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The Bad Batch

Infested (The Bad Batch - S01E13) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Infested

Season: One

Episode: 13

Original Air Date: July 23rd, 2021

Runtime: 25 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Ruby liked him! Maybe he's not all bad!" SPOILERS.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

I approached The Bad Batch with a lot of goodwill, even though the Bad Batch Clone Wars arc was not the finest moment and the characters seemed little more than caricatures. Then The Bad Batch premiered and it rectified many if not most of the things people complained about in the Clone Wars arc. The characters received a lot more depth. Wrecker was turned into some kind of funny uncle or older brother to new addition Omega. And the first couple of episodes were enjoyable. The animation and art style are both outstanding. The Bad Batch is top tier animation. But despite all this I fear The Bad Batch is lost in mediocrity, that dreaded territory were nothing or few things are bad but almost nothing is really good either. And the main reason for this are the scripts. While the 13 episodes we've seen so far offered a few highlights far too many seem like a colossal waste of time. And sadly, "Infested" is one of those episodes that feel just like that. A complete waste of time.

The Pykes are all business and no fun

The story of "Infested" can be recapped like this: for some reason Cid was ousted from her club and now a wannabe crime lord, the son of an actual crime lord, has taken over. He wants to hit it big and prove his name and so he wants to become a part of the Pyke syndicate, those spice dealing criminals we saw before, season 7 of The Clone Wars featured them rather prominently in the Martez sisters arc. Hunter wants to leave Ord Mantell then, even though Roland Durand, the son of the crime lord, offers them to continue the business relationship. But Omega, once more, is the moral compass and urges the Bad Batch to help Cid. Cid meanwhile is waiting for the Bad Batch at the spaceport onboard their ship. And a little bit relucantly Hunter agrees to help her get her business back. And Cid's plan is to steal a shipment of spice Roland is handling for the Pykes, once he cannot deliver the spice the Pykes will certainly take care of him and Cid can take over again. The Bad Batch successfully manage to steal the spice, but during their escape the spice shipment is lost in an old mine infested by some critters that hate light. When Cid and the Bad Batch return to her parlour the Pykes with a rather distressed Roland Durand are already waiting for them.

And the Pykes demand that the Bad Batch get their spice back or else there will be dire consequences. The Pykes are not to be trifled with and so the Bad Batch agree. Omega meanwhile is kept as a hostage. The light hating critters in the old mining tunnels make the retrieval somewhat difficult but Tech constructs a light bomb that solves the creature problem, the spice is recovered, the Pykes are happy. Roland is disgraced as one of the Pykes cuts off one of his horns. Omega feels pity for him and Roland, instead of receiving some more punishment, gets pet lizard Ruby instead who apparently took a liking to the Devaronian - and walks away without any further consequences. When asked by Hunter why Omega stuck up for him she replies that she doesn't really know, but that the pet lizard liked him, maybe he's not all bad after all. So being an animal lover means Omega (and the show) absolves you of your crimes. And that's the moral of the story.

A well known animal lover and vegetarian with his partner. Maybe he's not all bad after all either. (label: sarcasm)

The same things I said about other Bad Batch episodes apply here as well. It was entertaining enough, but ultimately the episode was rather pointless. It didn't advance the story, it didn't tackle any of the real issues, instead it felt like a recycled Clone Wars season 7 episode that was put through a random script generator to change a few details. Most here will remember the Martez arc from Clone Wars season 7, where one major plot point was... a spice deal gone bad with the Pykes and a spice shipment lost, that they reuse that idea here again feels lazy.

And while some people like Cid, I feel the entire idea of staying on Ord Mantell with some kind of handler that is handing out odd jobs to the Bad Batch is a really bad idea, none of these episodes about any of the jobs do anything really. Sure, they provide some entertainment, there are a few nuggets of worldbuilding, but if you watch these episodes or not... ultimately makes no difference at all

After most of season 1 of The Bad Batch is over I feel the main problem of the show is the time period it's set in. It's set in a very well established time period, right after the rise of the Empire and on the eve of the formation of the rebellion. The Bad Batch is wedged between The Clone Wars and Rebels. But while both The Clone Wars and Rebels added substantial new things to the grander Star Wars mythos (whether or not you like these additions is a different matter), I feel the Bad Batch will add virtually nothing, it will not advance the franchise, it does not add anything of substance. Sure the fates of the Bad Batch and Omega are unknown and of some interest, but the problem is that there are almost no real stakes. The Bad Batch will not steal the Death Star plans, they will not form the rebellion, they will not have any major victories, all of these things are covered by Rebels and Rogue One. The major problem is that The Bad Batch is a prequel to a prequel (Rebels/Rogue One) and a sequel to yet another prequel (the Clone Wars era, including the prequel movies). Which basically means that the series will never really be able to do anything meaningful, anything major. So it's all about the fates of the characters. But then show doesn't even spend much time on this and instead offers random jobs of the weeks.

And while the show is not bad, it appears to be rather redundant, an impression that has grown stronger week after week now. Also, when I think about what I feel Star Wars should be, then The Bad Batch is nothing I would come up with. Which doesn't need to be a bad thing necessarily, the unexpected can be really good,  but remove all the Jedi centric Clone Wars episodes and all episodes that deal with the actual war and what you have left are the lesser arcs that filled the time before we finally got something interesting again, And this what The Bad Batch increasingly feels like to me. Like yet another Rebels episode about stealing some fuel or a Clone Wars arc about astromechs on a mission.

I really want to like the show, but episodes like "Infested" disappoint me on all levels. The story not only feels like a warmed up Clone Wars season 7 episode, its message is also incredibly naive and silly. You may argue that Omega is still a child and therefore naive, but the show is apparently very strongly in support of this message, no one tells Omega how things really are, no one contradicts her.

Lucasfilm should be really, really cautious not to get lost in mediocrity. Star Wars should be grand, it should be epic, which doesn't mean it always needs to be rebels vs empire, most certainly not, but it should add to the mythos, it should expand Star Wars, move it forward, instead all The Bad Batch does is provide some inconsequential entertainment. And the series does have a few topics that are of some more interest: the Kaminoans and their plans, Omega's true purpose, how and why the Empire phased out the clone army... but so little time is dedicated to these things in favor of odd jobs that do nothing for the show. It seems now that many if not all of these things are endgame material, who knows how many seasons are planned for The Bad Batch, but if we have to endure 3 or 4 seasons of mostly odd jobs and planets of the week only to resolve the somewhat more interesting questions in the final season then I do not know if I want to keep watching the show. Star Wars shouldn't be something you watch just to pass some time and have some mild entertainment, it should inspire you, spark your imagination, appeal to your own ambitions and dreams. I fear The Bad Batch does neither of that. Not with episodes like "Infested" and all the others that follow the same formula.

Added: July 26, 2021
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
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