The Bad Batch, Episode 6: “Decommissioned” Review

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(E chu ta!)

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!

Yay!

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…



A (Too) Familiar Caper(?)

This (past) week’s episode, “Decommissioned,” saw the Bad Batch sent on a retrieval mission by their new benefactor, Cid, to a familiar locale where they ran into some familiar faces and got into familiar clone-squad hijinks. Sounds pretty fun, right?

The return of industrial Corellia from Solo was a welcome sight, and I really enjoyed the intricacies of the reclamation plant—the conveyors and droid parts reminded me favourably of Attack of the Clones—but I have to admit that I did feel some trepidation while watching the episode. At this point the series has fallen into a (potentially detrimental) pattern of guest rôles given to established characters or at least familiar types (species, creatures, etc.) and so with the appearance of Corellia, a fear started building in my stomach—I worried we might see young Han (not-yet-Solo!) show up! Even during the initial skirmish with the newcomers who stole the droid head they were sent to collect, my first thought was, “Oh, are these going to be White Worms?”

Thankfully (for me) those fears were quickly allayed. I welcomed the reappearance of the Martez sisters from Season 7 of The Clone Wars, as I thought they were some of the more interesting additions to that final season. Here, they’ve clearly established themselves a bit more since the last time we saw them, but they’re still somewhat “green” and haphazard in their teamwork. The interplay with the clones was both interesting and funny, and the action sequence against the droid security force (and the eventual need to rescue Omega) allowed for the Batch to shine and be the cinematic action heroes they’re modelled after.

Wrecker once again injured his head, and this time we got some confirmation of where all this teasing and trauma seems to be headed: Whispering to himself before passing out, he begins to say the mantra of the activated clone, “Good soldiers follow orders.” On the one hand it’s good to have that particular theory validated, while on the other, I think they’re going to have to bring this thread to a head sooner than later or else the schtick might wear thin. We’ll see if this resolves in the near future or if we’ll have to wait much longer…

The end of the episode echoed Solo in the choice by Hunter: Faced with the “greater good” against his own need, he decides to give the  information gleaned from the now destroyed droid head to the young women—mirroring Han’s choice to hand over the coaxium to Enfys Nest. I have to admit that I bought Hunter’s decision a little more than I did the scoundrel’s; it’ll be interesting to see if the failure of this mission sours their relationship with Cid, as well as to eventually find out who the Martez sisters are working for, a mysterious becloaked figure in holo. Rumours abound there for the obvious and not-so-obvious choices; I just hope we don’t see another major clash with a Canon source if it’s who we all think it is!

The Bad Batch, Episode 4: “Cornered” Review

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Stranger danger!

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!

Yay!

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…



I Guess It’s a Planet Now?

This (past) week’s episode, “Cornered,” opens with the crew of the Havoc Marauder stuck between what Hunter proposes (hiding out on an uninhabited world) and reality (needing to get supplies like food and fuel); they’re also now on a wanted list, making any landing they do attempt all the more dangerous. Tech suggests heading to Pantora (incorrectly referring to it as a “planet,” interestingly enough) which is the nearest inhabited locale, where they can beef up their rations and he’ll change the ship’s engine signature.

Things, of course, don’t quite go to plan for the ragtag Clone Force 99.

I found the joke with Echo being seen as a droid somewhat funny, and his subplot with the droid crew (including new fan-favourite Clink) rather cute, but I know some people thought it went a little too far in both dehumanizing the already tragically cyborg’d clone (yes, you read that right) and in terms of the already uneven treatment of droids in Star Wars, who seem to exist in a weird space in-between worker and slave. I wonder if the act of being sold off (for less than he thought he was worth) was more damaging or not for Echo, who already seems to be a clone apart so-to-speak–not only from the “regs,” the rank-and-file clones who are now (essentially, in everything if not name) stormtroopers, but also from his other squad-mates in the Bad Batch, who share a common bond of being defective and/or altered from “birth.”

Omega in this episode is, once again, Rey-like in her wonder at the wider galaxy, but she’s different in that for whatever education the Kaminoans saw fit to subject her to, she is incredibly naïve about the ways of the galaxy, including things that we as fans would consider rather commonplace. Walking through the Pantoran streets, she doesn’t understand the jubilation at the end of the war; later, when lost, she lacks the awareness to understand that Fennec Shand may not be as trustworthy as she’s claiming to be. I didn’t actually love this sort of regression of the character, especially after last week’s more grounded, capable portrayal. I’m not saying I expect her to understand every situation she’s thrust into, but it might have been more interesting if she started to question Fennec’s motives before Hunter found them; as-is, she’s the unfortunately all-too-realistic child victim preyed upon by adults and their authority.

Wrecker, so often the butt of jokes and the childlike voice of the series (even more so than Omega), might be my least favourite character in the series, unfortunately. He borders a bit too closely on the edge of unbelievability for me to feel fully comfortable accepting that he could be part of this élite squad of commandos. I like the rare moments of introspection and when he interacts with Omega, which this episode mostly lacked; his defeat in the sewers serves as another bit of head trauma, which may yet be significant, and is also (as others have noted) an example of helmets in the Star Wars universe being mostly, it seems, for show.

When revealed to be a character in the series, I thought it interesting that Fennec would appear essentially unchanged from her appearance in The Mandalorian–a series set roughly twenty-eight years later, by my calculation. It’s definitely a choice still to give some of these characters an essentially “cartoon” or “comic book” attire that doesn’t really change, something we’ve already seen before in The Clone Wars and Rebels; but, ultimately, what’s more interesting about Fennec in this series is how established she already seems to be. She must be at least a decade older than the younger Fett, only a teenager during the Clone Wars, and she’s already well-known enough to inspire fear in her contact. I also can’t wait to see more of her ship and find out it’s name! The figure(s) who hired her to track down Omega are, for the time being, obscured, and I’ve seen fan-speculation run the gamut, but the most likely answer (especially given the end of the last episode) would be the Kaminoans. I wonder if hiring bounty hunters may end up alerting the Empire to their gambit.

All in all, I think “Cornered” might be my least favourite episode of the series so far–but I still enjoyed it. The action was delightful, and it was nice to see elements from live-action crossover into the animated realm (similar to how enjoyable it was to see Clone Wars elements used in The Mandalorian last year). But I feel the episode suffered from a bit of a middling adventure and a lack of insight into Crosshair’s current plight, although I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him soon enough.