We’re nearing the end of the first season of The Bad Batch, and it’s sure to be a thrilling conclusion to the season, with a lot of different threads to wrap up.
None of that happened in this week’s episode, however, as the Batch was back to running a mission for Cid in the episode “Infested.”
Let’s dive into the review – and as always, full spoilers are ahead!
Having completed another job, the Bad Batch heads to Cid’s on Ord Mantell, only to find it under the control of Roland Durand, a Devaronian who is the son of noted crime boss Isa Durand. The Batch intends to leave the planet, but Cid meets them at their ship, explaining that Roland has seized control of her operations due to its proximity to key hyperspace routes. She reveals that Roland has made a deal with the Pykes, and enlists the Batch’s help in secretly stealing the spice from Roland – so that when the Pykes arrive, Roland won’t have anything to give them.
Cid takes the Bad Batch to the secret underground tunnels beneath the planet, which were used for mining. She insists on being stealthy, since the Pykes are not an enemy anyone wants to make, but also because there’s a hoard of dangerous creatures living in the mines. They make it to the secret access to Cid’s office, and she alerts Ketch and Bolo to create a diversion by stealing Roland’s pet. This lures him out of the office long enough for the Batch to steal the spice. But as they make their getaway in the mines, Roland’s men spot them and give pursuit. Hunter takes them out, but the firefight awoke the hive. Tons of flying creatures attack Cid and the Bad Batch, who barely manage to escape thanks to their flashlights scaring the creatures off, but not before they lost the shipment of spice.
They don’t care much about the spice, since the mission has been accomplished. The Pykes show up and, as Cid expected, are not happy with Roland. But Cid and the Batch show up as the Pykes are taking Roland away in chains, and he reveals that they’re the ones who stole the spice. The Pykes demand that they return the spice, and until they do, they say they’re going to keep Omega. The Batch refuses, but Cid convinces them that they can’t fight the Pykes. So, leaving Omega behind, the others head off to retrieve the lost spice.
Omega talks with Roland while they are both held captive by the Pykes, while the rest of the crew takes the ship to hover over the canyon. Wrecker and Cid are lowered down, and they find the crates of spice, helping get them to the ship. As the last of the crates are being taken up to the ship, with Wrecker and Cid in tow, they accidentally wake the hive again, which swarms them. But Tech deploys an explosive that he’s been working on, which generates a burst of light, driving the hoard away and letting the Batch escape.
They give the spice to the Pykes, who let Omega go. They cut off one of Roland’s horns but then let him go free as well.
For the first time this season with The Bad Batch, I came away from an episode going, “meh.”
It wasn’t that this episode was bad; it was fine! It was an enjoyable half-hour of television, with the Bad Batch on a daring adventure that takes a turn for the worse before they regroup and emerge victorious. Omega was left behind, in danger, and comes away teaching Hunter the value of helping others. That’s nice! But it’s also something we’ve seen a ton of already this season.
I absolutely hate the term “filler” for shows, so I won’t use it here. There’s nothing wrong with the “adventure of the week” serial, and not every moment of a show has to subscribe to the Marvelized notion of everything meaning something and being connected. Plus, as we’ve learned over and over again from previous Star Wars animated shows, in the long run those episodes people called “filler” wound up having more significance down the road. I have no doubt that’ll be the case with The Bad Batch as well.
But I can’t help but feel like this episode was totally out of place. This felt exactly like the type of episode we would expect early-to-mid season, showing us the Batch working another job for Cid that takes a turn for the worse, but also showing Cid become a bit more friendly toward the group in her need. But coming here, so close to the end of the season, and on the heels of last week’s episode? It doesn’t make much sense, and it seems to undercut the momentum that had been building. Last week, at the end of the episode, Crosshair was given permission to hunt down the Bad Batch, and with him and bounty hunters after Omega, and with only four episodes left, it seemed to be setting up for a thrilling final month. Instead, we get a very routine episode that has no connection to any of that whatsoever. I mean, nothing (as far as we can see right now). Not even any significant character development for these people, either.
I did enjoy seeing Cid team up with the Batch for a mission, which was a nice change, but there’s no change in her from the beginning of the episode to the end. There’s no real focus on the members of the Batch (like Echo, who seems to just be there in the background this season and nothing more). And Omega is, once again, left behind and in danger – it’s getting old. Sure, this time it wasn’t Hunter’s choice, but it’s still another week with her separated from the team while they go on a mission.
I did like the whole sequence in the mine, and it kinda reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones, and the Pykes showing up has me wondering whether we might get more of the crime world (and maybe, eventually, Crimson Dawn?). Like I already mentioned, I did enjoy Cid going with the crew, and I’m assuming that even though we didn’t see it here, it might make her more friendly to the group moving forward. And as has been the case all season, the animation and music are absolutely stellar.
But it felt like this week’s episode was all about the plot rather than the characters, even though the plot really didn’t have anything to do with what seemed to be building as we lead up to the end of the season. If this episode had come earlier in the season, it still wouldn’t have been my favorite but I could have understood it a lot more. For it to happen here, however, just feels so totally out of place. It’s my least favorite episode this season; it was fine, but nothing more than that.
My grade: 7.5/10