Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2021 by
This post contains major spoilers for the latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
The Empire has occupied Raxus, the former capital of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Captain Bragg, the Imperial tasked with pacifying the planet, makes a very public show of strength and solidarity, using their Senator, Avi Singh, as a puppet to tell them it will all be okay. Singh, though initially agreeing to collaboration with the Empire, decides mid-speech to turn on the Empire. After a public display of defiance, the senator is arrested.
His droid, GS-8, enacts a protocol pre-installed by the senator to hire mercenaries to free him in such an eventuality, and that leads to Cid. Naturally, Cid sends the Bad Batch—minus Omega who is left behind because there’s too much heat on her—to the Confederate capital to effect a rescue.
The clones of the Bad Batch are forced to face their prejudices as their job rescuing a Separatist senator is antithetical to their programming. They rendezvous with GS-8 and try to put politics aside as they work to extract Senator Singh. Over the course of the mission, they’re forced to trust the senator, challenging their beliefs to their core.
After a successful mission, they return to Ord Mantell to find that Cid has put Omega to work hustling bar patrons out of their money at the Dejarik board. She does so well, she’s able to pay off the Batch’s debt.
Avi Singh and the CIS
The episode begins on the planet of Raxus Secundus, referred to by most as simply Raxus. It’s not the first time the planet has been seen in Star Wars canon: Ahsoka and Padmé traveled there during The Clone Wars to pursue a peaceful resolution to the war. As the meeting site of the Confederate Senate, Raxus was where they met Mina Bonteri and came close to ending the war. It was only the machinations of the Sith and the assassination of Mina Bonteri that stalled the peace talks and allowed the war to continue.
While Bonteri was the senator for the Japrael sector, which included Onderon, Avi Singh is the senator for Raxus itself. This is his first appearance in Star Wars and he’s voiced by none other than Alexander Siddig. Although he’s known for number of roles, Siddig might be best known to Star Wars fans as Dr. Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, making him the most recent crossover talent from the other big space franchise. As Singh, he has to work to convince the Bad Batch to trust him after a lifetime of conditioning to be suspicious of Separatists, but he helps the clones realize that the politics in the galaxy have changed and their old prejudices might be less than useful.
Singh is placed in a position much like the leaders of Vichy when the Nazis marched into Paris to occupy France. But, unlike Petain and others, Singh rejects the fascist overlords and refuses their puppeteering.
This episode offers our first look at the Empire’s bid to control the Confederacy as well as the former Republic. Sparks of rebellion start almost immediately in the galaxy, but the Empire is good about snuffing it out where they can before it fans into flames. Eventually, by the time of Star Wars Rebels, they lose control and the tide begins shifting against them after the Battle of Scarif.
There are some interesting details to notice about the episode. First, you’ll notice that the Bad Batch don’t use any lethal shots against their fellow clones. Even though the regs are trying to kill them, the Bad Batch only uses stun blasts. It makes the fight a lot harder for them, but this is the political compromise they make in order to ease their consciences about the mission.
The walkers used in this episode are Clone Wars surplus: AT-TEs. That stands for All Terrain Tactical Enforcer. These giant, turtle-shaped walkers were first seen in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and featured prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As far as the Empire was concerned, they were phased out of use soon enough. The next time they’re seen on the timeline (so far) is on the planet Seelos where clones Rex, Gregor, and Wolffe live inside of one like it’s Quint’s Orca.
The interrogation droid brought in by Captain Bragg for Senator Singh looks to be an IT-O Interrogator Unit, very similar to the one Darth Vader used on Leia in A New Hope.
More references to A New Hope start with the dejarik board that features prominently in the episode. The sounds of the game should be instantly recognizable to anyone who has watched A New Hope more than a few times – the sound has been lifted straight from that film’s soundtrack. The figures on the board also appear to be digitized figures of the pieces originally built by Phil Tippett and his team for A New Hope and were recreated for The Force Awakens. With new technology available now, it would not surprise me to find out those models on the dejarik board in The Bad Batch were built with scans from those pieces, as they look that accurate.
Thanks to Omega’s side hustle with the dejarik board, the Bad Batch is now out of Cid’s debt. With their prejudices sufficiently challenged, their view of the galaxy broadening, and still on the run from bounty hunters trying to catch or kill Omega, what will be their next move?
Will they stay on Ord Mantell and familiar territory? Or will they move on to other parts of the galaxy?
Some part of me hopes they’ll still sync up with the larger rebellion against the Empire, but something tells me they’ll have something bigger to deal with before that’s a possibility.
We’ll get a glimpse of their next move next week.
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