Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen)
Image: Lucasfilm

Ah, Fridays. A day that has become synonymous with Star Wars as much as the months of May and December. Yes, we’re back again to discuss another great episode of The Bad Batch, that sees our heroes try to restock on supplies and face off against a very familiar foe. All while managing to display the best animation we’ve seen so far on a Lucasfilm Animation project.

As per usual, a quick reminder that this recap will contain spoilers for the episode and so if you haven’t caught up yet – please do not read any further! Well, watch the episode and come back, but if you need something to pass the time away, don’t forget you can watch our new discussion show The Bad Betches.

After last week’s exploration of Crosshair’s indoctrination, you’d be forgiven for assuming that this episode would audiences a brief respite from the action. Nope! Instead, we’re flung into a sprawling, gorgeous metropolis and have a prequel-inspired bounty hunter chase scene. After debuting in the first season of The Mandalorian, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) makes her first appearance in animated form. Ming-Na is no stranger to animation after having played Mulan for Disney, and it shows in her performance – which is utter perfection. 

The episode takes place on the moon Pantora, mentioned before in The Clone Wars, and is a Coruscant level beauty – a colourful city with elements of Russian architecture. The animation team really deserves to win an award for this episode, in particular, it’s definitely the best that Lucasfilm Animation has ever looked. We see The Bad Batch split up as they work to fix their ship, as well as pick up supplies for the foreseeable future. It’s a fun story beat that would usually be repetitive but is given a new lease of life through the lens of Clone Force 99 – soldiers who aren’t used to living life on the outskirts, making dodgy deals and trying to survive in this new environment. 

We do get to see more of the Galactic Empire’s expansion throughout the episode, although it’s not the core focus. It’s chilling watching these characters that we’ve grown to love over seven + seasons of the Clone Wars marching all together as Imperials – all sense of identity removed, and splashed in the identical white-clad armour. But what’s more frightening is seeing the citizens respond to this display with cheers and joy. To them, the Imperial forces marching through is a positive sign proving that war is over and that things are here to improve. It’s a great move on behalf of the storytellers to show us the reaction on Onderon and Pantora – both ‘saved’ by the Republic, but both showing a different response to the Empire’s occupation.

Hunter (Dee Bradley-Baker), looking for Omega
Image: Lucasfilm

Omega, still inquisitive as ever finds herself lost from the crew and into the seemingly safe arms of a kind stranger. And, just a reminder – don’t walk off with a stranger. Hunter catches up with Omega and the helpful woman who turns out to be Fennec Shand. It’s so much fun watching Fennec interact within this time frame and opposite clones, I wonder if she already had a professional relationship with Boba Fett at this point or whether that was just a fun story for her to tell him in the future. Either way, we get to see Fennec easily handle herself against the crew and it’s just by luck that they manage to escape. It’s not really a surprise to know that Ming-Na continues to kick ass in every conceivable format made available, but it’s still a joy to watch. 

We’d be remiss not to bring up Echo’s side adventure as he is sold off in disguise as a droid and is introduced to another cute array of Astromechs and a bossy Protocol Droid. Again, an array of non-humanoid characters that we’d die for despite only knowing them for a few minutes. There was some debate online whether it was rude of Hunter to let Echo be treated as a droid, given his traumatic experiences, but I doubt Echo would have gone with the plan if he was that against it – and the same with Hunter. It’s been a while since we saw them introduced in TCW, but I would have imagined that Echo and the group have bonded as much as he has with other clones we’ve seen in the series. It’s just a fun little comedic bit, where Echo gets to say “I know what I’m worth” – and you know what? Good for him.

Thankfully, The Bad Batch manage to escape with both their supplies and the knowledge that somebody is looking for Omega. But who would put a bounty on Omega’s head? The obvious thought would be the Empire, but why wouldn’t they have included the entire team? Perhaps it’s actually the Kaminoans, who as we all know have a long history working with Bounty Hunters. It adds another interesting layer to The Bad Batch’s current dilemma.

Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), facing off against the Bad Batch
Image: Lucasfilm

Overall, Cornered was a beautiful episode that displays some of the best animation displayed in Star Wars history so far. It also shows how The Bad Batch is an excellent conduit to look at the numerous ways the Galaxy changed so soon under the Empire’s grip, while being able to expand on others stories – whether that’s telling new ones with Omega or expanding on others, like with Fennec. 

Oh, And Another Thing: 

  • This episode was written by Christian Taylor – who wrote both the Mortis & Yoda arcs in ‘The Clone Wars’.
  • SNL alums and Star Wars fans Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam both appear in the episode as the Trader & Goatal/Depot Manager.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen Pantora, but not the first time we’ve seen the Pantorans. Of course, we met them in The Clone Wars Season One and in Revenge of the Sith, including Notluwiski Papanoida (played by George Lucas).
  • Shoutout to the Aqualish driver just chilling out to Space-Dubstep. We respect you.
  • How cute was the little Clone Trooper doll, designed to look like the Stormtrooper one that Jyn had in Rogue One? Can we have one…please?
  • This episode had a lot of AOTC vibes, with the sound design and visuals calling back to the chase between Obi-Wan/Anakin & Zam.
  • I think if The Bad Batch had a blue font moral at the beginning like The Clone Wars, this week’s one would be DON’T TRUST PEOPLE.
  • Where do you think The Bad Batch will head to next? – based on the trailer we’re still due to visit Zygerria and Captain Rex.

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