The Bad Batch is back, and it picks up where last week’s episode left off!
This episode, “Rescue on Ryloth,” was probably one of my favorites yet this season, which is saying a lot, and there was so much there to unpack! Let’s dive in to our review, but as always, full spoilers are ahead!
Cham and Eleni Syndulla are imprisoned, along with their comrades, for the attempted assassination of Senator Orn Free Taa. Admiral Rampart visits them, insisting that it won’t be hard to convince the Twi’lek people to be loyal to the Empire instead of to Cham. Meanwhile, Hera Syndulla and Chopper scout out the facility from afar, looking for an opportunity to rescue Hera’s parents. But upon noticing Crosshair and his squad, Hera realizes that the facility is too heavily guarded for them and decides to call in help. She sends a message to Omega, pleading for assistance in rescuing her parents. The rest of the group is initially hesitant about the mission, but Omega convinces them to head to Ryloth, saying that helping people who are in trouble is what soldiers do.
They meet up with Hera at Cham’s secret base, and together they spy on Rampart’s address to the people of Ryloth. They are spotted by a probe droid, which Hunter quickly destroys, but not before Crosshair is alerted to their presence. Returning to the base, Hunter says that it’s too risky and that they can’t help. Omega, however, talks with Hera and insists that Hunter will listen to her plan, since she knows the planet best. So Hera, with help from Omega and Chopper, puts together a plan: they will attack the Imperial refinery, taking out the canons so that the shuttle can swoop in and do some damage, hopefully drawing forces away from the capital – allowing them to rescue the Syndullas. Hunter agrees to the plan, and the squad jumps into action.
Chopper infiltrates the refinery, but he’s unable to deactivate the canons and is captured. So Omega and Hera sneak in and steal a shuttle; Hera flies the ship as they take out the controls, which allows Tech to fly the Havoc Marauder into the area, with Wrecker firing the guns and taking out the turrets and causing much damage. This prompts Rampart to deploy reinforcements to the refinery, leaving Captain Howzer to protect the capital. But Crosshair stops his squad, realizing that the real target will be the city, and they stay behind. Hunter and Echo sneak into the palace and rescue the prisoners, but unbeknownst to them, Crosshair lays a trap for them at the exit. Howzer stops the fleeing heroes before they walk out into the trap, alerting them to it. They’re re-directed to taking Orn Free Taa’s shuttle, but Howzer stays behind, wanting to try to reason with his soldiers.
So Howzer walks out to face the others, pleading with them that what they’re doing is wrong. Several of the regs lay down their weapons to join him, but not all do. Crosshair orders Howzer and the other traitors taken into custody, but as Howzer is being taken away, he sees Hunter, Echo, and the Syndullas flying away to safety in the shuttle. The Bad Batch and the freedom fighting Twi’leks all meet up on Ord Mantell, before the Twi’leks leave, saying that the fight for Ryloth isn’t over. Back on Ryloth, Rampart tells Crosshair that he underestimated the other four clones, and Crosshair asks for permission to hunt them down, which is granted.
There was a ton that happened in this episode, and it was fantastic. Like I mentioned last week, it was really hard to judge that episode on its own because of how clearly it was meant to be a two-part story. That certainly proved to be true, and this episode picked up on so many of the characters and plot lines that were laid last week.
As we all expected, this episode was about the Bad Batch coming to the rescue – but it was actually Hera and Omega taking the lead, which was really cool. Hera at first plans to rescue her parents by herself, but rightly recognizes her need for assistance. So she calls Omega, but the rest of the team is far more hesitant to help – until Hera comes up with a plan for how it could work. It’s a good plan, and Hunter recognizes it and agrees to it. And it’s all thanks to Hera, who knows the planet better than any of them. But the only reason Hera comes up with the plan is because Omega encourages her to do so. Omega is the only one of the squad who is totally ready to help Hera, and she’s actually the one who convinces Hunter to head to Ryloth in the first place. She’s the reason the Bad Batch winds up helping, and she’s the reason why Hera ultimately flies the ship that takes out the weapons controls. Two episodes ago, Hunter left Omega behind, worried that he couldn’t protect her. It seemed like that episode’s ending meant that was done happening, and I’m glad for that. In this episode, we see how much Hunter trusts Omega. He not only listens to her but also sends her with Chopper and Hera – without any other backup from Clone Force 99. Hunter has learned to trust her – and to act upon that trust – and it’s great to see. Omega rewards that trust here, as we knew she would.
And we also get to see a pivotal moment for Hera: we see her flying a ship by herself for what we assume is the first time. There was a touching scene last week where she talked with Omega about her dreams of flying, and here we see it begin to become a reality. Though she has a few bumps initially, she quickly proves herself. It’s cool to see this moment play out on-screen, since we know that she will become one of the best pilots in the galaxy and a hero of the Rebellion.
And that’s a big reason why I found Eleni’s line to Hunter at the end of the episode so poignant: “If a war is coming, it will be their fight as much as ours.” That’s something that we’ve seen both Cham and Hunter struggle with in this series; Cham wants to protect Hera and wants to stop fighting in order to do so, while Hunter wants to do the same in order to protect Omega. But they both have come to see that if a war is to come – and I think they both realize it will, if they’re honest – it will be Omega’s and Hera’s fight too. So they can’t just refrain from the fight because of a noble desire to protect their ‘kids,’ because then all they’re doing is leaving those kids to fight for themselves sometime down the road. But I think it also means that they shouldn’t be afraid to include Omega and Hera in this fight either, as they’ve proven themselves capable. It’s a similar thing as we’ve seen in other Star Wars content with Bail and Leia Organa, for instance.
Speaking of that line from Eleni, this episode was full of fantastic lines. It was incredibly well-written by Jennifer Corbett, and probably my favorite from the whole episode came right at the beginning, also from Eleni. As Rampart tries to reason with her instead of Cham (saying she’s the reasonable one), she responds, “I have seen how you treat your allies, Admiral. I prefer to be your enemy.” So good! And the delivery from Ferelith Young makes it even better. Later in the episode, after receiving Hera’s call for help, Hunter says, “Omega, it’s a big galaxy. We can’t put ourselves on the line every time someone’s in trouble.” To which Omega responds, “Why not? Isn’t that what soldiers do?” Yes, indeed it is. Tech gets in on the fun as well, delivering what might be my favorite line from him in the series so far. As Hera flies the ship and says that she’s getting the hang of it, Tech deadpans, “Yes, your dangerous and uncontrolled maneuvering is as confusing to them as it is to us.”
Also, while on the subject of Tech, I’ve got to note that he’s a pretty dang good pilot! We’ve never actually seen that, though we could have probably deduced it since he’s always the one flying the ship. But as he approaches the refinery, he pulls a fantastic drifting move that allows Wrecker to get a clear shot on the canons. It’s beautifully executed, looks fantastic, and the sound design on it is top notch. It’s reminiscent of the move that Poe pulls in The Last Jedi, drifting his fighter to get a clear shot.
On a different note, the fan favorite Captain Howzer was back this week, and he again stole all the scenes he was in. He was clearly conflicted in the episode, and that made it all the better, because he was trying to sort through his affection for the Syndullas while being loyal to his superiors. He tried to balance these things but ultimately came to realize that he had to make a choice, and he did so, helping the Bad Batch and the Freedom Fighters escape to fight another day. But Howzer, admirably, declines an offer to go with them, because he can’t leave his men behind – he notes that they are good men and he’s got to try to get through to them. So Howzer walks out to face the assembled army, and I was terrified that Crosshair was going to take him out. But he didn’t, and Howzer instead threw down his weapon and called others to join him in standing up against what they know is wrong. And a number of the regs did – far more than I expected! It wasn’t enough, however, as the ‘traitors’ were arrested, but it’s a start. And I’m thinking it’s going to be the start of something much larger for this show, too. Besides Cut and Rex (who are both different cases than Howzer), this Captain is the first reg we’ve seen retain his personality and defy the Empire. My assumption is that his inhibitor chip didn’t really activate, but what’s especially notable is that all of these regs decided to lay down their weapons and join him too. So now we’re entering a different discussion, and I think it’s going to pay off yet this season.
In a couple of weeks, for example, the episode is called “Project Warmantle.” If you remember, that’s the name of the Imperial project led by Admiral Rampart that is exploring replacing the clones with enlisted recruits. Rampart has been a bigger player this season than I expected, and he was the one leading the Imperial occupation of Ryloth in this episode too, meaning that he was on the scene for these events. And I’d be shocked if what happened with Howzer and these regs isn’t used to serve Rampart’s ultimate purposes, helping him convince others that the clones are too risky for the Empire to continue to use and that recruits could be much better. And if that’s really where things go, then I could also see more and more regs realizing that clones like Howzer are actually right. So, perhaps, it could spark the clone rebellion that so many fans have been hoping to see in this show.
I could see all of that happening, but for now, I’m just glad that Howzer survived this episode, as I was sure he wasn’t going to (and on that note, I was sure Eleni was going to as well). I LOVED the ending, with him walking out to face the opposing army a la Luke Skywalker, while trying to get through to them. It was so great.
So, yeah, this whole episode was fantastic. But it wasn’t just because of the thrilling rescue – that was great! – but also because there was so much to unpack, so many things to think about, and so many major themes that the characters are exploring that grips us as fans. I loved every minute of it.
My grade: 10/10