Battle Scars is the best episode of The Bad Batch since its first instalment. It feels like an important moment for the season’s plot, getting away from the “mission of the week structure” of recent episodes and introducing a fan favorite character.
If you’ve seen all the trailers for The Bad Batch, you can probably guess who that returning character is but it still manages to be a pleasant surprise. Battle Scars is also a much more low key episode than before; though we get thrown into an exciting opening scene, there’s surprisingly few action sequences in this one.
This means there’s more time for The Bad Batch to explore certain relationships between the squad members during the downtime, and that is more than welcome. It’s a decision that pays off with some emotional moments later in the episode, even though you know everything’s going to be alright in the end.
I have to say, I didn’t see the Rex reveal coming. I’d forgotten that he’s in a shot in the trailers, but I had wrongly guessed that the hooded figure in the bar was Saw Gerrera, come to recruit them or hunt them down. When Decommissioned teased someone at the end of the episode who might be interested in the Bad Batch, I don’t think anyone thought it would be Rex. Plenty of people thought it was Bail Organa or Ahsoka, while I suspected it might be Cassian Andor.
It makes sense though; Ahsoka is the link between the Martez sisters and Rex, so it’s believable that they would know how to contact each other. It also suggests that Rafa and Trace have met Rex at least once since the end of the Clone Wars; perhaps Ahsoka and Rex sought the sisters out for help after faking their own deaths. It’s a story that could perhaps be told in a one-shot comic someday.
Touching on the Ord Mantell situation briefly, I was initially disappointed that we didn’t get to see Sid’s reaction to the Bad Batch’s failure to recover the tactical droid from last episode. Thankfully we do get another interaction with her after they returned to the planet having completed another job. It seems Sid is hanging this failure over their heads, exploiting them to carry out other jobs for her on a minimum wage.
In her defence, she makes a good case for her actions – she is funding all their trips and paying for their food, accommodation and docking fees out of her own pocket. Nevertheless, Hunter is getting more uneasy about working for someone with varying degrees of morality. It seems he’d much rather be working for someone with good intentions like Rafa and Trace seem to be, and the uncertainty around Sid’s clients’ identities appear to be weighing on his conscience. It doesn’t help that Sid is making it clear she wouldn’t be above tipping off the Empire if they ever decide to stop working for her.
This exchange also included the funniest moment of the show so far. Hunter’s bewilderment that the team has apparently purchased an inordinate amount of “Mantell mix” is perfectly punctuated by a smash cut to Wrecker and Omega at a food stall outside ordering two buckets of mix from the vendor without any credits on them. When Wrecker realizes he can’t pay for it, he tells her to “put it on Sid’s tab”, and then we cut straight back to Hunter and Sid. It’s a gag that feels a bit more mature than some of the physical comedy clearly aimed at children in other Star Wars animated projects.
Rex’s arrival shines a spotlight on a plot point that The Bad Batch has been teasing for a while now; what to do about the squad’s inhibitor chips? Rex is immediately on edge when he realises they still have theirs installed, and it reminds us that the clock is really ticking for Wrecker in particular. Tech tells us that he’s been giving Wrecker medication to deal with his persistent headaches, so it’s clear something needs to be done about those chips soon.
Rex tells them to meet him on the planet Bracca, the junkyard planet that serves as the setting in the prologue for the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order videogame. A part of me had hoped Cameron Monaghan might reprise his role as Jedi padawan Cal Kestis in this episode, as we know he is hiding out on the planet at this point (he didn’t appear in this episode and it seems unlikely he will next week, as we know the Empire wasn’t aware he was on this planet until the events of the game, which takes place five years after this season).
At the very least, it’s a location that is particularly rewarding if you consume multiple forms of Star Wars media. It was great to get a look at another sarlacc (albeit a much smaller one than the sarlacc you spot from a distance in Fallen Order), and it makes sense that Rex would lead the Bad Batch here to use a medical bay. It’s not like they can go to a regular hospital, and we know from the videogame that Bracca was one of the main shipyard planets used for dismantling Clone Wars-era ships.
I had also been hoping that after last week, Wrecker might be starting to get over his fear of heights, but this episode suggested that he still has a long way to go. Any progress achieved last week has surely been undone by what must be a terrifying experience in nearly getting eaten by a sarlacc.
Battle Scars also plays up the adorably touching friendship blossoming between Omega and Wrecker. It’s nice seeing them so excited to munch on Mantell mix, their “tradition” after each mission, and Omega displays a fierce loyalty to her new friend. When Wrecker’s chip activates at the last possible moment, it’s genuinely upsetting to see him brand Omega a traitor and prepare to kill her. However, once he has been finally incapacitated by Rex, Omega never leaves his side on the treatment table.
It’s great that Omega has the foresight and emotional maturity to realise it wasn’t Wrecker’s fault, as it allows the show to bypass the clichéd “How could you do that to me?” reaction that so many other TV shows force its characters to go through in similar situations. She doesn’t even need to forgive him; she’s just happy to get her friend back.
With Wrecker’s chip removed, the others’ operations are all a formality and Rex says goodbye. It’s interesting that Hunter rejects Rex’s suggestion of signing up for a new cause, particularly as he is not comfortable working for Sid, but it’s clear that right now he’s just focused on keeping his squad alive.
It seems unlikely that the Bad Batch will ever join the Rebellion, as they’re not seen or mentioned in Star Wars Rebels, but it’s not impossible. It does seem that Dave Filoni has another destination in mind for them, but on the other hand he does leave the door open for Rex to return to the show as Hunter makes it clear that Rex can reach out to them for help anytime.
I was surprised that Wrecker’s brief brainwashing was the only real action we got in this episode aside from the ship combat in the opening scene. However, it seems we’re in for an action-packed episode next week, as the Scrapper Guild has now discovered them on Bracca and is contacting the Empire. It’s been five episodes since we last touched in with Crosshair and the Empire, so with any luck we’re about to get our first showdown between the Bad Batch and Crosshair’s new squad on the junk planet.
Things are really beginning to heat up in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and I can’t wait to see what next week’s instalment has in store for us. For more of our thoughts on Battle Scars, watch James Baney of The Resistance Broadcast discuss the episode below.
Come back next week for our review of the eighth episode, and make sure to regularly check out Star Wars News Net for everything going on in a galaxy far, far away.