The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episode 8

By George & Josh Bate

The Bad Batch season 3 episode 8 review

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episode 8: “Bad Territory”

Fan-favorite Fennec Shand makes her return in the newest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. After making her live-action debut in The Mandalorian in 2019, Ming-Na Wen brought the fabled bounty hunter to another medium in the first season of The Bad Batch. Since then, Fennec has played significant roles in The Mandalorian Season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett before returning to animation in the final season of The Bad Batch.

Last week’s two-part episode of The Bad Batch ended with the team committing to a united mission: protect Omega and find out why the Empire are after her. So far, this season has distinguished itself from Season 2 with its increased focus on an overarching narrative rather than more contained, one-off episodes. There is not anything inherently wrong with one-off episodes, which are often erroneously labeled as “filler.” Look no further than Chapter 9: The Marshal of The Mandalorian, a contained story with little relevance to the show’s overarching plot that proved to be one of the best episodes of live-action Star Wars television. However, the bar becomes a little higher with contained episodes as the week-to-week wait for each installment can leave some fans feeling impatient if an episode neither advances the main plot nor compels in its own right. “Bad Territory” manages to excel as a contained episode that takes the characters on an exciting adventure, reintroduces a fan favorite to the fold, and tantalizingly sets up what’s to come in the show.

The episode’s plot kicks into gear as Phee Genoa (voiced once again by Wanda Sykes) returns to make her first appearance of the season. A romance between Phee and Tech was teased throughout the second season, but never had the opportunity to blossom as a result of Tech’s heartbreaking death. With this being Phee’s first appearance since Tech’s death, an ode or acknowledgment to the passing of her romantic interest would be fitting, but is disappointingly not included. Instead, Phee is simply used to set up the plot for the episode.

The plot is an interesting one, however. Phee reports to the Bad Batch that the Empire is hiring class-one bounty hunters to retrieve high M-count targets, likely for continued experimentation as part of Palpatine and Hemlock’s Project Necromancer. Believing that these bounty hunters can help them locate Tantiss, the Bad Batch set out to find themselves a top-tier bounty hunter.

This sets them on a path to Fennec Shand, who is introduced in beautifully Star Wars-y fashion in a dimly lit, shady cantina. Ming-Na Wen is fantastic as Fennec again and breathes unique life into the character during a different part in the timeline than her live-action endeavors in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

In a set-up reminiscent of a videogame mission (do this for me, and I’ll do something for you), the Bad Batch agree to help Fennec bring in a bounty in exchange for information about the bounty hunters targeting high M-count individuals for the Empire. From there, the rest of the episode unfolds as an exciting, tense installment of The Bad Batch with plenty of fun elements to appreciate.

For starters, the interactions that come out of coupling the serious Fennec with the goofy Wrecker and the parental figure Hunter are hilarious and enthralling. The show has played on the idea of parental figures and children from the very beginning and always finds a way to show how much Omega has changed Hunter into an endearing father figure.

Aspects of the actual mission itself prove to be captivating as well. Beautiful animation and direction brings a unique Star Wars planet to life. The location has a Vietnam-esque aesthetic with beautiful hues of yellow covering the trees and river. Fennec, Wrecker, and Hunter quietly travel down a small river on a boat in a manner reminiscent of a scene from Apocalypse Now. Fennec has a line about “good guys, bad guys” that is reminiscent of DJ’s mantra from The Last Jedi (we always love a fun reference to the sequel trilogy). And the final showdown with the lizard-like bounty Sylar is exciting and different than much of the climactic battles featured in episodes of The Bad Batch.

Meanwhile, with Hunter and Wrecker occupied with Fennec, Omega and Crosshair are left on Pabu for the duration of the episode. This secondary plot continues to develop the bond between Omega and Crosshair, one of the third season’s outstanding elements so far. Refreshingly and unexpectedly, this isn’t merely a repeat of the father-daughter bond between Hunter and Omega that has unfolded over the show’s first two seasons. The roles are reversed with Omega trying to integrate Crosshair back into the team, as opposed to Hunter making Omega feel comfortable and part of the team. Also, Crosshair is of a decidedly grumpier and more cynical disposition than Hunter. It may have been hard for Hunter to tap into his emotions and become a father figure for Omega, but Crosshair represents an even steeper challenge.

Omega and Crosshair’s interactions in the episode add more depth to Crosshair’s character and continue to highlight the implications of his decision to side with the Empire. Crosshair’s hand continues to tremble, depriving this unique clone of the very skill that makes him unique. In “Bad Territory,” AZI concludes that this trembling may be of psychological, rather than physical, origin, something Crosshair is quick to dismiss. Since its first season, The Bad Batch has done such a phenomenal job exploring the psychological entailments of war, and finds yet another interesting way to explore this theme with Crosshair’s physical ailment.

As both plot threads come to an end, Fennec, Hunter, and Wrecker have secured the bounty for Fennec. In a disappointing turn for the episode, Fennec tells Hunter and Wrecker that she does not currently have the information they need, but will have it soon. “Bad Territory” manages to somewhat salvage a disappointing ending by concluding on a note of Fennec speaking to an unknown person about the Empire’s pursuit of high M-count bounties. Nonetheless, it would have been nice to see more pay-off for the episode’s main plot.

VERDICT: 7.5/10

Fennec Shand shines in the latest episode of The Bad Batch, an exciting contained episode with plenty of suspense and action. Hunter and Wrecker collaborate with Fennec on a mission that takes them to an aesthetically beautiful planet with all sorts of homages to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. More of the episode’s emotional touch comes from a secondary plot with Omega and Crosshair in which the consequences of Crosshair’s decision to side with the Empire continue to be explored. Even though it’s not given much direct attention in this episode, an overarching plot revolving around high M-count targets makes the parallels between The Bad Batch, the prequel trilogy, and The Mandalorian grow ever stronger.

Stay tuned to The HoloFiles and Star Wars Holocron for continued coverage of the final season of The Bad Batch.

The HoloFiles

The HoloFiles is a website and series of social media accounts, including Star Wars Holocron, Marvel Tesseract, DC Motherbox, Film Codex, and Horror Necronomicon. We love cinema and television, and aim to spread positivity across different fandoms. Come to us for news, reviews, interviews, trivia facts, quotes, behind the scenes photos, analytic features, and more!