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The Bad Batch

Common Ground (The Bad Batch - S01E10) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Common Ground

Season: One

Episode: 10

Original Air Date: July 2nd, 2021

Runtime: 25 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Are you ready for this? - Are you?" SPOILERS.

Raxus Secundus - the planet of the week looks rather pretty

Not all that much actually happens in "Common Ground". After the drama about Omega's kidnapping in this week's adventure the Bad Batch decide that it's best to leave Omega behind for her own safety when Cid receives a contract from someone on Raxus Secundus. The Empire is taking the former capital of the Separatist Worlds over and a strong Imperial presence is meant to convince the senator to tell his people that everything is just fine. But then his conscience gets the better of him and he protests the unjust occupation of the planet by the Empire. Thus the senator is promptly arrested and Stormtroopers and walkers subdue the populace.

A conscience will get you arrested

However, the senator had given his droid instructions should he be arrested. And the droid contacts Cid and asks for help. And that means the Bad Batch head off to Raxus Secundus. As mentioned, Omega is left behind since it is agreed upon that with bounty hunters after her it's best for her to keep a very low profile. Omega is not too happy about it and becomes quite mopey.

It sure looks pretty

The Bad Batch, and here especially Echo, have some misgivings about helping a former Separatist, but they still go ahead and in yet another action filled sequence they manage to free the senator and to escape on their spaceship. Meanwhile on Ord Mantell Cid tells an extremely mopey Omega how things in life really are, that things are rarely all that fair and that if she doesn't want to be left behind anymore she should do something about being so helpless. A short while later Cid finds out that Omega is good at strategy, including games, and here especially dejarik. Cid, who apparently never leaves out an opportunity to make money, asks Omega if she can win a few games for her. Omega can... but she won't accept the 30% cut Cid is offering her, she demands 60%. Omega is quite shrewd and business savvy!

Omega, the dejarik genius

The Bad Batch return to Ord Mantell with the senator and his droid, yet another job well done! They are surprised to find there's quite the ruckus at Cid's place. It turns out Omega is winning yet another game of dejarik for Cid. Hunter is not too pleased at first, since it's the opposite of keeping a low profile. But then Omega tells him she only did it to help and support the Bad Batch. It turns out Omega has won quite some money, enough to pay off all the debts. Hunter, who actually had missed Omega on Raxus Secundus and at one point even forgot she's not with them, when he wanted her to do something, then proposes a deal to Omega. If she can defeat him at dejarik she will no longer be left behind. The episode then cuts to black, not telling us how the game goes, but it's pretty obvious that Omega will win, since she seems to be a true prodigy.

All in all "Common Ground" was an average episode. After several episodes that advanced the actual plot it was back to adventure of the week again. The only important thing that happened in the episode is Hunter's realization how much he already depends on Omega, as much as Omega depends on him (and all the others). He realizes on Raxus Secundus how much he thinks of Omega as a team member of the Bad Batch. And Omega does something about feeling so helpless and makes use of her talents, that is her intellect and a knack for strategy.

Another thing I want to point out is that in this episode the Bad Batch only used the stun setting on their blasters or used stun grenades. Something they didn't always do before. But here no clone and no Imperial officer is killed, merely incapacitated. This is never addressed in the episode. So either it's something the showrunners decided to change or it's an actual character development, after all, all the clones used to be their brothers, still are their brothers, and all of them are remote controlled by inhibitor chips that eradicate all free will. In other words, you cannot blame the clones for their actions and each and every one of them could be saved if you removed the chip. Killing them would be immoral when you have an alternative. In fact, here The Bad Batch does something the sequels never even bothered to address... in the sequels Finn happily kills his former comrades mere hours after his defection even though he knows that all First Order recruits, the grunts, are basically brainwashed and were indoctrinated and conditioned since early childhood, I bet blasters in the sequel timeline also have a stun setting... yet they keep mowing down First Order soldiers en masse in each of the three movies. That Hunter and his team use the stun setting is something I liked very much. Since only psychopaths would merrily mow down former friends and comrades without giving it a second thought, especially when you have an alternative, like a stun setting and even more so when you know that your former friends and comrades are all brainwashed or controlled by some external force. The showrunners of the Bad Batch absolutely know what they are doing. I only wish they would have included a short scene with the Bad Batch where they discuss these matters and decide to only use the stun setting from now on.

We also get a short glimpse at how the Empire treats worlds under their rule. They try to uphold the guise of democracy just like almost any other totalitarian regime. But when things don't go as planned the military will intervene. As we know it took the Empire almost two decades to disband the senate, the last vestige of the former Republic. The scenes on Raxus Secundus in a way reminded me of the tanks on Tiananmen Square in Beijing when China faced some of the strongest student protests in modern times, a protest that was violently subdued with military force. It is kind of ironic to see these things in entertainment by Disney when Disney themselves, until now, have gone to great lengths to woo China and to gain a foothold there, knowing full well what kind of regime they are dealing with here.

I would also like to praise once again the animation and art department. I don't know why exactly, but it was only now, in episode ten, that I realized that The Bad Batch almost looks like an oil painting come to life. You can see the brush strokes literally everywhere. The forest on Raxus Secundus was really pretty, the architecture was grandiose and some of the symmetric camera angles gave off a strong Wes Anderson vibe. You can certainly see that a lot of thought goes into the show.

The story itself however was just standard fare and not too exciting. It still was fun, it's always good when the Bad Batch get a moment to shine and are not outstmarted or defeated by random pirates, slavers or bounty hunters. But in my opinion the show should do more to advance the plot. And while The Mandalorian also had these stand alone episodes the truth is that The Bad Batch very much feels like a reimagined Mandalorian at times and thus somewhat redundant here and there. And instead of addressing more interesting topics, Crosshair, Rex, the Rebellion, Omega's purpose and phase II, we get yet another planet of the week. The Mandalorian only had a couple of episodes like that, the Bad Batch already has more of these stand alone adventures. I still think that an 8 episode season for The Bad Batch would have been better. Some of the episodes feel like filler that only delay the inevitable. Especially when these episodes are mostly more of the same.

But overall you can have fun with the show and "Common Ground" also has a few things going for it like the action on Raxus Secundus and overall art direction.

Added: July 6, 2021
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
Score:
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