The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episode 13

By George & Josh Bate

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 3, Episode 13

Just three episodes left of what is easily the best season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The latest installment, titled “Into the Breach,” follows two concurrent plot threads. On the one hand, there is Omega, trapped within the vault of Tantiss by the villainous Doctor Hemlock. On the other hand, there is the rest of the Bad Batch, who have just broken former Vice Admiral Rampart out of an Imperial labor camp as he may be able to lead the team to Tantiss.

“Into the Breach” continues the strong narrative momentum of the last few episodes of The Bad Batch. Since the first season, the series has often dedicated time to one-off or contained episodes that, while offering plenty of character development, didn’t advance the overarching plot in any substantive way. These kind of episodes have been erroneously labeled by some as ‘filler,’ a criticism that overlooks the fact that some of the best episodes of Star Wars television have been contained stories (see “The Outpost” from The Bad Batch Season 2 or “Chapter 9: The Marshal” from The Mandalorian Season 2). Even the most fervent of ‘filler’ episode critics would be unable to launch such a critique toward the bulk of The Bad Batch Season 3. With “Into the Breach,” the show’s focus remains firmly on the overarching plot – with our protagonists trying to protect young clone Omega and our antagonists trying to use her for mysterious cloning experiments.

On Tantiss, Omega finds herself as a prisoner of the Empire once again. Things are decidedly darker now though. Whereas before, Omega was afforded some autonomy and was only imprisoned as a means to incentivize Nala Se to work for the Empire, now Omega is a test subject. She’s not the only test subject in captivity, however, as she is accompanied by four other captured children: Eva, Jax, Sami, and Bayrn. It’s endearing that Omega’s immediate instinct upon being thrown into this horrible situation is to show kindness and compassion to those around her. This is evidenced as she initiates contact with the solemn Eva. 

The dynamic of the children in captivity is a nice juxtaposition to Omega’s role within the Bad Batch. On Tantiss, Omega finds herself as the older sibling of sorts, the one who takes the reigns and oversees others’ well-being. But, within the Bad Batch, Omega is the little sister. In a show that has continually demonstrated how Omega’s personality is shaped by her fellow Bad Batch members, here Omega is given a chance to step into the shoes of her brothers in the Bad Batch and take on the role of mentor. 

This mentorship of the other captive children revolves around a single aim: to escape Tantiss. Entrapped in a sterile white prison reminiscent of the Narkina 5 prison in Andor, Omega quickly devises a plan to break into the wall of her cell and enter one of the tubes that droids use to transport blood samples. With this plan, Omega gives something to the children they haven’t felt in a long time – hope. “I’ve escaped before,” she says. “I’m going to do it again and I’m going to take you with me.”

Before showing Omega’s first attempt to plot an escape route, there is a terrific overhead shot of Tantiss. Every establishing shot of Tantiss so far has been a frontal view of the facility built within a triangular mountain. In “Into the Breach,” however, an establishing shot adopts an overhead perspective, which depicts the base as a circle. This shot then seamlessly cuts to a parallel shot of another circle – this one in the vault where the children are kept. It would be easy to overlook these two shots, but doing so would be to ignore The Bad Batch’s continued and careful attention to meaningful imagery. The team behind The Bad Batch have excelled since the very first episode of the series with incredible visual storytelling in which a single frame contains so much subtext. These two parallel shots of a circle similarly reflect how adept the series is at evoking emotion through seemingly simple imagery.

What ensues is an amazingly suspenseful scene taken straight out of a classic prison break movie. Omega breaks into the wall of the cell and enters the tube system used by droids. Meanwhile, Doctor Scalder is making her way into the vault. It’s an excellent exercise in tension as one watches in anticipation, hoping and praying that Omega is not caught. Just when you think Omega is caught, the scene cuts to her inconspicuously sitting in her cell as if nothing happened. Between this and another scene in “Into the Breach” that will be discussed later in this review, this installment of The Bad Batch is among the most intense and suspenseful of Star Wars animation.

With half of the episode focusing on Omega and her escape plan, the other half is dedicated to the Bad Batch as they attempt to finally find the elusive Tantiss. This side of the plot kicks off on…Cloud City?! Well, that’s what we thought initially. The planet that Phee dropped the Batch and Rampart off on is actually Bora Vio, which previously featured in the episode “Bounty Lost” in which Cad Bane captures Omega.

The Bad Batch and Rampart are picked up by Echo, who has stolen an Imperial shuttle. It’s nice to see Echo return to the fold after a surprisingly limited role this season. With the loss of Tech, the team had lost a key member, but, with Echo going off with Rex, the team felt even more barren. 

Last episode, Clone Force 99 broke Rampart out of Imperial custody so that he could provide them with coordinates to Tantiss. Unfortunately for the team, things are not that simple. Rampart explains that the location of Tantiss is under immense protection and secrecy. The only way to journey to the planet is to dock at a station orbiting over Coruscant, where the coordinates to the planet are then directly transmitted to a person’s ship. 

What would be an impossible mission for some is just another day in the office for the Bad Batch, who take this challenge in their stride. The team’s continued willingness to throw themselves into such life-or-death challenges for the sake of Omega is extremely touching, and contributes to the series’ penchant for warm emotions.

The Bad Batch use Rampart’s former standing in the Empire to help get them aboard the orbital station. Donning an Imperial uniform again, Rampart leads the team onto the station after they paint over the colors of their armor, making them somewhat reminiscent of Death Troopers. Disguises and infiltration have been part of Star Wars since A New Hope in 1977, and it’s always fun to see this element repeated in different stories. As George Lucas once said, “It’s like poetry, it rhymes.”

After Rampart uses his experience in the Empire to avoid attention from an Imperial captain, the team make their way to the control room where they try to retrieve the coordinates to Tantiss. But there’s a problem… The coordinates are only transmitted to a departing ship once it leaves, meaning they can’t extract the coordinates, but, instead, need to be aboard a departing vessel.

The task that the Bad Batch and Rampart undertake to get to Tantiss is extraordinarily suspenseful, which, combined with the aforementioned prison break scene with Omega, make this episode pure edge-of-your-seat entertainment. As Echo boards a departing Imperial shuttle to Tantiss, the rest of the team board their ship and try to attach it to the bottom of the departing Imperial shuttle. The team’s ship can’t attach itself to the bottom of the departing shuttle too soon, however, as the proximity sensors must be deactivated. In the nick of time, Echo manages to disable the proximity sensors and the Bad Batch’s ship is able to attach itself to the shuttle just before it goes into hyperspace. 

At that moment, the episode agonizingly comes to an end! It’s always a good sign for a TV episode when you desperately don’t want it to end, and that is most certainly the case with this latest episode of The Bad Batch.

VERDICT: 8/10

“Into the Breach” continues the series’ narrative momentum with one of the most intense and suspenseful episodes of Star Wars television to date. Omega’s compassion, ingenuity, and propensity to learn from her brothers shines through as she hatches a daring escape plan on Tantiss. Meanwhile, the Bad Batch show that they will do anything to ensure the safety of Omega, including taking on a daring mission of their own, and Echo makes a return after a surprisingly limited role this season. Intelligent visual storytelling is accompanied by fantastic parallels to other Star Wars stories in an episode that is as unrelentingly entertaining as it is unnervingly nail-biting.

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