Bounty Hunter vs. Bounty Hunter – Review of “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Episode Nine “Bounty Lost”

The follow-up to last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch did not disappoint. On top of revealing the true nature of Omega, we get the treat of seeing Cad Bane cross paths with Fennec Shand. And it was glorious. There’s a lot to unpack for “Bounty Lost”.

Obviously, spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.

Picking up immediately where “Reunion” left off, the Batch are being chased by Crosshair. They manage to escape and begin searching for Cad Bane and Omega. Echo is able to provide further details on the bounty hunter, mainly so those watching the show who didn’t spend a great amount of time watching The Clone Wars know who Cad Bane is (which begs the question: why are they watching The Bad Batch if they never watched The Clone Wars?) Hunter is still nursing his wounds from the previous episode but all of the Batch are focused on finding Omega. It really begins to hit home here and in the ending of the episode just how close all of them have become over the course of the series up to this point. Omega isn’t just an annoying kid (which shame on you if you think that). She’s a part of their crew, which means they will go to any lengths to save her.

It’s revealed that Cad Bane was hired by the Prime Minister of Kamino to return Omega to them. And we finally find the reason Omega is so special: she’s a first-generation clone of Jango Fett. Early in the series there’s a throwaway line mentioning that the genetic stock used to create the clone troopers is degrading, resulting in the most recent clones developed by the Kaminoans being less than ideal candidates. With Omega, they have as perfect a strain of Jango Fett’s original DNA as possible (since Boba is no where to be found at this point). If they can extract this genetic code from Omega, they will have an undiluted strain of DNA on which to build better clones in the future, which the Prime Minister hopes will be enough to keep them in the Empire’s good graces.

This reveal also sets up the diametric opposition of Nala Se, the main Kaminoan we’ve seen interacting with the Prime Minister Lama Su. Lama Su wants the samples of Omega’s genetic code extracted and for Omega to be terminated. Nala Se was instrumental in allowing the Batch and Omega to escape in the first episode. We see now that she went a step further, hiring Fennec Shand to kidnap and protect Omega from Lama Su. I’m intrigued to see where this storyline goes, since up to this point in both the films and the series, the Kaminoans have been portrayed as aloof and dangerously amoral. The fact that Nala Se shows great concern for Omega’s well-being is counter to what we’ve seen of the Kaminoans up to this stage. The question now is when does Lama Su learn that Nala Se has been undermining his efforts. The other big question is what happens when the Empire learns of this. The Kaminoans have never appeared in any of the post-Clone Wars canon, which leads me to belief this series may be the trigger that leads to the Kaminoans being disposed of by the Empire.

All of this leads to the best part of this episode: Fennec Shand versus Cad Bane. Two bounty hunters, one an upstart that is making her name and one who is a legend at this point for his exploits during the War. Their fight takes place in multiple stages and both are left worse for wear by the end of it. And it comes down to being a draw, which fits given Bane’s level of experience and Shand’s abilities. The fighting between the two of them was well-choreographed and brutal, with each of them pulling out every trick they could to take the other down. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of Cad Bane. He’s a wonderful villain and just damn cool to watch.

The bulk of the episode focuses on Omega as she attempts to escape Bane’s clutches. It goes a long way to show that Omega’s time with the Batch hasn’t been for naught. She’s picked up some excellent skills from her surrogate family. But ultimately, she’s still a kid and not able to completely fend for herself, especially against someone like Bane (who would have just as easily killed her if the contract was for her life instead of bringing her in alive). By the end, she is reunited with the Batch and learns why she’s so valuable to the Kaminoans, which is a massive blow to her. The final scene of Hunter and Omega on the bridge of the shuttle was well-acted by both Bradley Dee Baker and Michelle Ang. For all of the skills she’s developed, Omega is still a teenager and Hunter, in a step forward from “Cut and Run”, comforts her as a father would a daughter.

It’s these kinds of scenes that make me love this show even more. Don’t get me wrong, the explosions and fights are fun to watch. But at its heart, Star Wars has been about family and what that means (a lesson the Sequel Trilogy completely forgot). Omega is now a surrogate daughter to all of the Batch, who would put her safety above their own without batting an eye. It’s what family should do.

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