Star Wars: The Bad Batch: “Cornered” review!

The Bad Batch is back with another episode, entitled “Cornered,” and we see the group discovering that they really aren’t safe and have nowhere to hide.

In the process, we are also introduced to a familiar face for Star Wars fans, and we’re treated to some thrilling chase scenes that keep this episode very fast-paced throughout.

Let’s dive in to the review!

SUMMARY:

The Bad Batch wants to find a remote planet to settle down on and hide (much to Omega’s dismay, as she wants to explore the galaxy now that she’s off Kamino). But two issues quickly become apparent: first, they are out of rations, and second, their ship has been tagged and thus trackable. The group decides to land on Pantora, a nearby planet, so that they can get some food and so that Tech can reconfigure the ship’s signal, allowing them to go undetected. Upon arriving on the planet, Tech and Wrecker bribe the dock agent to keep him from scanning their ship, but he secretly contacts Fennec Shand, alerting her to the presence of the ship she’s after. As Fennec looks at a holographic image of Omega, her target, she heads toward Pantora.

On the planet, Hunter, Omega, and Echo head into the city looking to sell supplies in exchange for credits, while Tech and Wrecker stay behind to work on the ship. In the city, a hologram of Admiral Rampart plays discussing the chain codes (which we saw in episode two), while the citizens celebrate a parade of clone troopers, since the war is over. Omega says that she thought the war being over was a good thing – but Echo says that it depends on which your side you’re on. They find a merchant, but he’s not super interested in what they have to sell; however, mistaking Echo for a droid, the merchant wants to buy him. Hunter convinces Echo to allow this to happen, insisting that he can escape after the sale goes through. While they are discussing the price, Omega is enthralled by some voorpaks, and in the process she loses her doll – running after it through the streets.

Omega soon finds herself lost, and Fennec Shand approaches her and kindly offers to help her. Fennec escorts Omega through the city, befriending her and even giving her some food to eat. But Omega grows wary when she notices Fennec’s blaster, and Hunter soon finds them. Fennec and Hunter engage in a duel, with Omega aiding Hunter – but Hunter soon tells the young girl to run. She takes off, and Hunter and Fennec wind up separated as the police are after them as well. Hunter contacts the rest of the Bad Batch with an urgent alert: Omega is in trouble. Wrecker springs into action, while Echo leads a group of droids to the hangar to put the ship back together, allowing for a quick escape. Tech, meanwhile, taps into the city’s cameras and is able to find Omega.

The girl heads to the tunnels underground, where she meets Wrecker. But Fennec is close behind, and as Omega escapes, Fennec beats Wrecker, leaving him behind. Hunter steals a speeder and races after Omega and Fennec, who have dropped onto a passing cargo vehicle. Omega smartly pulls a lever dumping the cargo, including Fennec, onto an oncoming speeder. Fennec commanders the speeder and races after Hunter, who by this point has rescued Omega and is trying to escape. Hunter throws an explosive onto Fennec’s speeder, stranding her behind without a vehicle and allowing them to arrive back at the ship. The team quickly re-groups and takes off – realizing that Fennec was a bounty hunter hired to go after Omega.

Back on Pantora, Fennec tells the dock agent to let her know if they show up again, and she contacts her employer and says that though they got away this time, she’ll soon find the girl.

REVIEW:

In this episode the Bad Batch continues to learn that this is a dangerous galaxy, and they continue to have to try to figure out how they can survive in this new situation. For example, as they note, they’ve never had to actually provide for their own rations before. So that’s a change. And now their ship has been tagged, meaning that they’re wanted criminals. That’s a change too. But the biggest change of all is that they have this girl with them, and in this episode they learn that she’s the one actively being hunted. So that’s a pretty massive change, and it’s also a massive reveal for these clones. Someone is after Omega. Who? And why? That’s still unknown to them. More on that in a minute.

But Omega is oblivious to most of this, and of course she is – she’s a kid who has been on Kamino her whole life until just recently. She’s not expected to know that not everyone can or should be trusted. She’s not expected to know not to go running off exploring this planet on her own. And all of this is precisely one of the biggest reasons why I love Omega so much: she is naive, but not helpless! She is unaware of a lot of things and therefore acts and assumes things naively (and actually so does the whole Bad Batch, at times), but she also is a quick learner who can hold her own. This is nothing new, as it’s been obvious in the previous episodes, but this episode really highlighted it. It was Omega’s naivety that got her into trouble (and one can hardly fault her much for it), but she’s also the one who got herself out of it. She is the one who first began wondering if something was up when she saw the blaster, before Hunter ever arrived. She is the one who sprung into action and deterred Fennec as soon as the bounty hunter began firing on Hunter. She is the one whose smart thinking and quick acting threw Fennec off the speeder. Omega most certainly is not helpless, and she can hold her own.

Of course, she can’t do it alone. It was great to see the entire Bad Batch spring into action upon hearing that Omega was in trouble, especially Wrecker. He’s really easy to love, and he rushes off immediately to go help her. It should be noted that he once again hit his head in this episode, though, so while he wasn’t complaining about it, it’s worth keeping an eye on after last week…

And I also thought Echo was fantastic in this episode, and I hope that he continues to get more attention and focus. It was really interesting to see how the merchant thought he was a droid (Echo was dressed much like one, after all), and Echo didn’t take too kindly to that. But then Hunter goes along with it, willing to sell Echo for credits. It’s clear that Hunter doesn’t intend to actually leave Echo behind, but if I’m Echo, I’m taking that personally. I hope that the show continues to explore Echo and how he’s fitting in with the squad – and how he’s processing his identity. He’s a clone, mistaken for a droid, and I’m sure that has to strike really close to home for him as an area of struggle. But Echo takes it all in stride, ultimately leading a group of droids (including Clink, who may be the biggest star of the episode – and on that note, it was great seeing several designs from Resistance here!) to fix the ship. This is keeping with the long tradition of Star Wars animated series seeing droids as the heroes.

But in all of this you’re probably just waiting for me to get to Fennec, because she was probably the big takeaway from the episode. First introduced in The Mandalorian, she shows up here, voiced by Ming-Na Wen! And she was fantastic in this episode, and the character fit in really well. She’s been hired by someone to hunt down Omega, and she does so on Pantora – leading to a high-speed and fast-paced chase through the streets – and, by the way, the sound design on this episode deserves MAJOR credit, as it is on another level (and the speeder chase evokes sounds of the one in Attack of the Clones, which is great). It is quickly apparent that Fennec is a force to be reckoned with: she’s able to be Hunter’s equal in combat, is able to make quick work of Wrecker by using his size against him, and isn’t easily deterred away from her target. Fennec is fantastic here and is a tremendous addition to the show – and the good news is that it looks like she’ll be a recurring character, based on the way this episode ended! We knew that Fennec was going to be in this show from the trailer, but now it seems she’s more than a one-off episode.

And all of that is because Fennec has been hired by someone to track down Omega. This raises the stakes immensely in the series, and while it’s not totally shocking to the viewers, it is to the Bad Batch. They now realize that Omega is the target who is being hunted, and that totally changes the game for them. But who is Fennec working for? Who hired her for this job? She contacts her employer at the end, but we don’t hear who it is. The obvious guess is that it’s the Kaminoans. They clearly had a purpose in creating Omega, one we don’t know yet, and that’s one of the big mysteries of the series right now. But it also seems that they want to continue their project, and for that they might need Omega (especially based on the discussion between Lama Su and Nala Se at the end of last week’s episode). I’m doubtful it’s the Empire, because unless they’ve been told something off-screen (which feels like a pretty big thing to just address without showing us), they either don’t know about Omega or don’t think she’s important. In fact, there seems to be very few people who know about her, which is why the overwhelmingly obvious guess is that it’s the Kaminoans. I agree that it’s most likely. However, the fact that they’re keeping it a mystery as to who it is, when we all can very easily guess that it’s the Kaminoans, has me wondering if it could be someone else. And if that’s the case, allow me to at least mention one hypothetical possibility: Boba Fett. It would establish a history between Fett and Fennec decades before The Mandalorian, but would also make some sense why this special clone of Jango Fett would have some interest in this other special clone. But easily the most likely and obvious answer is that it’s the Kaminoans who want Omega.

Regardless of who wants her, what really matters is that she’s not safe. The rest of the Bad Batch is learning how to fit in, just like she is, and it’s going to be very interesting as the season goes on and we learn more about who Omega is and see the team try to survive and protect their own.

So yeah, this was another terrific episode, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this before I conclude: the animation of this show continues to be simply stunning. It is easily the best-looking animation Lucasfilm has ever done, and it blows me away week after week at what they’re able to do. Here, the sights of Pantora and the streets and the people and all that are incredible. So in this episode, the animation and the sound design are both firing at all cylinders, complimented by Kevin Kiner’s very good score, a great voice cast (take a bow, Dee Bradley Baker), and a compelling plot, and this show has hit the ground running and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. I love it so much.

My grade: 9.4/10

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