Welcome to my first episode review for The Bad Batch. My reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at episode 11: “Devil’s Deal”.
On the planet Ryloth, Twi’leks are gathering in the capital of Lessu to hear a speech. Crosshair is present, observing the crowd, and notices the arrival of Gobi Glie and some of his freedom fighters. Many floors up in the main building, Admiral Rampart is present with senator Orn Free Taa, Cham Syndulla, his wife Eleni and clone captain Howzer. Taa makes his way out onto the balcony and begins a speech in favour of the Empire, but the crowd begins to boo him and calls for Cham. Cham steps out and gives a speech to the crowd telling them that the war is over and it is time to hand in their weapons as the clones and the Empire can be trusted. Eleni does not look overly comfortable with the presence of the Empire, while Rampart also notes the absence of her daughter Hera.
Hera Syndulla is in fact with her droid C1-10P (Chopper) gathering intel for Gobi, until she is caught by clones in a restricted section. Captain Howzer escorts her back to Cham’s estate, where he warns Cham that the situation is tense at the moment, so he will not report it as Hera is just a child. Once Howzer leaves, Cham is unhappy with Gobi, who admits to sending Hera, as he does not want his daughter drawn into danger. He tries convincing Gobi to stand down, however Gobi is suspicious at the continued arrival of more clones. From conversations, it is made clear that Eleni is also suspicious of the Empire, while Cham is ready for peace.
“Fighting, it takes a toll. My hope is that you won’t ever have to live a life like mine.”
Back in Lessu, Rampart is pleasantly surprised with the support they are getting from Cham, but Taa is jealous of the love he trust and support he has from the wider populace. Crosshair states that the true threat now is Gobi Glie and his resistance. Some time soon after, Rampart takes Cham and Eleni on a tour of the Empire’s new doonium mine on the planet, though Eleni becomes suspicious once again when she notes the presence of armaments that had not been part of the agreement.
Gobi convinces Hera to come with him on a supply run by allowing her to pilot the ship, however neither of them, nor the other present members of Gobi’s resistance, spot Crosshair spying on them and firing a tracking beacon, which attaches to the ship. Hera pilots the ship to their pre-arranged rendezvous on a nearby moon, where they are met by the Bad Batch, who are delivering blasters and detonators. While Gobi completes the mission, Omega shows Hera around the Havoc Marauder.
“I thought you were in trouble. Isn’t that why we’re here?”
The Twi’leks return to Ryloth, but as they are coming in to land, Crosshair shoots out one of the engines, forcing them to crash. Other Imperial forces arrive, including the rest of Crosshair’s unit, Howzer, Rampart and Taa. Taa uses Hera’s presence as proof that Cham is involved. The Twi’leks are arrested, though Howzer appears shocked that Hera is being treated the same as the others as she is just a girl. Crosshair notices a trio of Gobi’s fighters watching the events, but is told to let them go and report back.
Cham and Eleni receive a transmission from Gobi’s fighters informing them of the arrests. Chopper arrives and reports that the group have already been found guilty of treason without a trial. Cham, Eleni and Chopper join up with the Resistance and successfully ambush the colony, freeing the prisoners while forcing Rampart, Taa and Howzer to retire. Cham accuses Taa of treason and points a blaster at him. Howzer tries to reason with him, and Eleni manages to convince him that executing him in cold blood—especially with Hera watching—is not the way. Rampart signals Crosshair—who had not been with the convoy but instead watching over everything from a sniping position—and the clone shoots Taa in the head. With Hera and Chopper in the Syndulla’s speeder, Eleni orders Chpper to get Hera out of there, and they immediately leave while Eleni, Cham, Gobi and his resistance forces are arrested for the attempted assassination of Orn Free Taa. While the Twi’leks are taken away, Howzer is assigned to the unit tracking down Hera.
Well this episode was certainly very different to anything we have had previously seen in this series, and while I really enjoyed it, I did have one issue with the episode, which I will come back to later.
This was such a great episode, as it starts giving us that missing piece of the story regarding the Empire’s occupation of Ryloth and Cham’s resistance. We knew that the Republic was there helping Cham and his freedom fighters during the Clone Wars, and we knew that Cham was leading the Free Ryloth Movement against the Empire, while his daughter Hera became a member of the early Rebel Alliance. Now we see a young Hera already looking to follow in her father’s footsteps to get a Free Ryloth, while Cham is just desperate for his homeworld to see peace, so is willing to look beyond the continued presence of the Empire. Meanwhile Taa continued to show his uselessness that rightfully turned the populace against him, fuelling his mistrust and hatred of Cham. From the way he began to act the moment Hera was put in danger, it is clear that it will be Cham’s family and friends being hurt that will see him take up the fight against the Empire once again, especially as we already know from Rebels that things are not going to end well for his wife. Meanwhile, this very much feels like a younger version of the Hera Syndulla that we have come to know and love in other stories, and it is great to see her love of flying, even if she is only at the stage right now where she is allowed to fly but not land/take off.
It was odd seeing the Bad Batch barely involved in this episode, but it also make sense, as I imagine that the next episode will see the group on a rescue mission, and by showing us the set-up—along with a number of characters who are probably familiar to most viewers—it leaves you very invested, in a way that perhaps wasn’t quite there with last week’s rescue of Avi Singh. I’ve mentioned a couple of times how the series could almost be split into a number of chapters. The first chapter saw the Bad Batch see their world changed by Order 66 and getting used to the loss of Crosshair and the presence of Omega, next saw their attempts to adapt by becoming mercenaries for Sid, but their inability to truly escape their past, with removing their chips before being chased by Crosshair and Cad Bane. Now we are in a chapter that was hinted at in an earlier episode, when Rex offered the Bad Batch a chance to join him in the fight against the Empire. Last week the Bad Batch were sent on a mission to rescue someone from the Empire, which looks like it will also be the case next week. How many times can the Bad Batch save people from the Empire before actually joining the fight themselves? I think that this will be the mission that brings the back into the fight.
And will they have an unlikely ally? I couldn’t help be interested in Captain Howzer through this episode. Not only is he the first reg (other than Rex) we have seen with his helmet off away from the mess hall since Order 66, but he also seemed very kind and lenient, much more like the clones were before Order 66. I may be proved completely wrong, but part of me can’t help feel that the events of the next episode will see him turn against the Empire, though it will likely be a turn that proves fatal to him considering he was not with Rex, Wolfe and Gregor in Rebels.
Now, I did say that I have one issue with the episode. As the name of the site suggests, my focus is heavy on the canon, as I love the lore of this world. It’s not that everything has to join, but it’s that idea that everything has happened in the same combined world, so that one day through 6 degrees of separation, stories could be linked. Sadly, despite Lucasfilm’s statements at the time that the original expanded universe was reclassified as “Legends” that all the stories going forward will be canon, this series has gone out of its way to go against the stories already established in books and comics. We had the premiere completely rewrite Caleb Dume’s point of view of Order 66, which was seen in the comic Kanan: The Last Padawan and now we appear to have killed off Orn Free Taa, who features in the novel Lords of the Sith, which is set years later. It may be that he has just been badly hurt, given Rampart arresting Cham for “attempted murder” but that looked like a fatal shot from Crosshair, and Taa looked very dead. As someone who has spent time and money throwing myself into the wider universe that is meant to enhance the experience of the movies and shows the last couple of years has seen The Rise of Skywalker, season 7 of The Clone Wars and now The Bad Batch going out of their way to ignore what is already meant to be part of the existing story of the galaxy. Is the a minor gripe? In the grand scheme of things, yes, as many fans won’t even be aware of the differences, having only watched the shows. But it does leave me questioning the point of enjoying these wider stories that could be overwritten at any moment.
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- Kevin Kiner continues to boss it with his score, and it was great to hear the familiar theme for Hera in her moments as she looked on longingly at the flying creatures
- It will be interesting to see if Numa appears in the next episode. She would be around Hera’s age, maybe slightly younger, but we know that she goes on to join the FRM, and it could also explain why she appears to have some armour belonging to the 212ᵗʰ when we see her in Rebels
Moments in Canon
- This is the second time we have seen the Syndulla estate on screen, with it also appearing in the Rebels episode “Hera’s Heroes”. Both of these episodes show the remains of a crashed Y-wing, the wreckage of which Hera pulled Chopper out of
- Taa’s political rivalry with Cham Syndulla was shown in the first season of The Clone Wars
- The turbo-tank makes a rare onscreen appearance, being used as a way of transporting prisoners. This was also the case with its last appearance, at the Wobani Labour Camps in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- The new Imperial mine on Ryloth is extracting doonium, which was heavily mined around the Empire in order to construct the Death Star
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. Good soldiers follow orders….