‘The Bad Batch’ Season 2 Needs to Get a New Goal, Fast

The Bad Batch follows interesting characters during one of the most intriguing, tense periods in the history of the Star Wars galaxy, but the series is growing increasingly stale in its second season. The two most recent episodes, arguably the most tedious ones yet, make it clear why this is. As it stands right now, the titular team isn’t actually seeking or trying to accomplish anything in particular, and it makes the stories of individual episodes come across as isolated and pointless. In short, the Bad Batch needs a new goal to pursue, and the series needs to give it to them, fast.

In Season 1, the Batch had a simple but compelling goal, that being survival. The series started in the midst of the Republic’s violent transformation into the Empire. Clone Force 99’s mutations caused the inhibitor chips placed in their bodies to malfunction, meaning they were not compelled to follow Order 66 and turn on the Jedi as the other clones did. Horrified by the Empire’s evil actions, the team went rogue and rescued fellow unique clone Omega (Michelle Ang). They then began working as mercenaries for a handler named Cid (Rhea Pearlman) while avoiding Imperial pursuit.

RELATED: Every Easter Egg You Missed in ‘The Bad Batch’ Season 2

A Lackadaisical Season

Image via Disney+

The circumstances haven’t changed much in Season 2, but the Batch have evaded the Empire so routinely at this point that neither they nor the viewer are nearly as worried about them being captured or killed as they once were. Because of this, the largely standalone missions they go on no longer seem like necessary risks, instead coming across as whimsical outings, most of which are taken on to indulge Omega’s curiosity and sense of adventure. This is especially apparent in the most recent two episodes, in which the Batch’s reasons for going on the respective missions are especially thin.

In Season 2, Episode 4, “Faster,” Omega gets Tech and Wrecker (Dee Bradley Baker) to intercede in one of Cid’s gambling debacles, ultimately forcing Tech to take part in a life-threatening race to pay off Cid’s debt to Grini Millegi (Ernie Hudson). In the following episode, “Entombed,” Omega becomes enthralled with Phee Genoa’s (Wanda Sykes) tales of treasure hunting and convinces the Batch to accompany Phee on her next excursion, leading to a dangerous battle with an ancient mech. The reasons for the team getting involved in these situations are so flimsy that their actions lack a sense of urgency, and consequently it is very difficult to care about the outcomes of the stories. There is no real tension or cause to be concerned for the Batch because it would be ridiculous for anything significantly dangerous to happen to them during such frivolous stories.

Lack of Character Development

Mel-221, Echo, Tech, Phee Genoa, Omega, Hunter, and Wrecker in a scene from Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2.
Image via Disney+

Worse, the stories don’t contribute much at all to developing the characters or the series’ themes, which is usually the best justification for a standalone episode. “Faster” puts Tech in the spotlight but doesn’t reveal or add any new facets to his character. It’s supposed to be surprising that he winds up in the center of a dangerous physical situation given how he fills the intellectual, “nerdy” archetype in the cast, but he’s always held his own during prior action scenes, so the role reversal falls flat. Likewise, Millegi’s suggestion that the Batch can’t trust Cid is tough to take seriously because the team has no reason to believe anything Millegi says. The only real theme or lesson to come out of “Entombed” is that treasure hunting can be dangerous but in addition to being a random inclusion for the series this also falls on deaf ears, as Omega is still enamored by Phee’s stories at the end. Previous, beloved Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels had their fair share of standalone, frivolous installments. But even the silliest of these, such as the infamous droid episodes, were informed by the basic themes of the series, those being showing how the Clone Wars effected different parts of the galaxy and the different ways galactic citizens rebelled against the Empire, respectively.

Season 2 of The Bad Batch doesn’t have this kind of overarching theme yet. The Crosshair-centric third episode is the strongest installment by far because it’s clear the show is building to that character reconsidering his loyalty to the Empire. But the rest of the team is not being developed in clear manners like this and the series needs to rectify that. It doesn’t matter what exactly the new purpose is, (though the Batch joining the Rebellion to actively oppose the Empire seems the easy choice) the show just needs to find one, fast, if it wants to avoid becoming totally aimless.

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