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The Bad Batch

Pabu (The Bad Batch - S02E13) - Animated Series

Series: The Bad Batch

Title: Pabu

Season: Two

Episode: 13

Original Air Date: March 15th, 2023

Runtime: 25 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Our mutually beneficient arrangement wasn't so beneficial, mutually!" SPOILERS.

Cid is threatening the Bad Batch

After two pretty good episodes The Bad Batch decided to put on the brakes and to give us a typical "calm before the storm" episode. The entire episode is about the archetypical "false paradise". You know the trope: the hero gets tempted to stay somewhere, usually a place that seems like paradise, only that circumstances eventually catch up or that the false paradise turns out not to be much of a paradise after all.
I found the entire episode utterly boring and mostly pointless. Your mileage may of course vary, whether or not you can enjoy filler like "Pabu" hinges on one thing: are you interested in the Bad Batch as characters or not? Sadly, I am not. Not in the least. I am much more invested in guest stars like Chuchi, or Commander Cody, Rex or Crosshair. But for me the Bad Batch never escaped their stereotypical origins, they are clich├ęs, not actual characters. So when an episode wants us to be invested in the Bad Batch as actual characters it mostly falls flat for me. It may be very different for you of course.

Pabu, the false paradise

On the surface "Pabu" is ok, it opens with yet another hommage to Indiana Jones, with quasi Indy Phee Genoa who is about to make a deal with some shady characters for some figurine, think Club Obi-Wan in "Temple of Doom". And just like in the movie the entire thing ends in a wild shootout, with the Bad Batch providing protection. Now why Omega of all people was part of this is beyond me. What sane person would bring a little child to some backroom deal with shady characters where you expect the worst?
After all is said and done we learn the one important tidbit: the Bad Batch have finally, after only 28 episodes or so, cut ties with Cid. She sends a holomessage and threatens the Bad Batch, it's obvious she's a pretty vindictive person and it's not out of the question that she may rat them out to the Empire just for revenge. Phee Genoa is a bit surprised, but immediately offers the Bad Batch to come with her to her home. A lovely island paradise called Pabu. She also reminds the Bad Batch that Omega needs a life, a normal life with normal kid friends, not just a bunch of clones.

A tsunami devastates the island

The events on the island are more or less entirely pointless filler. Wrecker enjoys the food. Omega makes friends with a local girl, the take a small boat out to sea eventually. For some entirely inexplicable reason some romance between Tech and Phee Genoa is hinted at, I believe the award for most implausible romance in fiction has to be taken away from Worf and Deanna Troi from Star Trek and has to be given to Tech and Phee Genoa. Whatever. It turns out the super idyllic island paradise is not so paradisiacal after all, because the island gets hit by severe earthquakes every few decades. And one just happens to hit the island when the Bad Batch are around. A massive sea surge hits the island and destroys the entire lower village. Of course every single villager gets rescued just in time, up on the mountain behind a massive wall. And Hunter manages to rescue Omega and her friend from open sea in the nick of time with the Marauder. Finally Hunter offers to stay (why?) and help with the reconstruction. Because that's what you you, you settle down in a place that gets utterly wrecked and devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis every 30 years. When there are 500 billion other planets in the galaxy.

I found the episode to be the ultimate bore. I pushed off reviewing it day after day after day because I derive little fun from talking about things I don't enjoy so much. It's not that it's "terrible", it's not, but it's all so entirely pointless. I mean, who believes for one second that the Bad Batch will settle down for good on Pabu? And yes, I know this show is primarily geared towards kids, maybe they will find it all very exciting and maybe they haven't seen countless episodes about "false paradises" before that tempt the hero to retire for good and have a peaceful life.

These episodes can be pretty good. If you are invested in the characters. And that's the ultimate shortcoming of the series. I am somewhat interested in the bigger plot. I am interested in Crosshair, I am even invested in guest characters like Chuchi - but I have no interest at all in the Bad Batch as characters. So everything felt utterly pointless and dragged on forever, merely delaying the inevitable. And yes, I undertand the reason for having such a false paradise. The Mandalorian had a similar episode in season 1, where Omera tempted Mando to stay, he could have had a simple, but good life with her, she was clearly interested in him, and he would have been a real asset to the small village as well. But of course the hero can't give up just like that. The difference here is that I am more invested in Din Djarin as a character, the Bad Batch never felt real to me, they are just cartoon characters, and by that I don't mean that they are "animated characters", but figuratively cartoon characters, 1980s action hero tropes, they don't feel all that real to me.

So for me "Pabu" was a complete waste of time. Let's hope the final three episodes and the season (and maybe the series) end with a bang. And not a whimper. "Pabu" was just that: a wimper. And really, Tech and Phee Genoa? Even as a joke it's bad. Chances are The Bad Batch will end after season 2. I would be surprised if Bob Iger funded a third season, given how very, very low the ratings must be and how relatively expensive a series like The Bad Batch is. The animation here was once again great, you can tell they spend a lot of time and effort to make everything look as good as possible. Too bad The Bad Batch wasted so many episodes on trivial nothings. The good episodes were really good, but they are too few when more than half your season is just pointless filler.

Added: March 21, 2023
Category: The Bad Batch
Reviewer: Thomas
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