At the onset of The Bad Batch, we were treated with a fresh look at the early days of the Empire as Imperial forces arrived throughout the galaxy, marching through the streets and enforcing chain codes on citizens. The tenth episode of the series returned to this chilling forceful transition of power as Raxus — the Capital of the Confederacy — succumbs to the Empire’s occupation.
The Bad Batch: Episode 10, “Common Ground”
Star Wars has never shied away from politics since George Lucas first conceived of it, but this is the first episode of The Bad Batch that was so blatantly about the repercussions of the Separatists’ undermining of a fair and free galactic democracy that ultimately paved the way for the rise of the Empire.
On Raxus, Senator Avi Singh (voiced by the ever-talented Alexander Siddig) has been strong-armed into announcing the “peaceful” transfer of power under the Empire. Despite being a Separatist — you know, “the bad guys” throughout The Clone Wars — his conscience will not allow him to follow through with the directive of Captain Bragg and, at the last second, announces to his people that he does not condone the unjust occupation.
Captain Bragg has him arrested for his resistance as Imperial forces move into the capital city in one of the most chilling sequences of military occupation in Star Wars in a long time. Perhaps, in part, because these were the people who supported the separatist movement in the Senate and now we see them oppressed by the Empire as everyone else in the galaxy. It’s always chilling to see how everyone is the same under a fascist government. After all, this episode is called “Common Ground.”
Before Senator Singh is dragged away, he instructs his droid GS-8 (voiced by Sian Clifford) to follow through with whatever plans they had in place should something happen to him. These plans include reaching out to Ord Mantell to a certain broker of guns-for-hire — Cid.
Understandably, the Bad Batch are hesitant to offer assistance to a Separatist. Before the fall of the Republic, they were on the battlefield fighting against the Confederacy of Independent Systems, now they’re expected to free one of its Senators. Out of all of them, Echo is the most resistant.
Because of the nature of the mission, Hunter orders Omega to stay with Cid. Omega is disappointed to be left behind, especially fresh out of her harrowing escape from Cad Bane. This was a great moment for Hunter who is finally starting to figure out what it means to have a kid in his custody.
The Bad Batch begrudgingly head to Raxus where they are greeted by GS-8. For the past nine episodes, the Bad Batch have largely been out of their element. They’re trained for a battlefield that they haven’t been on since “Aftermath.” Breaking the Senator out of Imperial custody puts them back in their comfort zone and they work as a solid unit as they go up against the clone troopers and the armored walkers. During the extraction there’s a great moment where Hunter gives orders for Omega, forgetting that she isn’t on the mission with them.
After the rescue, Senator Singh has reservations about leaving his people behind on Raxus, but Echo offers a piece of sage advice: “Live to fight another day.” Over the course of the episode, the evolution of Echo’s opinion about the mission is not given the kind of time or attention that could have ever been achieved in a twenty-five-minute animated episode. All of the clones are starting to see the state of the galaxy, but it was great to see Echo find ‘common ground’ with someone that he was literally created to stand against.
While the Bad Batch were rescuing the senator, Omega was becoming a dejarik champion on Ord Mantell. When they return to the city they find Cid’s place swarming with eager gamblers, betting on Omega’s skills. Hunter is unimpressed considering he told Omega to keep a low profile (though, he should talk considering the Bad Batch sticks out like a sore thumb everywhere they go).
After Hunter snaps at Omega, Cid tells him off and Wrecker shoulder checks him, prompting him to actually talk to Omega. Turns out, in their absence, she was able to make enough money playing dejarik to buy them out of the debt they were in with Cid. In the final moments of the episode, Hunter and Omega sit down at the dejarik table to play a game that will decide if she gets to go on more missions with the Bad Batch. It was a sweet moment that I wish had been given a full scene and not the fade to black it received.
The back half of The Bad Batch has improved vastly from the hit-or-miss episodes following its premiere. Hunter is finally starting to develop a personality outside of looking like Rambo, but he is still leagues behind the character development given to Wrecker and Echo. It will be interesting to see where the Bad Batch will go now that they aren’t beholden to their debt with Cid.
Now that the Bad Batch has been spotted on Raxus, rescuing the Senator, will Crosshair return next week? As we move into the last six episodes of the season, I hope they develop Crosshair’s character more, if only to underline the tragedy of his situation.