Every time an episode of The Bad Batch lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the twelfth episode of season 1 of The Bad Batch – Rescue on Ryloth. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Ross Hollebon

Star Wars is always about hope but “Rescue on Ryloth” created a dual spotlight on trust and loyalty. These themes were utilized between numerous sets of characters but none so important as Omega and young Hera Syndulla. As Hera reached out to a hesitant Bad Batch to help rescue her parents it was the youngest member who rose to the occasion and once again served as the conscience of the wayward crew as they continued to struggle with priorities.

In a tense exchange with the bandana-wearing leader of the Bad Batch, Omega explains Hera’s situation, and their responsibility, as she points out, “She’s trying to save her family, Hunter. I’d do the same for you.” This episode helped set her brothers straight but only after their young ward assumed a vocal leadership role.

Her approach not only inspired and directed Clone Force 99 but also taught Hera valuable lessons we already know will serve her well in the future with the Rebellion. The young clone adjusted at the moment, after Chopper was foiled in his mission, empowering and insisting her new Twi’lek friend take her first official step to become a true pilot. If it wasn’t pretty visually—how she flew, not the animation which is a cinematic hug for the eyes—it was a masterpiece historically for the character piloting her first mission.

Hera made it work—and would later be taught by Tech how to scramble a ship’s signature—helping to define her future’s path, all while Clone Captain Howzer has to work through his own personal demons between following Imperial orders and doing what is right. His loyalty finds its home and he works to help the Bad Batch fly the imprisoned parents of Hera, and other Ryloth loyalists, to safety. During this time he stands up to the Empire and also calls for his brothers serving under him to do the same. They are arrested but this defiance against orders is likely to spark many more clones to act on their own free will, instead of following the orders of an evil regime.

And speaking of the evil regime, Admiral Rampart continues to show his vileness, but Crosshair continues to hint at considering what he’s doing for the Empire. His true colors will show soon enough as the episode ends with him given permission to “hunt” Clone Force 99. The final quartet of episodes should provide fireworks, emotional moments, and even more clarity of how we reach the stories of Rogue One and A New Hope, and I’m ready for it.

Becca Benjamin

This week’s episode of The Bad Batch, “Rescue on Ryloth,” picks up right where “Devil’s Deal” left off. Cham and Eleni Syndulla, and Uncle Gobi, along with the rest of Cham’s inner circle, are still held captive for the staged assassination attempt on Senator Orn Free Taa’s life by Admiral Rampart. The Admiral has ordered a search party for their daughter, Hera, and is hunting for remaining loyalists to the Syndullas. 

Meanwhile, Crosshair is searching for Hera, and Hera and Chopper send a distress call to Omega for help. Once again, the kids, Omega and Hera, take center stage in the twelfth episode of The Bad Batch. It all starts with Omega convincing Hunter and the rest of Clone Force 99 to go back to Ryloth because “that’s what soldiers do,” they help people. 
 
Once on Ryloth, Hera explains the situation, and it’s not an easy fix. Hunter wants nothing to do with storming the capital to free the Syndullas and instead offers to take Hera off-world. Again, Omega steps in as the voice of reason. She puts Hunter in his place and tells him, like Hera, she would risk everything to save her family. 
 
At the same time, Captain Howzer and Admiral Rampart aren’t seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to how the Empire is handling the situation on Ryloth. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Empire may have switched from clone troops in favor of recruits due to their shift of perspective as time passes. That, or perhaps, the effects of the inhibitor chip that activates “Order 66” wears off after a certain amount of time? 
 
When Omega goes back to tell Hera that Hunter has changed his mind, we find our young budding leader grappling with the gravity of the situation.  It’s reminiscent of a moment she’ll experience on Lothal where once again, her trusty astromech, Chopper, will be the only one to console her aching heart. 

It doesn’t take long for Omega and Hera to present their strategic plan before the group and for Hunter to give his stamp of approval by saying, “we’ll follow your lead.” Yes, this is Hera’s shining moment, the beginnings of a natural-born leader for the rebellion. 

 What’s next? Well, put the plan into action, of course. Which they do, but not all things go quite to plan as we hope they will, and that’s no different for our friends on Ryloth. So, what does a girl do when her testy astromech can’t get the job done and disable the cannons? Well, do it yourself, of course! And that’s just what they do, too. Omega and Hera confiscate an Imperial shuttle as a distraction so that Wrecker can blast the cannons and the rest of her brothers can rescue Hera’s parents. It’s an incredible sequence and makes me want to see more of this pair (Omega and Hera) in action!
 
The rescue plan is a success, but no victory comes without sacrifice. Captain Howzer stays behind so that the Syndullas can get away. And in doing so, he takes a stand against the Empire by laying his weapon down and asking his brothers to do the same. “What the Empire is doing is wrong,” Howzer says, which raises an eyebrow or two, and even causes Crosshair to pause and contemplate. 
 
But not for long, the episode ends with Crosshair asking for permission to hunt down Clone Force 99. Admiral Rampart agrees to the request without hesitation, but what is Crosshair’s agenda? Is he, like Howzer, having second thoughts about what the Empire is doing? Or, does he want to put an end to his brothers once and for all? 
 
Great episode that adds even more layers to the Star Wars narrative as a whole and leaves us with more questions than it does answers. Specifically, will we see Hera and Omega team up again in a Star War? Well, I, for one, certainly hope so. Until next week, the mission is over. Pass the Mantell Mix!

Eric Onkenhout

Rescue on Ryloth left me a little underwhelmed, but together with Devil’s Deal, the duology worked great together. It can be restricting dissecting television shows episode by episode because they are generally supposed to be viewed as one whole story. That way, the entire story is presented, and easier to form an intelligent opinion. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at Rescue on Ryloth.

Admiral Rampart addresses the crowd and explicitly confirms Senator Orn Free Taa is alive, which fits the canon as he appears in Lords of the Sith 5 years later. With a few added lines of dialogue, it wasn’t hard to make sure that lines up.

Hera reaches out to the Bad Batch for help. It was cute watching Omega trying to fix Gonky, who is also defective and can’t hold a charge (like my old iPod). And it was funny watching Hunter disciplining Omega for giving out their comm channel to someone they had just met. She’s far too trusting, but isn’t that what this entire episode is about?

Hunter isn’t in love with the idea of going back to Ryloth, but Omega reminds him that’s what warriors do. They help those in need. They’re not soldiers anymore, but they aren’t entirely mercenaries yet, either. Now they take orders from their conscience and Omega. So much of Star Wars is about the powers that everyone has and how they use those powers. It’s the Force for the Jedi and Sith. The Mandalorians have their weapons. For Clone Force 99, it’s their enhancements. So how will they use those powers? I love how Omega is the moral compass.

On Ryloth, the Empire has a complete military occupation even though Ryloth is not a separatist planet. The Empire doesn’t care; those terms mean little to the Empire now. They only care about what you can do for them and what resources they can take from you.

Leave it to young Hera and Omega to distract the Imperial refinery, pulling enemy forces away from the city, making Cham’s rescue easier. No more keeping the bench warm for Omega. Not everything goes smoothly, as Hera is forced to fly the shuttle to destroy the automated turrets knocking the refinery offline. The distraction works, but Crosshair is on to their plans.

Did Howzer’s chip not activate? If not, it would be curious to see how he reacted when the clones turned on the Jedi. Howzer continues to struggle with what he knows is right and what Admiral Rampart tells him is right. Howzer eventually earns the trust of Cham and Eleni. Howzer confronts the other clones, and while some agree to lay down their weapons, I thought he would get taken out by Crosshair. He, however, does get arrested. Perhaps the initial Order 66 command begins to fade in the chip.

Hunter sees this, and one wonders if the Bad Batch will come back to rescue Howzer. In my opinion, Crosshair is forever lost, but it would be interesting if the Bad Batch will try to remove his chip, although it would have to be voluntary unless he is stunned first. However, I don’t see Crosshair going down without a fight.

Cham’s history with the Jedi/Republic, and finally the rebels, is a tumultuous one. In Liberty on Ryloth, Mace Windu enlisted the help of Cham Syndulla and his freedom fighters. His fight against the droids made Cham a symbol of freedom for the people. Palpatine was not thrilled with this idea, “Cham Syndulla was a radical before the war. He is very unpredictable.” Orn Free Taa also has reservations about Syndulla, “He can’t be trusted. I know Syndulla seeks to gain power. We were political rivals.” But Mace knew they couldn’t win without Cham’s help.

Cham doesn’t trust Taa, and the feeling is mutual. Even if the Republic succeeded in ousting the Separatist occupation, Cham didn’t want another occupying force. As Cham put it, “Another armed occupation of Ryloth is not a free Ryloth. How long until I’m fighting you, master Jedi.”

In a matter of a year or two, the clones that once defended Ryloth are the ones doing the occupying (funny how that works). Senator Taa now supports the occupation only because it benefits him. The brief alliance with Cham is a distant memory.

Eleni reminds me a lot of Lyra Erso. Both fiercely defend what they believe. Eleni had some great lines in Rescue on Ryloth, such as this, “I have seen how you treat your allies, Admiral. I prefer to be your enemy.” I can’t remember if Cham and Saw ever worked together, but I can see Saw and Eleni working well together. Theory both have the same temperament. The only difference is Eleni only wants freedom for Ryloth. The difference between Hera and her parents is the scope of their rebellion. As Thrawn says later about Hera, “War is in her blood.”

For so long, Cham only wanted peace for Ryloth. But, even as he lay down his arms, Cham is arrested—framed. As Echo said, “he’s a voice people stand behind. This makes him a threat to the Empire.” Hunter mentions the plasma bridge has been deactivated. This bridge was initially seen in Liberty on Ryloth.

By the end of The Clone Wars, Cham had hope to have fought his last war. Fast forward to Rebels, Hera calls on her father’s rebel cell to help capture a carrier. Here is where Hera says her mother, Eleni, was killed during the resistance. I wonder if she’ll have an on-screen death. She definitely deserves it. After the Clone Wars, Ryloth’s freedom became the most essential thing to Cham.

It’s also interesting to point out that Hera pulled Chopper out of a Y-wing that crashed during The Clone Wars, so perhaps Hera hasn’t owned Chopper for long before Rescue on Ryloth.

I’m a little worried (not terribly, but it’s worth mentioning) that The Bad Batch will begin to rely too much on characters from other shows as a supporting cast as a crutch. Again, it’s a minor detail, but I think the show is stronger when it centers on the squad and their path through the post-war Empire.

Carl Bayliss

Older UK-based readers may recall an advert for Ronseal – a range of garden fence paints which were marketed with the tagline ‘Does what it says on the tin’, basically saying the name of the product told you what you needed to know e.g. Ronseal One Coat Fence paint was a fence paint that only needed one coat applied (to the fence, you could wear as many coats as you like ).

And so it is with this latest episode of The Bad atch – Rescue on Ryloth, where we are on Ryloth and Clone Force 99 are enlisted to rescue the newly imprisoned leaders. This is brought about by a very ‘New Hope’ (help me, your my only hope) cry for help from Hera Syndulla using a frequency that Omega gave her.

The team find Hera and set about trying to spring her parents and their associates from the imperial prison, but thanks to Crosshair they are almost outthought at every turn. Clone Captain Howzer also plays a significant role in helping them, as he seems to doubt the Empire’s motives more than his colleagues – I can’t help but think this is another breadcrumb we’re being given relating to the control chips and it’s effectiveness not being as universal as previously believed.

We see Vice Admiral Rampart building his role as the big bad for this series and as I’d thought with him letting Crosshair now try to track down the Bad Batch, these two episodes have been a nice standalone story which have set us up for the next 4 episodes (although will the finale be a feature length episode?)

Not long to wait and find out…

Paul Naylor

Well, what can I say about the latest episode of Rebels, erm, Clone Wars, erm I mean Bad Batch. Bad Batch, yes. What has effectively been a two-part story has worked on so many levels, expanding on three series in one fell swoop.

Key points of enjoyment for me:

Returning to Ryloth:

Always good to reconnct with the multi-coloured Twi’lek, with familiar faces aplenty – none more so than Hera.

Omega and Hera:

Seeing these two together is a joy. The possibilities are endless, with scope for live action continuity too.

Oh-so-cool Howzer:

Captain Howzer, with his on point hair do and conflicted interest regarding the Empire and very embryonic Rebellion is great to behold.

Crosshair’s choice:

Crosshair’s continued hatred of his former ‘colleagues’ is cranked up another notch, with permission to hunt them down.

More than all the above, what I like is the tone of The Bad Batch. It successfully pulls together The Clone Wars and Rebels series in an imaginative way. Love it.

Daniel Lo

The Bad Batch have officially crossed a new threshold. Since their introduction in the final season of Clone Wars, we have seen the tail end of their service to the Republic before being forced into survival mode and taking on the role of mercenaries. Now, we are seeing them take their first steps back into fighting for something bigger than themselves. This was possibly foreshadowed by the fact that Cyd has stopped appearing in consecutive episodes, with the current streak of absence being the longest since the character’s introduction. My guess is we haven’t seen the last of her, but her role will likely diminish… or change.

Omega, on the other hand, continues to loom large. Her influence on her brothers is ever growing, and was very much the driving force behind the events of this episode. If she hasn’t already, Omega has officially made an impact beyond the scope of this show by inspiring Hera to finally make her first takeoff, presumably followed by a successful enough landing to be back on the ground in one piece. The cherry on top was Tech teaching Hera how to scramble a ship’s signature. These skills prove to be useful later on, right?

Surely to nobody’s surprise, Howzer is on the same side as the Syndullas. What we still don’t know yet, of course, is how that came to be. Several members of his squad didn’t seem to require much convincing to lay down their arms, though. Does this mean the inhibitor chips are not as universally effective as intended? How many more clones like Howzer are out there? If Tarkin didn’t have a good enough reason to decommission clones, he sure does now.

Crosshair is starting to remind me of Thrawn. While watching Rebels, I acutely recall how Thrawn’s alarming ability to thwart the heroes’ plans was often frustrating to watch. On a smaller scale, Crosshair is proving to be a similar threat. They even sort of talk the same. Also, his scars don’t look nearly as bad as expected.

Speaking of Crosshair we don’t see him miss too often, do we?

Mark Mulcaster and Mark Newbold discuss Rescue on Ryloth on Episode 100 of Making Tracks

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