*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode four of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2*
No, you’re not watching Dwayne Johnson’s film of the same name, but a filler episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2. Usually, I would come here and complain about how the episode doesn’t advance the story, that the characters are still stuck in cyclical missions with Cid (Rhea Perlman), and that its filler only serves as a pretext to include characters from The Skywalker Saga who have no business being in this show!
However, this week’s filler episode of The Bad Batch – Season 2 is actually very good. Why is that? Simple, it expands upon one of the most exciting sequences of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in extreme fashion: podracing. While Hunter (Dee Bradley Baker) and Echo (Dee Bradley Baker) are away on a mission, Cid takes Wrecker (Dee Bradley Baker), Tech (Dee Bradley Baker), and Omega (Michelle Ang) to Safa Toma to pay debts to Grini Millegi (Ernie Hudson) through riot racing.
She has a new droid, TAY-0 (Ben Schwartz), who she believes will win the race and pay off all her debts with Millegi. But, of course, he’s a cheat and crashes the pod at a tunnel. The Bad Batch is then given a request and accepts to race to rescue Cid, and a predictable redemption story occurs. Once Tech goes into the pod and starts racing during the episode’s climax, there’s no surprise. You know he’s going to win. But, as much as TAY-0 assured Cid he knew what he was doing, he didn’t know and put himself (and Cid) in heaps of trouble.
TAY-0 crashes, and it all seems like doom and gloom. Tech goes to the rescue, and it’s all good. But Cid seems to have a hidden agenda that could (finally, please!) break the show’s format for good. And even if it’s amazingly predictable, the race scenes bring a fantastic sense of kinetic energy, and the stakes feel real. Compared to The Phantom Menace, racers shoot at one another (!!!), with blasters even hitting (and killing) audience members. Why anyone would watch this live is beyond me, but the public seems to enjoy the thrill of being a part of the action (weird, but OK).
Because of this, the fourth episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2 is genuinely thrilling. It has a simple premise, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and its villains and storyline are clichéd, but the action is the main star this time. There are times when you genuinely believe that Tech will not make it out alive, especially when he takes the “left tunnel,” which everyone warns the characters not to use, as it will send Tech and everyone who dares attempt it to their doom. It almost does, and the thrill of high-stakes action is unparalleled.
Would’ve I liked an episode that fleshes out what the third one established? Sure, but I know the showrunners will return to it sooner than later. For now, I adored how zippy and fun this episode was without a care for the larger stakes at play. That’s how you do filler without making your audience groan in anticipation as to where the show is going because we know they will come back to what episode three brilliantly laid out. And I hope that’ll be next week.
The fourth episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2 is now available to stream on Disney+.