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 13: “Infested”.
The Bad Batch return to Cid’s Parlor following anther mission, but things are different than usual: the parlour is full of customers—though not her usual regulars, Bolo and Ketch—and also a number of guards. Making their way back to Cid’s office, they find that it is instead inhabited by a Devaronian, who introduces himself as Roland Durand, a former client—the creature Ruby was stolen to be his pet in an earlier episode—and son of the crime boss Isa Durand. Durand informs the Batch that he is now in charge and offers them the chance to work for him, which Hunter says that they will need some time to think about.
The clones make their way back to the Havoc Marauder with the intention of moving on, but find Cid, Bolo and Ketch at their ship. Cid explains that she has a plan to take control back from Roland and draws in the Bad Batch to help. The plan is to sneak into Cid’s office and steal a shipment of spice that Roland is about to sell on to the Pykes as part of a deal, which will lead to him being removed from power.
“No-one can know we’re involved. Roland is one thing, but the Pykes aren’t an enemy you want to make”
With Cid leading the way, the Bad Batch make their way through the mining tunnels, though Cid makes them power the mining carts manually rather than use the engines. They reach a pair of doors and Cid explains that there is an infestation in the tunnels, and that they must ensure they make no sound in order to avoid waking the hive. The group successfully make it across to the entrance to Cid’s office.
Bolo and Ketch use mantel mix to draw Ruby out of the parlor and capture her, which draws Roland and his guards out of the parlor and office. The Bad Batch use this chance to sneak into the office and steal the spice, loading it into the mining carts. Ruby escapes back to Roland, who sends some of his guards after Bolo and Ketch while he returns to the office. As he is back earlier than expected, Echo electronically jams the door, buying the clones the extra time they need to get away with all of the spice.
Roland quickly notices the missing spice and finds the entrance to the mines, sending his guards after the Bad Batch. However, the guards use the motors and the hive are awakened—nocturnal insectoid ptero-creatures called Irling. The hive flying around knock and pull the guards out of their mining carts and also flyaway with the spice, but the Bad Batch manage to hold them off by shooting some and holding others at bay with their torchlight, allowing them to get back through the doors in the tunnel and shut them. Though Cid is disappointed at losing the spice, she is happy that they will have done enough to oust Roland.
Roland’s guards bring Bolo and Ketch to him and he begins to question them, but is interrupted by the arrival of the Pykes, who are unhappy at Roland being unable to provide the spice they paid for. Cid and the Bad Batch return to the parlor, where they find all of Roland’s guards dead. Roland emerges from the office in the Pykes’ custody, but when he sees Cid, he tells the Pykes that they are the ones who stole the spice. The Pykes threaten to kill the group, so Hunter says that they will get he spice for them, but the Pykes keep Omega as a hostage until they get their spice.
“Our best chance is to strike before nightfall.”
Cid and the Bad Batch fly out to a cavern that gives them access to the closed off part of the mining tunnel. Wrecker and Cid winch down into the tunnel, where they find and retrieve the spice. Having winched back up the first 4 crates of spice, Wrecker and Cid winch themselves up along with the final 2 crates, however not he way up, Cid knocks one of the mining carts off the track and the noise of it crashing down wakes the hive, who all fly up and engulf the pair. While Wrecker tries holding them off with his blaster, Tech drops a large, modified flash-bang that he had created, which scares away the Irling and allows the pair to be winched back into the Havoc Marauder along with the spice.
The Bad Batch meet the Pykes in their hangar and hand over the spice, and the Pykes duly return Omega to them. However, as punishment for his failures, the Pykes prepare to execute Roland. Omega tries to argue against this, and Hunter convinces them that making an enemy of Isa Durand would be a bad idea. Instead of killing him, the Pykes decide to cut off one of Roland’s horns, before leaving, and a thankful Roland also leaves. As Cid and the Bad Batch start making their way back towards the parlor, Hunter asks Omega why she stood up for Roland. Omega says that she isn’t sure, but if Ruby liked Roland, then he can’t be all bad.
So this isn’t going to be the easiest of write-ups, because while I can admit that it was a fun episode that tried something a little different, I can’t help feel disappointed with this episode.
While there are a couple of reasons for this disappointment, the main reason comes down to looking at its placing within the season. We have just had the Bad Batch see first-hand how the Empire is occupying even Republic-aligned planets and seen other clones turn against the Empire to allow them to escape… and yet they have just gone back to their new life of crime doing jobs for Cid. To get truly invested in characters, you need to see them develop, and our titular group have not really done so. Not just that, but last week saw Crosshair given permission to hunt the team down, and he doesn’t feature at all in this episode, while this was one of 4 remaining episodes and appears to have been wasted on a stand-alone story. I don’t want to use the word “filler” as it is often overused for character-heavy episodes, while Rebels has taught me to never write off a plot point until the series is over, but this is the first time that I have looked back at an episode of this series and not seen some growth in an important character or some idea introduced that I can see paying off down the road. Perhaps once the series is complete I will see the importance of the episode, but right now it feels like this episode should have been earlier in the season, soon after joining Cid.
What really stood out in this episode was the attempt to bring in a horror vibe, with the need for silence to not wake the initially nameless hive, and the moments of tension created by events such as Wrecker dropping his torch. While these moments played well, I then found that the eventual appearance of the hive was underwhelming, as they did not really appear to be of much danger. We don’t see them actively attacking anyone, just pulling or knocking some people out of the mining carts, while they also seemed more interested in the spice than the clones, for no obvious reason. Simply the implication that some of the guards were carried away to be fed upon would have added to their threat, but once again it seems that the idea was hampered by the show not knowing what tone it is going for
So now we’re down to 3 episodes to close out the season (and maybe the series, I’ve still not heard anything about a season 2), so I expect the remaining episodes to all be part of the main storyline, but I must admit that I have no idea where things will go. We haven’t seen the Kaminoans for week, so are they still trying to get Omega? How will Crosshair track down the Batch? And will the Bad Batch get any development? Only time will tell.
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- While it was nice to see the use of a new character in Roland rather than an existing one for once in this series, it felt like an odd decision to have his horn cut off, as my initial expectation upon his first reveal was that this was a young Cikatro Vizago, who we met in Rebels missing a horn—I’ve already had one friend ask me if they were the same character
- I’m surprised there were minimal complaints from Wrecker during the winching sequences, considering his fear of heights
Moments in Canon
- This is just the latest show in which the Pykes have appeared as major players in the criminal underworld, also featuring in The Clone Wars and Solo: A Star Wars Story
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. Good soldiers follow orders….