TV Recap / Review – A Mysterious Stranger Arrives with Information in “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” – “The Harbinger”

Today saw the release of the ninth episode in the third and final season of Lucasfilm’s animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch on Disney+, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

At the end of last week’s episode of The Bad Batch, we saw (what I assumed was) Fennec Shand betraying Clone Force 99 to an unnamed contact. And pretty quickly in today’s episode, entitled “The Harbinger,” we find out who that contact was: Asajj Ventress (voiced by actress Nika Futterman, reprising her role as the Force-sensitive Dathomirian from Star Wars: The Clone Wars). It wasn’t a terribly big surprise, as the powers that be at Lucasfilm had already spilled the beans on Ventress’s return via the series’ trailers and press releases. But what was at least a little surprising was the context in which she pops up– it seems Asajj isn’t here to kidnap or eliminate Omega (Michelle Ang) as one might have guessed, but instead to test the young clone for latent Force abilities.

At the beginning of “The Harbinger,” Omega and Batcher wander into a cave on Pabu, where they find Ventress’s ship. Then the Dathomirian emerges from the shadows, only to be confronted by Hunter, Wrecker, and Crosshair (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). The remainder of the episode is spent determining whether Asajj is friend or foe, and– minor spoiler alert– she turns out to be neither… or both, depending on how you look at it. So the members of the Bad Batch are patient enough with Ventress to allow her to put Omega through a series of tests, supposedly sussing out her M-count (Is this episode the first time the word “Midi-chlorian” has been spoken aloud in Disney-era Star Wars storytelling?) but it really just looks like she’s making her run around Pabu performing menial tasks. Then during the third test, which involves Asajj and Omega traveling out into the ocean on a boat in order to summon some of the local undersea wildlife, they accidentally conjure up an enormous mollusk-like creature that poses as this week’s only major threat.

One climactic action sequence (involving Ventress’s Force powers and Clone Force 99’s ship the Marauder) later, and Asajj tells Omega that she doesn’t have a detectable M-count after all. But then after Omega and Wrecker leave the conversation, the other clones accuse Ventress of lying, and she responds by saying that if Omega were found to be Force-sensitive, she would have to be separated from the Bad Batch for training. This doesn’t sit well with our protagonists, naturally, so the episode leaves things at that, with Asajj further warning Clone Force 99 about the Empire’s interest in their ward and basically declaring herself her own boss. Obviously I’m not sure what this show’s long-term goals are with Ventress, or whether she’ll even show up again in the remaining six episodes, but I did feel like her presence here hasn’t really added up to a whole lot yet, so I figure there has to be more to it. Besides, the Lucasfilm press releases also promised that her reappearance would address her apparent death in the Star Wars: Dark Disciple novel, and other than a throwaway reference to having multiple lives to spare, that hasn’t happened yet. So I’m betting the Bad Batch hasn’t seen the last of their new Dathomirian acquaintance, and that whatever part she has left to play will have a significant impact on Omega’s path.

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

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.