Director: Saul Ruiz
Starring: Dee Bradley Baker, Michelle Ang, Rhea Pearlman, Sian Clifford, Alexander Siddig
This week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Episode 10) returns to the topic of how the empire is taking over the galaxy as the team are sent to Raxus to rescue Senator Avi Singh, the senator for the planet.
Raxus was the capital planet of the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS), the organisation behind the Separatist government who fought against the Republic during the clone wars.
As the episode’s title ‘Common Ground’ suggests, the Bad Batch (all Dee Bradley Baker) must put aside their previous feelings for the CIS during this mission.
The Batch are finally back to being an elite squad of soldiers: they cut through the regular clone troopers like a hot knife through butter.
The episode’s action is good, old-fashioned fun.
How good is Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 10?
A variety of tactics and manoeuvres are used to get the team out of some situations and it’s encouraging to see the team back on form (although it does highlight how poor they’ve been in previous episodes).
The team also get to go stealthy at one point, a welcome change to the usual bombastic fighting seen in the series.
That said, it’s as if the writers forgot that Echo repeatedly voices his distrust of Singh early in the episode.
Once the team returns, the senator is passed over the Cid (Rhea Pearlman) for her to extract her payment.
Echo does implore the senator to leave to “fight another day,” but there’s more that could have been done with this dissonance between the Batch and those they spent so many years fighting.
Omega (Michelle Ang) has her own sub-plot with Cid. Cid continues to be an enigma to me – a character motivated by money gets boring and their character arc seems forgone.
Yes, she’s warming to the team, especially Omega, but no doubt she’ll betray them later on only to regret her actions.
Omega’s exploring her newfound tactical skills
Omega’s newfound tactical genius adds another item on her list of skills, but where that’ll take her in upcoming episodes is unclear.
The dissolution of the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) is barely touched upon, which is a shame.
It’s hinted that the people of the planet might be rebelling against the empire but the episode’s focus on setting up the Bad Batch needing a mission and Omega’s of qualms leave little room for any further exploration.
This is disappointing because Raxus served as the setting for one of the more interesting arcs in The Clone Wars when Ashoka was sent with Padme to negotiate with the CIS to end the war.
That arc humanised the CIS (a needed move given all we really think of when we think of them is battle droids) and proved that humans were fighting and dying on both sides of the war.
That said, Singh’s role in the episode is brilliant.
He acts with integrity (which is more than can be said for many politicians today) and declines to bow down to the empire’s wishes.
I hope we see more of him soon (perhaps he’ll join a fledgling group of rebelling senators?).
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 10 has a huge sense of scale
The episode also uses a sense of scale brilliantly.
After last week’s high-flying fighting, the tight corners and alleyways of the city make for an engaging battlefield.
The style of the city is again so different to the other spaces seen in this series so far; Raxulon (the city where the episode is set) is a lush, vibrant place.
The golden trees on the city’s outskirts are representative of the overall rusty (in a good way), autumnal colour scheme used through.
It might sound excessive, but at points, it’s easy to forget you’re watching a cartoon with this show – the art design is that good.
A final thing that was striking about the episode is how faceless the clone army has become.
The Clone Wars worked hard to give these clones identities and personalities but now they are cold repetitive figures.
AT-TEs are so cool!
Moreover, the AT-TE Walkers feel like walking monoliths – they’re powerful tools for social domination and their destructive capabilities are impressive.
For the past few episodes, it’s felt as if The Bad Batch is really heading somewhere.
This episode has put a pause on that momentum, although thanks to Omega’s tactical gaming the Batch’s debt with Cid has now been paid off.
As entertaining as this episode was, its inability to explore the wider questions about the galaxy at this crucial time is disappointing – hopefully next week will be better.
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Excitement – 7
Enjoyment – 8
Upon Reflection – 5