Devil’s Deal makes up for last week’s relatively disappointing episode by adding a much-needed turn to The Bad Batch — an episode that barely features them at all. That’s not to say the titular team has become disinteresting, just that the show has needed more liberal shifts in perspective to explore more of the Star Wars Galaxy than a focus on any one group can really muster.
The Clone Wars, although largely focused on its core cast of Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, and Obi-Wan, had the benefit of regular arcs about minor characters. Rebels had a broader and more diverse array of characters in the Ghost crew with whom it could split off and tell different stories; in fact, its best episodes are the ones that split off certain members into their own adventures, including one I’ll reference here shortly.
The Bad Batch has needed to find a way to split its team into different sub-groups or focus on other characters who come into contact with the Batch as part of their own story. So far, it has heavily relied on guest stars (the Martez sisters, Rex, Moochie, Fennec, Cad Bane) to give the show a little more emotional oomph. However, no episodes have solely focused on those characters yet and that’s something I’ve wanted to see.
Thankfully Devil’s Deal does so, with the first of what appears to be a two-part episode about the development of Cham Syndulla’s Free Ryloth rebellion on the planet. Cham is a character from Clone Wars, a racial Twi’Lek who fights alongside the Republic but doesn’t necessarily trust them. His daughter, Hera Syndulla, is one of the main characters in Rebels and the main charcter of this episode.
Hera is, in fact, the best character on Rebels, and has gone on to feature in comics and games as part of this era’s Expanded Universe. Although she fits the “pilot archetype” that describes many characters, she’s the only one who ever gets poetic about it. Wings of the Master, the 7th episode of Rebels‘ second season, is one of my favorites of that show. It focuses on her working up the nerve to test out the prototype B-Wing fighters for the Rebellion.
Hera is accompanied by her droid, the galactic war criminal Chopper. He’s a big part of Rebels, too, and my son’s favorite character on the show. I’m only partially joking with that description.
The Batch only appears briefly here, selling weapons to the rebellion on behalf of Cid. They’re clearly being set up to help rescue Hera in the next episode. There are some really good bits between Hera and Omega; the use of Hera’s theme when she describes the freedom of flying to Omega made me cry a little bit. Star Wars is good for this kind of thing. It hits my buttons.
I’m happy that, thus far, The Bad Batch has been working to prequlize certain characters from Rebels and conclude bits from The Clone Wars. I’m glad we’ve now seen both young Kanan and young Hera in very organic ways. I hope that The Bad Batch does more episodes like Devil’s Deal because I really enjoy seeing the rest of the Galaxy fall to the Empire only for the Batch to have to show up to help. They’re guest-stars in their own show, but it’s a big damn Galaxy, so I don’t mind at all.
A short note: The Old Expanded Universe is inferior to the New Expanded Universe, and the comparative use of Twi’Leks is a major reason why. The old EU had the habit of taking whatever was shown in the Original Trilogy and repeating it as some kind of sacred writ — none of that more annoying than how Twi’Leks were used. The first Twi’Leks we see in the Original Trilogy are Bib Fortuna and Oola. Oola is a slave girl eaten by the Rancor. Naturally, the rest of the Old EU more or less treated Twi’Leks as a culture of Master Men and Slave Women. There was some shit about their head tentacles (known as lekku). Even Aayla Secura, a Twi’Lek Jedi, was frequently depicted as a sex object in the comics. With The Clone Wars, Rebels and the new EU, Twi’Lek women are depicted the way women should be. This shift speaks to the way Disney is working to make the franchise more appealing to a wider audience and also simply better than it used to be from a storytelling perspective.
In terms of toys? I don’t necessarily need young Hera. I wish I’d bought the nicer-looking one when she was released last year, but my original release of the 6” Hera is still displayed prominently in the Rebels section of my collection.
I’m excited about Clone Captain Hauser, who was released in 3.75” scale in an Amazon-exclusive pack with a different name. I hope to see him show up in 6” because I like buying Clones with removable helmets.
I haven’t bought anything Star Wars this week, although I anxiously await the omnibus I pre-ordered for Knights of the Old Republic as well as the newest Black Series wave that seems to be appearing on shelves.