Director: Nathaniel Villanueva
Starring: Dee Bradley Baker, Michelle Ang, Ferelith Young, Vanessa Marshall, Noshir Dalal, Robin Atkin Downes
As expected, this week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Episode 12), ‘Rescue on Ryloth’, continues the events seen last week: Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) is in hiding after her father and mother are (falsely) arrested for attacking corpulent Senator Orn Free Taa. Hera enlists the Bad Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) to save her family and, perhaps by extension, the people of Ryloth.
Simply speaking this is a paint-by-numbers episode of the show. Gorgeous artwork, some minor clash of conscience and some great action. The Bad Batch manage to save the day by directing clone troops away from the citadel, although Crosshair realises the plan. Some help from clone Captain Howzer (Bradley Baker) ensures the Syndulla family and their rebel friends escape to fight another day. It’s an overall enjoyable 20 minutes.
Does Star Wars: The Bad Batch lack a strong villain?
Behind the scenes, Vice Admiral Rampart (Noshir Dalal) is overseeing Ryloth’s population with an iron fist. Rebels or not, the Twi-leks are being rounded up for conspiring with Cham Syndulla (Robin Atkin Downes) and his forces. Rampart plays an interesting role in the series: one minute he is overseeing the termination of the Clone project on Kamino and now he’s ruling a planet.
Rampart feels like an attempt to give the series a main villain, something that is otherwise missing from the show. The problem is that he, like other imperial commanders we’ve seen in both this show and in Rebels, seems somewhat incompetent. He moves from planet to planet as the show demands but consequently, his role is not clear.
Again it can’t help but be observed that untethering the show from the Bad Batch would give the creators an opportunity to explore Rampart’s role (and the role of other figures, for example, The Clone Wars mainstay Admiral Yularen) in the fledging empire with some creative freedom.
Nonetheless, the show explores the heroes of the new order
The unexpected hero of the episode, however, is Captain Howzer whose inhibitor chip seems to have worn off. His desperately seeking to do right by the people of Ryloth complicates our knowledge of the clone army post order 66 – do they calm down? Was the ‘good soldiers follow orders’ just a phase?
Howzer’s rousing speech to his fellow troopers leads to some also laying down their weapons as an act of protest against the emerging Empire’s iron grip on the galaxy – hopefully we’ll see him again soon and get some more answers.
There are some cute interactions between Omega and Hera – where Omega will fit in the Star Wars universe is unclear but her friendship with fan-favourite Hera may well provide an outlet in future material from this galaxy far, far away.
The episode ends with Crosshair given permission to hunt down the Bad Batch. Why hasn’t he been doing this already? The trajectory of the series has been uneven – as pointed out last week, the lack of consistent narrative has meant the entire series has felt like it’s been missing something vital. Again, maybe that final ingredient will become clear in the final episodes of the series.
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