By George Bate
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 12: Rescue on Ryloth
After a step away from the action, the Bad Batch take center stage again in Rescue on Ryloth. The twelfth episode of the Disney+ series is a direct follow-up to its predecessor, showing Hera team up with Clone Force 99 in an effort to save her parents from Admiral Rampart and the villainous Empire.
Rescue on Ryloth proved to be Part 2 of a two-parter arc that falls somewhat short of Part 1. Devil’s Deal was a refreshing step away from the show’s central characters in focusing on the Empire’s rule of Ryloth as an anthology-type episode. And, while it was interesting to see a more distanced episode like this, inevitably, Clone Force 99 would be thrown into the mix, which was the case this week.
The episode proceeds in an entertaining, albeit procedural manner. Conversations between Hera, Omega, and Hunter add depth to a common theme in The Bad Batch: what is Clone Force 99’s place in the universe now that the Clone Wars are over? It’s an interesting theme to explore that isn’t really touched on in other stories in canon. Hunter sees the danger in helping Hera. He says, “We can’t put our lives on the line every time someone in the galaxy is in trouble.” But, Omega sees it differently. “Why not? Isn’t that what soldiers do?” This period in the galaxy is a transition for everyone, and seeing Hunter and the crew deliberate their newfound roles and responsibilities continues to be of interest.
Meanwhile, Crosshair and Rampart offer formidable opposition to the Bad Batch in this episode. Rampart is yet to stand out as anything more than a generic Imperial villain so far. Granted, he has had relatively little screen time, but the intriguing villain work is largely left to Crosshair, who continues to play an unexpectedly marginalized role in the series. Crosshair’s arc this season has felt very stop-start, with some interesting progressions interrupted by a string of absences. Crosshair is given plenty of attention in this episode, although little, if any, time is spent on the complexities of his villainous turn.
Nonetheless, it’s Clone Captain Howzer’s role amidst this conflict that proved the most gripping in Rescue on Ryloth. Howzer is an intriguing character, and one we’re not quite sure what to make of yet. It’s clear his inhibitor chip either failed to work or has been suppressed (perhaps due to his connection to the Syndullas?). Howzer navigates the moralities of siding with the Empire, eventually disobeying orders and standing with those he was initially tasked to serve. All of this proves to be tense and compelling storytelling with (potentially) important implications for Crosshair and other Clones. Here’s hoping that this is explored in later episodes.
Amidst all of this, we still have the Twi’leks themselves, but take a backseat compared to last week. Cham and Eleni are relegated to a cell for the majority of the episode, although their conversations with Howzer were impactful. We see more of Hera and Omega’s relationship: their innocence and pure-hearted nature continues to be so endearing in the series.
Ultimately, this episode is a return to a focus on its titular characters with mixed results compared to some of the superb installments in the series we’ve seen before this. Perhaps, this is just The Bad Batch being so entertaining at times that episodes that miss the mark somewhat (like Rescue on Ryloth) stand out more. Regardless, the conclusion of this two-parter offers plenty for Star Wars fans to feast as the Bad Batch’s role in the galaxy is further explored and interesting questions are posed regarding the free will of Clones.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+