Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch concluded with the Empire’s attempt to incriminate freedom fighters on the planet of Ryloth with an assassination attempt on Senator Orn Free Taa‘s life. Hera Syndulla has seemingly escaped, and her capture is tasked to clone Captian Howzer.
This week, we see the fighters of Ryloth in the hands of the Empire as Hera Syndulla relies on her new friends Omega and Clone Force 99 to help free her parents and planet from it’s clutches.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers for the episode, prepare yourself.
Mom, the Empire is being sketchy again
The episode opens on the planet Ryloth, similarly to last week’s episode, but this time Cham and Eleni Syndulla and their freedom fighters have been captured and imprisoned by the Empire. Admiral Rampart speaks with Cham Syndulla expressing his surprise at the assassination attempt despite being the one who ordered it.
Always speaking as if he is on the right side of any and all situations, Rampart mentions the people of Ryloth and how they witnessed both his rise and fall. He speaks of capturing the freedom fighters supporters and “taking care of them” to further the Empires control on the planet.
With this he mentions Cham and Eleni’s daughter, Hera Syndulla, and the ongoing search for her. He mentions how easy it will be to recapture her with how dangerous Ryloth’s terrain is since there isn’t many places she could hide. Rampart turns to Eleni to give up her own daughter’s location under the guise of returning Hera to her parents safe. Eleni refuses, recalling what he did to Orn Free Taa, a supposed ally.
After this talk, and away from the imprisoned Twi’leks Rampart orders all of Syndulla’s sympathizers arrested. Pointing out that the people haven’t exactly done anything to warrant arrest, Howzer is once again seen questioning orders. Rampart retaliates by pointing out that they shot Senator Taa. Captain Howzer refutes his point, stating that he was there and could clearly see that the shot was not from a freedom fighter. Rampart, clearly finishing the conversation, tells Howzer that he has his orders, but states that he has given another squad the task of finding Hera Syndulla.
Good news, after all this talk of Hera, we see her. Yay! Bad news, she is outside her old house, watching as Crosshair and his squad exit in an attempt to find her, and now she is in quite the pickle. She is on comms with her droid, Chopper, and tells him to meet at her father’s old base to send a transmission.
A Risky Decision
And finally, the main character of the show shows up… Gonky the power droid! We see Omega attempting to fix the droid, but she is quickly shut down by Hunter, who tells her that much like the rest of them, he is also defective.
(Even the droid is defective, that’s just fun)
Hunter then moves into the cockpit of the ship, where Tech relays that they are receiving a transmission from an unknown frequency. He puts it through and we see Hera’s message explaining that her parents had been captured, that she was in danger, and asking Omega for help.
Despite just being informed that a literal child was being hunted down on her own planet and asked for help, Hunter focuses on the fact that Omega gave Hera the Bad Batch’s com channel. Because that makes sense.
(Hunter, I can’t keep defending you, get it together.)
Omega, despite being a child is the one who focuses on the task at hand, telling him that it was for emergencies and this certainly seems like one. Tech, always the analyst, states that maybe Hera is overreacting, despite literally seeing her at a weapons drop that was definitely sketchy to say the least. Hunter is quick to deflect Omega’s protests, defending his hesitance to help by saying that the risk is not worth it, and they can’t throw themselves into danger anytime someone needs them. Omega, pointing out that that’s what they always have done as soldiers seemingly wins the argument because the next thing we see is the Bad Batch flying to help Hera.
Decisions and Old Friends
The Bad Batch flies into Cham Syndulla’s old base on Ryloth and are quickly met by Hera. They learn that she is Cham’s daughter, and that she wants help because the Empire is targeting those loyal to him. She asks them to help her free her parents from the capital, promising payment after seeing the clone’s hesitance. Hunter agrees to asses the situation, but doesn’t promise that they will actually help Hera’s parents.
With this in mind, the group moves into position on a cliff above the capital, as a mass group of Twi’leks is herded by clones. Admiral Rampart is seen addressing the group, speaking of senator Orn Free Taa’s improving condition, and how shaken the citizens must feel. (They don’t seem particularly shaken.)
The Bad Batch and Hera listen in through Chopper’s transmission, observing the scene from above. This is when they notice that Crosshair is on Ryloth with them. The adults present begin to strategize on what they could do, if they did anything, when Hunter hears a probe droid observing them. He takes out the droid, and the group moves out of their compromised position.
Though, not before the droid relays what it saw of them to command, unfortunately.
Back at Cham Syndulla’s base, Hera is having a crisis wondering why bad things happen to good people, while Tech is monitoring Imperial comm channels, noting the increased patrols around the capital and the group’s popularity. Hunter points out that Crosshair knows them enough to expect an attack, and that there is nothing else that they can do for Hera without risking their safety further. With that the Bad Batch prepares to leave as Omega hurries to comfort her friend.
Plans Put in Action
Meanwhile, back in the capital, Admiral Rampart continues to have overly high expectations, wanting all of the Syndulla sympathizers locked up, instead of “most.” (Much like that one teacher despite them teaching 7th graders, you know the one you thought of.) Captain Howzer points out the opportunity for an uprising if innocent civilians keep getting arrested, but is shot down by Rampart who simply says that any uprising will also be arrested.
Crosshair is waiting for the duo in Ramparts Office, very much looking like the toothpicks he used to chew, relaying that Clone Force 99 is on Ryloth. Despite saying the one battalion will not be enough to hold them back, Crosshair is shut down and told to focus his efforts on finding Hera Syndulla.
Captian Howzer, knowing that the squad will put her in more danger, goes to talk with Cham and Eleni Syndulla. He expresses that he just wants to help Hera, and that if they know where she is, he will try to protect her. The pair refuses, not trusting their old friend who betrayed them for the Empire with the safety of their daughter.
We quickly see Hera arguing with Chopper about the fact that Hunter gave up, and about what they should do. Omega is quick to comfort her, and helps come up with a plan to get Hunter to help: use Hera’s knowledge of the planet to their advantage and come up with something he can’t say no to.
They do just that, and show the rest of the Bad Batch the plan: attack the Imperial refinery outside the capital to distract the troops from the rescue of Cham Syndulla and his freedom fighters. After talking through the plan with Hunter, he and Echo go to rescue the fighters, while the rest split into groups to take down the refinery.
Brothers and Allies
The plan quickly goes awry, as Chopper is unable to take the unmanned cannons off line. To help the captured droid and the mission, Hera and Omega commandeer an Imperial ship to take out the cannon’s electrical system, allowing Tech and Wrecker to destroy them and continue to attack the refinery.
Learning that the refinery is under attack, Rampart orders Howzer to protect the capital, while ordering all the other squads to protect the refinery. As his squad is leaving though, Crosshair, recognizing his old squad’s tactics, realizes that the target is not actually the refinery and orders his squad to stay behind.
Meanwhile, Hunter and Echo sneak into the capital and reach the freedom fighters. Quickly helping them out of their confinements, the two clones lead them towards the escape. On their way, they run into Howzer, who tells them that they are walking into a trap. Seeing the groups hesitance to believe him, Howzer explains that he knows what the Empire is doing is wrong, and wants to help, but he cannot abandon his brothers. He distracts Crosshairs squad while Hunter, Echo, and the freedom fighters escape on Orn Free Taa’s private transport.
Howzer stands in front of his brothers stating that the mission to free Ryloth is over, and now they are hurting the very people they were protecting. He says he cannot be apart of it, refusing to support the Empire anymore, asking if his brothers would as well. Some do, and many don’t. Those that do, are arrested by Crosshair and what is left of his squad.
After being helped, Cham Syndulla and his freedom fighters go their separate ways from the Bad Batch, knowing that the war they began fighting is far from over.
Ok, don’t get me wrong. The episode was good. I enjoyed watching it simply because I love the characters and source material. It’s Star Wars and I like Star Wars. But overall I felt like the show focused more on side characters and their thoughts and feelings rather than the main characters’ thoughts and feelings. It feels like we are getting more of Hera than Omega, and more Howzer than Crosshair.
I enjoy the fact that Crosshair finally has a character foil, a regular clone who finally shows us that they retained some of their humanity after Order 66, and one who is choosing to go against the Empire, even if he will most likely get killed for it. It was good seeing Hunter watch as a clone went back for his brothers despite the risk of the Empire, but I’m not holding out hope that the writers will actually make him reflect on it in a way that is clear to the audience and characters who aren’t Omega.
The inclusion of the Syndulla family, and the risks they are willing to make for each other brought that family dynamic that Star Wars is built upon in a different way that Omega and The Bad Batch’s relationship does. They aren’t figuring out how to be a family, they are already there. The show does a great job of showing not only that, but the effect of the war on them.
The episode is good, there’s no doubt about that. The writing, the animation, the story; it is all what I expect after watching so many of Dave Filoni’s creations come to life, but it felt focused more on the situation on Ryloth, Captian Howzer, Hera, and even Admiral Rampart than the Bad Batch. Heck, Howzer had more lines than Tech, who has more lines than Echo, who has even more lines than Wrecker. It feels like they are side characters in their own show.
The episode was great for Howzer, Rampart, and Hera, and even Crosshair had some good moments, but it was mainly about them and not their dynamic with the Bad Batch, or even the Bad Batch themselves. It is good because the show and characters and source material are good. The writing, animation, and storytelling involved are good, but not because the episode did much for the show’s main characters.
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