Another week, another installment of Star Wars: The Bad Batch! This was a solid episode even though Crosshair and the Empire are once again absent, as the squad touched down on a planet that will be familiar to fans in their latest one-off adventure.
Thankfully, the pacing in this episode moves quickly, something which arguably could not be said about Cut and Run or Replacements, the series’ second and third episodes. It’s becoming clear that the majority of this season will take place in a different location most episodes, in a similar structure to Star Wars Rebels, but this week’s episode Rampage wastes little time moving the plot along.
The episode has some fun threads linking off to other parts of the Star Wars universe with some familiar faces and species returning, and the story has a fairly clear goal that our protagonists are able to get working on quickly. Everyone gets involved in the action, unlike other episodes where half the squad are off doing something exciting while the others are waiting for them to get the job done. It makes for an entertaining installment.
It was fun to get a good look at Ord Mantell in animation, a planet mentioned in The Empire Strikes Back but little explored otherwise (I’m aware the planet has been visited in some of the canon comics, but unfortunately I haven’t read those), though I was a little disappointed to realise it’s just another barren outer rim world with a rough city erected in the middle of nowhere. The mountains at least set it apart from the desert worlds of Tatooine and Jakku, and the hunk of rock that is Navarro, but I was hoping for a little more detail in the way of flora and fauna.
The Bad Batch quickly head into the city in search of an old Jedi contact that Echo is familiar with, but they discover Echo has never actually met the contact in person. While at first that does seem like an irritating development that Tech rightly points out is something Echo “should have mentioned”, it does give Omega another chance to shine.
While she was just a plot device to be rescued in last week’s episode, this time she was perceptive enough to see through Sid’s lies when the other clones questioned her. This is likely another hint at Omega’s force sensitivity but it was nice to see her be useful, particularly in an area that Hunter and the others seem to come up short. Already, she’s adding value to the group.
Sid’s contract from the bounty hunter guild is simple enough: go and retrieve the target, just like Din Djarin’s contract in The Mandalorian‘s first episode. Sid seems to be a character similar in alignment to Greef Karga; head of a bounty hunter guild outpost of gray morality who rewards good workers. She appears slightly more honourable than Karga, but there was still a hint at the end of the episode that she may not be entirely trustworthy.
We finally got to see the Bad Batch go up against the Zygerrians, after first getting a glimpse of them in the trailers. I was surprised to see them all get captured so quickly, but then this is a species who was able to beat Obi-Wan Kenobi in a duel back in The Clone Wars, so it makes sense that they’d be able to get the upper hand on a group of clones, no matter how tough they are. We even got an interesting development on how the Zygerrians have been getting on since their Clone Wars arc.
Turns out, not well. The Republic had put a stop to their slave trading afterwards, and possibly even forced their slave empire out of their home planet. The Zygerrian captain expects the Empire to let them resume their slave empire now that the Republic is no longer around to check their ambitions. We can assume things don’t pan out that well for the Zygerrians under Empire rule, as we’ve not heard of them restoring their influence during the Age of Rebellion, but it’s interesting to see where they find themselves after the end of The Clone Wars.
We also find out that the target “Moochie” is an adolescent rancor, which is a fun little twist. I had initially hoped it was another Hutt spawn of Jabba’s when Bib Fortuna’s hologram was teased midway through, which would have been a nice nod to The Clone Wars movie, only to be slightly disappointed it seemed to be a relatively unimportant alien instead. This reveal was even better though. Whether or not Moochie is indeed the rancor Luke ends up killing in Return of the Jedi is unclear, but at the very least it’s a fun reminder of Jabba’s love of pet rancors. I have to agree with Omega that Moochie is indeed “kinda cute” as well. Cute enough to become a toy, even…
I also appreciated Omega’s role in saving the team from captivity and letting Moochie loose. Even though they tried to leave her behind in the ship, it’s becoming clear that she can be the team’s wildcard with a bit of training. I’m glad she’s becoming a bit more useful beyond her potential force sensitivity.
The episode was at its most fun when Moochie was let loose and terrorizing the Zygerrians. It was a delight to see such evil people get stomped on and tossed about like ragdolls, and we were even treated to a monster fight! Though it wasn’t Kaiju-proportions, anyone who enjoys seeing the likes of Godzilla and Kong fight each other will get a kick out of seeing a rancor fighting a brezak. It was also great to see Wrecker show off his considerable strength by lifting Moochie off his feet. This was probably the best demonstration of that since his debut in The Clone Wars when he lifted the gunship off Cody.
Since then, The Bad Batch has mainly focused on Wrecker’s delight for explosions and chaotic firefights, using him as muscle rather than for displaying remarkable feats of strength, so this was a welcome inclusion. Speaking of Wrecker, we saw him complain about his head hurting again. I thought nothing of it after he bashed his head during their crash landing in Replacements, but it does seem like the show is teasing that Wrecker’s behavior chip is going to activate soon. Crosshair had a similar pain when his chip activated, so it shouldn’t be long until Wrecker also decides that “good soldiers follow orders”.
Of course, the Bad Batch’s main reason for arriving on Ord Mantell was to get intel on Fennec Shand, who ambushed them in the previous episode. There wasn’t a whole lot of development here beyond confirming what the audience already knew in that she’s a bounty hunter, but it did reveal that she took on a “direct” contract. I assume that means her employer is someone important, separate from the Empire. It could just be the Kaminoans as they look to safeguard their future, but it would be interesting if this means there’s another party interested in Omega.
What I did find interesting was that Sid didn’t know who Fennec Shand was. Din Djarin seems to suggest that she’s infamous nearly 30 years later, so perhaps we’re seeing Shand at the beginning of her career. That would line up with her attitude in last week’s episode, where she seemed surprisingly kind to Omega. Perhaps she hasn’t yet developed that thick skin that comes with the bounty hunting profession, though she does seem to retain a sense of honor decades later in The Mandalorian.
Rampage was a fun episode. Though not quite as fascinating as the pilot, it was great to see all these different elements of Star Wars lore mesh together, with the inclusion of Bib Fortuna and the Zygerrians a particular treat. For more of our thoughts on Rampage, watch James Baney of The Resistance Broadcast discuss the episode below.
Come back next week for our review of the sixth episode, and make sure to regularly check out Star Wars News Net for everything going on in a galaxy far, far away.