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SW: Bad Batch ep. #11 review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Well, this was unexpected. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t think an episode of “Bad Batch” would have the Bad Batch not be the main focus. Instead, we move to another plotline that seemingly doesn’t have anything to do with the main characters.

In a situation similar to last week’s episode, “Devil’s Deal” takes us to Ryloth, where the planet is being occupied by the Empire. Here we see Admiral Rampart and Senator Orn Free Taa try to convince the public to allow the Empire’s presence. It isn’t until General Cham Syndulla makes the discontent decision to step up and eases the citizen’s discomforts, stating that peace is needed after so much fighting in the Clone Wars. Tensions run high as not everyone is willing to accept the Empire’s presence – particularly Gobi Glie, a friend of Cham who is the head of the planet’s freedom fighters. If that wasn’t enough Cham’s daughter, Hera Syndulla (from “Star Wars: Rebels”) gets involved and is roped into the conflict along the way. This causes her family to take action and do everything they can to save her. From here we have corrupt politicians, family dilemmas, and the Bad Batch making a surprise cameo in their own series.

Before we begin, I will acknowledge that it is an odd choice to focus on a different part of the galaxy while the show’s main characters are relegated to minor roles. Though despite this change of pace, I am welcome to the idea of introducing another plotline if it’s done well. Thankfully, the episode stands well on its own, as you get invested in the story and characters. Even if this episode may feel like it belongs in another series.

Ryloth is a familiar setting for Clone Wars fans, as it was featured heavily near the conclusion of its first season. From the predecessor series, we saw the arc where the Republic came in and freed the world and its people from the Separatists invasion. It’s because of these events that fans are familiar with the world and setting, particularly Cham who fought alongside the Republic and his devotion to his people. Despite the Republic’s aid, it has been brought up how long the government’s forces would stay to maintain the peace. 

Now that the Empire is in power, those questions are brought to the forefront, as the people find little difference between the Imperial’s and Separatist’s occupation of their world. It is also made apparent that the Syndulla family has to make difficult choices to protect their people as well as their loved ones. We know that Cham can’t bring himself to side with the Empire, but he knows he needs to put his people’s safety first and watch his family’s actions carefully.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

The opening scene also establishes the other characters’ roles, and where their moralities stand. Senator Orn Free Taa is what his appearance suggests. Selfish, ignorant, greedy, and overall looking out for his own self-interest rather than the Twi’lek people. 

It’s basically the polar opposite of the more moral Separatist Senator Singh from the last episode, who actually cares about his people. It shows how labels and titles don’t define a person’s character.

There were also a few things I wasn’t expecting. Such as Captain Howzer who despite being one of the clones compliant to Order 66 due to the inhibitor chips, shows more individuality than his controlled brothers. He’s in friendly relations with Cham and even looks after his and his family’s well-being. Going as far as to defy certain orders that are pitted against them. This character surprised me, and I hope to see more of him later on. Even Crosshairs is involved here as one of the soldiers keeping his eye out for any resistance. In fact, this might be the first episode where he’s given more screen time than the Bad Batch themselves.

We then move on to see a young Hera Syndulla, and her droid C1-10P (Chopper) as they look over the new Imperial facility on the planet. I’m just gonna say it right here and now, I love Hera! Aside from Ashoka Tano, she is my favorite character from “Star Wars: Rebels.” I will admit it is a bit strange seeing a child version of the character when I’m so used to seeing her as a grown adult. But it is interesting to see what her childhood was like before she becomes part of the future Rebellion. They do portray her with the key aspects that make up her personality such as her desire to one day become a pilot and fly. I also like how her family doesn’t shy away from telling her about the stakes in the situation. They are constantly being watched by a regime that’s ready to turn on them at the first sign of resistance. It effectively shows the thin line that the family is treading.

 The story also perfectly establishes Hera’s background, and how her family’s predicament played a factor in the character’s future history. Much like how we saw a young Kanan survive Order 66 in the first episode of this series. I’m glad we get to see Hera’s personal life and what her family was like when the Empire came in and uprooted their lives.

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

The situation becomes direr when the Empire places a mandate dictating that all Twi’lek freedom fighters give away their weapons and step down from their military posts. Naturally, some of the people are resistant to this, as they are giving away their means of protection to outside forces. This causes Gobi Glie to take Hera to an undisclosed location to retrieve weapons from an unknown source. Unbeknownst to them, Crosshairs is on the scene and shoots a tracking beacon onto their ship as they take off. Before the episode follows up on that foreshadowing, the group makes it to the location where they meet to get weapons from right on cue-the Bad Batch.

When the titular characters appear here, it was at this point that I said to myself, “Oh yeah, this was a Bad Batch series.” We spent a good portion of the episode looking over the situation on Ryloth, that I briefly forgot what series this was. This is in no way to knock down the episode as I was invested in what was going on. It’s just that this change of pace does make this plotline feel like a different show at times.

While the grown-ups wrap up the deal, we see Hera show interest in the Bad Batch’s ship with Omega who gives her a tour. This was a scene I wasn’t expecting as it’s a character who I’ve always seen as an adult, interacting with this girl as an actual kid. I can see why the writers added a scene between these two, as they do share similar circumstances with being watched over by adults in a galaxy filled with danger. Hera even goes on to state how Omega is living the life she wishes she had. Essentially flying across space to new worlds going on adventures. I thought this was a cute scene, as I enjoyed seeing these two characters together. Even if it was for a few minutes.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

When the Syndulla makes it back to Ryloth, they are almost immediately found by Crosshairs and Imperial forces waiting for them. When they find the weapons stored on the ship, they arrest the freedom fighters including Hera despite being a child. When Cham and his wife Eleni receive word that their daughter was named guilty of treason without a trial, they waste no time in setting up a rescue. 

The rescue portion of the episode plays out like a tank chase throughout a canyon. With Cham, Eleni, and the freedom fighters summarily taking out the clone escorts and stopping the tank to free Hera and Gobi Glie. Once they bring the Imperials outside, Cham prepares himself to execute Senator Orn Free Taa. Before Cham can pull the trigger, Eleni and Howzer manage to talk him out of it. Stating that the situation will only worsen if he goes through with the dark deed. However, once the conflict seemingly ends Rampart reveals that he set a trap with Crosshairs as he shoots Orn Free Taa in the head, making it look like it was Cham’s doing. 

Imperial forces are about to come onto the scene, but not before Cham puts Hera in his speeder with Chopper and has them escape before he and everyone else is arrested. Despite the seemingly fatal wound, it is revealed that Orn Free Taa survived the blaster bolt to the head as he is ferried away by Imperial forces. Rampart then frames Cham for the “attempted” assassination of Orn Free Taa, before sending Howzer to search for Hera.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

Despite not having the series’ titular characters as the main focus, I feel that this episode shouldn’t be looked down upon and given the attention it deserves. It creates good political intrigue, looks visually nice, and allows us to look at a popular character in a different light. Seeing as how it ends on a cliffhanger, it’s safe to assume we’ll continue where this episode left off next week. Let’s see if the Bad Batch will have a bigger role to play in the daring rescue that’s yet to come.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails

________

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