Star Wars: The Bad Batch season two episode 11 is a huge improvement over episodes nine and 10, with a return to the overarching Imperial plotline. The whole episode has a horror and creepy feel over it, and hopefully represents a shift in the show.
The opening of the episode quickly sets the tone for the rest of the show, with an Alien inspired moment on a derelict ship. An unseen beast slaughters a poor clone commando, as it drifts onto an unknown planet below. Following on from this, we move to Mount Tantiss, a prominent location in the Legends Thrawn trilogy.
We are introduced to the evil Doctor Hemlock, who is a chilling presence throughout the episode. His calm, calculating voice gives the air of someone who knows what he’s doing, it has a commanding quality. He visits Nala Se, who is refusing to work for the Empire, which is unsurprising. They talk briefly about the work going on, which is likely related to the Palpatine clone in The Rise of Skywalker, but it retains an air of mystery.
Mount Tantiss is a creepy location, with haunting music playing throughout the entire episode. Very little of the base is shown, but its ominous nature is a deterrence against exploration, maybe you don’t want to truly know what horrifying experiments are taking place down there. But hopefully both Hemlock and Tantiss reappear, it’s certainly a fascinating place.
The Bad Batch are contacted by Cid, and all of them express their distaste in her abandoning them and discuss abandoning her, hopefully they finally do it. Jumping to the end of the episode, them figuring out that this cloning project is much worse than they thought, and contacting Rex and Echo feels like a turning point. They’re finally taking on the Empire,
The Batch enters the crashed vessel, with everything being dimly lit. There are occasional jump scares, but eventually the group make their way to the lab, and discover the beast, a baby Zillo. This is of course a connection to its appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and a worthwhile one, as it answers what happened to the beast when it got carted away.
Of course, the Zillo accidentally escapes the ship, and heads to a nearby power facility and village. There it mutates and threatens those that live there. Hunter and Wrecker desperately try to kill it, to no avail.
Tech freaking out Omega with the crew deaths is quite funny, and a very Tech thing to do. He also has an impeccable moment when he comments how fascinating it is that the Zillo beast mutates with energy, when it’s very scary. These are the moments that stop Tech from being a simple archetype.
Enter the Empire. They’ve noticed that their crashed vessel is missing, and come with mass force to recover it. Three imposing Venators drop out of hyperspace, immediately dispatching gunships and V-Wings. Clone Commandos start rounding up villagers, and scare off the Bad Batch.
Quickly recovering the beast, they return to Tantiss. Hemlock asks Scorch from Republic Commando (who makes a confirmed appearance this time), to find out who the Bad Batch are, hopefully setting up a confirmation with Scorch or even the rest of Delta Squad. Hemlock moves Lama Su – yes the former prime minister that is still alive, undercutting Rampart’s epic final line to him – to the base, to motivate Nala Se. He immediately displays his cunning as a politician by twisting the power dynamics in his favour, and secures his freedom in mere minutes of being present. He very quickly alerts the Imperials to Omega’s effect on Nala Se, hopefully putting them on a collision course.
This episode encapsulates what the show should be. The Empire is presented as an overwhelming force, with a feeling of dread hanging over the entire runtime. There is a feeling of higher stakes throughout the episode, with events ramping up for both the Empire and the Bad Batch.