Sometimes a door is just a door. And sometimes Star Wars is just good fun. On that note, there is not much to The Bad Batch episode “Entombed” other than a lot of new canon lore that may or may not be relevant to the overall season arc. But we get a new dynamic with Wanda Sykes’ Phee Genoa, who genuinely loves stories and balances the line between exploration and exploitation.
Through the Eyes of a Child
The episode starts mid-mission, with Omega and Wrecker looking for a spare compressor in a junkyard on Ord Mantell. They find one, but Omega also grabs other trinkets that look cool because she is a child. I write that not to be snarky but to remind viewers and the other members of the Bad Batch of the lens this episode takes. And it may not be the one that most people want to see after “The Solitary Clone” with Crosshair, but that does not make it any less compelling.
They return with their treasures to Cid’s bar, where the lady herself is nowhere to be found. But two of her regulars, Bolo and Ketch, are there with Phee Genoa, who is telling one of her pirate stories (which, according to Tech, change every time she tells them). Hunter is not amused, but Phee seems to have a way of bringing out the wonder in everyone. When she recognizes coordinate markings on one of the trinkets Omega brings back, she has her droid, MEL, analyze it. It turns out, Omega found an ancient compass to a system that Tech hasn’t even heard of, and the Bad Batch (and Phee) are off to investigate.
The side quest might be to the dismay of some Star Wars fans, but it is also to the dismay of Hunter, who does not seem to like Phee (though I think he doth protest too much). Omega looks up to Phee and even starts emulating her mannerisms, similar to what she did with Hunter in the first episode of The Bad Batch. And Hunter can only watch.
During their crusade to “liberate” the Heart of the Mountain (the generic term for the Mcguffin of the episode), Phee slowly converts her skeptics into wonderous believers. Wrecker gets excited first, then Tech. Only Echo and Hunter are the holdouts (Echo has yet to do much this season besides insisting to Hunter that they should be fighting the Empire). So it is no surprise that Omega, Hunter, and Phee find themselves together when the group gets separated. Hunter gets ahead and walks into a trap, almost falling to his death. Luckily, Phee is quick on her feet and saves him. That does not stop Hunter from blaming Phee.
There is a hint that he, too, softens by the end of the episode. Phee speaks about a part of something he never really got to experience but says he wants for Omega. She is a clone, but she is also a child who has been trained as a soldier. This is not a new concept for Star Wars (the poorly fleshed-out backbone of the First Order in the Sequel Trilogy were child soldiers). However, Omega can have a different life, one of her choosing. And maybe Hunter fears that she won’t choose a life with him.
A family dynamic within the Bad Batch has taken shape, and Omega is their little sister. But while she views most of them as older brothers or, in Wrecker’s case, a brother of equal or lesser age (no disrespect, Wrecker), Omega has a different dynamic with Hunter. He is a father figure. I’m not saying that Phee is taking that spot or becoming a mother figure, but she is making an impression on Omega. And not for worse, as Omega solves several puzzles during this adventure.
We will almost certainly see more Phee this season. To what extent and in what context remains a mystery, but it should be an exciting arc to follow.
Lots of New Canon Lore, but What Will Matter?
There were a lot of places, items, and beings mentioned in this episode that are new but let’s focus on two main things: the treasure and the species to which it belongs. The treasure is called the “heart of the mountain,” which lies within the Skara Nal (the name said mountain).
We get no context about Skara Nal other than it was built by “the ancients,” who are older than the Jedi. It is all quite generic, but the visual design of the technology and the treasure (spoiler alert- it’s a part of a weapon) looks similar to the Zeffo species from Jedi: Fallen Order. It is a common theory online, but we get nothing from Lucasfilm. So this is either an isolated episode with a random ancient civilization or a bridge to connecting more to a game franchise whose second installment is releasing soon.
When Phee turns the heart (a physical object that looks like a refined crystal block), the team realizes they are not in a cave but a machine inside the mountain. And it is a planet destroyer. Phee is understandably reluctant to put the heart back, even as it threatens to destroy their ship. They get the heart back in its resting place in time to save the ship, but it melts as if it were a fail-safe.
Unfortunately, MEL gets blasted while slowly running away, but Phee has backed up her database and will rebuild MEL with new information on the Kaldar Trinary planet. And another story for Phee to tell.
Even though brightness eludes most of the episode, there are stunning shots, and the depth of field is awe-inspiring. Special thanks to the entire team of artists, animators, production, and VFX for continuously bringing impressive visuals. On to the next adventure!