The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 13 Recap – Will the Bad Batch remain on Pabu?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 15, 2023 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 13 Recap - Will the Bad Batch remain on Pabu?
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Summary

The Bad Batch consider retirement in an episode that makes for a nice change of pace.

This recap of The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 13, “Pabu”, contains spoilers.


Clone Force 99, like all of the clones, were bred for a single purpose: War. But that raises the obvious question of what born-and-bred soldiers do in peacetime. Where do they live? How do they get by? Can they even reckon with the idea of a life without conflict, without someone to serve, even if it’s just themselves, and have they ever considered putting their skillset to any other use?

According to “Pabu”, now might be the time.

The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 13 Recap

We are, lest we forget, approaching the end of the second – and presumably final – season. Disney seems keen to retire the Bad Batch, both literally and figuratively, since the show hasn’t been wildly popular and has felt adrift, plot and continuity-wise, for basically this entire sophomore outing. But if it has been about anything thus far, it has definitely been about the function of the clones in a wider, post-war galaxy. We’ve touched on the Empire’s version of putting them out to pasture in favour of a new Imperial army through the Defence Recruitment Bill, but here we start to consider and unpack the possibilities of a more voluntary retirement plan.

READ: The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 12 Recap

What is Tabu?

The titular Pabu is the homeworld of Phee, the pirate we briefly met a couple of times earlier in the season. The Bad Batch ends up there after carrying out a job with Phee since they’re no longer working for Cid – who seems primed to become an antagonist – and need to find employment elsewhere. It’s an idyllic, tropical paradise nestled away from the prying eyes of the Empire and built on a foundation of community, respect, and kindness; all things that Clone Force 99 are mostly unfamiliar with.

There’s action, sure, but this episode is really about the interiority of these characters both individually and as part of a wider collective that has only ever had a singular purpose. Cid was one of the few figures they interacted with on a regular basis. Phee still employs them, but she represents a new perspective, one less predicated on what the Bad Batch can do for her and more on what they can do with her. She becomes a surrogate mother to Omega almost immediately and is the first person that I’m aware of to highlight how potentially unhealthy it has been for her to be surrounded by grown men with the same genetic makeup who have focused entirely on developing her combat skills.

This is one of the first times that an entire episode has been devoted to challenging the beliefs of Clone Force 99 instead of imperilling them physically. There’s little chance they might die in this episode, but what they’re grappling with is something they never have before – the potential for a home, for security, and for community beyond that broad designation of simply “clones”, or even “soldiers”. They could finally belong to something bigger and greater than themselves, and they all have to grapple with that idea in different ways.

This, I think, is why there’s no conventional villain in the episode, with the action instead revolving around a natural disaster, giving the Bad Batch an excuse to fight purely for something instead of against someone. They rally together to protect Pabu and, in doing so, recognise the importance of community and the sanctity of the place, which is rendered as a paradise visually – a far cry from the stark industrialism of imperial facilities or the grimy darkness of alien lairs and abandoned planets – as well as thematically. It’s a welcome change of pace for the arguably floundering series, filled with nuance and character and a genuine sense that might actually be going somewhere – or, perhaps, has already got there.

You can stream The Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 13, “Pabu” exclusively on Disney+.


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Disney+, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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