By George Bate
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 9: Bounty Lost
After last week’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger, the adventures of Clone Force 99 continue in yet another suspenseful and action-packed installment. Titled Bounty Lost, episode 9 sees the Bad Batch desperately try to rescue Omega, as the young clone attempts a mission of her own to free herself from the infamous Cad Bane.
Bounty Lost stands apart from previous episodes of the series so far by primarily centering on Omega, relegating the original members of the Bad Batch to only a few brief scenes here and there. This was a welcomed change of pace for the series as we got to see Omega on her own and in imminent danger, only relying upon herself to stay alive. While last week’s episode concluded on a note that was extremely reminiscent of events in The Mandalorian season 2, Bounty Lost departs from the structure of the other Disney+ series by showcasing how Omega takes the situation in her own hands.
It was interesting to see Omega, the true focal point of the series, caught in the middle of so many warring parties in Bounty Lost. Her new family, the Bad Batch, want to secure a safe return for Omega. Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand has intentions of her role as she tries to retrieve Omega. And, of course, Corey Burton’s Cad Bane wants to deliver the bounty to the dangerous Kaminoans for a hefty reward. More than ever, we get to see just how capable and intelligent Omega is and, once again, showcased how the new character is a highlight of The Bad Batch.
Bounty Lost also offered a number of intriguing insights into some lingering mysteries of the series. For starters, Tech (once again) delivers news that he was seemingly just waiting to reveal to the team: that Omega is an unaltered first-generation clone. This has a number of interesting implications for Omega and canon more broadly, including the fact that this reveal essentially makes Omega and Boba Fett siblings. Given the reference to ‘Alpha’ and the role bounty hunters have played in the series so far, it feels like The Bad Batch is setting up for a meeting between Omega and Boba, but we’ll wait with baited breath to see if that happens.
Also revealed this week was more about the motives of the different bounty hunters in the show. Although Fennec was a formidable foe earlier in the season, it seems that this formidable foe likely has interests that are more aligned with Clone Force 99 than Lama Su. Fennec’s conversation with Nala Se confirms that the Kaminoan doctor is secretly at odds with her leader Lama Su and merely wants Omega to be safe, even if this means remaining with the Bad Batch. From the get-go, the mystery surrounding Omega has been so compelling and episodes like Bounty Lost emphasize how the slow unraveling of this mystery is what we most look forward to seeing week after week.
Although we expected this, it was also revealed that Cad Bane is working for Lama Su in order to deliver Omega back to Kamino. It was mentioned last week, but it’s worth mentioning again – it’s incredible to see Cad Bane back in the fold again. His appearance last week was truly unexpected, but feels so natural within the context of the plot The Bad Batch is exploring. Corey Burton’s performance as Bane and the iconic design of the character really add a sense of gravitas and weight to the bounty Hunter. From top to bottom, Bane is a menacing presence on screen that you can’t keep your eyes off of.
Bounty Lost ends on a warm note with the return of Omega to Hunter and the rest of her new family. It was nice to see the episode not gloss over the horrors of being kidnapped and taken away from your family. Omega is frightened and desperately seeks reassurance from her father-figure Hunter. Although this theme still runs perhaps a little too close to The Mandalorian, it’s executed so well by Brad Rau, Jennifer Corbett, and colleagues that it’s easy to dismiss some of the more overt similarities. Hunter and Omega’s bond is at the heart of The Bad Batch, and we see the fear and eventual relief in Hunter as his daughter is safely returned to him. Hunter’s “promise” that he will keep Omega safe and that she will never return to Kamino was a lovely, yet haunting final note of the episode. Yes, Hunter gave Omega the reassurance she so desperately needed, but is this a promise he can keep? With Cad Bane, Crosshair, and others after them, it’ll be interesting to see if Hunter can keep this promise and protect Omega against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch picks up where it left off with an Omega-centric episode packed with brilliantly crafted fight sequences, interesting reveals, and heartwarming moments. The focus on Omega allows for the audience to grow more accustomed to this lovely new addition to the Star Wars universe and feel what it’s like to be in such peril. The mysteries surrounding Omega continue to unfold in interesting ways, and the episode concludes on a touching and worrying note as we head into next week’s installment.
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm