Last week, the Bad Batch briefly appeared on their own show, but this week “Rescue on Ryloth” positions them at the heart of the action as Hera makes a desperate plea to rescue her parents from the Empire.
The Bad Batch: Episode 12, “Rescue on Ryloth”
On Ryloth, Gobi Glie and the Syndullas remain in Imperial captivity as Rampart gloats about the Empire’s plans to turn Ryloth against their efforts by framing the freedom fighters for the assassination attempt against Senator Taa. Captain Howzer seems skeptical and even a little unnerved about these tactics and he voices his concerns to Rampart. After all, Howzer was there when Senator Taa was shot and it came from above, not from Cham Syndulla. Despite his skepticism, Rampart gives Howzer his orders to round up peaceful citizens for their mere association with the Syndullas.
With Crosshair and his squad tasked with tracking Hera down, she makes a call to the only person that she thinks can help her. Omega. Initially, the Bad Batch are hesitant to head into Imperial occupation so soon after Raxus, but Omega manages to convince them to help Hera. During this scene, Tech has a throwaway line that I found irksome. “Perhaps the situation is not as dire as described. Children often overreact.” What children, aside from Omega, have you been around, Tech?
Anyways. The Bad Batch head to Ryloth to meet Hera and tentatively agree to assist her. Hera has been hiding out in Cham’s old command outpost, which proves to be a great hiding place for their rescue operation. While it’s not mentioned explicitly in the episode, the fact that none of the clones thought to look for Hera there makes me wonder if many of them are still loyal to the Syndullas. The Bad Batch head to the capitol to get a feel for the situation and Hunter is reluctant to assist Hera when they discover that in addition to being overwhelmingly outnumbered by the Imperial forces, Crosshair is there. At the same time that the Bad Batch are learning that Crosshair is there, a probe droid finds them and relays the information back to Crosshair.
The remainder of the episode is fairly straightforward. Hera and Omega convince the Bad Batch, yet again, to follow through with the plan to rescue the Syndullas. Rather than heading straight for the Capitol, they propose a plan to cause a distraction at the Imperial refinery. Of course, this doesn’t go smoothly and Hera and Omega have to get creative. When Chopper is unable to take down the cannons, Hera and Omega steal a shuttle and take matters into their own hands. With the Imperial forces focused on the attack at the refinery, Hunter and Echo are able to get into the Capitol and rescue the captives.
This is where things get very interesting, in my opinion. While Hunter and Echo are freeing the captives, Howzer shows up to warn them that Crosshair has seen through their ruse and has forces outside of the Capitol ready to take them into custody. Despite falling in line with Rampart’s orders when the city was occupied, Howzer tells the Syndullas that he is on their side. After last week’s episode, many people — myself included — theorized that Howzer had not been affected by the chip the way that other clones were and this theory was correct. Rather than leave with the Syndullas, Howzer remains behind because: “I will not abandon my squad.” He is not the only clone on Ryloth whose allegiance is not to the Empire. Before being taken into custody for treason, Howzer manages to inspire several other clones to lay down their weapons.
The most shocking part of “Rescue on Ryloth” was that EleniSyndulla made it out alive. The Bad Batch and the rescued captives part ways at Cham’s old command spot and we know that this is just the beginning of the Twi’lek Rebellion for the Syndullas. Hunter finally gets a flicker of character development as he refuses to take payment for rescuing them, but still, there isn’t a lot there even after twelve episodes.
With Crosshair taking orders to hunt down his former squad, the groundwork has been laid for the next four episodes to be stressful ones. Throughout the course of the episode — and in the handful of Crosshair moments we have seen in the past episodes — it appears that Crosshair has no warm feelings remaining for his brothers. While we have seen that clones like Howzer still have an attachment to their former allies, despite the chip, Crosshair has been steadfast in his hostility towards the Bad Batch. It will be interesting to see if he has an eleventh-hour change of heart, especially when very little has been done to establish where he is psychologically.
One remaining thought I had, as the credits began to roll, was whether or not Howzer’s act of bravery will be the beginning of the end for the Empire’s clone forces. We already know that Rampart has begun mixing enlisted troopers in with the clone forces, so he may be further incentivized to decommission clone troopers and replace them with forces that will fall in line without previous attachments.