Ever since leaving the cloning facility on Kamino where they were born, the members of Clone Force 99 have struggled to find a new place to fit in. That situation takes a turn for the better in this week’s new episode of Star Wars: the Bad Batch, entitled “Pabu.”
The installment opens with a series-best (of many) tribute to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, paying homage in multiple ways to that film’s opening sequence, including one of my favorite blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Aurebesh signage gags I’ve ever seen in Star Wars content.
From that point, the pirate character of Phee Genoa (voiced by recurring guest star Wanda Sykes) discovers that the Bad Batch and Omega (Dee Bradley Baker and Michelle Ang, respectively) have ended their fraught working relationship with Cid (Rhea Perlman) after the Trandoshan crime boss left them for dead during a previous mission. Phee says she’s known Cid a long time, and it’s a dangerous idea to get on her bad side, so she offers the current makeup of Clone Force 99 a safehouse on her home planet of Pabu– hence the title. The team arrives on Pabu to find a peaceful, picturesque island community run by a friend of Phee’s named Shep Hazard (Imari Williams from Transformers: Rescue Bots). And after spending some time drinking in the local culture– not to mention eating a feast so bountiful it even made Wrecker full– the Bad Batch seriously starts to consider settling down on Pabu. What makes things even more appealing is that Omega has started forming a fast friendship with Shep’s daughter Lyana (Andy Allo of Upload fame). But as we all know from the history of storytelling (and real life, for that matter), when things seem too good to be true, it probably means they are.
The residents of Pabu and its island town are soon struck by a series of tremors, each worse than the last, causing a devastating sea swell and forcing the lower levels of the city to evacuate toward higher ground and Omega and Lyana to scramble back to shore, cutting their boating trip short. This situation reminded me a bit of The Mandalorian episode “Sanctuary,” in which Din Djarin thought he had found a peaceful settlement for baby Grogu to call home, and then realized it was more perilous than it had initially seemed. But the difference here is that after they help in the rescue effort, Clone Force 99 actually decides to stay on Pabu for the time being and further assist with rebuilding the lower levels while they continue to hide out on the planet. That makes “Pabu” a fairly momentous episode of this series, not only because the Bad Batch has (at least temporarily) found a suitable home, but also because this out-of-the-way location is going to offer Omega the opportunity to be a kid for a little while. With three episodes still left in the season, I’m sure that status quo will be shaken up again somehow, but for now it’s nice to know there are still welcoming places left to go in the galaxy for our heroes.
New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch are released Wednesdays, exclusively via Disney+.