Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with Clone Force 99 rescuing Omega before the Kaminoans could harvest her as a genetic template for a new clone army. Unbeknownst to them, they got an assist from head Kaminoan scientist Nala Se, who went behind the prime minister’s back and hired Fennec Shand to keep Omega safe.
This week, the Bad Batch are sent on a mission that has them helping someone who used to be their enemy.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore. Also, the order of events in this episode have been streamlined a bit for clarity.
Perils of Occupation
The episode opens on the planet of Raxus, specifically in its unimaginatively named capital city, Raxulan. Raxus had previously been the Separatists’ capital planet during the Clone Wars. Now, however, it’s occupied by Imperial forces under the command of Captain Bragg.
As disgruntled citizens begin to gather in the town square, Bragg calls on Raxus Senator Avi Singh to assure his people that the Empire’s occupation (and implementation of martial law) is for their own good. Before stepping forward to speak, the senator instructs his protocol droid (GS-8) to follow a set of previously disclosed instructions in case he’s arrested.
Singh then completely throws Bragg for a loop by telling his citizens not to accept the Empire’s rule, causing him to immediately be taken into custody. As GS-8 scurries away to follow her master’s instructions, clone troopers and AT-TE tanks begin clamping down on the city.
Back on Ord Mantell, Cid tells the Bad Batch that she was contacted by a droid (GS-8) to extract Senator Singh from Raxus. Hunter initially refuses, proclaiming that he and his team won’t take part in helping a Separatist. Cid pushes back by pointing out that they still owe her money.
*Side Note: I get why Hunter & Co. would have an ingrained disdain/wariness about anything involving a former Separatist. But Hunter should also be smart enough to recognize that the “Separatist” designation doesn’t carry much weight anymore when the former Republic (and their former allies/brothers) are now the enemy.
Hunter takes Cid aside and expresses his other major concern: Omega currently has a bounty on her head and just went through a lot. The last thing he wants to do is take her into a Separatist stronghold swarming with Imperial forces. When Cid offers to watch her, Hunter is justifiably wary. His concerns are moderately assuaged when she points out that keeping Omega safe means that the Bad Batch can go make her money, thus making it in her best interest to protect the girl.
Hunter then walks over to Omega, who is ready and eager to join the team on their next adventure. She’s crestfallen when he informs her that she’s staying behind, but agrees to do so after he presents it as an example of following orders.
*Side Note: Please tell me I’m not the only one whose heart broke a little when Omega said “I’m part of the squad, too.”
As the Havoc Marauder makes its way toward Raxus, the Bad Batch express their disbelief that this mission is how they’ll finally put boots on the ground inside the Separatist capital. Echo takes the sentiment a step further, openly proclaiming his disgust at helping someone who should be considered their sworn enemy.
Upon entering the planet’s atmosphere, the Havoc Marauder is intercepted by a pair of V-Wing fighters. When one of the clone pilots asks for their clearance code, Echo voices his concern that the code Cid was given would actually lead them into a Separatist trap. Thankfully, the code works, allowing the Bad Batch to continue on until they reach the rendezvous coordinates.
Tech tries to point out that the old “Republic vs. Separatist” politics don’t apply to their current situation, but Echo isn’t having it.
*Side Note: Once again, I get why the Bad Batch would be reticent to trust anyone or anything associated with their former enemy. In this case, however, they’re being hired to save someone from the Empire. Barring a convoluted hostage exchange plot, there would be no benefit to a former Separatist turning in the very people trying to rescue him from Imperial custody.
After landing at the coordinates, the Bad Batch are surprised (and more than a little annoyed) to learn that their contact is a droid. GS-8 tries to explain the background behind Singh’s capture, but is interrupted by Echo, who angrily declares that they don’t care. Hunter follows up by demanding that she immediately take them to where the senator is being held.
She complies and leads them to the primary government compound in the city of Raxulan, which is also where Singh is being held prisoner. Upon seeing how heavily guarded it is, Echo assumes it’s because GS-8 is setting them up to be captured or killed.
*Side Note: Instead of, oh I don’t know, BEING CONVERTED INTO AN IMPERIAL COMMAND CENTER HOLDING AN EXTREMELY HIGH VALUE PRISONER? C’mon, Echo…
GS-8 calmly explains that it’s against her programming to send allies into danger, prompting Wrecker to respond that they aren’t allies. Hunter tells everyone to shut up and focus on how they’re going to take out the building’s surveillance system (THANK YOU!).
Upon reaching the compound’s front door, Hunter forces GS-8 to act as bait to draw out the two clone trooper guards. The gambit proves successful, allowing GS-8 to open the door for them after the troopers are knocked out.
The Bad Batch make their way through the compound’s veranda until they find a security system port. Tech hacks into it, allowing them access to compound’s interior. They’re also able to take control of the building’s security cameras, which shows an alarming number of clone trooper and AT-TE patrols nearby.
Hunter sends Echo and Wrecker to clear the building’s upper levels while he, Tech, and GS-8 enter on the main floor. While strategizing how to gets past a guarded door, Hunter accidentally tells Echo to loop back around with Omega. The verbal slip up causes him a brief pang of sadness, but is quickly forgotten when GS-8 decides her previous act of subterfuge means she can succeed at distracting two clone troopers again.
Things don’t go quite as smoothly this time, but Hunter still manages to take out the guards along with a third that appears in the doorway. He also nearly knocks over an antique vase, which GS-8 saves before explaining that it’s one of Senator Singh’s most prized possession.
*Side Note: I’m guessing that the vase was given to Singh by someone named Chekov.
Captain Bragg enters Singh’s holding cell flanked by two clone troopers and an interrogator droid. She chastises him for inciting civil discord against the Empire, which he counters by declaring that his allegiance is to the people.
Bragg smugly replies that Singh will still give the Empire what it requires before stepping aside to let the interrogator droid do its work. Just as it’s about to reach him, Hunter and Tech breach the door and pop a smoke grenade into the room. They burst in and easily shut down the interrogator before taking out Bragg and her troopers via stun blasts.
GS-8 excitedly greets her grateful master while also announcing that she managed to save his favorite vase. Meanwhile, Tech gets a notice from his security system patch that their attack has triggered a city-wide alert. The severity of their situation is affirmed when an alarm begins to sound throughout the building.
Hunter, Tech, and GS-8 lead Singh out of the room. They meet up with Wrecker and Tech on an upper balcony, where Hunter instructs his team to commandeer one of the nearby AT-TEs to help them escape. Following a bit of coordinated badassery, the Bad Batch zip-line Singh and GS-8 into their newly acquired vehicle before tossing the unconscious clone troopers out of it.
Unfortunately, Bragg manages to wake up from a stun blast faster than anyone in Star Wars history. She runs outside, sees what the Bad Batch have done, and orders another tank to fire on their location. Despite coming from far away the blast completely takes out the AT-TE’s rear axel stabilizer, forcing Tech to do a manual recalibration if they want to get moving again.
The Bad Batch hold off the Imperial forces while Tech and Echo get to work, providing us with a predictably fantastic battle sequence. At one point, a trio of clone troopers are able to surround the pair before they can finish, but Singh smashes his prized vase (which he apparently “never much cared for”) over one of the troopers heads, giving Tech and Echo enough of an opening to take out the others.
After getting the hobbled AT-TE back online, the rest of the Bad Batch hop aboard. I’m not sure how they didn’t get blasted to smithereens, especially with their tank struggling to work and even more tanks pursuing them at close range. It probably has something to do with the nearest pursuing tank providing a preview of storm trooper aim via some ridiculously inaccurate shots.
Whatever the case, Singh tells Tech to guide the AT-TE directly into a chokepoint. When Tech expresses skepticism about the maneuver, the senator says that he’ll have to trust him. Tech does, putting the tank down right next to a wall covering a subterranean passage. Wrecker happily blows it up, allowing them to escape undetected.
After making it back to the Havoc Marauder, the senator initially hesitates to get onboard, feeling that he’s abandoning his people. GS-8 points out that he can’t help them if he’s in Imperial custody. Echo finally decides that maybe the senator isn’t a horrible person simply because he used to be a Separatist, encouraging him to “live to fight another day.”
After taking a beat to consider things, Singh reluctantly turns and boards the ship.
Three Moves Ahead
Back on Ord Mantell, Cid chides Omega for her glum demeanor. When she asks what’s causing her to feel down (which should have been obvious), Omega expresses her disappointment at not being included on the Bad Batch’s mission to Raxus.
Cid decides that best response to this is telling the girl that they might have taken her if she wasn’t so helpless. Her words are so cold/harsh that even two regular bar patrons stop to give a disapproving glare.
After Omega walks away to sit by herself, Cid shows what might be the first flash of sympathy and/or regret we’ve ever seen from her. Unfortunately she attempts to apologize to Omega without uttering an actual apology, which goes about as well as you’d expect.
Later, Omega is despondently scrubbing down the bar area when she notices Cid playing a game of Dejarik with the two regulars.
*Side Note: Dejarik is the holographic chess game we saw Chewbacca playing with R2-D2 in Episode IV.
Omega notices Cid about to make a bad move and attempts to warn her. Cid brushes her off and makes the move anyway, resulting in her being nearly cornered into a loss. When Omega gloats a little about being right, the bar owner invites her to come over and try getting out of the impossible situation. Omega obliges and not only avoids defeat, but ends up winning the game.
When a flabbergasted Cid asks how she was able to pull it off, Omega nonchalantly replies that she’s good at strategy games. Cid’s wheels immediately begin to turn, which results in her asking the Dejarik phenom if she’d be willing to play against other bar patrons for credits — 30% of the purse, to be exact.
Instead of immediately taking the deal, Omega makes a counter offer of 60%, which Cid takes…
…at least I think she did. Either way, the Bad Batch return to find Cid’s bar filled with patrons watching Omega go full Bobby Fischer on every Dejarik opponent who dares to place a bet against her. After ending the tournament and shooing everyone out, Cid excitedly tells them that the kid is a natural strategist.
Hunter begins to scold Omega for not keeping a low profile, but is interrupted when Cid informs them she used her massive Dejarik winnings to pay off all their debts — and that he should try showing “her friend” some gratitude. She then takes the senator and the rest of the Bad Batch into her office, leaving Hunter alone to talk things out with the teammate who he left behind.
Omega explains that she paid off their debt because she wanted to be useful even if she couldn’t be there with them on the mission. Hunter responds by proposing that they settle things with a game of Dejarik. If she wins, then he won’t leave her behind on a mission again.
Omega gladly accepts the challenge. We don’t see who wins, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Omega won’t be scrubbing bar counters anymore.
While I appreciate seeing how the team reacted to working with Separatists, it was executed in about the most ham-fisted way possible.
It would have been great to see the Bad Batch do something that truly made their internal conflict (especially Echo’s) feel justified — like fighting alongside former Separatist troops from Umbara who were rebelling against the Empire. Both sides would’ve had to deal with the fact that they likely killed friends of each other, all while finding a way to work together so they could survive.
Instead, we got a cartoonishly sympathetic and trusting senator who needed to be rescued because of a noble and courageous act, all while his loyal droid fawned over every cool thing the Bad Batch did. Without any push from the other side of the conflict, it just made Echo and the rest of the team look like unthinking, unfeeling jerks.
As far as Omega is concerned, the series had previously done a superb job of organically developing her courage and resourcefulness. There was no need to suddenly reveal her as a strategic savant to feel like a “real” part of the team. While this did make for a couple nice moments with Wrecker and Hunter, I hope Omega’s Dejarik odyssey doesn’t result in her character taking a sudden/jarring leap forward into being a full blown soldier.
On the positive side of things, the battle scenes were all top notch. Yes, the tanks not shooting at the Bad Batch from close range was ridiculous, but it was still a lot of fun (and kind of weird) watching the familiar AT-TE’s stomping around on the villainous side of a conflict.
I know some folks might be bothered by the Bad Batch stunning their former clone allies instead of killing them, but it adds another layer of humanity that could pay some major emotional dividends down the road if/when they’re forced to take a more lethal approach.
It also makes us hate Commander Fox for killing Fives even more, but that’s a whole separate article for another day. For now, let’s hope the Bad Batch returns to form next week and doesn’t shy away from letting the gray areas of the post-Clone War galaxy be truly grey.
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