Actress Wanda Sykes has been a mainstay in the American comedy scene since the 1990s, and in that time she has also complemented her stand-up career with a parade of appearances in television shows and movies like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Monster-in-Law, Bad Moms, Evan Almighty, and even a recurring voice role in the Ice Age franchise.
Earlier this month, Sykes made her debut as the new character Phee Genoa in the second-season premiere of Lucasfilm’s animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch on Disney+. And now, in the latest episode of the show, entitled “Entombed,” Phee Genoa takes the spotlight as she leads the members of Clone Force 99 on a treasure-hunting quest.
“Entombed” begins with Wrecker (Dee Bradley Baker, who voices all the male clones of Jango Fett) and Omega (Michelle Ang) in a junkyard, searching for a spare compressor and other souvenirs. They bring their findings back to Cid’s Parlor, where Genoa is regaling the local barflies with her tall tales of daring adventures around the galaxy. But when Phee spots a compass that Omega collected from the junkyard, she recognizes it as pointing to a set of coordinates, and persuades Clone Force 99 to join her on a mission to discover what lies at that location (with the promise of splitting the reward 50-50). Together, along with Genoa’s droid Mel, they travel to the uncharted Kaldar Trinary system, where they happen upon an abandoned planet that activates the compass when they land on its eerily deserted surface. Following the signal, they come upon a hidden entrance to what Phee believes is a pirate legend called Skara Nal, an ancient treasure that predates even the existence of the Jedi Order. Inside, they must solve video game-like puzzles, combat a fearsome creature that attempts to eat Wrecker, and endure a cave-in that separates the team into two groups before they can find the mythical Heart of the Mountain.
Once Phee Genoa has acquired the treasure (in a scene that once again echoes the Indiana Jones franchise– specifically the opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark), she unknowingly activates a giant mechanical walker that seems designed only for destruction. From that point on, our heroes must work together to deactivate the machine– not to mention defeat the creature that guards it– before their own ship is destroyed and they’re stranded on this hostile world. It’s another fun stand-alone adventure for Clone Force 99, and I especially liked getting to spend time with Sykes’s character, along with the intriguing mythological implications of Skara Nal. I feel like someone on The Bad Batch’s writing staff must be a pretty big Indiana Jones fan, considering how many homages and inside-joke references to that other popular Lucasfilm property we’ve seen on this show, and indeed this entire episode often felt like a tribute to our favorite globe-trotting archaeologist. I also enjoyed meeting Mel and actually felt bad when he (SPOILER ALERT) got destroyed by the walker near the end, but Phee’s last-minute revelation that she always keeps a backup copy of his memory ready to go for instances such as this had me wondering why that doesn’t happen for more Star Wars droids– C-3PO excluded, of course. Regardless, this was another entertaining outing that doesn’t necessarily have tremendous implications for the bigger picture, but I don’t mind that kind of thing as much as others seem to. It does seem like Phee Genoa will have a bigger part to play as the season continues, and as always I’m curious to see where the Bad Batch goes from here.
New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch are released Wednesdays, exclusively via Disney+.