While this week’s episode is another one in which Clone Force 99 make a cameo in their own show, it’s for a very good reason. The Bad Batch is another show in the ever-expanding franchise that introduces a whole new set of characters into the Star Wars universe, and offering up new opportunities to expand the mythos, but it is also a show that promises a front row seat for the rise of the Empire. Who can’t be excited about that prospect? And ‘Devil’s Due’ does it with aplomb, mixing familiar faces that we have come to expect from this series, as well as focussing on one planets struggle to cope with the transition from freedom to tyranny. A journey achieved slowly and subtly at times. After all, the clone troopers – before Order 66 – were the backbone of the Republic. But now… well, you know the rest. Unlike the citizens of Ryloth, who are coming to terms with a partnership that is turning sour. But then, they are living with the memory that the clone troopers did defend them not that long ago.
The focus on Ryloth offers up the chance to make use of Clone Wars – and The Clone Wars alumni – veteran Cham Syndulla (Robin Atkin Downes) and his partner Eleni (Ferelith Young) who oversee this souring of relationships as Senator Orn Free Taa (Phil LaMarr) is more than happy to become an enslaved enclave of the Empire. But, it also allows the introduction of Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and her droid Chopper, who fans will recognise from Rebels. But a much younger Hera, of course. After all, this does take place some two decades before Star Wars: A New Hope. All-in-all, however, it makes for a great callback and allows this one-off episode detached from the main action of the main series’ plot to connect with fans who may not be all that interested in the rise of Palpatine’s Galactic Empire. Y’know, the kids watching this, maybe? Because I can’t think of too many viewers who would not be caught up with this major overarching plot, can you?
Needless to say with such headstrong characters it’s not long before Hera, and then her parents, get into hot water with one Admiral Rampart (Noshor Dalal), back again to enforce the Empire’s new rule.
First Hera is caught in an out of bounds area – a mining facility now under Imperial control – but won’t be reported, thanks to a sympathetic Clone Captian Howzer, and then it escalated from there when Eleni and Cham set off to meet Clone Force 99 to retrieve some much needed weaponry. Only to find they have been tracked by an ever-suspicious Admiral Rampart. And from there it’s all gunfights, and… well, I’ll let you watch it for yourself. I’ve already said too much.
‘Devil’s Due’ is an episode with plenty of foreshadowing – especially as we all know where this is heading – and with the seeds of the Rebellion planted. It also has plenty of fan-service too. There’s Hera for the new generation of Star Wars fans, as well as The Hammer of Ryloth himself – Cham Syndulla – for the millennial viewers. And, of course, it’s Star Wars, for the older generation too. So, everyone should be happy with this one-off detour of an episode. And a reminder how tyranny can rise almost unchecked. Almost.
The Bad Batch is streaming now on Disney + with new episodes every Friday.
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