Review: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Episode Thirteen – ‘Infested’
After a two-episode arc on Ryloth, The Bad Batch returns to the standard mission-of-the-week structure before the season’s final three episodes.
The scope of this episode is much smaller than the Ryloth arc, so Infested acts a breather before the season inevitably ramps up again as we come to a close. The story takes place entirely on Ord Mantell this week, which allows us to see a little more of the planet, and the episode’s conflict comes from Cid.
While the action and conflicts still make for an entertaining episode, the stakes aren’t much higher than when the Bad Batch first started working for Cid. It is nice to see how far their relationship with her has come, and how much influence Omega’s conscience has in their decision making since those early days, but other than that it’s not one of the season’s more memorable episodes.
It seems the Bad Batch have gotten used to working for Cid now, as they return to Ord Mantell after another job that apparently put them up against gundarks. Once they land, the conflict of the episode quickly becomes clear; Cid has been run out of town by a new Devaronian upstart named Roland Durand, who has taken over her business and is setting up a spice deal with the Pyke Syndicate.
Interestingly Ruby, the armadillo-lizard pet that the gang rescued off-screen at the beginning of Battle Scars, quickly takes a liking to Roland which suggests that there might be more to the cocky young Devaronian than appears. Omega points this out later in the episode. If you don’t remember Ruby from her earlier appearance, that’s okay – I had to look up the chitinous lizard to jog my memory, as she is just a minor footnote of an episode way more memorable for Rex’s exciting appearance.
Roland appears to be far less honorable than Cid however – dealing with spice is never something an honorable character engages in – and Hunter refuses to deal with him. They find Sid waiting for them back at their ship, who outlines her plan to oust him from her bar. We see a larger spectrum of Cid’s honor and sense of loyalty this week.
On one hand she has no problem threatening Hunter to tell the Empire all about them when he is reluctant to help her out, but when Omega gets taken as hostage she is determined to help the child out of the mess she caused. Cid may come off shady at times, but she clearly has a greater sense of honor she lets on, and clearly one greater than Roland’s.
The plan involves sneaking through an abandoned mine infested with Irlings, a new type of bat-like creature. Cid is very careful not to wake them up, and the scene is appropriately tense when Wrecker drops his flashlight down into the mine’s depths and we hear a lot of echoed grumbling noises. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief when they realize the hive hasn’t woken up, and it’s a fun moment of horror-tinged tension.
The Bad Batch is able to steal the spice crates quite easily, but getting them out through the mines again represents a challenge. Roland’s thugs realize what’s happened and chase them through the mines, taking no care at all to quieten their movements as they speed after them firing their blasters. We get treated to a cool action scene as Hunter applies the breaks of the cart to knock their immediate pursuers out of theirs, before jumping over and reversing it to knock the other pursuing cart into the hive. Inevitably this wakes the Irlings and they lose the spice crates in the mine, barely escaping the swarm.
This is when the episode’s true scale reveals itself. We discover that Roland was dealing with the Pykes, who aren’t happy that their spice has been stolen. This is a good way to increase the tension for fans; we know from their appearances in The Clone Wars and Solo that the Pykes aren’t to be trifled with, so it becomes important that the Bad Batch recover their spice before something worse happens. That “something worse” is teased with Omega being taken as a hostage, an incentive to make sure the clones don’t just flee the planet altogether.
It’s disappointing that Omega has to fulfil this role, as I had hoped we were past this. After a good run of episodes where she proved useful in other ways, Infested reverts to the sterotypical notion that the little girl’s conscience is her most useful attribute and we have to watch the Bad Batch rescue her yet again. It feels like the episode was treading old ground in this sense, and I really hope this is the last time it happens (although I suspect Omega will almost certainly get caught by someone again ahead of the season finale).
We got a fun reminder of Wrecker’s fear of heights as he rappelled into the mine with Cid. I hope we do get to a point where Wrecker feels he’s finally conquered his fear of heights, but he seemed to cope with it a lot better this time. Inevitably, the Irlings get woken again and harass the two of them as they are lifted out of the mine, leading Tech to devise a light bomb that blinds the creatures long enough to extract Wrecker and Cid.
They return the spice to the Pykes and Omega is released. Roland isn’t quite so lucky however, and after Omega’s pleading saves his life, they sever one of his horns as punishment. It’s not clear what they’re punishing him for exactly other than his general incompetence, but Roland seems to appreciate that it could have gone a lot worse for him (though presumably having his horn severed will be a source of shame for him) and leaves otherwise unharmed.
It seems we’ll definitely be seeing him again, along with the other members of this apparently powerful family he belongs to, but whether that’s this season or the next one (which is yet to be officially announced) is unclear.
Once again, Omega’s compassion and conscience delivers the morale of the story, to always help people in need. Other than that, there’s not an awful lot more to take away from the episode really. With only three episodes left though, we should quickly return to the high stakes that we saw in the Ryloth arc and in the mid-season three-part arc that ratcheted up the tension so sharply.
For more of our thoughts on Infested, watch James Baney of The Resistance Broadcast discuss the episode below.
Come back next week for our review of the fourteenth episode, and make sure to regularly check out Star Wars News Net for everything going on in a galaxy far, far away.
Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.