We’re just two weeks away from the premiere of The Mandalorian, and while marketing for that series is really picking up, another Star Wars series continues. The Bad Batch returned today with the ninth episode of its second season, “The Crossing,” picking up after the thrilling two-part mid-season episodes a week ago.
This week’s episode slows down and focuses on the characters, which is welcome. Let’s take a look at the episode, and as always, full spoilers are ahead!
The Bad Batch (minus Echo) head to a desert planet to a mine that Cid has recently acquired, tasked with retrieving as much Ipsium as possible. Ipsium, a rare mineral, is highly valuable but also highly volatile. The squad gets to work, with Wrecker and Omega standing watch outside the mine. Omega misses Echo, but with his absence she’s needed to help retrieve the Ipsium. While Wrecker stands watch, a scavenger steals the Havoc Marauder.
Without a ship or means of communication, the gang then heads toward the nearest settlement, Before they can reach it, however, a stampede of animals interrupts them, followed by a storm. They take cover in an abandoned mine, but the Ipsium explodes and traps them inside. There, the brewing tension between the gang erupts, with Tech too dismissive of the loss of the ship for Omega’s liking. She storms off into the mine by herself, while the others work to remove the stone from the entrance.
Eventually Tech is instructed by Hunter and Wrecker to go check on Omega, who has found more Ipsium. She retrieves most of it, but then falls into a chasm. Tech jumps in after her, and the two of them are swept away by turbulent rapids until they come to another part of the cave – which is near a way out. They contact Hunter and Wrecker and tell them to get the Ipsium and join them, which they do. While Tech and Omega wait for their arrival, they share a heart-to-heart conversation about how they both mourn the losses, but mourn it differently.
The gang uses the Ipsium to escape, but upon arriving at the settlement they find it abandoned. They contact Cid, but she refuses to send help, at least for a few days. That leaves them to fend for themselves as another storm approaches.
This week’s episode of The Bad Batch was a much slower pace compared to the heart-racing political thriller we got in the double-feature a week ago, and surprisingly we didn’t deal with any fallout about what happened on a galactic scale. But we did get to see some significant fallout from the previous week in the way of how Echo’s departure has affected the squad.
The episode sees the rest of the team right back at it running missions for Cid, which feels a bit odd given everything that happened the week before. But I suppose that’s actually the point: if they weren’t going to just head right back to Cid, Echo wouldn’t have needed to join Rex in order to continue that fight. He was growing frustrated with these missions, but Hunter and the others seem unwilling to change it… at least, not at the start of the episode (more on that in a minute). Cid sends them on a mission, but it’s what happens while they’re at it that’s significant. This episode deals with Echo’s departure, then throws the loss of their ship on top of it. That’s also a surprise, but if The Mandalorian could do it with the Razor Crest, so too can The Bad Batch I guess. With all of that loss, the tensions between the team are high.
The tension all really stems around Tech, which is one thing that isn’t surprising. He’s not the most empathetic guy, and his cold, calculating demeanor can rub the others the wrong way. He blames Wrecker for the loss of their ship, and Omega is upset that Tech doesn’t seem to care about the loss. She’s dealt with a lot in her young life: she lost her first family on Kamino, then watched her home destroyed, then saw Echo leave, and now has lost their ship – which, as she points out, is more than just a ship. It’s their home. It’s where she feels safe and secure, where her new family lives. She’s now lost not just a member of that family, but their home. That’s a lot for anybody to process, much less a young girl. And the thing that upsets her most of all is that Tech doesn’t seem to care. It’s undeniable that he does not handle the situation well, adding to Omega’s already strong sense of loss and angst by casually saying they can just get another ship. He’s right, of course, but he completely misses Omega’s point.
But as the episode goes on we come to see a different side of Tech, which two particular moments highlight. The first is when Omega, trying to gather the Ipsium, loses balance and plunges into the dark chasm. Tech doesn’t hesitate, but jumps in after her. He doesn’t understand Omega’s distress about the ship, but we should not mistake that for him not caring for her. When she gets into trouble that he does understand, he doesn’t hesitate to go after her, no matter what. The second, then, happens after they’ve emerged through the waters. The two of them sit and talk, and Tech confesses that it’s not that he doesn’t care – he just expresses it differently. He brings up Crosshair, which seems to surprise Omega a bit, but it’s a reminder that he’s lost more than she realized. She had to say goodbye to Echo, a member of her new family, but Tech had to say goodbye to Crosshair too, whom Omega never really got to know. It’s a poignant moment between the two, with Tech confessing how he struggles to express these emotions but still feels them.
That, in my opinion, is what this episode does really well. It shows us how Omega and Tech are both processing their grief, but doing so differently. And that doesn’t mean that Tech is totally excused for what he says, for there is a necessity to be able to empathize with others, but it helps bring much-needed understanding.
The other piece of understanding that the team arrives at in this episode relates to Cid. They were warned earlier in the season that Cid only looked out for herself and would betray them, and here, when they’re in need, she doesn’t care. Tech brings up the ways they’ve helped save her in the past, but it means nothing to her. It wasn’t her fault that the ship was stolen and their mission failed, she insists, so she doesn’t need to help them. This is a point where Cid shows her true colors, and honestly, I think it has to mark a turning point. If they just keep running missions for Cid in the same way as before after this, it’ll be extremely frustrating. Echo has left them because he doesn’t think they’re doing enough. They’ve been warned about Cid, and now she’s shown them it was warranted. For them to keep going back to their same lifestyle would be ridiculous. So I’m assuming this is marking a turning point in that relationship, and we’ll see how they manage to get off the planet (probably) next week.
In the meantime, the show took some time to slow down enough to focus on how our heroes are processing their hurt, which I think is important. I’m glad they didn’t just skip over that, but are taking the time to show it. Star Wars doesn’t always give its heroes time to grieve, but this show has done it well, and I think it’s better for it. This won’t go down as one of the best episodes of the series or anything, but I nonetheless think it’s an important one in the grand narrative that the showrunners are telling.