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The Bad Batch

Devil’s Deal (The Bad Batch - S01E11) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Devil's Deal

Season: One

Episode: 11

Original Air Date: July 9th, 2021

Runtime: 25 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Do you still dream of flying? - All the time!" SPOILERS.

Ryloth - the planet of the week

"Devil's Deal" is a very odd episode and I find it actually quite difficult to review it. You see, this week's Bad Batch adventure is not a Bad Batch adventure but instead a Rebels episode. The Bad Batch themselves have almost no screentime, maybe a minute. Omega has one scene in the entire episode, maybe two or three minutes. And that's it. Almost the entire runtime of the episode is dedicated to a Hera Syndulla origin story. Hera is certainly a popular character. Chances are that almost everyone who watches The Bad Batch has also seen Rebels and will like Hera, who was one of the better Rebels characters and whose name gets dropped every now and then in other entertainment, she even appears in a recent video game.

A young girl dreams of flying

And "Devil's Deal" is all about Hera and her family. The Empire is on Ryloth and they want the citizens to give up all of their weapons. Hera's father Cham eventually manages to convince the people that giving up the weapons is the right thing to do. But Gobi Glie (who also appeared in The Clone Wars and Rebels) has other ideas and he has bought weapons from Cid, delivered by the Bad Batch. Hera gets involved, but what these proto rebels don't realize is that it's all just a ploy to reveal all the trouble makers and Crosshair manages to tag the ship Gobi uses with a tracker. In the end Hera, Gobi and their friends get captured, Hera's parents decide to rescue their child and while they manage to ambush the convoy transporting the prisoners, freeing Hera, they do get captured in return. Crosshair also kills or at least severely injures Ryloth's senator Taa with a sniper shot and now Hera's family is in deep trouble. Next week we will probably see how the Bad Batch come to the rescue.

Captain Howzer is surprisingly lenient for a clone, maybe Rex should recruit him

I have same severe issues with this episode. On the one hand it is an interesting Hera origin story. Seeing her and Chopper again is nice. Also, the episode is once again very beautiful with several stunning vistas.

Space can be pretty

On the other hand I question the decision to use The Bad Batch for a Rebels origin story. I've always wondered what kind if show The Bad Batch would turn out to be. A true The Clone Wars sequel? Or would it morph into a full blown Rebels prequel? Based on the current episode The Bad Batch has turned out to be a full blown Rebels prequel.

Hera talks about flying to Omega

And I am not sure this is a good idea. The Bad Batch needs its own identity. Imagine The Mandalorian had gone off on a tangent and had dedicated an entire episode or two to the backstory of Boba Fett and how he ended up as the nomad on Tatooine. Boba was a prominent guest star, but the show never ever lost its focus and Din Djarin was always the main character.

The Ryloth version of Monument Valley

In my opinion The Bad Batch needs a focus. The Bad Batch was never advertised as some kind of anthology series like The Clone Wars. The point is that The Bad Batch will now dedicate two episodes to a Hera backstory that has no place in The Bad Batch. If Dave Filoni wanted to tell this story he had his opportunity with Rebels, they could have easily left out some of the filler episodes back then to offer a flashback episode that shows us where Hera comes from. Using The Bad Batch to tell Hera's origin story may give Rebels fans a welcome return of a fan favorite character, but in return the show completely loses its track and focus. What is The Bad Batch even about anymore? First it was believed it would be a variation of 1980s action movies, which is true, to a certain extent. But then it mostly became The Mandalorian 2.0 with Omega a more talkative Grogu who is the actual major focus of the series. But now even she takes a backseat and the focus is instead Hera, at least for one or two episodes.

Hera's parents will come to the rescue

The problem is that this Hera mini arc will contribute nothing at all to the greater Bad Batch narrative. It's a thematic detour. A detour that you can certainly like, since the episode, seen in isolation, is pretty good and it would have made for an excellent Rebels episode. But it's still a detour that adds nothing at all to the show. Dave Filoni and Jennifer Corbett have to think really, really hard about what The Bad Batch is supposed to be. Is it about a bunch of clones finding their way in the galaxy? Is it a Rebels prequel? Or is it a little bit of everyting and more or less a narrative mess? As of now it's more of a narrative mess.

Again, the episode is fine. Really good even. But it feels out of place. And I think it may hurt the series. And then there's the fact that in true Star Wars fashion the galaxy has become even smaller yet again. Everyone knows everyone else.... now it turns out Hera knows the Bad Batch and Omega. Of course she does. It's Star Wars. But eventually it makes the galaxy a very small and peculiar place. Now both Caleb aka Kanan and Hera know the Bad Batch, I wonder when we'll meet Ezra's parents, Sabine as a young kid and Zeb. So is The Bad Batch nothing but a Rebels prequel or is it its own thing?

When I am quite harsh here then not because I disliked the episode, as I said, it's a really good Rebels episode, I did like it a lot, as a Rebels episode. But as a Bad Batch episode it completely misses the mark and is nothing that should have been included. It takes away the focus, it's a detour, instead of dealing with Omega's trouble with the bounty hunters, phase II and whatever it is the Bad Batch want to achieve, the show tells us a story about someone who is of no importance to the narrative. Back in the day this would have been considered a backdoor pilot, only it makes no sense to give us a backdoor pilot to a series that had its last episode years ago. Nothing really makes sense here. I believe "Devil's Due" is a huge misstep for The Bad Batch.

As a Rebels episode I rate this 4.0 stars, maybe even 4.5. Hera's aspirations and dreams were captured really beautifully. We also see that Cham used to be quite the pragmatist. And I like how Rampart is portrayed as an icecold psychopath who keeps talking in this soothing and calm voice of his no matter how cruel his schemes are. And that the Empire has zero qualms about screwing over even their own allies once more underlines how immoral and brutal the regime is. But as a Bad Batch episode it's 1 star, at best, for the nice artwork.

Added: July 12, 2021
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
Score:
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