By Josh Bate
As the Ryloth arc comes to a conclusion, The Bad Batch are back at the center of their story (sort of) in another episode focusing on Clone Force 99’s run-ins with the criminal underworld. Episode 13, titled Infested, sees Cid’s power taken away from her by a new gangster on the scene named Roland Durand. In turn, Cid recruits the Bad Batch to overthrow Roland and take back her spot, while avoiding the grip of the Pyke Syndicate in the process.
Infested is an entertaining, but, ultimately, lightweight episode of the series. The Bad Batch felt somewhat sidelined in the past two episodes and this served as a refreshing change of pace and focus for the series. So now, at this juncture, the series feels due for another more intimate look at the crew as other episodes have done this season. Unfortunately, Clone Force 99 feel like side characters in an episode that, largely, focuses on Cid. Rhea Perlman’s character has been a fantastic addition to Star Wars canon and it’s great to see her get a bit more of an arc in the series. Nonetheless, Infested makes Clone Force 99 feel, mostly, like generic clones for the first time in the series to date. Each member is given things to accomplish their mission, but little time is spent on more in-depth characterization.
That being said, Infested still offers a solid adventure for the Batch to tackle. The clones and Cid trek the mines of Ord Mantell to steal Roland’s spice, which leads to an eerie cave sequence that draws inspiration from The Fellowship of the Ring. The entire sequence is tense, especially when Roland’s goons are thrown into the mix. But, things don’t go as planned, and the Bad Batch soon find themselves back in the mines to recover the lost spice for the Pykes.
By the end, not much has changed. Cid reclaims her throne and the Bad Batch have an employer again. Some of the most interesting character work in the episode comes from Roland. He’s introduced as an aspiring criminal trying to live up to the standards of his parents. As the episode goes on, however, we see more depth to Roland and, through his interactions with Omega, get a glimpse into his good side. Roland will surely appear in the series again and it’ll be interesting to see where the writers take his character moving forward.
Infested is perhaps the most throwaway episode of The Bad Batch yet. A largely inconsequential plot is coupled with relatively little character work, which is a shame given the backseat the Batch have played in the previous episodes. Nonetheless, Infested is a compelling episode and it’s harsh to fault the series for not always going out of its way to propel the narrative and characters forward. A focus on Rhea Perlman’s terrific Cid and the introduction Roland offer points of intrigue as The Bad Batch moves into its final few episodes.
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm