Five episodes in and I’m still enjoying Star Wars: The Bad Batch as much as I did in the first episode. We’ve finally reached the point near the halfway mark where the story is shifting into Star Wars meets The A-Team (if you’re not old enough to catch that reference, Google and enjoy the 80s machismo). The Batch find themselves on Ord Mantell, looking for a contact that once worked with the Jedi and trying to find out more about the bounty hunter who was after Omega in the last episode. What they end up getting into is the start of their descent into the shadier aspects of the Star Wars universe.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.
First, I greatly enjoyed the character of Cid (voiced by Rhea Perlman). Perlman’s inclusion was surprising, given that she isn’t known for her connection to voiceover work or science fiction. She gave Cid a wonderful mix of nefarious and nurturing traits, highlighted in her dealings with Omega and with Bib Fortuna (the majordomo of Jabba the Hutt). There’s menace behind Cid’s eyes, marking her as a potential adversary should things turn down a much darker road in the future. I hope we see more of Cid in the future (which the ending of the episode seems to imply).
The Batch are beginning their work as mercenaries, which fits given their skill sets and training. It’s not an uncommon practice, particularly now, for soldiers to come back from their military service and get jobs with private contractors. In the past, mercenaries have almost always been cast as villains in stories, primarily because of the idea that selling one’s services to the highest bidder somehow makes you a morally bankrupt person. The fact that most of us do the same thing in our day jobs seems to escape the minds of the people who make such condemnations. In the case of the Batch, they have shown themselves to be of higher moral character, which means at some point, Filoni will need to give them a job that makes them question whether they’re on the right side of things.
The reveal that Muchi, the target the Batch were sent to retrieve, was an adolescent rancor and not a person was a nice touch. The fact that this is quite likely the same rancor that Luke will kill in Return of the Jedi makes this a bittersweet moment. Muchi was fun to watch in this episode and you kinda want to hug the creature, just not when its on a rampage. The fact that it’s Wrecker who basically tires the rancor out in a fistfight fits both characters rather well and it was enjoyable to see. Omega is beginning to grow into her role as part of the Batch, proving that she’s capable of supporting the clone troopers in their time of need. Whether she takes a more active role in their jobs in the future is still up in the air but it’s nice to see Filoni planting the seeds for it now. We also discover that Fennec Shand is working for a private commission and that’s it is off the books with the Guild, the same organization Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) works for in the future. It’s possible that Fennec is working for the Kaminoans in an attempt to bring Omega back to them but that doesn’t quite fit what I’m seeing in the story so far. There’s a good chance the party contracting Fennec is outside of the existing paradigm. I have a few theories on where the series is going but for now, I’m enjoying the ride, which is all one can really ask for in their entertainment choices.
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