We’re past the midway point of the first season of The Bad Batch, and the ninth episode, “Bounty Lost,” dropped on Disney+ today.
And as has been the case for much of the season, and especially the last few weeks, this episode was absolutely fantastic. Let’s dive in to the review, but keep in mind that full spoilers are ahead!
The Bad Batch flies their ship through the skies of Bracca, desperately looking for a trace of the bounty hunter who took Omega, but are pursued by Crosshair. He’s firing at them, and the other clones finally convince Hunter that they have to jump to hyperspace and escape, having no trace of the girl. Meanwhile, Omega is imprisoned aboard Cad Bane’s ship. The bounty hunter and Todo 360 introduce themselves to Omega, and then Bane heads to the cockpit to talk with Lama Su, who says the payment will be waiting for Bane at the rendezvous point. On Kamino, Lama Su sends Taun We to deliver the payment and retrieve Omega, saying that Nala Se is too close to the situation. Lama Su says that after they retrieve the genetic material they need from the girl, they should terminate her.
Aboard Bane’s ship, Todo tries to repair his damaged booster, and Omega convinces him to let her out of her cell to help him. She does repair the booster, but then deactivates the droid and begins searching for her comlink. Bane lands the ship on the abandoned Kaminoan cloning facility on this planet, and then discovers Omega is gone. He reactivates Todo and goes looking for her. Omega has already left the ship and enters the facility, calling for help on her comlink. The Bad Batch picks it up and is able to communicate with her, but the signal is too weak for them to pinpoint the location. Omega is soon apprehended by Bane, who destroys her comlink and puts the girl in handcuffs.
They hear a gunshot and find Taun We dead, and Fennec Shand then reveals herself, holding the payment. A fight breaks out between Bane and Shand, during which Omega escapes – and the payment is lost, falling out of Todo’s hands. Omega stumbles upon a room with several green tanks containing various alien species, including a Kaminoan. She activates the station and sends a signal, which the Bad Batch picks up and follows. Fennec finds her in this room and offers to help, but Omega doesn’t believe her after the previous incident. So Omega uses the controls to drop one of the tanks on Fennec, which shatters. Omega once again gets away, heading down to another platform with an escape pod. Bane and Shand have another lengthy fight, while Todo tries to apprehend Omega. But she jettisons the pod and gets away, and she is then picked up by the Bad Batch.
As Bane returns to his ship, he finds that it has been sabotaged as he watches Shand fly away. She contacts Lama Su and says that she can track the clones, but Lama Su says that as long as Taun We doesn’t have Omega that’s what matters, and she says she’ll send the payment. Meanwhile, Hunter explains why the Kaminoans want Omega. She’s fearful about going back to Kamino and ending up in a tank like those others she saw, and Hunter promises that she’ll never go back there.
As I’ve said before, this show has really found its stride and hit the ground running quicker than any Star Wars animated series that came before it (of course, it helps that this is basically a direct continuation of The Clone Wars). That’s been especially true in recent weeks, and this week’s episode was no different.
It picks up almost immediately after last week’s episode, and I loved how Hunter was so hesitant to jump to hyperspace without Omega. But they’re forced to by Crosshair, and from there the episode takes a different turn than we’re expecting from this opening scene: we’re thinking that it’s going to be about the Bad Batch rescuing Omega, but instead it’s about Omega rescuing herself. She’s learned a lot, is quite smart and quick-thinking, and can absolutely hold her own. I loved how she persuaded Todo to let her help him (all in order to escape), and then actually did so before deactivating him. I loved how she escaped Bane’s ship and managed to contact her friends with her comlink. I loved how she didn’t trust Fennec (why would she after their previous encounter?) but instead escaped by using the control panel to drop a cloning tank on her. I loved how she fought Todo and got to the escape pod, and then jettisoned it. It’s only at the last moment, as she’s lost control of the pod, that the Bad Batch shows up to save her. But for the most part, she doesn’t need saving.
But at the same time, she does need saving, because this episode provides us with answers as to why she’s such a valuable target. The Kaminoans want her back, but we get it confirmed that they have differing intentions in doing so. Lama Su hired Cad Bane and wants Omega back just for her genetic material, then wants her killed. Nala Se, on the other hand, cares about the girl, and it’s revealed that she (probably secretly) hired Fennec to ensure that Omega is safe. So yeah, Fennec is portrayed as a bit more noble here, and that’s what I expected would happen. Though she’s still a bounty hunter and seems just out for herself and for her credits, and while she’s not necessarily someone we’d say was a hero, she’s not exactly a villain either. That’s the way she’s portrayed in The Mandalorian, and I’m expecting that’ll be the case in The Book of Boba Fett too. The bigger point in this episode, though, is that the Kaminoans are divided. We figured as much, as going back to the premiere we saw Nala Se help Omega escape. But now it’s confirmed, and it seems that Lama Su knows about that previous encounter (as he says that Nala Se’s closeness with the girl has hindered them before), but I doubt he knows that Nala Se hired Fennec. And now we see that Nala Se’s actions have led to Taun We’s death, so this whole dynamic with the Kaminoans is going to be very interesting to monitor moving forward.
And since Hunter promised Omega wouldn’t ever go back to Kamino, I’m guessing Omega is going back to Kamino at some point this season. The big question is whether she’ll do so voluntarily, to try to save the others in doing what she thinks is best, or whether she’ll be taken again. It was surprising that she was rescued the very episode after she was taken, and I didn’t see that coming at all. But it makes me think even more that she’ll be taken again and wind up on Kamino before the end of the season.
But why do the Kaminoans want her? That was the biggest reveal of the episode, and it was what we had been speculating. Tech informs Hunter, Wrecker, and Echo that he ran tests and discovered that Omega has first-generation genetic material. All of the clones were taken from Jango Fett’s DNA, and as far as they know, only two were directly taken from it: a clone the Kaminoans call “Alpha,” who has become known as Boba, and Omega. So in other words, it seems that Boba was the first of the clones, an unaltered clone of his father, whom the Kaminoans call Alpha. And it seems that Omega, as we speculated with her name all along, is the last one. She’s obviously got to have some sort of genetic modifications, so I’m still not convinced that we know everything about what makes her so valuable, but even if we do, I think it’s a compelling enough story. The reason the Kaminoans want her, therefore, is because she has direct, first-generation DNA of Jango Fett. And since all the remaining strands the Kaminoans have left are weakening, thus hindering their ability to continue producing clones, they need the material from either Boba or Omega. Tech says that the Kaminoans have lost track of Boba and he disappeared entirely at the start of the War, which is why Omega is their prime target.
I think it’s a bit strange that they’ve lost track of Boba entirely, as he’s not exactly been hiding, but I do think the name-drop and the connection with Omega makes it all the more likely that he’s going to appear in this show at some point. He has a sister, and I’m sure that if/when he learns that, he’ll be quite interested – whether that’s good or bad news for Omega, though, remains to be seen. And with Fennec Shand and Cad Bane appearing in this show already, and now Omega’s significance and connection with Jango and Boba, it seems way too obvious that Boba Fett will be appearing at some point. But we’ll see.
One other thing to note about the Kaminoans is that we get a look at another cloning facility they had on Bora Vio. This is the first time we’ve learned of that, and the facility looks to have been long-abandoned. There are cloning tanks, however, that contain various species – we see what looks like a Sullustan, and then what looks like a Kaminoan falls out of a tank on Fennec. It seems these are other cloning projects that the Kaminoans have undertaken, which isn’t surprising. In Attack of the Clones it’s mentioned that the clone troopers are some of the finest they’ve ever made, which implies that there are plenty of others. The Kaminoans have a long history of cloning, it seems, and so of course they’d have multiple facilities and a number of different tests and subjects. It’s very interesting to explore, and one of the things I’m really loving about this series is how we’re diving in to the Kaminoans and what’s up with them. It’s great, and I’m confident there’s quite a bit more to come this season.
The other thing to note in the episode is that it was great seeing Cad Bane and Fennec Shand engage in several fights. Bane is obviously probably still the best in the galaxy at this point, but Fennec – the newcomer – more than holds her own. When Bane’s hat is off in this episode we can see the cybernetic plate of sorts on his head, which appeared in the concept art of last episode and seems to strongly indicate that his duel with Boba Fett has already happened. If that’s the case, then we’re probably seeing Bane’s hold on his place of prominence slowly slip away. He’s been badly injured by this young kid in a duel, and others have surely heard about that, and now in this episode the newcomer Fennec ensures that Bane’s bounty gets away. He’s still a force to be reckoned with and is a deadly bounty hunter, but I’m wondering if this series will explore any of that. I’m hoping that Bane shows up again soon! He steals the show in every scene he’s in, and the fights with Fennec were brilliantly done. They were fast-paced, fresh, and exciting, with both bounty hunters getting the upper hand at times.
Overall, this was another fantastic episode. It was exciting, answered questions, and set up some interesting threads that can be explored as the rest of the season moves on.
My grade: 9.8/10