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In “Devil’s Deal,” the Empire makes a play for control of Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi’leks, stoking the fires of rebellion in the process. This is an unusual episode of The Bad Batch, in that the Bad Batch doesn’t actually appear until past the 13-minute mark, underscoring Lucasfilm’s recent obsession with cameos and crossovers (what some critics have called the “Marvelization” of Star Wars since at least 2018).
At the same time, it’s certainly one of the best-looking episodes Lucasfilm Animation has ever produced; there are two or three shots that look like they could be right out of a live-action movie like Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. And it’s always nice to see more Star Wars of that caliber.
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What happens in this episode of ‘The Bad Batch’?
Admiral Rampart has come to Ryloth, and he’s brought Crosshair and a full occupation of Imperial troops with him. Rampart witnesses firsthand the planet’s adoration of General Cham Syndulla, a born leader, as well as their distrust of Orn Free Taa, one of the senators most loyal to Emperor Palpatine in his years as Chancellor of the Republic.
The political question in this episode is whether it’s worth aligning yourself with imperialist action for the sake of relative peace. General Syndulla doesn’t want his daughter growing up to be a warrior; he wants to do what’s best for his people. But they’ve grown accustomed to fighting, and the Empire is asking Twi’lek military to leave their posts and replacing them with their own troops. They’re on Ryloth starting up a new mining operation, as well, which they claim is part of a plan to rebuild in the wake of the Clone Wars. Cham’s wife, Eleni, doesn’t buy the Empire’s promises of peace and reconstruction, however.
While her parents play politics, the young Hera Syndulla and her droid, Chopper, spy on the Empire’s new refinery for “Uncle Gobi,” an old friend of Cham’s. Hera gets her own musical theme here, and it sounds like a partial version of Leia Organa’s famous leitmotif. An incomplete melody, maybe—but perfect for a young dreamer destined to help build the Rebel Alliance. Like a certain Tatooine farmboy, Hera longs to become a pilot and leave home behind.
So Gobi tells the girl she can practice flying his ship on a quick supply run. He’s smuggling in weapons from a nearby moon, and his contact is Cid on Ord Mantell. Delivering the stash is, at last, the Bad Batch, their shuttle landing around the episode’s halfway mark. They’ve brought Gobi three dozen blasters and a case of thermal detonators. Omega allows Hera to come aboard their starship and have a look around, and the two discuss their limited experience with spaceflight. “Specs are only half of it,” says Hera. “Flying is—it’s about a feeling.”
Before they part ways, Hunter warns Gobi that “building an arsenal attracts attention,” but agrees to bring more weapons once Cid has more to sell.
On their way back to Ryloth, Crosshair takes aim at one of Gobi’s engines and blasts them out of the sky. Then the Empire swarms the crash site. After delivering Hera back to her parents, Rampart stages an elaborate phony assassination attempt. The admiral signals for Crosshair to fire on Senator Taa. This should transfer a great deal of power to the Empire, eliminating the senator and calling Cham’s leadership into question with a single stroke.
The young Hera Syndulla flees in a landspeeder, her parents’ fates uncertain, and the show fades to black on a cliffhanger.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: The Bad Batch season one, episode 11 recap: Devil’s Deal