The Bad Batch
So far, The Bad Batch has followed an episodic but sequential format. Other than the two-parters, the episodes are relatively stand-alone adventures. The larger plot that carries over the season tends to get only a mention or two in a given episode. While this structure has led to some fun moments — like the riot-racing and treasure-hunting episodes, both of which are testaments to the power of episodic TV — this week’s self-contained installment feels like a step backward after last week’s fantastic, game-changing two-parter.
How do you follow the best episodes of the show — ones that didn’t only elevate The Bad Batch’s dynamic to new heights but also had massive implications for the lore of Star Wars as a whole? Well, you don’t do a mining side-quest, for starters. And yet, in “The Crossing,” the Batch tries to mine ipsium from an abandoned mine Cid was convinced to buy. It is a very low-key story, one that in theory would allows for the focus to be on the characters rather than the plot. But, unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of that either.
It is all hands on deck for the Batch. Omega is stepping up admirably, but with one man down, there is no one to stay with the ship. Poachers simply sneak onboard and fly away without any resistance. The Batch needs to find a way out of the mine. That’s it. That’s the plot.
And therein lies most of the disappointment with this episode. It’s not that we should expect the Batch to go on grand adventures or galaxy-saving missions every week, or that they should be meeting up with important characters all the time. The problem is that this is the follow-up to Echo leaving the Batch after a season and a half, the follow-up to the Coruscant affair, and it’s happening in the aftermath of the effective end of the clones. It is not very favorable to the Batch. It is extremely clear now that they are barely surviving, not living.
With the ship stolen and a raging storm approaching, the Batch finds refuge in another abandoned mine before an exploding vial of ipsium traps them inside. Throughout all this, Tech is very aggressive toward his siblings. He treats Wrecker like an imbecile, doubting his intelligence at every turn and blaming him for mistakes. He’s also scolding Omega for simply invoking the name Echo and being sad about him leaving. Even worse, Tech is doubting her skills here, despite proving herself all throughout this season.
When Tech tells Omega there is no way to get the ship back since the thief shut down the tracker, Omega breaks down, saying they already lost a brother and can’t lose their home now, too. Ever the logical member of the Batch, Tech brushes it off. The Batch existed long before Echo joined; it can continue to exist after him. They were merely co-workers, and co-workers leave, it is simply logical. Omega, of course, does not care about logic and runs off.
While season two of The Bad Batch has given Omega a bigger role within the titular Batch, showing her to be a capable soldier like her brothers, it is also constantly reminding us that she is still a child. Sure, she is technically older, but has a lot less life experience, having grown up entirely alone on Kamino with only doctors and scientists as company. But now, she is experiencing everything for the first time — joy and wonder but also sorrow and loss. She does not see this as a simple military squad with a rotating roster (and, to be honest, they haven’t really been a military squad since they began their life as simple mercenaries) but as a family, and now their home is broken. Though the episode doesn’t spend nearly as much time exploring this as it should, relying heavily on implications and the audience connecting the dots for themselves, it is a good moment for Omega.
“The Crossing” also offers a rare moment of honesty from Tech, in what is both the highlight of the episode and a rather frustrating one. He tells Omega that he does not look at things emotionally; he knows things are changing, but he can’t do anything about them so he simply adapts and moves on — like a soldier does. Echo chose a different path, as did Crosshair, and even if he doesn’t like their decision, Tech has to respect it. He tells Omega that he processes moments and thoughts differently, but still feels as much as anyone else. Out of everyone in the Batch, Tech was always the most reserved, the quietest one. That we finally see him break down and be emotional is a breakthrough (and a fantastic performance by Dee Bradley Baker as usual), but it also feels rather redundant. We have seen the character who only thinks logically be confronted by an emotional conundrum and struggle with expressing what they feel over and over in science fiction for literal decades, and The Bad Batch doesn’t do much to change the formula here. Worse yet, for an episode that is supposedly all about grief, it is disappointing that the emotional core of the episode is left to the B-plot of a mundane mission that is hard to care about since the characters themselves don’t care much about it.
With Omega’s help, the Batch manages to collect all the ipsium they need and blast an opening out of the cave and into the vicinity of the local spaceport. Sadly, when they contact Cid, she initially refuses to send help, leaving them to fend for themselves. Though Tech eventually convinces her to send them a transport, it seems we’re headed for a reckoning between Cid in the Batch, one that’s been brewing (albeit very, very slowly) since at least the riot-racing episode. They might be at the end of the rope now, given how little she gives a crap about her best (and seemingly only?) employees.
Weirdly, the end of the episode makes it look like this was another two-parter. The Batch still has to survive on this desolate mining planet for a few days before their transport arrives, but that ordeal is seemingly just dismissed as something that will happen off-screen before the next episode. That leaves “The Crossing” as a half-baked episode, a simple transition between a great double-size story and whatever the endgame for this season is going to be.
The Mission Report
• Kevin Kilner’s music for this week includes lots of Spanish guitars and lonely cowboy sounds; it’s the closest we might get to a Star Wars and The Last of Us crossover.
• Time to speculate: Who is the next member of the Batch to leave? My money is on Wrecker quitting to open a demolition company on Ord Mantell.