Episode 4 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch was full of action and atmospheric nods, if not a great deal of forward motion on the series’ main plot.
Little was said of Crosshair, Tarkin, Rex, or the fretting of the Kamino cloners.
Besides dropping in further evidence of the Empire’s bureaucratic spread (Palpatine has moved from chain codes to Imperial credits), much of the episode introduced The Mandalorian standout Fennec Shand within the Bad Batch’s story.
This episode was titled “Cornered,” which carries several possible meanings.
Beyond the initial and obvious reference to the Bad Batch becoming cornered by the escape from Kamino and the Empire, here are a few alternate ways to consider the implications of the name.
Anything beyond what the title actually says
As in The Mandalorian, the episode titles of the Bad Batch diverge from Dave Filoni’s predilection to fashion episode labels as a tribute to the same radio serials that first inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars.
They often gave episodes from Clone Wars and Rebels such dramatic names as “Cargo of Doom” and “The Mystery of Chopper Base.”
The chapter titles of The Mandalorian and Bad Batch are far more sparse, but carry a larger impact. They invite a multitude of interpretations, with options that grow as the series adds in layers.
The Havoc Marauder
The Bad Batch fled Kamino on their triangular Omicron-class attack shuttle.
To fans whose knowledge of the current Star Wars universe they base on the Original Trilogy, it will look familiar. This ship is similar in appearance to Darth Vader’s Lambda-class shuttle, as well as the small craft the Endor strike team used to land on the forest moon.
Similar constructions also appeared in the sequel trilogy as part of the First Order’s fleet.
Sticking with the ship as it first appeared in Clone Wars is a clever nod to how the Republic is transitioning to the Empire.
Starting with A New Hope in 1977, Rebel constructions nearly always have a gentler, rounded appearance, while the predominance of sharp edges and deep angles represented the Empire.
The Death Star is a notable exception — although as we see during the trench run, its surface is littered with blocky sections.
The “corners” of the Havoc Marauder fill the screen as the episode opens. Showing heroes in an Empire-coded ship, even during this immediate transition period, is incongruent with the fans’ visual experiences with the films.
This speaks to the Bad Batch’s confusion regarding where they fit in this new reality, in which the demarcations between good and evil are transposed at the most and unclear at the least.
Omega on Kamino
Five seconds ago, Omega was begging Hunter to let her hang around the Bad Batch even though they’re always having to chase after her, share their meager food portions, explain what dirt is, and prevent her from getting into windowless vans with heavily armed strangers.
She was no sooner admitted to the group and granted their buddy’s bunk before she ramped up the whining.
In Cornered, the Bad Batch must land in order to scramble the Marauder’s code so the Empire won’t know where they are. They search for a safe harbor so Tech can do his thing.
Omega’s response to this immediate danger — caused partly by her presence — was to complain that she wants to explore instead of attending to such minor details as having enough food for her, three grown men, and the Protein Powder Consumption Champion of the entire clone army.
This detail was likely included to show how sheltered Omega was on Kamino (can you imagine the wretched state of this child’s immune system? Add allergist and pediatrician bills to everything draggy about Omega).
Even if she wasn’t aware of it, Omega was “property” of the Kaminoans.
She may have considered herself “cornered” because she never got a field trip out of the everlasting shower that is Kamino. She was essentially a captive in a really shiny slave production facility.
And the irony is that just as Omega was cornered, so were her neck-y captors.
In the first few episodes of The Bad Batch, we learn the Empire is considering cutting clone production in favor of a recruited army of stormtroopers. That is quite the loss of contract.
It’s mentioned that the original DNA sample from Jango Fett was degrading, which likely contributed to the sense of urgency that led the Kaminoans to cooperate in Crosshair’s chip enhancement.
We know that the Kaminoan cloner who appears to have raised Omega, Nala Se, facilitated the escape of the Bad Batch.
She has done so to spirit Omega away from the Empire, but the reasons are unclear. It’s likely that the bounty hunter Fennec Shand was hired by the Kaminoans to retrieve her.
With the action of the series squarely on the Bad Batch for the past several episodes, there’s not a lot of information on Omega’s intended function or origin.
But now under pressure from Tarkin, who himself is probably feeling Emperor Palpatine’s “encouragement,” the cloners were likely making decisions they might not have during the prequel period.
We’re also thinking about Crosshair, whose absence is keenly felt. What’s he up to after his dabbling in horrific war crimes?
He seemed to show regret, or at least some element of reflection, as he sat in his sterile bunk when we last saw him. OG Crosshair is in there somewhere.
Although now occupying a villain’s arc, Crosshair is cornered just as much as his teammates. His actions were heavily influenced — if not outright controlled — by his enhanced inhibitor chip.
Crosshair will probably continue down this dark path unless his switch is un-flipped.
Star Wars fans: Again with the Space Dads?
With each passing episode, it becomes more and more obvious that the showrunners of the Bad Batch are perfectly happy to repackage The Mandalorian minus an old green baby plus a hero character whose standout talent is Googling.
This is a letdown because it’s so unnecessary.
Given this many characters, and the fascinating glimpse into the yet-unexplored era of the early Empire, there’s so much to do here without the fallback into old plotlines.
Assuming Dave Filoni implants each of his series with a father-son dynamic to honor the father search themes of the Original Trilogy, it’s a disappointment.
This talented man, stocked with such pure and encyclopedic love of the Star Wars universe, is eminently capable of creative stretching.
There are more ways to resolve a daddy issue, as Return of the Jedi showed us.
Fan reaction to the retreaded premise is wary. The fan base has largely accepted Omega, particularly because of her naivete.
But that can’t last forever, especially as she continues her immersion in violent escapades with the Bad Batch.
I’m not seeing a lot of mega-Omega memes, is what I’m saying, and while she’s recognized as a fairly non-offensive addition to the canon, “better than Jar Jar” is not exactly a high bar to clear.
Echo and the droids
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this episode was some screen time for Echo. The showrunners don’t seem to know what to do with Echo, as he’s a “naturally born” clone, badly injured during his time as an experiment subject at the hands of the Techno Union.
If this series took two seconds to divorce itself from its Space Dad obsession, it could forge an interesting path for Echo. He fits in neither with the mutated members of Clone Force 99 nor the other clones.
It’s interesting to note that even if he previously felt comfortable with his former squad mates, he would almost certainly still feel at odds after the execution of Order 66, since his inhibitor chip does not seem to have fired.
His struggle with identity, of not feeling as if he fit in no matter where he went, could make for a fascinating storyline, and in some ways recommends him as the lead character rather than Hunter.
We saw hints of this at the end of the Bad Batch arc in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but the issue resolved — a bit too neatly — by lumping him in with Clone Force 99.
“Cornered” is the first episode that even acknowledges that Echo is physically different from the other members of his team. While Wrecker can certainly cause heads to turn because of his massive physique, he bears the extensive scars of captivity, to the point where he bears a mechanical socket arm.
He is easily disguisable as a droid simply by covering his face; as Tech said in the beginning of the series, repurposing Obi-Wan Kenobi’s line, “(He’s) more machine than man; percentage-wise at least.”
Teaming Echo with actual machines underlines the current of free will versus automated behavior running throughout the storyline.
Omega and Fennec
Because Omega is an annoying burden who sucks (that… might be a tad too strong. Sorry, my supply of ice cream Twix bars is out. Let’s reword).
Because Omega is essentially a Space Daphne who’s always getting captured and chased, the rest of the Space Scooby Gang is in additional danger.
It’s bad enough the Empire is after them; now they’ve got the valedictorian of the 2021 class at Bounty Hunter Montessori School tracking their ship as well.
Fennec first emotionally corners Omega by playing on her inexperience. She then attempts to complete the kidnapping, leading to an Episode II-style chase through a dusky city.
Omega, who has never seen Annie, climbs a ladder leading to absolutely nowhere but space. (This is why you’re Space Daphne, Omega. You don’t escape up. Winners never try to escape up).
Fennec and her employer
Fennec, having failed to capture Omega despite her botched attempt to escape into thin air, must report to her employer that she’s lost the bounty.
But she follows this up with a clenched-jaw guarantee that she will complete the job. We don’t know who Fennec is reporting to, but it’s probably not someone incredibly nice. Or poor.
This boss is someone likely not used to unfulfilled expectations. If the Bad Batch continually outmaneuvers Fennec, she might find herself on the run as well.
The Bad Batch and Raspar Six: Cornering one another
A particular “show don’t tell” element from this episode sees the manger of the depot, Raspar Six (I once saw Raspar Six open for Def Leppard ’86; it was wild) announces he will scan the Marauder after it lands on Pantora.
Wrecker was like, “I don’t think so” and Raspar Six was all, “Oh.. well okay then” and the Bad Batch started on their way, but Raspar Six then asked for money. Tech jumped in with cash.
What’s interesting here isn’t so much that this is an illustration of the Bad Batch learning to operate in a world ungreased by military logistics.
The takeaway from this scene is that Wrecker could have continued threatening Raspar Six, or even harm him… but he doesn’t.
For all his yelling and smashing, Wrecker has a sense of right and wrong, and he refrains from simply muscling his way into what he wants just because he can. The team is going to bribe its way into town instead, like respectable people.
This little reality is one to track, especially since Wrecker hits his head again some more while chasing Fennec through the sewers. This man is a walking inhibitor chip reader to Order 66 some Jedi.
On the other hand, Raspar Six agrees to avoid scanning in the squad’s ship, but he winds up cornering them anyway by reporting them to Fennec Shad. What a charmer.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is currently streaming on Disney Plus. New episodes release every Friday. Follow Monsters and Critics’ Facebook page for the latest Star Wars theories, essays, news, and reviews.