Episode 4 brings back Star Wars: The Bad Batch ’s first two episodes’ major flaws in a terribly underwhelming episode, reintroducing a familiar face from The Mandalorian.
*Warning: This piece contains spoilers for episode 4 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch*
So far, Star Wars: The Bad Batch has mostly been Omega Gets in Trouble and The Bad Batch Save Her—and here we go again! I sound like a broken record, if you’ve read the past three reviews, but how unoriginal must you be to put one of your main characters purposefully in trouble without ever changing it up or fleshing her out? I was looking forward to this episode, since it reintroduces the popular character of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), whom we saw in The Mandalorian, and explores who she was before she likely met Boba Fett (though we don’t know who she’s working for…that’s left to be resolved in future episodes), but guess what? Shand is looking for Omega (Michelle Ang). Why? Who knows! But she’s looking for Omega. And, believe it or not, Clone Force 99 (Dee Bradley Baker) land on the planet of Pantora for a supply run, where Fennec Shand magically appears and lures Omega in!
How does she lure Omega in, you may ask? Well, first, Omega’s curiousness takes the better of her, as she sees a Voorpak (if you’ve seen Star Wars: Resistance—think of Buggles!) who takes her plush toy. Instead of, I don’t know, leaving it be, saying “Oh well” and returning to Hunter, she decides to go after the creature and meets none other than Fennec Shand, who is planning to abduct her for unknown reasons! How convenient!
A chase ensues, which is rather entertaining, but riddle me this: how does this character, four episodes in, doesn’t really grow and goes through the same routine, but through different locations? Omega might be “the key” to the series, or an important protagonist, but I beg of the showrunners to find something else for her to do instead of purposefully getting in trouble, saying “Oh, poor me!”, and then having to get rescued again by The Bad Batch. Does anyone realize the wasted potential this show is exploring by doing the same ‘Omega gets in trouble’ routine instead of focusing on, gee, I don’t know, the rise of the Empire?
Just imagine how great this show would be if it explored, first-hand, the rise of the Empire from the point of view of the Clones who will soon be obsolete. Yes, there was that in last week’s episode, but how about solely focusing on that, instead of shoehorning a child character that adds nothing to the show, aside from reducing its quality and potential? Fennec Shand’s presence and her goals with Omega are sure intriguing, but I would just love if, for one episode, Omega didn’t get in trouble and actively grew as a character. The other members of Clone Force 99 do grow—their character traits are starting to become more compelling as they bond over Omega, but the show hasn’t given me one single reason, so far, to care about her.
It’s a really frustrating series to watch, because you want to like it. You want to go on twitter, or any type of social media, and say, “Damn, The Bad Batch is really good”, but when it recycles the same cyclical storylines in each episode, you just have to wonder how far can the show really grow with its story and characters. Some will say, “It’s made for kids, after all! That’s why they’ve got a child character!”, but that argument is easily debunked when you watch The Clone Wars, another show allegedly “made for kids” that simply rocks because it never does the same thing! Sure, it follows the same episodic structure, but its characters always evolve, and it proposes something new to the viewer. That’s why it succeeds, and The Bad Batch, so far, doesn’t.
What a shame, man, what a damn shame. The potential is there—it’s right at your doorstep, and yet the story is contrived with horribly repetitive sequences that don’t really make the central characters grow. I’ll admit that I’m very intrigued to see in which direction Fennec Shand’s arc will go next, as it is vastly different from her appearances in The Mandalorian (where she was an ally in Season 2 teaming up with Boba Fett), but it’s so hard to fully get invested in the series so far, as it keeps repeating the same mistakes, episode by episode. I’m quasi-hopeful for the future, but extremely pessimist that it’ll get any better as the series goes along. Let’s see.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Cornered (Ep. 4) is now available to watch on Disney+.