahma that are often used as slaves trying to find freedom. Experience the most stunning Tales game yet powered by Unreal Engine 4 with dynamic action RPG battles and classic Tales gameplay. Dive into this vibrant new world and rich story on September 10th.

 

DEATHLOOP - Sept 14th (PS5, PC)

The much-anticipated game from Arkane Studios is finally here. A true “next-gen” title coming to PC and PS5, you will be taking down your foes with glorious style and precision. Deathloop has you playing as two deadly assassins that have to relive a time loop to find the best possible way to reach their target and put an end to the time loop trapping everyone inside. An innovative take on first-person action, Deathloop will allow players to find a preferred playstyle, be it stealth or guns blazing. End the Loop of Death on September 14th.

 

Aragami 2 - Sept 16th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Gamepass, PC)

You are an Aragami, a group of elite warriors afflicted with a supernatural condition that corrodes the body and mind. You also control Shadow Essence, a mystical power to control the shadows. Go it alone or work with two friends to free the village from invaders who are enslaving the Aragami. The shadows are your ally in this 3rd person fast-paced stealth action game, where you build your own shadow assassin to save and protect your people. Become a master ninja in Aragami 2 on September 16th.

 

Kena Bridge of Spirits - Sept 21st (PS4, PS5, PC)

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a story-driven action-adventure set in a charming world rich with exploration and fast-paced combat. Players find and grow a team of tiny spirit companions called the Rot, enhancing their abilities and creating new ways to manipulate the environment. Kena has been developed by Ember Labs, an animation and digital content studio, and is their first-ever game. There has been a lot of anticipation for this gorgeous Pixaresque looking adventure since it was revealed. Help Kena and befriend The Rot on September 21st.

 

Diablo 2 Resurrected - Sept 23rd (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Diablo 2 Resurrected is a fully remastered version of the original action RPG, which many believe to be the best. It will have the same classic gameplay as the remaster is built on top of the original game. It will feature cross-progression across all platforms with updated features and support for modern gaming needs. The entire game, including monsters, items, and spells, has been updated, including the original expansion, so you get the full Diablo 2 story in one package. Play with up to eight people and return to this classic adventure or play for the first time on September 23rd.

 

The complete list… (Updated*)

Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions - Sept 3rd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

KitAria Fables - Sept 3rd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

The Medium - Sept 3rd (PS5)

Chernobylite - Sept 4th (PS4)

Sonic Colors Ultimate - Sept 7th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

WRC 10  - Sept 7th ( PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Hindsight 20/20 - Sept 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Life is Strange True Colors - Sept 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Olympia Soiree - Sept 9th (Switch)

NBA 2K22 - Sept 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Tale of Arise - Sept 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Lost in Random - Sept 10th (PS4, Ps5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Colors Live - Sept 14th (Switch)

DEATHLOOP - Sept 14th (PS5, PC)

Ever Forward - Sept 14th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Where The Heart Leads - Sept 14th (PS4)

Aragami 2 - Sept 16th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Gamepass, PC)

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince's Edition - Sept 17th (Switch)

Tails of Iron Crimson Knight Edition - Sept 17th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

Lost in Judgment - Sept 20th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Apsulov: End of Gods - Sept 21st (PS4, PS5)

Kena Bridge of Spirits - Sept 21st (PS4, PS5, PC)

Diablo 2 Resurrected - Sept 23rd (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Death Stranding Director’s Cut - Sept 24th ( PS5)

The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem - Sept 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

FIFA 22 - Sept 26th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

Hot Wheels Unleashed - Sept 26th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Alchemic Cutie - Sept 28th (Xbox, PC)

Lemnis Gate - Sept 28th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

New World - Sept 28th (PC)

Open Country - Sept 28th (PS4, Xbox)

Streets of Rage 4 Anniversary Edition - Sept 28th (PS4, Switch)

Insurgency: Sandstorm - Sept 29th (PS4, Xbox)

RICO London - Sept 30th (PS4, Switch)

The Riftbreaker - Sept 30th (PS5, Xbox, Gamepass, PC)

Xuan Yuan Sword 7 - Sept 30th (PS4, Xbox)

 

What game are you most looking forward to playing this September?

 

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1 Wrap-up and Omega Theories

It's been a crazy summer of hot days and career changes for me, but Star Wars: The Bad Batch has been a consistent part of each weekend. Since my article kicking off the season, I've looked forward to this time to reflect on the series so far. Now that Season 1 has come to a close, and knowing we have a Season 2 ahead, let's take that plunge into the spoiler-rich Kaminoan depths!

First thing's first: this show is an epic visual and audio experience in every episode. The colors and lighting are stunning, reproducing masterfully crafted live-action cinematography in an animated format. The action itself is worthy of the Star Wars brand and on par with an action-packed Marvel film. Also, the sound design is a perfect match to the visual experience, including the use of the ear ringing effect after an explosion and simulating even the most subtle position changes of characters in the frame.

Completing the show is Kevin Kiner's engaging score, bringing the power and emotion we've come to expect in a Star Wars production. As he did in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, Kiner finds just the right melodies and impact for each moment in The Bad Batch. One musical moment that stands out for me is his blending the unique sound of Fennec Shand's theme into the action score during her confrontation with fellow bounty hunter Cad Bane.

Omega and Hunter

The basis for this amazing experience is in its writing: the stories and characters were engaging, and I was invested in each of them from the start. Our main characters, the Bad Batch itself, evolve into more than the stereotypes I introduced in my previous article. Season 1 forced them to adapt to a new world where the Republic and the humanitarian values the clones fought for have been absorbed by a cold, oppressive Empire. Former enemies are now allies in the fight to remain free from tyranny, and former allies are now showing them the business ends of their blasters. Crosshair, Hunter, and Omega each evolved a great deal by the season finale.

That writing comes to life thanks to some great performances. I trusted that Dee Bradley Baker would be up to the enormous task he had in the recording booth, and my trust was rewarded. Dee has taken his work from The Clone Wars to the next level. Every character he voices has a wholly unique sound, personality, and emotional profile: the entire Batch, Captain Rex, Gregor, and every other clone trooper, plus a few additional characters. As I watched, I was constantly amazed at Dee's performances, and I'd love to see him get some awards for his work on Season 1. Check out this Entertainment Tonight interview with Dee talking about his work in The Bad Batch:

 

As a quick note for those going into the voice acting career field, make sure you put Dee's website on your personal list of resources to read and reference: iwanttobeavoiceactor.com

Michelle Ang (photo by Sam Nixon)

Complementing Dee was Michelle Ang's performance as Omega, which highlights the character's wide range of experiences throughout the season. Every emotional state is distinct with lots of great nuance in Michelle's delivery. The writing for Season 1 doesn't leave Omega in the passenger seat as a perspective character; she's an active part of driving the story forward. And thanks to Michelle's performance, I feel like I'm fighting with the Batch right alongside Omega!

There's another dimension to my love for this show that I call the "Filoniverse factor." Dave Filoni created both The Clone Wars and Rebels, and he's been side-by-side with Jon Favreau on The Mandalorian, too. The Filoniverse refers to Filoni's original characters and storylines that gained popularity on their own and have cross-connected the shows he's been involved with. The Bad Batch, created by Jennifer Corbett and Brad Rau, is solidly anchored in the Filoniverse with cameos from characters like Cut and Suu from The Clone Wars, Hera Syndulla and Chopper from Rebels, and Captain Rex and Cham Syndulla who were in both of those series. As a big fan of the Filoniverse, I was excited to see every familiar character.

Kanan Jarrus, formerly Caleb Dume (left), and Hera Syndulla (right) appeared as adolescents in Season 1 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, a great tie-in with a fan-favorite Star Wars couple from Star Wars: Rebels (center).

Early in the season, though, I was afraid that we would revisit so many other Filoniverse characters that it would take away from the Batch. I had a similar reaction when Ahsoka Tano became part of Rebels: for a few episodes, it felt like her presence put a dampener on the show's standalone story. But the writers eventually balanced Ahsoka's presence in the show without compromising the show's own characters and story. By the end, it felt like I was watching one larger story of the Star Wars universe, not a standalone series.

That's the same impression I have now with The Bad Batch. Rex, the Martez sisters, Hera, and more crossed over, but in a way that looks like we were just seeing some missing chapters in their lives. Everything is still tied to the story of the Batch, which is intrinsically linked to everything going on in the galaxy during this transitional time. I hope that balance remains moving forward to Season 2.

The Bad Batch helps Cid retrieve a spice shipment in an action-adventure sequence from S1:E13, "Infested."

I'll have to do another article soon reflecting on how this show and others are developing and cross-connecting the broader Star Wars universe. There's a lot ahead with the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano series, the continuation of The Mandalorian, and the new Boba Fett story. I am loving seeing all these brilliant creators working together to tell a single epic and engaging story. (And maybe us Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fans will eventually get the Cal Kestis cameo we had hoped to see when the Bad Batch was on Bracca.)

Now, though, I want to go back to Omega and talk a bit about this ongoing mystery and popular theory about what makes her unique as a clone. 

Omega tells the Batch about a hidden access to enter the cloning facility on Kamino.

What we know: We've learned that Omega is an "unaltered" clone, so she doesn't have the rapid aging and soldier-related enhancements of her brothers. She's also female and doesn't display Jango Fett's physical features. It certainly makes sense that using Jango's X chromosome and not his Y chromosome would have affected gene expression. That said, The Clone Wars and Rebels aren't known for a lot of subtlety when it comes to hinting about character origins and abilities, so I suspect The Bad Batch is following that model. That leaves me asking:

Is Omega really a Jango Fett clone, or is her genetic donor someone else entirely?

The Force-sensitive clone theory: My question ties in with a popular theory that Omega is a Force-sensitive clone. But I have my doubts about Omega's Force sensitivity after watching through the season twice. Omega does have heightened perception, and she's got a sharper-than-average head for tactics. However, she hasn't displayed the more obvious Force traits like telekinesis. Even in the life-or-death situations, she was in during the season finale, she didn't unlock that ability. So if she is Force-sensitive, it manifests differently than the Jedi and Sith we know, or she's going to have to unlock it in a different way.

Obi-Wan Kenobi introduces Sheev Palpatine (left) to a young Anakin Skywalker (right) for the first time.

Looking at the clues: As I speculate the answer to my question and follow clues from Season 1, the most obvious "who else" answer would be that she's a clone of either Anakin Skywalker or Sheev Palpatine. In the broader Star Wars narrative, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker told us that Palpatine had been experimenting with cloning technology since before the Clone Wars in an attempt to sustain himself in his rise to rule the galaxy. Also, when we look at the timeline, Omega's "adolescence" would put her around age 13, aligning her creation to two significant events:

Putting the clues together: If we combine those clues with a creative consideration of Omega's character design, we could guess that she's a clone of then-Senator Palpatine as part of his long-term plan. But Omega's curiosity, optimism, and skills in mechanics (when fixing Gonky and Todo 360) may be some less-than-subtle references to young Anakin from Phantom Menace. I would certainly see the logic in her being a clone of either Palpatine or Anakin, or some combination of both, maybe with Jango's DNA mixed in.

Is Omega (center) truly a first-generation clone of Jango Fett like Kix (left), or does she have genetic material from a Force-sensitive like Palpatine (top-right) or Anakin (bottom-right)?

In any case, Omega being a clone of a Force-sensitive person would be one explanation for why the Kaminoans hired bounty hunters to bring her back to Kamino. As to whether she'll manifest more noticeable Force powers, though, I'm happy to remain unspoiled and speculation-free as we anticipate Season 2. For now, it's enough for me that she's a clever and fun character to follow.

Crosshair finds his true purpose in serving in the Empire and encourages his Bad Batch brothers to do the same.

Wrapping up my overall impressions, I can relate to the perspective I've read from some viewers that Season 1 felt unfinished. As I reflect, I think it's just because I hoped that Crosshair would return to the Batch by the end of the season. But I think the writers were smart to acknowledge that even without an inhibitor chip, the clones are individuals who can choose different paths and be compelled by different values and purposes. That's a much stronger message overall. Plus, given its place in the Star Wars timeline, this isn't the kind of story they could wrap up with a nice neat bow. 

Once they announced a Season 2, I knew we would see an ending that was more like being in the eye of the storm rather than in its aftermath. Fortunately, they're set up to tackle some new adventures in Season 2. 

How are you feeling about The Bad Batch as we reflect on Season 1? And where do you stand on the theories about Omega's origins? Let's discuss in the comments!