You know the phrase “Stuck between a rock and a hard place?” Well, that was the latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Except this time there were several rocks, several hard places, and in the middle? Clone Force 99, aka, The Bad Batch.
The eighth episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch was called “Reunion,” a reference to the fifth member of the original Bad Batch, Crosshair, who recently gave into his inhibitor chip and became an agent of the Empire, unlike his fellow enhanced clones Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, Tech and Omega. That group had successfully stayed off his radar for a few episodes but after being spotted by the Scrapper’s Guild in the previous episode, “Battle Scars,” word of there whereabout finally got back to Kamino, where Crosshair and his Imperial forces have been holding up. The Kaminoans would like either Omega or the Bad Batch back for experimentation but the Empire doesn’t care. They want them terminated. Later, we’ll see that the Kaminoans aren’t taking any chances of that happening and are going to hire a bounty hunter to bring them in. Which one? We had to wait and see.
All of this would’ve been a moot point had the Bad Batch left Bracca in the first place but, they have debts and need money, so they’ve lingered a bit too long to try and salvage data and weapons from a Jedi Starcruiser. It also gives Wrecker, the most childish of the bunch, some time to continue and bond with Omega. He being Wrecker, he does this by training her to disable some explosives and then tricking her that they’re going to die. Classic Wrecker.
After a brief run in with the Scrappers and some fun on a flying skiff, the Batch realised their time is running short. They need to salvage the loot on the ship as soon as possible. Wrecker and Omega head to the weapons room where he falls in love with a proton torpedo. Tech begins to download whatever files are still on board. Things are going smoothly until Crosshair and three shuttles worth of troopers arrive. Normally, this would be nothing for Clone Force 99, but now they’re up against one of their own. Every time they make a move, Crosshair is a step ahead of them, which means despite their best efforts, he’s able to locate them rather quickly.
Once Crosshair is able to get them in his, um, crosshairs, Hunter and Omega plead with him. They try and explain that he’s being forced to act like this. It’s the chip. Crosshair doesn’t care and delivers the chilling line “Aim for the kid.” Luckily, as that was happening, Echo and Tech devise a plan to activate the massive cannons above them, the force from which starts completely destroying the room. Everyone is falling and being crushed which gives the Bad Batch a chance to escape.
That escape takes the group inside an ion engine and this was, in my mind, the coolest part of the episode. Seemingly every Star Wars show or movie has scenes on these unfathomably massive starships but all we really see are a few hallways, the bridge, and maybe a detention cell. If we’re lucky? The garbage chute. But this entire episode of The Bad Batch is about them exploring all the little nooks and crannies of one of these ships which leads them into the engine. And it was just so cool for these characters to be inside the engine because you see the scale of it, you realise how small the humans are inside the engine, and then you imagine how big the engine has to be to power a ship of that size. I don’t know. Just something oddly satisfying about it in a nerdy Star Wars way.
Back to the episode, escaping through the engine would have fooled anyone, except Crosshair. Not only does he block their escape from the engine, but he orders that the engine get turned on. Rock? Meet hard place. The choices seem to be die by blaster fire or die by literal fire from the engines, so the Batch devises another plan. Blow the engine in half and fall down in the wreckage, escaping two kinds of death and gambiling they don’t find a third. Just as the engine is about to ignite the plan is executed, the explosions go off, and the Bad Batch begins to tumble, just as the ion engine catches Crossfire, injuring him badly.
Having survived the dropping engine, which looked like a violent amusement park ride, it was time for the Bad Batch to head to their ship and get off Bracca. However we, the audience, knew that Crosshair stationed a group of troopers at their ship, which is why it was so ominous when the scene pulls back to reveal those troopers were all dead. Who could have…oh, right, that bounty hunter.
It’s Cad Bane, one of the most villainous, deadly bounty hunters in all the galaxy. A fan favourite from The Clone Wars making his triumphant return. And, even if you weren’t aware of how capable Cad Bane was, when he and Hunter show down in a classic Western-style shootout, Cad Bane beats Hunter. Handily. He captures Omega and leaves Hunter for dead.
The episode ends after a seriously impressive shot from Hunter’s point of view as he regains consciousness to see his friends reviving him and battling their way off the planet. They’re confused, scared, and once they get away Hunter explains Omega has been taken by a bounty hunter and they need to find her.
“Reunion” was another good episode of The Bad Batch. It didn’t move the story forward in huge ways, but it did finally bring Crosshair back into the mix, which was set up several episodes ago, and the way it picked up right from the last episode made it feel like the second half of a larger story. I wasn’t a huge fan of just throwing Cad Bane in there seemingly out of the blue, especially when we know Fennic Shand is still looking for the Bad Batch, but he’s certainly going to be a formidable foe for them moving ahead.