Sometimes, a seemingly lighthearted episode can share so much. The previous episode, “The Solitary Clone,” was a Crosshair-focused episode with no Bad Batch. This episode has half a Bad Batch, leaving Hunter and Echo on a mission somewhere while we spend quality time with Omega, Wrecker, and Tech.
Mario Kart Comes to Star Wars
As an unapologetic Star Wars Resistance fan, this episode was a real treat. I appreciated the mix of lightheartedness surrounding the show while nodding to the encroaching darkness of the Sequel Trilogy events. And the setting of a racing planet is reminiscent of the Colossus refueling station.
The main sport is Riot Racing is a type of speeder racing with mounted laser cannons. The purpose of the riders is to complete the race and shoot other racers off the track.
And there are scenes during the final race that are first-person POV and could be pulled straight from racing games like Mario Kart and Sonic the Hedge Hog racing (the racing is not the only Sonic connection). Coupled with the synth beat score from Kevin Kiner, we have the makings of a Star Wars: Riot Racers game. Lucasfilm Games can thank their sister division.
Also, some appreciation for David W. Collins and the Sound Department. Star Wars has such a unique sound when it comes to space battles and podracing. Combining those two things into a new sport and having it feel very much within the Star Wars world is no small feat.
Cid is the catalyst for the conflict when she takes Omega, Wreck, and Tech to the planet Safa Toma to act as bodyguards while she bets on a Riot race. She makes a bet on her rider, Tay-0, and loses big. This gets her into debt with Grini Millegi (voice by Ernie Hudson), a Dowutin gangster who oversees Riot Racing on Safa Toma. Millegi also has a history with Cid that is far from pleasant, and he still holds on to some bitter feelings. It is probably justified, given their discourse with Cid saying she’s changed. Millegi doubts that, and Tech separately mirrors that opinion, noting the pattern of Cid’s dealings putting them in bad situations.
Millegi himself is complex. He sabotages TAY-0’s speeder in the first race, and it is hinted that he is responsible for TAY-0’s accident later. Yet he honors the outcome and terms of the race, releases Cid, and prevents his driver from shooting them. I because the advice he gives the Bad Batch hits more:
You can’t easily brush off his warning as stroking the fire; it has to be taken seriously. Having Millegi keep his word makes his advice seem genuine and given from experience.
Omega is still fond of Cid, probably because the Trandoshan was the first to treat her like the rest of the clones. She suggests a second race, double or nothing. And she did a similar thing in season one’s episode, “Infested,” when Roland Durand tries to take over Cid’s bar. Fooled once, fooled twice. Fooled thrice? Probably.
A Very Funny Star Wars
Comedy is difficult to balance in any genre, but with Star Wars, it has come primarily on slapstick humor involving droids, aliens, or a designated comic-relief character. “Faster” does have the droids, the aliens, and the Bad Batch member most associated with slapstick comedy (Wrecker). But writer Matt Michnovetz doesn’t overdo it with any of the elements (ala George Lucas in The Phantom Menace). And the reward is a nice blend of action, comedy, and potential foreshadowing of a dark turn for the series. But let’s return to the comedy anchored by two characters. The first is droid TAY-0 (an instantly recognizable Ben Schwartz, voice of film Sonic), who is far more confident in his racing abilities than he should be. This causes plenty of problems for poor Tech, Omega, and Wrecker. And the second character is someone we never see but hear: the announcer of the race (voiced by Jonathan Lipow, a prominent video game VO artist).
After a Riot rider loses control of his vehicle and blaster bolts shoot off into the crowd, a spectator gets hit and, presumably, dies. The manner of death is shocking enough, but the scene is played for laughs as the crowd goes back to cheering while the announcer reminds us why it is not his problem:
“A friendly reminder to all our spectators, be mindful of blaster fire. Safa Toma Speedway is not liable for any injury, death, or disintegration.”
Almost ten minutes later, TAY-0 gets Regina Georged before he is supposed to race, and Tech has to take control of the situation. Even though a droid getting knocked out by a speeder (likely on purpose) can be played for laughs, it was still an equally shocking moment.
Tech’s Strength and the Bad Batch’s Weakness
Since season one, Tech has been the best at adapting to their changing situations, making him one of the most rounded members of the Bad Batch. While Hunter is focused on doing right by Omega and Echo by doing right by the galaxy (we have no idea what Wrecker’s motivations are), Tech has been the most willing to try different things in the best interest of the team. Here, Tech has analyzed the racing course and is confident to step into the speeder and play to win.
But he is also direct in his feelings and rightfully calls Cid out after he wins the race. It is not an equal relationship, and they have given her too many chances.
One weakness of Tech could be not knowing when to keep a low profile. Using your name in a race and having a crowd chant it at the end must feel great at the moment, but word travels fast. The team really should think about getting aliases. They are lucky that Admiral Rampart is vested in perpetuating their demise on Kamino, but that will only last so long if they keep bringing attention to themselves.
We have not seen Hunter and Echo for two episodes, so I would not mind seeing their mission in the next episode. Perhaps transporting nerf nuggets is more dangerous than it sounds.