“Cornered” has some solid action and a familiar face, but the show could use some more long-term plotting.
This recap of Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1, episode 4, “Cornered”, contains spoilers.
Things aren’t looking good for Clone Force 99, as ever. Without the support of the Republic, they’re short on fuel, rations, and other supplies. Their ship is on a wanted list, and their ultimate destination, the uninhabited planet of Idaflor, seems very far away. Instead, a short visit to the nearby Pantora is first on the agenda so that Tech can scramble the ship’s signature and evade that pesky pursuit. That’s right up Omega’s street since she’s determined to use her newfound freedom to explore everywhere she can.
This video-gamey structure is, you’ll recall, the same one that The Mandalorian employed. It only makes sense. There’s an overarching plot unfurling gradually in the space between weekly diversions, and each new stop allows for a change of tone and scenery. Remember, this is a particularly underexplored part of the Star Wars canon, right after the fall of the Republic but prior to the complete domination of the Empire. Seeing how Imperialism is developing in far-flung backwaters has been on the agenda since the beginning of the show, a concept explored through the competing perspectives of Omega, who has never known a galaxy beyond the one she’s seeing for the first time now, and the Bad Batch, who are transitioning from a life of order and regimentation to one of great uncertainty and change.
Omega’s curiosity getting the better of her causes her to run into Fennec Shand, who is looking for Clone Force 99 since the planet’s greedy dockworker ratted them out. Shand, who is being well served by the current continuity, gets to square off with Hunter and Wrecker in one-on-ones and make short work of both. She spends most of “Cornered” chasing Omega while Hunter pursues, Tech works on the ship, and Echo poses as a prototype military droid for some comedy beats with a protocol unit. It allows for plenty of action and a bit of mystery since it’s unclear at the moment who hired Shand or what her endgame is.
All of this is fine, obviously, if a little light. It’s still nice to see Clone Force 99 rallying around Omega, but The Bad Batch season 1, episode 4 lacks a big emotional punch or any wider worldbuilding detail. The introduction — or reintroduction, I suppose — of Shand adds value, and the action is very high quality, but I’d like to see more development of a concrete overarching plot with real stakes, macro goals, and a sense of forward momentum. These one-and-done deviations help to pad out earlier episodes and give the characters some contouring, but as of now, The Bad Batch needs just a little more.