TV Review / Recap – “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Goes Full “Oliver Twist” in Season 2, Episode 10 – “Retrieval”

At the end of last week’s episode of Lucasfilm’s animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the remaining members of Clone Force 99 were stranded on an unidentified planet, waiting for their boss Cid to come rescue them.

And with the title of this week’s episode being “Retrieval,” I had assumed it would detail the events of that promised rescue. Instead we get a very different story about the Bad Batch going after their stolen ship, and stumbling across a child-labor community heavily inspired by Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

“Retrieval” begins with Hunter, Tech, and Wrecker (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) attempting to fix a swoop bike in order to reach a settlement on the other side of the planet, as they are swiftly running out of rations. But suddenly Omega (Michelle Ang) remembers that aboard the Havoc Marauder was still the power droid they had affectionately nicknamed Gonky. The team uses Gonky’s signal to track the hidden location of the Marauder, and find themselves at another, even larger and more industrial Ipsium mine, though this one is almost entirely staffed by children. There, they meet a boy named Benni Baro (Yuri Lowenthal, who voices Peter Parker in the animated Spider-Man), who reluctantly informs them about the leader of the operation, a Fagin-type character called Mokko (Jonathan Lipow from Doom Patrol) that rules the orphans with an iron fist, forcing them to compete for food in the mines. Benni’s chief competition for “top earner” is a young teenager named Drake (Aleks Le of Raya and the Last Dragon fame), who slurps up the extra bowl of soup he gets for being Mokko’s favorite.

But when Benni teams up with Omega to retrieve the code for the facility’s ray shield so Clone Force 99 can make their escape aboard the Marauder, he discovers that Mokko has not exactly been honest about his Ipsium earnings with the children working underneath him. He spills the beans to Drake during an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-inspired (yep, another Indy homage in The Bad Batch) climax that sees Omega’s life being threatened while the others race to repair the hyperdrive on the ship in time to get the heck out of there. It’s a so-so installment overall, and by the end it had me wondering why the powers that be at Lucasfilm and Disney+ didn’t double up on episodes throughout January and February so that the two-part season finale could have been released this week instead. I just feel like this series is going to be massively overshadowed in March, considering The Mandalorian starts up again exactly one week from today. If you’re going to have Star Wars series overlapping with each other, it would have made much more sense to me to let The Bad Batch shine on its own, plus grouping some of the less-consequential episodes with each other might have given them all some much-need oomph, working in tandem instead of being released individually. Anyway, this was fine. I’m glad the Batch are off that planet, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other misadventures they get up to in the final six outings of season two. I promise I’ll try not to let Din Djarin and Grogu get in the way of that.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch are released Wednesdays, exclusively via Disney+.

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