Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch was a stand-alone adventure that also took a dip into the franchise’s ancient lore.
This week’s installment is also a bottle episode, but it ties in much more closely with the Bad Batch’s overarching narrative. We also get to see a planet and character that haven’t been on screen in a while.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
The episode opens with the Bad Batch arriving at the operations center for the Vanguard Axis, a criminal organization comprised entirely of droids. After ordering Echo and Omega to guard the ship, Hunter and the others head inside to drop off some forged Imperial credits that Cid tasked them with delivering. Predictably, the Axis Leader isn’t willing to trust the clones’ word that the fake credits were properly made. He orders a nearby minion to scan each one, resulting in a significant delay.
Back outside, Omega hears a Wookiee cry out in a pain and goes to investigate. She soon finds two droids torturing a child, who many of you will recognize as the beloved/adorable Jedi Padawan Wookiee, Gungi.
Side Note: The last time we saw Gungi, he was training with a bunch of other Jedi younglings when Barriss Offee was apprehended for bombing the Jedi Temple. Before that, his best-known appearance came in Season 5 of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ which featured him and a group of padawans on a mission to find the kyber crystals needed to construct their lightsabers.
Omega orders the droids to stop, allowing Gungi to grab one of their electrostaffs and disable it. After Omega takes the other droid out with her energy bow, the pair flee and seek cover. They manage to make it past one of the patrols, but their escape is interrupted when Gungi finds a storage container and begins digging through it.
The Wookiee snarls and squares up when Echo appears, but Omega convinces him to stand down.
Meanwhile, the Axis Leader receives a communication about something going down and leaves. Tech correctly assumes that it involves Echo and Omega. His suspicions are immediately confirmed when Echo radios in and asks for backup.
Hunter, Wrecker, and Tech head outside to find that their friends and Gungi have been boxed in by the droids. As they begin to close in, Hunter fires a warning shot and commands them to back off. The standoff becomes even more tense when the Axis Leader reveals that the Wookiee won’t be killed since they plan to sell him into slavery.
Just as things are about to boil over, Gungi uses the Force to pull his lightsaber from the Axis Leader. An awesome firefight ensues, which allows the group to flee to the Maurader and escape.
After the Marauder enters hyperspace, Gungi sits in a corner and refuses to eat the food he’s offered. Hunter and Tech explain to Omega that he likely doesn’t trust the clones after Order 66. Following some assurances that he’s not in any danger, Gungi finally decides to eat. He also tells the team that he was headed to his home planet of Kashyyyk before getting captured by the Vanguard Axis.
*Side Note: The Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk has appeared numerous times throughout Star Wars lore. One place both casual and hardcore fans are sure to recognize it from is the Battle of Kashyyyk in ‘Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.’
Despite the danger that returning to Kashyyyk could pose (due to the likely Imperial presence) the Bad Batch decide to help Gungi get there. They also find a Wookiee village that will be able to provide him with shelter and aid. Gungi doesn’t recall exactly where his own village is (due to being taken to the Jedi temple at a very young age), but he still recognizes the planet from his dreams as being his home.
After landing, the group begins trekking through the forest toward the village that Tech located. When they find themselves surrounded by giant arachnids (Kinraths), Gungi uses the Force to assure the creatures that he and his companions are not a threat. Unfortunately, the good vibes quickly dissipate when the group discovers that the village they were looking for has been razed by the Empire. Omega promises a crestfallen Gungi that they’ll keep looking for his people.
That evening, the Bad Batch spot a group of Trandoshans with flamethrowers, blasters, and Imperial supplied Armored Assault Tanks. They also see that the mercenaries are burning the forest and holding a Wookiee warrior hostage.
*Side Note: In case you didn’t know, Trandoshans are extremely fond of hunting and killing Wookiees. Hiring them out as contractors on Kashyyyk is pretty awful — even for the Empire.
When the Trandoshans find a set of carved Wookiee stones, they radio their leader (Commander Venomor), who tells them to destroy it. Upon seeing this, Gungi decides that it’s time to kick names and take ass. The Bad Batch follow his lead, routing the Trandoshan forces and freeing the hostage.
They spend the rest of the night digging a trench around the fire so that it doesn’t spread to the rest of the forest.
The next morning, the group is met by a group of Wookiees riding Mylayas, who take them back to their village. Although Gungi isn’t originally from there, the village’s chief (Yanna) says he is welcome to stay.
Elsewhere, Venomor and some of his troops arrive with a contingent of clone troopers to the location where his forces were routed. Upon finding markings from Gungi’s lightsaber, the clone commander says they should report it to Imperial command. Instead, Venomor offers his troops 100 Wookiee pelts for whoever finds the Wookiee Jedi first.
Later, while the Bad Batch bond with their Wookiee hosts, Tech informs everyone that an army of Trandoshans and clone troopers are headed their way. Yanna tells the clones they should leave, but they insist on staying and aiding in their fight. As the battle draws closer, the Wookiees pray beneath the trees, who they believe are the true rulers of Kashyyyk.
Gungi also reveals that the trees apparently have a plan.
That night, the Bad Batch and Wookiee warriors ambush the Trandoshan/Clone trooper forces. They manage to lead them into a kinrath nest, leading to a gruesome end for the bad guys…
…but not nearly as gruesome as what happens to Commander Venomor. After he attempts to take down Gungi, a trio of kinraths wave the Jedi padawan off and surround the Trandoshan leader. Seconds later, he begins screaming as the creatures knock him down and web him up to be drained.
The battle ends with the surviving clones and Trandoshans being forced to retreat. Once they’re gone, Wookiees and the Bad Batch immediately get to work containing the flames to protect the forest.
The next morning, Hunter and Yanna lament the fact that war has robbed Omega and Gungi of their chance to be children. They also express hope that one day the pair will grow up to know a galaxy that isn’t mired in constant bloodshed.
Even though it wasn’t the main narrative story I was whining for last week, “Tribe” was still a very enjoyable episode. In fact, its primary flaw was that it felt far too rushed. From Gungi to Yana to Venomor, there were some really great characters that deserved significantly more screen time and expansion. Just one more episode could have made this a much richer and more detailed story. Heck, it would’ve made a perfect vehicle for exploring the hatred between Trandoshans and Wookiees for casual audiences. Instead, everything was compressed to the point of feeling like an extended video game cut scene.
Thankfully, that didn’t keep “Tribe” from being good.
In addition to the fantastic fight sequences, there was plenty of lore for old school Star Wars fans to chew on — including the chance to see clones and Wookiees fighting side-by-side on Kashyyyk again. We knew Gungi was going to show up at some point since he appeared in the season two trailer, but it was still a thrill watching him ignite his lightsaber.
It’s also worth noting that even though this episode didn’t directly touch on season two’s overarching narrative, it definitely dug into Echo’s previous concerns about doing more for the galaxy. By the episode’s end, it was clear that Hunter and the rest of the Bad Batch are 100% on board with him.
It should be fun seeing how that plays out when Cid asks them to do another shady assignment, which will no doubt happen in the very near future.
Next Episode: ‘The Clone Conspiracy’
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