Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

Infested is probably my least favorite episode of the show so far. It feels like the last gasp of filler before the final three episodes bring this season (but hopefully not this series) to its conclusion. Cid is displaced by a Devaronian named Roland Durand, who wants to use Cid’s position on Ord Mantell to make a deal with the Pykes.

The Pykes are a criminal syndicate seen in previous shows and comics, as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story. This means our Bad Batch is placed in the position of helping Cid for two reasons: Omega once again reminds them that helping people is their purpose … and because Cid has all their personal information and can blackmail them. The first reason is repetitive, particularly when Omega has given Hunter the same reminder over and over again. The second is also repetitive because at this point, Cid has constantly threatened our boys with blackmail.

This speaks to an issue with The Bad Batch as a show, which is that despite moments of minor growth, each episode seems to continually reset the lead team back to its default positions. Hunter has nominally become more caring and willing to help, but is still a “my team must come first” kinda guy. Echo rarely gets anything to do. Neither does Tech. Wrecker has had the most growth by way of being actively part of the plot but hasn’t done anything interesting since his chip was removed at the midway point of the season. Since then, the only ongoing plots we have hanging over our team’s head are Crosshair’s half-hearted search for them, which happens in fits and starts, and their arrangement with Cid, which ceased to be interesting and should’ve ended when they paid off their debts to her.

It feels like Infested is an episode that could’ve been slotted anywhere in the season. I had a similar problem with Common Ground, although that episode at least wanted to present an ideological issue and just failed to deliver fully on the promise of having the Batch ally with former Separatists.

If they aren’t going to allow the Batch to change as people, then the model presented by Devil’s Deal and Rescue on Ryloth needs to be adopted for Season 2: Introduce interesting protagonists for stories where the Batch show up to help.

Between The Mandalorian Season 2 and this show, I am starting to get a little tired of giant monsters and creepy crawlies. I don’t mean to say that episodes without overarching plot or character momentum are wasted space. As a viewer of serial stories, my preference is for series to have some breathing room within their longer arcs for one-off adventures that let characters develop. The problem is that The Bad Batch hasn’t used these little spaces for interesting stories.

There is little setup here for anything that could be picked up at a later date besides the character of Roland Durand, who isn’t particularly interesting. I’d like some episodes that really let the different members of the Batch shine or set up inter-Batch conflicts for the characters to work out. They rarely come into any kind of conflict or disagree about plans of attack. There needs to be an injection of drama into the story to let these four Clones grow or, at the very least, shine.

I’m hoping the remaining three episodes are stunners. The team that makes The Bad Batch definitely knows how to write some incredible episodes and have a firm grasp on why the Batch’s perspective is the right perspective for a show about the Galaxy during this period of its history. I just hope they can figure out more interesting stories to tell with them on a more consistent basis. They’ve thrown a lot of cool stuff into the air to play with: bounty hunters, Kaminoan civil strife, Project War-Mantle, Crosshair, Rex, the criminal syndicates. There are many other in-continuity elements they can bring in, too, like Darth Maul post-Clone Wars. As much as I enjoy the show, The Bad Batch doesn’t always feel essential, and episodes like this make it hard for me to enthusiastically recommend it to people who aren’t already interested in this niche version of Star Wars.

Sometimes I think the reason that the seventh season of The Clone Wars was so good was that it was a series of three relatively concise stories, with a final one that felt on the level of most of the movies. There are rumors that Lucasfilm is working on further stories set during The Clone Wars as animated-movie events, and honestly, maybe that’s the best idea for the future of The Bad Batch — shorter seasons, longer arcs and more character development while maintaining the same level of incredible animation we’ve seen from the show.

Anything New?

I pre-ordered the 2022 Walmart-exclusive Clone Captain Fordo. My Black Series collecting has stalled due to new waves not arriving as early in Indiana as in other places, but I’m really hoping my Amazon pre-orders will arrive soon, and maybe a Deluxe Wrecker will pop up at GameStop. As prices rise, I’m going to get more judicious. I like Clones and I like Lukes, but some supporting characters are going to end up a lot more expensive than they’re worth.

Don’t get me wrong: My 6-inch collecting is far from over. But I don’t think I need, say, Miggs Mayfield from The Mandalorian.

My pre-order of The Old Republic Omnibus is still shipping, which is actually starting to really bother me. My copy of The New Republic Vol. 4 is still in Australia because their handling of COVID-19 blows. It’s not like I’m short on Star Wars reading material, however.

Unfortunately, the ongoing War of the Bounty Hunters arc with Marvel isn’t really hitting me the way I’d hoped, and I’ll likely just wait for the final collection now.

My buddy Patrick is going to Galaxy’s Edge in a few weeks, and I hope he can find at least one of the Legacy sabers for which I’ve been saving. We’ll see. I keep hearing rumors of a Black Series Rey Skywalker Force FX Elite saber coming out this holiday season and it’s a crapshoot whether that release is superior to the Legacy release that’s currently available. The FX Elite Darksaber is far, far better than the one at Disney parks right now, and I don’t want to risk buying the inferior Rey saber (particularly if the store release has a proper gear-turn activation switch and a blue/green flash at activation). So honestly, I’ll probably just hope there are some Dooku sabers in stock at Galaxy’s Edge. Thus far, the Legacy version is the best retail replica available even though my wife says it looks like a dildo.

There isn’t anything I would buy from this episode. I guess that speaks, too, to the way that The Bad Batch feels like it’s in a holding pattern. At least each episode of The Mandalorian presented me with something to desire deep down in my consumer-driven heart. Very few episodes of The Bad Batch really make me excited to buy shit.