As part of a recent, friendly bet (which you can see outlined here on Twitter) I have committed to not only watching every single episode of this season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, but I must also write 500-word (minimum) reviews about the series!
That’s not actually sarcasm. I’m excited to write about Star Wars again, and am using this as an excuse and a bit of a prod to kickstart myself back into some writing. Without further ado…
Muchi to Think About…? (I’m Sorry!)
This week’s episode, “Rampage,” sees the heroes and heroine of the Bad Batch travel to Ord Mantell. In need of intel on the bounty hunter seeking Omega, Echo suggests meeting an old underworld contact of the Jedi, Cid–the catch? Echo’s never met Cid. Hijinks of the Star Wars-animation variety ensue!
Once again, Omega demonstrates her shrewdness in deducing that the older, female Trandoshan at the bar they enter is the one they seek; this furthers her characterization as someone who trusts her instincts and, on occasion, can be very astute and rather capable. We see more of this later in the episode when she eludes Zygerrian slavers and does her best to help the Batch, which I’m glad to see, because, again: She isn’t chastised or deserving of such, she simply acts in a way that’s heroic and situationally called-for, and she succeeds (although at first you’re made to think all is lost) based on her abilities and the trust she and the other clones have for each other. I really think the interplay between the clones and their familial bond is one of the majors strengths of the series, as it often was between clone characters in The Clone Wars, and I am very happy that it’s been such a strong presence throughout the episodes so far.
Something to note is that, again, Wrecker’s head hurts toward the beginning of the episode, and later during his clash with Muchi, he seems to suffer some additional head trauma. If this isn’t setting up a potentially tragic/tense subplot where Tech’s implant-altering-device will be tested, I’ll be incredibly surprised.
Going back to Muchi, I suppose she’s meant to be the rancor from Jabba’s Palace as seen in Return of the Jedi. She’s cute and almost has a bulldog quality in this episode, which I liked; if it is intended to be the same rancor, we can add another potential retcon to the list. The Aftermath series previously called that rancor “Pateesa,” which could be another name, I suppose, an easy enough fix–but Pateesa was also listed as a male rancor in sources. Ultimately not the most distressing continuity blip, but yet another in a series that seems never-ending nonetheless.
Another aspect worth noting is that none of the clones touch on an elephant in the room when discussing slavery with Omega–none of them reflect on the fact that they were, canonically, grown and sold to the Republic as soldiers without any say, and in fact lacked legal representation and recognition as other citizens of the Republic. It may fall outside of the scope of the series or may be an aspect of their conditioning they’ll later shed; time will tell, I suppose, but I’ve already seen many people comment on the fact that this comparison (and its contrasts with the type of slavery employed by the Zygerrians) eludes the characters.
As with the previous episode in the series, “Rampage” lacks any depiction of Crosshair and the War-Mantle squad. I’m not sure if this is entirely a negative because it’s good to see Clone Force 99 adventure and bond without interruption, but on the other hand, I’m keenly interested in seeing how far the Empire can make their wayward clone go. It’s tense when he’s onscreen and tense when he’s off; but I do hope we get to see more of his story in the next episode.
Hunter learns Fennec Shand’s name and reputation at the end of the episode. I’m glad they’re establishing that she’s relatively new to the scene. I also liked the way that Cid leans into blackmail after offering the clones more mercenary work, should they be interested. She’s good at keeping secrets, but is utterly unsubtle in the unstated threat that she’s aware giving them up would be a profitable venture. “Rampage” ends on the tension, and I’m interested to see if it goes anywhere. Of course, things could always backfire on Cid; time will tell if she’s a Clone Wars or a Rebels Hondo analogue!