Omega is safe, but the galaxy is still in turmoil. What’s a group of enhanced clones to do? The latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch sent Clone Force 99 on yet another side mission, one that reminded us where the galaxy has been, where it is now, and that the Bad Batch are the right heroes for the moment.
Episode 10 of The Bad Batch is called “Common Ground” and it began with the Empire trying to find some. On the planet Raxus, last seen on Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the home world of the Separatist Senate, the Empire has now invaded but the public isn’t being cooperative. An Imperial captain named Bragg warns the people of Raxus that they must give into the occupation and urges their Senator, Avi Singh (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine legend Alexander Siddig), to convince them to do so. Senator Singh starts to speak on behalf of Bragg but ultimately can’t — he changes his tune and speaks out against the Empire, and the people of Raxus love it. Quickly and predictably, Bragg captures Singh before he can say too much and sends in her troopers to intimidate the public.
Luckily, Singh’s droid, DS-8, already has detailed instructions that involve calling everyone’s favourite bar owner, Cid, and getting some help sent. That help, of course, is Clone Force 99, who are hoping to take some quiet time off after everything they’ve been through recently with Omega. Those hopes fade quickly though as Cid tells them about this rescue mission. They don’t want to go, and they definitely don’t want to put Omega back in danger, so Hunter comes up with the compromise: leave Omega with Cid so maybe she won’t be picked up by one of the multiple bounty hunters who are after her. The Batch are conflicted about this mission, though. They spent the Clone Wars fighting against the Separatists. Do they really have to risk their lives to free a Separatist senator?
Therein lies the most interesting subtext in “Common Ground,” which is that now that the Empire is in control of the galaxy, all other groups have basically become united. Either you’re with the Empire, or against them, and since Senator Singh is against them, he’s actually one of the good guys. What he may have been in the past no longer matters. That idea doesn’t exactly get explored very much in the episode, but the thought is there, as Clone Force 99 go about their rescue mission. Once on Raxus, the troops meet up with DS-8 and get to work. Here, we got a showcase of just how much better the Bad Batch are than every other Clone Trooper out there. Like playing a video game on its Easy setting, they quickly take out several Clone Troopers, surveillance systems and more, making their way to Singh very quickly. (And that he’s being held in his wine cellar made me think, “We need more episodes about Star Wars alcohol.”)
Acquiring Singh is just one part of the plan, though. Now they have to get him, and themselves, out of the prison that Singh’s former estate has become, which is being invaded by many, many more Clone Troopers after Captain Bragg sent out a signal right before being stunned. Again though, this is just another chance to see just how awesome the Bad Batch are at their jobs. First, they commandeer an Imperial walker — well, as we know it, an AT-TE, rather than the AT-AT just yet — like it was a speeder bike, taking out half a dozen Clone Troopers on the way.
And when that walker gets blasted, they just commandeer another one. The whole scene played out like a lumbering, Star Wars version of a monster truck rally and demolition derby, with the huge walkers stomping through Singh’s estate, blowing each other up, and walking over one another. Eventually, Singh’s suggestion of going down a dead-end alley pays off and they’re able to find a secret escape route out of the city through the sewers. The mission is complete, and though Singh contemplates staying on Raxus to help his people, Hunter lets him know he can do more good from afar.
Meanwhile, as all of this is happening, Omega is sulking around Cid’s bar. She’s accused of being useless, which might even be true, if not for the fact Cid discovers she’s got an uncanny talent for holochess, aka dejarik. From there, The Bad Batch went from a traditional Star Wars show to Searching For Bobby Fischer meets Rounders, as Cid uses Omega’s skills to hustle patrons out of money. By the time the Bad Batch return with Singh, Omega has made so much, she’s paid off their debts. “I wanted to be useful even if I couldn’t be on the mission,” Omega says. And she certainly was.
“Common Ground” had our main characters all doing what they do best. For the Bad Batch, that’s kicking arse and fighting against the Empire. For Omega, that’s strategising and helping out in anyway she can. You kind of wanted more of each of those stories, but ultimately it’s just good to see these characters justify why we’re spending so much time with them. No one else in the galaxy can do what they do.