By Kieran Burt.
Episode six of The Bad Batch season two takes audiences back to a familiar planet for a rescue mission, but this one off adventure misses the potential of what this episode could have been. But its theme of being at one with nature is a classic Star Wars message that shines through as its strongest aspect.
The episode opens with the group making their way to a space station, to sell forgeries of Imperial chain codes to the criminal group Vanguard Axis. But their deal goes awry when Omega rescues one of the aliens Vanguard Axis plan to sell, Gungi, a youngling first seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
It does raise some uncomfortable questions about whether or not the Bad Batch would have sold the chain codes without this interruption, as Hunter claims that it’s bad to smuggle people, but these chain codes would have helped to do just that. It speaks to the naivety about the criminal underworld the Bad Batch still has, and just how out of place they are.
After a touching scene where Gungi learns to overcome his understandable fear of clones, the Bad Batch vow to reunite him with the Wookiees on Kashyyyk. This is the point that could have been stretched and explored deeper, as it is over quickly.
Arriving on Kashyyyk, we find that Trandoshans backed by the Empire are razing the forest, indiscriminately targeting the forest and cultural stones with their flamethrowers. This sets up a menacing threat, as flamethrowers are perhaps the deadliest weapon on a planet covered in dry trees and packed with plants. This threat unfortunately has no follow through.
The Bad Batch stand against the Trandoshans, but there was also a scene of the group putting out the raging fires in the aftermath. This is a welcome sight, and one not seen often, acknowledging that defeating an enemy is only the first step to healing. But it takes more.
A tribe of Wookiees are found, and just in time as the Trandoshans are preparing an attack. The Wookiees communicate with the trees for a plan of attack, an excellent interpretation of the force residing in all living things. The attack itself is underwhelming, the Trandoshans are dispatched far too easily, but all of Kashyyyk’s nature rising up to attack the Trandoshans only pushes the theme.
At the end, there is somewhat of a turning point for Hunter. He is more willing to accept that Omega’s life will constantly be disturbed by war, and hopefully this is the start of a transition to the Bad Batch more openly resisting the Empire. The visual of Omega and Gungi communicating to the tree is a beautiful shot, influenced by unused ideas for a Star Wars: The Clone Wars arc, as was much of the episode.
The Bad Batch will likely not be on Kashyyyk next week, as it is a midseason double on a different subject, which is a shame, as a second episode could have continued to explore the Empire’s exploitation of the planet, and the theme of nature vs technology that is so integral to Star Wars. But if future episodes take this theme and apply it as thoroughly and continue to explore the Bad Batch rising against the Empire, it will be just as good.