The Bad Batch season 2 episode 9 returns to the adventure of the week format of prior episodes, but it absolutely puts the group through the wringer. The setup is simple, the group are sent to recover a dangerous mineral but if anything could go wrong with their mission, it does. Tech gets a fairly big character moment, but it’s controversial, and it teases the conflict for next week.
Ships in Star Wars often land on open ground and left seemingly defenceless, sometimes even with the doors wide open for anyone to take. Of course this isn’t an issue, if characters got their ships stolen all the time due to their bad habits it would distract from so many stories, so it’s just accepted. But this episode finally shows the consequence of careless ship parking habits, and sees the Bad Batch have their trusty ship gone in minutes.
This development does a lot for the conflict of the episode. It brings the Batch’s feelings for missing Echo to the fore, with Tech and Wrecker constantly at each other’s throats for the rest of the runtime, and Omega is very clearly upset with the whole affair, and hasn’t had time to process any of this. The Batch manage their primary objective of mining ipsium, a new and volatile ore, which is symbolic of how the group are at the moment. Any strike in the wrong way will set one of them off.
To try and find a new ship, the group have to trek the long distance to the nearest spaceport, which is many miles away. The group get caught up in a stampede, with Wrecker seemingly in danger but in truth it doesn’t feel like it at all, and then have to seek shelter in another mine. The ipsium detonates right in front of the entrance, causing a cave in, foreshadowing an emotional detonation soon after.
This emotional moment comes when Omega admits her worries to the group, saying that she’s upset with Echo gone and potentially the ship that’s their home gone too. Tech attempts to comfort her in his usual Tech way, with logic, and doesn’t grasp the depth of Omega’s distress, upsetting her further. She walks further into the cave, wanting to be alone.
Tech is sent to retrieve her, and the pair find more ipsium to mine and accidentally fall into an underground river. While they wait for Hunter and Wrecker, Omega and Tech bond. He explains that he understands emotions in a different way to Omega and the rest of the group, but he still feels loss for their ship, Echo, and before him Crosshair.
This development hints very strongly at Tech having some form of autism spectrum disorder, which is mixed. In one way, it gives those groups representation in Star Wars where before they had none, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The character feels like he has the traits that are stereotypically associated with autism, hyper intelligence with low emotional maturity for others, which shows a less nuanced understanding of it.
The group eventually find a way out, only to find the spaceport abandoned. Which really is unsurprising. Who would want to live on a planet with unpredictable electrical storms, stampedes, and surrounded by mines full of unstable ore.
They call Cid at first to request for a pick up, which she at first denies, harkening back to the warning Millegi gave Tech and Wrecker in episode five that Cid doesn’t care for them. But after the group reminds her of how much they’ve helped her, and Omega bats her eyes, she caves and says she’ll help.
How easily Cid caved is disappointing, as the earlier setup that Cid didn’t have their best interests at heart could have been paid off much better, such as having her come to a realisation on her own that she needed to help the group next week, thus leaving this week on even more of a cliffhanger.
This week is certainly a strong pace change compared to the political thriller episodes with seven and eight, but is necessary to show the increasing strain the group finds themselves under. In this way it avoids being filler, and is enjoyable enough. Hopefully next week resolves this cliffhanger in an interesting way, and perhaps sees Cid come under fire for her careless nature.