Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 10. Tyrannical empires are built on fear: taking advantage of the population to keep them under control, and they are too afraid to fight back. Fear, however, is a limited resource. You can only push people so far before you back them into a corner, and start pulling back. Smart tyrants supplement fear with propaganda: lie to their people to believe, to rally behind. Reason to think that the life the Empire is giving them is the best they can hope for. While Palpatine’s hand in creating the Galactic Empire was pure genius, Bad Luck It shows us the relatively unexplored beginnings of the Empire’s power, and it’s clear that the reason the Galactic Empire fell so quickly (19 years from its creation to its first galaxy-wide defeat) was that Palpatine cared little. for the mask that was once in power. Hiding the tyranny of the Empire behind good intentions could have kept it going for centuries, but less than a year in, that mask is already slipping.
Empire within Star Wars it’s quite unique in terms of the evil empires usually found in sci-fi and fantasy properties, in that it didn’t conquer the galaxy – it was voted into power. The people of that old galaxy far, far away thought that making Palpatine Emperor was really the best thing to do. This was in no small part due to decades of planning orchestrated by Palpatine himself: always keeping a good face in the foreground, manipulating people’s perceptions to sow mutual distrust and trust in him. Although it was the cause of a great war, it is true that Palpatine established his Empire more through political propaganda than through military force. The problem is that he clearly never thought beyond his power, because now he’s doing very little to hide how evil he really is all along.
The Empire does not respect Planetary Independence or Jurisdiction
That’s one thing Bad Luck what he’s doing is showing how little the Empire cares about its propaganda. In a recent episode Bad Luck, “The Solitary Clone”, we see the Empire trying to claim the planet Desix as part of their territory. Legally speaking, the Empire extends to any planet controlled by the Republic; the problem is that Desix declared independence from the Republic years ago, so the Empire has no jurisdiction over it. That, however, doesn’t stop the Empire from walking around like it owns the place. In fact, when the Governor assigned to the Empire lands, he assumes Desix’s position of power is his, without even checking beforehand. The Empire does not respond well to refusal; Launching an all-out assault on Desix the moment it tries to assert its independence.
At the climax of the episode, Commander Cody (Dee Bradley Baker) Tawni Ames talks with Desix Governor (Tasia Valenza) in the tense state. It’s where we learn something important about Palpatine – while the Empire talked about enforcing peace and order throughout the galaxy, it was never his intention, and he barely tried to hide it. When he had the chance to end the Clone Wars with a bill that had the support of both sides of the war, he shot it. It’s not surprising that he did this – we all know that wars were an essential part of his bid for power – but that he did it so publicly. Even then it was clear – peace in the Empire was never an option, not when the idea of control appears so much more appealing.
Empire prefers displays of power
More and more, we are seeing that the Empire cares very little about the lies it was built on. Despite their public agenda of peace, the Empire spends much of its time and resources building a better army, even replacing the already loyalist clone army because they weren’t loyal enough. A policy of shoot first, ask questions later, if applicable, has been adopted. Even where there are simple, peaceful options, the Empire prefers displays of power and outright destruction of anything that would rebel. Palpatine himself is no longer part of the daily operations of the Government, as we saw in the episode “The Clone Conspiracy”. The Empire grows prouder, and while this means tougher times for all concerned, Bad Luck It’s giving us a clearer picture of how everything went so wrong, so fast. Palpatine’s arrogance made his lies intolerable. He didn’t care who saw his lies – he only cared about punishing the people who challenged the Empire.
The final episode of The Bad Batch – “Retrieval” – shows a microcosm of the Empire on a small mining planet. A foreman named Mokko (Jonathan Lipow) rises to power, taking advantage of the chaos of the Clone Wars, and immediately uses his position of power to amass even more power for himself. He pits the workers against each other, sows mistrust and increases their dependence on him, as in Palpatine’s rise to power. Like Palpatine, however, his lies are clear and obvious. When Omega (Michelle Ang) finally exposes Mokko for the fraud that he is, it’s not long before his once-loyalists turn on him and take power for themselves. We are reminded that every successful rebellion begins with a moment: a moment when the mask has slipped too far, and the lies that have been told can no longer be tolerated. It is the point of no return. It incites violence, yes, but although that violence may persist, after that moment, the fall of tyranny is inevitable. Palpatine’s mask has been slipping since his rise to power, which ultimately proves just how fragile the Empire’s reach into the galaxy is.