Indiana Jones is back with another adventure! No, wait, scratch that, it’s The Bad Batch!
The fourth episode of the show’s second season premiered today, titled “Entombed,” and it evokes some major themes from George Lucas’s other franchise. Let’s take a dive into this week’s episode, and as always, spoilers are ahead!
Omega and Wrecker are scavenging for a compressor to bring back to Phee, and Omega collects some other treasures along the way. Tech dismisses most of it as junk, but Phee finds an ancient compass that she speculates will lead to the treasure of the Skara Nal, which predates the Republic. She convinces the Bad Batch to join her on this quest – with some persuading from Omega – and they go off in search of the treasure (despite the rest of the Batch’s skepticism of Phee’s treasure hunting exploits).
The compass leads them to an ancient and desolate planet not on any modern maps, and then into a mountain. A series of puzzles and booby traps lie ahead, placing the heroes’ lives in danger, and then a fearsome creature dwelling in the mountain attacks them. They drive it off, but the heroes are separated from each other. Phee, Omega, and Hunter head off to find the treasure, while Tech, Echo, and Wrecker try to find their way back to the others. More traps lay ahead, but the team eventually reunites and finds the treasure at the heart of the mountain. But as Phee removes it, a massive robotic walker awakens, revealing that the walker was entombed in the mountain – and the heroes in the walker.
The walker begins using a laser to devastate the planet, including Phee’s droid, Mel. They convince her to put the treasure back to stop the walker, but the creature attacks again. Eventually, the treasure is placed back right before the walker can destroy their ship, and the walker collapses to the ground. In the aftermath, Phee tells the others that she’s heard about a chalice that they can go after, which captivates Omega but humors the rest of the team.
This episode was an enjoyable adventure-of-the-week treasure hunt that gave some massive nods to Indiana Jones, but there’s honestly not a ton to talk about from it.
Let’s start with the obvious Indy parallels, seeing a treasure hunter after some mysterious artifact. There are plenty of puzzles and booby traps, including a massive stone (think Raiders of the Lost Ark) and needing to step on the right stones (think The Last Crusade). There’s a comment about the character making it up as they go along. There’s the comment at the end about finding a chalice, which seems like a direct reference to the holy grail. And Kevin Kiner’s musical score contains so many tremendous allusions to Indiana Jones, which is absolutely fantastic. The music was perhaps the biggest highlight of the episode.
But there’s more than just those obvious parallels to Indiana Jones, as even the structure of the episode felt like an homage to Indy. It starts with us being thrown into the midst of another adventure, which in turn spurs on the adventure of our episode. There’s a treasure, a hunt for the treasure, and then the heroes ultimately don’t walk away with the treasure. Like in Indiana Jones, Phee must give up the treasure in order to escape, so when our heroes are leaving they are leaving empty-handed – but together, and with lessons learned along the way.
It’s very clear, and cool, that The Bad Batch season two is so heavily influenced by George Lucas’s other creations. Last week’s episode felt like it was something Lucas would love, with cars and racing, and then this week’s episode was about the treasure hunting serials. So if last week was American Graffiti, this week was Indiana Jones. All of it feels very George Lucas-y, which is great.
But at the same time, I have trouble coming up with the big themes or lessons that our heroes learned along the way in this episode. Probably the most significant development was seeing Phee willing to give up the treasure to save them all, but if that’s the big emotional moment it really didn’t work as well as intended. It happens almost immediately (there’s no real tension with the moment), and Phee is such a new character that we know almost nothing about her. So it doesn’t carry the same weight as it maybe was supposed to. Or perhaps the big takeaway was that Hunter listened to Omega and went on simply a fun adventure, one that doesn’t need to pertain to their survival or a fight to save the galaxy. Omega is a kid, after all, and this is a fun mission to go on. Not everything has to have the same high stakes. Maybe Hunter’s learning that, and that’s supposed to be the big takeaway here. Or maybe we’re supposed to see the Batch’s relationship with Phee developing, which could come into play down the line. They think she exaggerates her heroics (and they’re probably right), but perhaps they come to see that she’s not malicious or anything.
One other possibility is that what’s happening in these episodes is that we’re seeing how the Bad Batch gradually is coming to tire of their current lives running missions for Cid. In the premiere, it was Echo who was frustrated that they weren’t doing more in the fight. Last week, it was Tech who seemed to be growing tired of Cid’s missions. And this week, one could argue that Hunter’s beginning to have some questions about it all too. So maybe what we’re seeing is how these members are slowly but surely coming to embrace the same idea, with a growing discontentment about their lives, ready to branch out and make a bigger difference. It doesn’t seem that Omega is there yet, but maybe whatever happens with Cid (if she turns on the Batch) will hit her the hardest and spur that on.
It could be any or all of those things, but it’s hard to tell exactly what the point of this is. Besides, of course, just being a fun adventure, and that’s perfectly ok too! It was a strange experience watching the episode: it was enjoyable in its own right, but when it ended, I found myself thinking, “huh. That was fine, I guess.” We’ll probably need to see more episodes this season to get the full idea of how this all fits together, as I’m guessing Phee will be a key player down the road too.
At the same time as all of that, I found myself loving the treasure-hunting tale in the Star Wars universe, and I’d love to continue to see more like it. The chance to explore ancient cultures and treasures in this galaxy is great, and it certainly piqued my interest when Phee mentioned this treasure being made by the “ancients”, who predate the Republic and the Jedi. We didn’t get much exploration into that here, but I hope that wasn’t just a throwaway and something we learn more about at some point. And the walker… well, I’m just going to say it: it gave me massive Zeffo vibes. It looked a lot like the tomb guards seen in Jedi: Fallen Order, and it would make sense if this were Zeffo technology that was crafted on this planet and then deserted. I think that would be awesome.
There’s a lot we don’t know, and I hope that we find it out eventually. But the chance to go exploring in the Star Wars galaxy like Indiana Jones made for a fun, if rather inconsequential, episode of the series.
One thought on “Star Wars: The Bad Batch: “Entombed” review!”
I am sorry to say it but this week’s episode was very disappointing, a first for any Bad Batch episode thus far. It added absolutely nothing in terms of character development and I actually think it took them back a step from Ep. 1-2. Whatever happened to the lesson from those two episodes: “happiness is worth more than any treasure”, and its corollary, lives are worth more than money? It seriously felt like a Disney executive stepped in and insisted on a fluff-ball adventure for kids with NO underlying serious themes (except for treasure hunting, because training kids to be good capitalists, ie. to risk lives for “treasure”, is all-important), and at the same time, advertise for the upcoming Indiana Jones movie. My own kids rated this as “meh”, so I don’t think their tactic worked. This was on a par with some of the Star Wars Resistance episodes which were pointless (e.g. the one where Kaz is cursed; the one where Kaz gets lost in a Sith temple).
I suppose the only thing that might come from this episode is that Hunter’s facial expressions and the few comments he made suggest that he’s also getting tired of hanging out in a seedy bar while waiting to be sent on treasure-hunting/money-grubbing missions.