Welcome to my weekly review of The Bad Batch, where I will be walking us through each episode and giving my thoughts on the show. 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 the fourth episode of season 2: “Faster”.
While Hunter and Echo are away on a delivery “mission” for Cid, the rest of the Bad Batch are relaxing in Cid’s parlor, where Omega continues to beat Wrecker at Dejarik, betting for cartons of Mantel Mix. Cid arrives and tells the trio that she has a job for them as a security detail. Tech is reluctant, but goes along after Omega and Wrecker agree.
The group travel to Safa Toma, where Cid is going to watch a series of speeder races. Cid explains that she is betting on her racer, a droi named TAY-O, who wins the ongoing race. As the group help fix TAY-O’s speeder ahead of the next race, they are interrupted by the arrival of a Dowutin called Millegi and his henchmen. Millegi and Cid clearly have a history, and he boasts that his own racer, Jet Venim, would beat TAY-O, leading to the pair putting a wager on the next race.
As the race goes on, Tech analyses the court and racers to try to predict the winner, butis unable to. As the race nears it’s end, TAY-O is in second behind Venim, who teams up with the racer in third (who is also under instruction from Millegi) to make TAY-O crash out.
As the clones salvage TAY-O and his racer, Millegi comes for his winnings, but Cid cannot afford to pay. Millegi orders his henchmen to take Cid, while Tech and Wrecker prepare to defend her. However Omega suggests they have another race and bet again: if Millegi wins then he gets double, if they win, Cid is released unharmed and with her debt written off. Millegi agrees to this, taking Cid with them as collateral.
“Uh, that is hilarious. Ha ha ha. I am more than capable, I am ready to… Where are my arms and legs?”
The trio and TAYO-s pit crew successfully repair him and his speeder, but as TAY-O prepares to make his way to his next race, he is destroyed by a speeder crashing out of the race that is running at that moment. Millegi arrives at the scene, expecting the Bad Batch to forfeit the race, however Tech says that he will race in TAY-O’s place.
Tech runs the race, focusing on saving power for his speeder’s shields rather than using his weapons, however this sees him running well down the order. Deciding that he needs more speed, he jettisons the weapons to reduce the speeder’s weight. This allows him to get enough speed to successfully navigate a shorter but more dangerous route, bringing him into contention for the lead. As the race nears it’s end, Millegi’s racer try to use the same tactic that caused TAY-O to crash, but Tech anticipates it and dodges their attack, causing them to instead crash into each other as Tech crosses the finish line in first place.
The clones met with Millegi, who releases Cid, who tells them that she owes them a favour. Just before the clones followed her out, Millegi notes that their loyalty is impressive, but warns them that it may not be reciprocated and tells them to watch their backs.
Last week, we were treated to one of the best episodes of animated Star Wars. This week, it was back to the pointless “fun” that holds the show back.
The characters in the show even mention how often they have had to bail Cid out of trouble, so the fact that they are sticking around and continuing to do menial tasks for her like delivering nerf nuggets and acting as muscle for her when she feels like she needs it just feels wrong. If they’re trying to avoid trouble, then they should have told Cid that they were done by now. And if anything, they’ve now made their situation even worse by having Tech win a race that was very public and surely broadcast across the galaxy on the holonet. There needs to be a negative result from this, such as the Empire tracking them down after seeing Tech’s race, or else this brazen ignoring of any potential stakes is going to be a real issue for me.
While this was a great episode for Tech, utilising his logical nature to find a way to win—and I’m glad that it was him rather than Omega—I can’t help feel that this was a case for him to grow as a character, with a better story seeing him learning to take on more of a leadership role with Hunter absent, something that I thought we might get when he originally questioned Cid’s use of Hunter and Echo and the lack of information they were being given about the job. Instead, Omega is allowed to take the lead in a negotiation and offer double or nothing stakes when the odds are very much against them.
It all comes down to an issue with the tonal balance of the show, a recurring issue that plagued season 1. One week we’ll have an episode that feels very mature, with moments such as Crosshair and Cody being ordered to execute enemies of the Empire, or the execution of Lama Su, and then next week we’ll suddenly be back to a much less mature episode the next week with absolutely zero stakes like this. And that inability to set an identity makes it very difficult for me, as other series like Rebels and The Clone Wars have generally matured over time, and each time a mature episode comes along, it makes me thing that this is the moment things are stepping up, only to be left disappointed the next week. Over a season into the show and I’m still not sure if I really like it or not, and that indifference is a bad thing, especially considering we will soon have both this and The Mandalorian releasing at the same time.
“This is not the first time she has required our assistance due to her dealings with individuals of questionable integrity.“
A few final thoughts from the episode:
- I liked the mix of racers, from alien races to modified droids, including an old Separatist commando droid
- My favourite moment of the episode was the accidental death of a crowd member as one of the speeders lost control while firing. I think I’d stick to watching those races on the holonet!
- It’s great to see AZI-3 got himself a new job at Cid’s after getting off Kamino, but I’d love to see him go on a mission with the clones sometime soon
Moments in Canon
- Tech chooses to focus on power to the shields rather than weapons, something often done in starships and well established in the game Squadrons
What did you think of the episode?
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