The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episodes 10-11

By George & Josh Bate

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episodes 10-11

Hot off the heels from an episode of The Bad Batch featuring a fan-favorite Clone Wars villain and fans are treated to the return of yet another fan-favorite Clone Wars villain. This week sees the release of two new episodes of the hit animated series – “Identity Crisis” and “Point of No Return.”

Identity Crisis

Unlike the last two-part release of The Bad Batch episodes with “Infiltration” and “Extraction,” these two episodes aren’t as closely connected with one another. That’s primarily because the titular Bad Batch are absent from “Identity Crisis.” The series has shifted focus away from the team on a number of occasions, perhaps most notably with the Ryloth arc in Season 1. This is a trend adopted by a number of shows, including The Walking Dead and The Leftovers, and is typically done to show a different side to the story. In the case of this week’s The Bad Batch, it’s Emerie Karr’s side of the story that takes the spotlight.

Before Dr. Karr’s introduction, however, the episode kicks off in a peaceful street with a mother and her child buying food from vendors. The child is the latest adorable addition to Star Wars following in the footsteps of Grogu, Ewoks, Babu Frik, and more and, like Grogu, the child seemingly is Force sensitive. This child attracts unwanted attention when he seemingly uses the Force to throw a vase. It’s strange that the child’s use of the Force is done off-screen here, although the dialogue from the observers effectively convey the point that the child is Force sensitive. The observing citizens immediately seem to recognize that this child used the Force, with one person saying, “You know what kind of trouble that could bring.” With one of them giving this information to a Class 1 bounty hunter, it becomes clear that the Empire’s pursuit of Force users or high M-count individuals is fairly well known. 

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

Back on Tantiss, Emerie Karr is promoted to oversee Project Necromancer, a decision that affords us a better look at what this mysterious Imperial initiative entails. Emerie Karr has been of only moderate interest since being introduced in The Bad Batch. In the Season 2 finale, she was revealed to be a clone like Omega, making the two of them siblings, but not much has been done with the character to make her a compelling addition to the series since. “Identity Crisis” moves Emerie closer than ever to being a somewhat interesting character, although there’s still further development needed.

Hemlock brings Emerie Karr up to speed with Project Necromancer, which entails granting her access to the facility’s vault area that Palpatine visited earlier this season. Within this vault area are various Force sensitive / high M-count children, who are being used for experimentation by Hemlock and his team. The Empire has done some cruel acts in past Star Wars stories, but there’s something about what they’re doing with these children that feels worse than anything we’ve seen them do so far. The children have been ripped away from their homes and parents, stripped of their names, given numerical identifiers, and used for horrible experiments. These scenes, which evoke similar sequences showing experimentation on young mutants in various X-Men movies, are disturbing in a way Star Wars seldom is and make the Empire an even more deplorable enemy than they already were.

As she orients to her new role in Project Necromancer, Emerie Karr speaks with the imprisoned children and almost immediately begins to show some subtle resistance to what the Empire is doing. The depravity of the Empire continues to demonstrate itself as young Eva, one of the imprisoned children, endearingly introduces herself to Emerie. 

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

After growing more accustomed to Project Necromancer, Emerie visits her predecessor Nala Se, who is locked away in a cell. If it wasn’t clear already, this conversation abundantly tells the audience that Emerie is going to turn her back on the Empire at some point. This has been subtly hinted at in Season 2 and Season 3 so far, but this is the most glaring evidence yet that Emerie will eventually pull away from the Empire. 

Although Emerie has been somewhat of a disinteresting character so far, “Identity Crisis” finally gives the character some space to develop. Emerie exhibits an empathy and kindness toward the captured children, going so far as to give one of them the doll that Omega had made for herself. The direction Emerie is heading in seems abundantly clear, but this doesn’t detract from the newfound attachment we have to this character following this episode.

Meanwhile, Cad Bane is revealed to be the Class 1 bounty hunter that the civilian at the beginning reported to as he arrives to capture the Force sensitive child. Bane unexpectedly appeared in Season 1 of The Bad Batch in epic fashion and has since made his spectacular live-action debut in The Book of Boba Fett. Bane remains one of the coolest Star Wars villains, in large part due to Corey Burton’s daunting vocal performance and the similarities to Lee Van Cleef, which means we get excited anytime he shows up. In The Bad Batch Season 3, it makes sense that he is designated as Class 1 bounty hunter, a classification not previously discussed in other Star Wars projects.

Bane delivers the child to Emerie Karr for Project Necromancer experimentation before making his exit from the episode. While it’s always neat to see Cad Bane appear, his minimal role in this episode, which essentially is to further progress Karr’s story, is a little disappointing. Bane isn’t involved in an action sequence or anything close to the intensity of his stand-off with Cobb Vanth in The Book of Boba Fett. It remains to be seen whether this is the last we’ll see of Cad Bane this season, but, if it is, his inclusion makes for a fun cameo and not much else.

Of more interest is a conversation with Hemlock and Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin appears on hologram to question the financial resources Hemlock’s scientific projects require and probe Hemlock for more information about what he is up to on Tantiss. This conversation offers a peek behind the curtain of how the Empire operates, which is always intriguing. To see high-ranking Imperial officials discuss matters of finance is a rarity in Star Wars, although it’s obvious that the Empire has to consider such things. Between subtle conversations like this and all the attention spent on the Empire in Andor, learning more about how the Empire operates is always of great interest.

Despite having various children/specimens under his control, Hemlock still firmly has his sights on Omega. He commissions Clone-X trooper C-X2 to find her, which sets up the events of the next episode “Point of No Return.”

Point Of No Return

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

While the first new episode this week was centered firmly on Emerie Karr, this second episode pivots back to Omega and the Bad Batch. Before we get to the Batch, however, Phee Genoa makes another appearance. The friend of the crew (and former possible love interest of Tech) is having ship repairs when C-X2 arrives, sneaks on her ship, and steals her travel log. C-X2 got information about Phee from a Trandoshian, which is a reference to Rhea Perlman’s character Cid. After quite some time developing the bonds between Cid and the Bad Batch, Cid betrayed the team and seemingly continues to do so. Who was once a friend, ally, and aunt-like figure to Omega now has no qualms about hurting the Bad Batch.

After getting the information from Phee’s ship, C-X2 mentions that the log was heavily encrypted, but that he still found a way through, further fueling the theory that C-X2 is actually Tech. This may be a red herring…or it could be the most overt evidence yet that Tech has been brainwashed and turned into a Clone X assassin. We previously posited (and still believe that it is more likely) that C-X2 is actually Cody, although that question remains unresolved.

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

Back on Pabu and the Bad Batch have decided to leave the idyllic island. With the Empire’s sights firmly on Omega, Hunter and the rest of the team don’t want to endanger their kind friends on Pabu. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave soon enough as C-X2 soon arrives. And, with C-X2 are explosive charges – charges that are then used on the Marauder! Yes, the Bad Batch’s ship and de facto home is destroyed, rendering Wrecker unconscious in the process. Dare we say the loss of the Marauder is even more heartbreaking that the loss of the Razor Crest in Season 2 of The Mandalorian? Both ships contained a lot of memories for their respective owners, so to see them decimated is a real gut-punch. 

With the Marauder destroyed, Pabu is suddenly invaded by Imperial forces. The visual of the massive Imperial ship hovering over the island is daunting and harkens back to the shot of the star destroyer hovering over Jedha in Rogue One and similar ships over Lothal in Star Wars Rebels. There’s something incredibly effective about such seemingly simple storytelling. The Empire has arrived on Pabu and no one is safe. The power wielded by the Empire nicely complements its more insidiously evil side from the previous episode “Identity Crisis.” The Empire is a government unafraid to inflict overt harm on innocent civilians and also willing to partake in disturbing activities behind closed doors.

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

As the Empire overrun Pabu, the Bad Batch increasingly find themselves under pressure. Hunter’s attempt to steal an Imperial ship fails and Omega’s capture seems inevitable. In an interesting turn of events, Omega suggests and eventually decides to turn herself into the Empire. Omega believes that, if they can secure a tracking device on her, her capture will lead them to Tantiss and, in turn, enable them to rescue the imprisoned clones at the facility. This decision from Omega once again conveys a selflessness and compassion that proves so endearing. Omega’s empathy for others dwarfs those of nearly every character in a galaxy far, far away and continues to make the young clone such an easy character to root for.

Turning herself in goes awry when C-X2 destroys the tracker on Omega and Crosshair’s attempts to place a secondary tracker on their fleeing ship fails. A subtle shot of Omega aboard C-X2’s ship at the end feels like a hint that the team have another plan in place to track Omega, although this remains to be seen.

In turn, Clone Force 99 find themselves in a familiar situation: Omega is in the hands of the enemy and they need to rescue her. Although this runs the risk of becoming a repetitive story beat for the series, Omega’s capture feels somewhat different here. The team recognized that Omega’s capture was inevitable and decided to use this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to finally find Tantiss. It’s certainly not a novel plot element for the show, but it’s a plan that inevitably will see the Bad Batch finally make their way to the mysterious location.

Bad Batch episodes 9 10 season 3 review

VERDICT: 8/10

The latest two-part release of The Bad Batch episodes offer two complementary, yet separate stories. The first episode, “Identity Crisis,” gives Emerie Karr much needed attention and development as a character as she begins to oversee Project Necromancer for Doctor Hemlock. Who has shown to be a largely disinteresting character is finally given more substance and personality as Emerie grows uncomfortable at the Empire’s treatment of the imprisoned children. Cad Bane’s inclusion ultimately pans out to be a fun cameo, but not much more, making his appearance slightly disappointing if this is to be the last we see of him this season. Things pick up considerably in “Point of No Return” as C-X2 tries to capture Omega once and for all. Highlighting a different side of the Empire’s villainy proves to be effective as it is devastating to see the once peaceful haven of Pabu invaded by countless stormtroopers. With Omega captured and (seemingly) no way to track her, the Bad Batch finally themselves in a familiar position. Although this runs the risk of becoming a repetitive plot beat, things feel different here as Omega has a purpose to being captured – to use it as a means to locate Tantiss and free the other clones. All things seem to be heading in the direction of Tantiss and, with just four episodes left, our anticipation couldn’t be greater.

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

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