Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Omega barely escaping a kidnapping attempt by Fennec Shand. The incident spurred Hunter to declare that they needed to learn who tried to capture their new teammate/surrogate daughter (we already know it was Shand) and who hired her (we still don’t know that).
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
Communication is Key
The episode opens with Tech giving an excited Omega her very own wrist comm, which used to belong to Crosshair. She immediately begins using it to talk to people in the same room, which is about the most relatable thing ever.
We then learn that the team is on their way to the planet of Ord Mantell to meet an old Jedi informant Echo knows about (but doesn’t know personally) named Cid. Hunter and Echo’s hope is that Cid might be able to help them identify and learn more about the bounty hunter they just tangled with back on Pantora.
*Side Note: During the Clone Wars, Ord Mantell also served as a base of operations for the Black Sun crime syndicate, which was allied with Maul’s own criminal organization, the Shadow Collective. The planet featured prominently in the ‘Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir‘ limited comic series, which was based off the script for an unproduced arc of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars.’
After landing in Ord Mantell City, the Bad Batch make their way through town (in full/recognizable gear) to a seedy bar to meet with Cid. Upon entering the establishment, the bar’s proprietor tells them that she’s never heard of this ‘Cid’ they’re looking for. She also commands them to to either spend some credits there or leave.
As the Bad Batch begin to argue about what to do next, Omega walks up to the Trandoshan barkeep and correctly surmises that she’s actually Cid.
*Side Note: This type of resourcefulness and awareness is one of many reasons I’m warming up to Omega much quicker than expected. That being said, it’s pretty disappointing that the Bad Batch were too oblivious to even consider that the bartender was hiding her identity from them.
Cid takes the Bad Batch back to her office and gruffly asks what they want. After projecting a hologram of Fennec Shand and explaining their situation, Cid says she can dig up some intel on the bounty hunter, but only if they do a job for her in return.
A child named Muchi is being held prisoner by Zygerrian slavers on the other side of the planet. If they can rescue the kid and bring her back, she’ll give the Bad Batch 30% of the bounty for Muchi’s return and dig up as much information as she can about the bounty hunter.
As the Bad Batch fly toward the Zygerrian outpost, Wrecker’s head begins hurting again like it did back in Episode 3. He decides to go lay down while the rest of the team provides a shocked/disgusted Omega with a lesson on what slavery is.
Upon locating the outpost, Tech spots a child prisoner in the open air complex. He also determines that the Zygerrian’s fortifications are fairly weak, which a rested and refreshed Wrecker is more than ready to dismantle. Omega tries to include herself in the the team’s plans, but Hunter commands her to return to the ship. She doesn’t take it well, but still obeys the order.
With Omega moving away from harm, the Bad Batch make their approach. Unfortunately, they’re attack is thwarted when a trained brezak swoops down and messes up everything. Before the team can recover, they’re stunned and detained by the Zygerrians.
*Side Note: While I’m always down for seeing a brezak attack, it’s a bit deflating to see what was supposedly an elite clone trooper unit get taken down by one along with a couple of Zygerrians.
Meanwhile, Cid gets a call from whoever put up the bounty to rescue Muchi. She calmly assures the agitated Twi’lek that his boss will be reunited with the girl soon.
Back on the Havoc Marauder, Omega is in the middle of customizing her clone trooper doll into a Bad Batch member when a pair of Zygerrians arrive and begin searching the ship. After managing to avoid detection, she slips away outside and attempts to call the Bad Batch on her wrist comm. When that doesn’t work, she tracks the Zygerrians as they return to their outpost. A quick glance through her binoculars reveals that her teammates have been captured, as well.
Omega makes her way toward the outpost and is spotted by Tech while he and the rest of the team are arguing about what to do. Hunter signals for her to hide just as the Zygerrian leader comes out to inspect and gloat over his new slaves. When Echo attempts to remind him that the Republic outlawed slavery, the slaver correctly points out that the Republic doesn’t exist anymore.
*Side Note: One of the biggest differences in the galaxy that we saw between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope’ was the widespread acceptance and use of slavery. Rather than being something that was only done illegally by backwater planets, it became heavily utilized by the Empire–even on its more “civilized” worlds. This is a really neat bridge moment for the beginning of that transition.
Echo then drops a hint to Omega by loudly responding that this situation would be very different if he and his team had their weapons. Omega immediately begins climbing toward the area where the Zygerrian’s piled her teammates gear. She’s almost spotted after kicking over a rock, but Wrecker causes a commotion that pulls their attention away from her.
She then drops down from one of the buildings and lands on a cage holding some type of monster. This gives her an idea, which she puts into action by opening up the creature’s cell. One of the Zygerrian’s sees this and manages to grab Omega, but not before she gets the door unlocked.
An adolescent rancor emerges from the cell and begins to wreak all kinds of havoc.
The Bad Batch use the distraction to break themselves and some other slaves free, including the child that Tech spotted. They soon learn, however, that the kid isn’t Muchi — the rancor is.
Echo and Omega get the other freed slaves to safety while Tech, Wrecker and Hunter go after Muchi. They quickly catch up with the rancor, who is completely demolishing the Zygerrians. Things take a turn when the Zygerrian leader swoops down on his brezak and knocks the rancor into a corner. Just as they’re about to kill her, Hunter leaps through the air and knocks the Zygerrian off his mount.
He then sends Wrecker and Tech after the fleeing rancor (who’s being chased by the brezak) before completely kicking the Zygerrian leader’s ass.
Meanwhile, Echo takes out a few Zygerrian archers on the way to leading the freed slaves to safety. Omega picks up one of the fallen slavers’ laser crossbows and decides to keep it for herself.
*Side Note: Now we know where Omega got the weapon we saw her using in the ‘Bad Batch’ trailer.
Echo provides the freed slaves with Zygerrian speeder bikes to escape with before he and Omega begin sprinting back the way they came to help the others.
How to Train Your Rancor
The brezak catches up to the rancor, but ends up getting pulverized and flying away just as Wrecker and Tech show up. Tech advises his large friend that rancors adhere to a social hierarchy which rewards fighting for superiority.
As you might imagine, Wrecker is delighted to hear this.
By the time Tech and Omega return, Wrecker and the rancor have beaten the hell out of each other so badly that they can barely move. The pair end up collapsing into a cuddly heap together that’s way cuter than it has any right to be.
*Side Note: I’m going to need an adorable toy version of Muchi…like, immediately.
Later, Cid is visited by the Twi’lek she spoke to earlier, who turns out to be Bib Fortuna (Jabba the Hutt’s consigliere) years before he took over his criminal empire and gained a few hundred pounds (as seen in The Mandalorian‘s Season 2 finale). Just as he’s laying into a nonplussed Cid about the young rancor’s whereabouts, the Bad Batch show up with Omega riding a very happy and docile Muchi, who has clearly bonded with Wrecker, as well.
Bib is overjoyed and grateful that his boss’ pet has been returned safely. He pays Cid the bounty and leaves with Muchi, who turns to give Omega and Wrecker a loving roar before departing.
*Side Note: I know what you are thinking because I was thinking the same thing: “Holy crap! That’s the rancor from Jabba’s palace who’s going to grow into an adult and get killed by Luke Skywalker in ‘Return of the Jedi!” Thankfully, it’s not…probably. We’ll get to that in a little bit.
Cid makes good on both her promises, paying the Bad Batch their share of the bounty and telling them about Fennec Shand. She wasn’t able to learn who hired her, but she did hear some chatter that it was a big time job/commission. Cid advises Hunter that his team will need to take on more mercenary jobs if they want to make the money necessary to live on the run while tracking down Shand’s benefactor.
She then assures the Bad Batch’s leader that she won’t tell anyone who they are or sell them out, although the look on Hunter’s face indicates that he isn’t sure she can be trusted.
First let’s address the rancor in the room. While the adorable little beastie in this episode is a female named Muchi, the one Luke Skywalker killed in Return of the Jedi is a male rancor named Pateesa.
That being said, the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch proved that the new Disney expanded universe canon is nowhere near as solid as they initially proclaimed it to be. In fact, the movie and television writers have free reign to completely change or nullify an entire storyline from canon comics or books simply for the sake of a cameo.
So for now our lovable Muchi is safe, but we’re just one Lucasfilm article, interview, or quote away from her getting impaled by door spikes after she grows up.
While we’re on the subject of depressing things, let’s go ahead and get my nitpicks about “Rampage” out of the way since it was an otherwise excellent episode.
I get that Omega is pretty smart, but I think the show has done a good enough job showing that without having to make the rest of the Bad Batch look dumb. You would at least think Hunter might suspect that the bartender they met was Cid.
And then you have the fact that arguably the best clone trooper squad in existence (don’t @ me Republic Commando fans) got captured by a group of Zygerrian slavers because they weren’t able to track a giant flying lizard. I mean, c’mon.
Also, I can’t be the only one who wonders why they haven’t changed the look of their gear yet (aside from the obvious marketing and merchandise implications). Considering that the Bad Batch is wanted by the Empire as deserters, it probably isn’t a good idea for them to be walking around a city in broad daylight while wearing the same armor they used during their time in the service.
Those minor quibbles aside, however, “Rampage” was an incredibly fun episode. I’m a sucker for any Star Wars story that features a rampaging beast, but it’s impossible not to enjoy watching two of them duke it out via some truly fantastic animation.
Also, it was great how this episode gave us some solid ties to Star Wars history — and not just though a Bib Fortuna cameo. We got to see the beginnings of slavery’s return to the galaxy, which was one of many things that made the Empire such an oppressive and hated government even compared to the corrupt Republic that proceeded it.
From a story standpoint, “Rampage” took a basic video game quest plot and paced it in a way that we never lost interest. They also planted some really good story seeds for the future, including our second instance of Wrecker’s inhibitor chip beginning to affect him.
I really can’t say enough about how good a job the Bad Batch is doing at making us like Omega as a character. On other series, this episode would have been a perfect opportunity to have the child character do a bunch of stupid stuff that moves the plot forward via a path lined with cringe-inducing slapstick humor.
Instead, Omega proves herself to be cunning and resourceful without ever suddenly developing some plot-driven skills or strength out of nowhere.
She also still acts like a kid, but in a completely relatable, non-annoying way — or at least to me she does. I can promise you that if I was fitted with one of those wrist comms, the very first thing I’d do is start talking to people in the same room until Echo commanded me to stop (and then I’d still keep doing it).
Between all of that and her small interactions with Wrecker (which are really cute/funny), I’ve gone from rolling my eyes at a kid being introduced to Omega being one of my favorite parts of the show. It should be all types of fun watching her continue to become an integral part of the team that’s also her family…
…and learning to shoot that badass looking crossbow, too.
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