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The Bad Batch

The Crossing / Retrieval (The Bad Batch - S02E09&E10) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: The Crossing / Retrieval

Season: Two

Episode: 9 & 10

Original Air Date: February 14th & 21st, 2023

Runtime: 27 & 27 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"However, there are many like us out there as well. And that is something!" SPOILERS.

Space Grand Canyon looks pretty, but trouble is brewing on the horizon

After a pretty good two-part episode set on Coruscant and with Senator Chuchi as main character it's back to normal procedure in the next two-parter: episodes The Crossing and Retrieval have the Bad Batch play space miners for Cid. They are to prospect a mine for her she bought and to retrieve some Unobtanium (it's called Ipsium in the series, it does not matter). Cid's mine is almost depleted though it seems, but the Bad Batch manage to retrieve enough of the substance.

And Omega hasn't even hit puberty yet

Wrecker and Omega stand watch outside the mine, unfortunately their Marauder is parked out of sight and some local kid manages to steal the ship. Mind you, a ship crewed by professionals who you'd expect to have extensive and foolproof anti-theft measures in place. Apparently not. But the Bad Batch only find out about that later. Tech and Hunter need Omega's help with the retrieval of the substance first, since she is small and can reach a hard to get place where the stuff is still in the bedrock. Omega though is still processing the departure of Echo and is quite moody and she cannot understand why or how the others are seemingly unfazed by Echo's exit. She extracts the stuff and then the crew heads back.

Are they family or just a team of soldiers?

Everything goes wrong though when on the way back to the ship the Bad Batch find out the ship is gone. And then a violent sandstorm hits them, the Bad Batch seek refuge in yet another mine but the violent storm hits the container with the Unobtanium, and since the stuff is very volatile it explodes, resulting in a cave in, blocking the exit. Omega has had it with everyone and everything, she is angry that apparently no one cares about Echo being gone and now, with the Marauder gone and the others saying they will simply find another ship and replace it, it sends her over the edge. She gets angry, says the ship is their home and then wants to be left alone and leaves. Omega does find a rich vein of Unobtanium while sulking, she retrieves the stuff, Echo finds her, the two have a little accident, fall down into an underground river, once they emerge Tech and Omega have a heart to heart talk and Omega complains about things changing, Echo reminds her that change is a part of life and that a soldier moves on, but he also reassures Omega that he too misses Tech, in his own way, like the other team members also miss him, but Omega is also reminded that Echo made a choice and is on a mission of his own, so to speak. Omega in turn reminds Tech that they are a family and wants to know if he also feels that way, Tech agrees after some thought. That seems to lift Omega's spirits a little bit.
The Bad Batch eventually make it back to the surface and they find an abandoned village. With no ship they have no way of getting off the planet, but the village has an antenna that allows them to contact Cid. Cid outright refuses to help them though and tells them it's their own problem. Why the Bad Batch continue for work for her is beyond me... anyway, Tech then lists all the times they helped her and Cid begrudgingly tells them she may try to find a ship for them in a few days from now, when the Bad Batch try to tell her that their rations won't last a few days she simply hangs up. Someone please kill her soon.  

The stolen Marauder on its way to a mine

In the second episode we see how a young scavenver boy named Benni is piloting the stolen Marauder to a mine. Some evil alien called Mokko cosplays as an Oliver Twist villain in a theater play here, he has children working in the mine for him, they get bare scraps so they barely survive, while he gorges himself on food like a glutton. Omega meanwhile has an idea, she tries to locate Gonkhi and she successfully manages to track his location. The Bad Batch are repairing a speeder bike that can get them to the location of the signal. They manage to infiltrate the mine, find Benni, capture him and force him to cooperate. Since the Bad Batch are a a bit conspicious they have Omega go with Benni all on her own, they need to get to the control center so they can lower the shield, or else the Marauder can't launch. In the meantime the Bad Batch repair the ship wich had been partially disassembled.

Oliver Twist in space, symbol photo

The Oliver Twist mining company is a real sweatshop. We learn that the owner tells the kids working for him that they are in dire straits since their Unobtanium is impure, earning less money, so the kids are fed mere scraps, they even have to beg for water (which gave my serious The Force Awakens flashbacks). In the control center Benni double crosses Omega by secretly signalling his boss, he still has dreams of being next month's Artful Dodger if he's a good exploited kid, whereas Omega finds some interesting info... the official sales reports and it turns out Mokko has been lying to the kids all this time, he earns tons of money and the Unobtanium is not impure at all. But it's too late for that info to change Benni's mind, because Mokko arrives with his droids and they capture Omega.

Showdown on the bridge

The Bad Batch meanwhile confront Mokko and his gang, but they have to lower their weapons when Omega is brought and Mokko threatens to throw her into the abyss below them. But Hunter comes to the rescue and in what can only be considered dumb luck or stupid writing Omega sees Hunter swinging on a rope towards her, she launches herself and the droid from the platform, they both fall, but Hunter catches Omega mid-air and rescues her. Okay.

Yay, Gonkhi's reunited with his buddies!

It is then that Benni arrives on the scene with Omega's datapad that still holds all the sales info. Benni reveals to the other kids that their boss has been lying to them all this time and with the help of the Bad Batch they dispose of the droids. Mokko is about to fall into the abyss, but Benni tries to save him, however Mokko, forever the moustache twirling villain, tries to pull Benni to his demise along with him. Benni is saved, Mokko falls to his death and as a result the kids now take over the mine as some kind of socialist collective. The Marauder is all repaired and the Bad Batch and Omega can fly home to Cid, so they can be abused and ill-treated by her some more in the coming episodes.

The two episodes were somewhat better than the usual meaningless stand alone adventures, sure, nothing here is original, but I suppose Disney assumes that the people who watch the show never read any books or watch any other movies. The first episode is mostly about the aftermath of Echo's departure and it was certainly the right thing to examine the aftermath of this. Omega is sad, angry and frustrated, she can't understand the others, she is cranky and when the ship, their home, gets stolen and the Bad Batch treat it like some minor inconvenience she cannot understand them at all. The episode makes it clear that slowy, ever so slowly, the remaining Bad Batch have some growth and what started out as a team of soldiers is slowly becoming a family, with Omega pointing out more than once that she thinks they are family, and that the Marauder is their home, not something you just replace like that. Now all of this would work a lot better if I cared about any of the Bad Batch, but I find it very difficult to care about walking stereotypes. And this kind of somewhat more character focused episode comes much too late after so many pointless episodes about nothing.

And let's talk about Cid for a brief second... so her elite team that literally saved her hide a few times is stranded on a planet, food is running out, yet she outright refuses to send them a ship or to help them. What a lousy person she is. Why the writers made her like that is one thing, but why they still have the Bad Batch running errands for this selfish, terrible person is an entirely different thing. The whole Cid scheme is destroying the series with utterly pointless fetch quests. And in return Cid isn't even someone who has even an ounce of loyalty or sympathy and simply tells the Bad Batch to deal with whatever situation they are in.

The second part is Oliver Twist in space. The cartoonish villain here was painted with very broad brush strokes. Of course The Bad Batch is primarily aimed at kids, and the writers apparently hope kids today neither read old books nor watch old movies. Which is probably true. But even then the entire scavenger setup with Benni and him asking for water rations gave me severe The Force Awakens PTSD. I mean, we all know by now that almost all of modern Star Wars, at this point, is derivative and utterly unoriginal, but this is just on another level. Do we really need to copy The Force Awakens already?  .

On its own the second episode is ok, but adults who know at least some literature (or old movies) will find everything entirely too predictable here. However, what I found outright hilarious in this episode is the thinly veiled criticism at capitalism. Here we have the "CEO" of the mining operation, someone who pays his (child) laborers as little as possible, while he rakes in all the profits with incredible margins, he enjoys all the luxuries and gorges himself on all kinds of food, while he lets the kids almost starve. The mine could as well be some Foxconn factory making iPhones with margins out of this world or textile factory sweatshop in Bangladesh. But once the exploited workers find out they have been taken advantage of they dispose of their greedy capitalist boss and instead turn the whole operation into a socialist collective where everyone owns equal parts of the company and profits are now shared equally among all the kids. That Disney of all releases something like this is quite ironic, in my opinion. Who would have thought they of all people would release an episode that low-level promotes socialism and criticizes the Jeff Bezoses of this world? This after Andor introducing us to the Amazon Warehouse from hell with the prison arc and gamified work and constant performance evaluation that is so common at Amazon.  

All in all both episodes are ok to watch if you have some time. If you are invested in Omega you will get some insight into her character here and there is also some character growth. If you don't care for Omega that much then the episodes will do little for you. The plot is extremely predictable and in large parts very, very derivative. Star Wars really needs some fresh infusion of ideas and new concepts. Compared to the other stand alone adventures both The Crossing and Retrieval are somewhat better though, at least the episodes have a message this time. Family is important. And evil exploitative bosses deserve the abyss, profits should be shared equally among the workers who create all the profit in the first place. So the five kids watching this at least learn a little bit. Adults probably groan and roll their eyes. Or don't care. Or are about to write angry letters to Disney complaning about political indoctrination. And we still have six more episodes to go....

Added: February 22, 2023
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
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