The latest arc for The Bad Batch has concluded, with the group managing to get off the planet they were trapped on in last week’s episode. And, while it was enjoyable, it feels like this arc is the dreaded f word in TV – filler. It feels like little is achieved in this arc.
But it isn’t all negative. There is a subtle political element to this episode, which ties it neatly back to other Star Wars projects like Andor. The Bad Batch track their ship through Gonky and discover it’s been taken to a local crime lord.
His name is Mokko, and he forces his workers to compete against each other to win scraps of food, while taking all the good pieces for himself. This is classic divide and conquer, and pits the workers against each other, thus preventing them from realising if they worked together they could overthrow their leader.
This setup is reminiscent of the Imperial prison arc in last year’s Andor, as the prisoners competed against each other for food instead of rebelling. The episode itself hints at this, remarking these are similar tactics to the Empire. It’s a critique of capitalism made by those on the left on the political spectrum, which fits well for the politics that Star Wars goes for. In summary, eat the rich.
Backing up a little, the Bad Batch find out the ipsuim mine Mokko owns used to belong to the Techo Union, one of the major groups of the Separatists. It’s a nice bit of world building, and a neat connection to the Bad Batch, as they had a run in with the Techno Union when audiences first met them in The Clone Wars.
Otherwise, this episode falls short. The group learn once again that they can do good in the galaxy, something that was learnt in a much more satisfying way in episode six. It forgets the conflict with Cid that was setup last week, and doesn’t address it at all. It should’ve been at least mentioned. No doubt a future episode will pick it up, but it will have less impact than it should have.
It’s in these types of episodes that an audience member starts to miss other characters who aren’t getting enough screen time. For example Crosshair, who has only appeared in one episode so far this season. Or mysterious new character Phee, who, after being introduced in episode one, has only appeared in episode five.
Of course, important feelings about Echo have been addressed, and the Bad Batch have been put through the wringer. That is a necessary part of the journey, but, aside from neither being specifically tied to this plot, whatever this journey is, it needs a goal. And fast.