The Bad Batch: Pabu Thoughts

After the brutal “The Outpost,” which saw Crosshair fall into the hands of Doctor Hemlock, we are back with the central team.

This time, the guys and Omega accompany Phee on an artifact pick-up at a bar. Surprisingly, the people Phee is dealing with want to take her money AND keep the artifact. We get a nice throwback to Attack of the Clones with a Kouhun just trying to do its job of assassinating someone and getting killed for its troubles. After that, the scene because an all-out brawl, and we get to see how Omega has improved her fighting skills. With the treasure and the money secured, Phee and the team head out into the galaxy.

Life After War and Without Cid

Omega takes a breath to be a child | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Despite what people might think, there is a lot of connection between this episode and “The Outpost.” Mayday told Crosshair that he never thought much about the war ending until it did. And the Bad Batch is still trying to figure out where they fit. But at least they finally broke ties with Cid, although that might have serious consequences, which we will discuss later.

For now, they need a new plan, and Phee happens to have one: a beautiful paradise island on a planet called Pabu. 

Her home away from home, Pabu houses most of the artifacts that Phee collects. The planet is also home to refugees from war, and the artifacts belong to their homeworlds. It completely contrasts Cid’s business of pilfering treasures for profit and adds more depth to Phee. There were complaints about the vagueness of Phee’s line of work and the specifics of the planet in “Entombed.” At least we get more clarity on what type of pirate she is (not the Hondo Ohnaka type), and she is probably more Indiana Jones than Doctor Aphra, who is also more self-serving. 

And Phee offers the group a way out of the ire of Cid by settling down on Pabu as refugees. And they are genuine refugees, born to a planet destroyed by the Empire.

There is an undeniable sense of peace within the community. The mayor, Shep, knows everyone, and his daughter, Lyana, takes to Omega quickly. Wrecker gets full for the first time, and Hunter seems more relaxed, letting Omega be a kid. Meanwhile, Tech and Phee are enjoying each other’s company. With Echo and Crosshair gone, Pabu is where the rest of the team could find a permanent home.

Like in the last episode, the Empire looms over this episode in an eerie “too good to be true” way. Many hints lead viewers to believe that the Empire will appear (Hunter bluntly asks Shep if he is worried about the Empire), but it is a misdirect. We are so concerned about the Empire that we don’t realize Pabu is an island surrounded by ocean, which can lead to naturally occurring threats. 

When a tsunami does hit, it is spectacularly portrayed in animation, and the damage is severe to the lower half of the island. The Bad Batch does their thing and helps get everyone on the island to safety in upper Pabu, but then they do something unexpected…they decide to take Phee’s advice and stay to help rebuild.

Another contrast from Crosshair’s experience in the Empire is the sense of community in Pabu. Everyone helps each other. When Wrecker tries to pull up Shep after they rescue a town elder, he almost loses his grip and falls. Then the townspeople help lift Wrecker and Shep to safety. Meanwhile, Nolan could not even be bothered with getting Mayday a medic, choosing to do nothing as the Clone Commander died. While “The Outpost” highlights the worst of the galaxy, “Pabu” shines a light on the best.

No one is sure yet how many seasons this show will be, but the Bad Batch story will end eventually, preferably with most of them alive. The easy path would be to have them be another group that joins the Rebellion, but what if they don’t? I firmly believe we will see an adult Omega in animation or live-action, but will we see anyone else? And could Pabu be the end game?

Brown Eyes and Phee

Tech makes a bond outside of the Bad Batch | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but it deserves its own section. This season has been particularly fruitful for Tech’s character development, and he has grown tremendously. In “Ruins of War,” when Tech refers to Serenno as a Separatist planet, Romar points out that cultures existed before the Clone Wars, and Serenno was no different. Tech ultimately helps Romar fix his datacore, recovering important Serennian history. 

Tech learns to adapt to Riot Racing in “Faster,” using data to help maneuver a course and get Cid out of debt. And after Echo leaves the group and Omega confronts Tech on his lack of emotion towards the team, he tells her that he processes things differently, but that does not mean he feels any less than Omega.

And in “Pabu,” we expand on that as Tech and Phee grow closer. Since she first met Tech, Phee has always called him “brown eyes.” It is a simple term of endearment that I assumed was just a contrast to Cid’s more cutting “goggles.” But it appears to hint at something more between the two. 

For the first time, Tech seems interested in someone romantically. Overall, we have not seen Clones have lives outside of war, except Cut Lawquane. And it is nice to see a Star Wars character written as on the spectrum getting to be more than the brains of the Batch. Another connection (like Echo and Rex) is made outside the team that ties Tech to someone other than his brothers. 

Funny enough, this is what Phee said Omega needed: friends her age “who don’t share her genetic profile.” Omega has started making friends with others like Gungi, Benni Baro, and Lyana Hazard. But Tech has also made a friend (and potentially more) with Phee.

But We Can’t Have Nice Things In Star Wars

Pabu is still beautiful even after a sea surge | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Maybe things will be ok for Pabu in the end, but with the Bad Batch staying and Omega back on the Empire’s radar, things are not looking good. We have three episodes left, so if the next one does have a time jump, maybe the team will leave Pabu after rebuilding for another reason. Otherwise, Cid could finally prove the Dowutin gangster, Millegi, right and point the Empire in the Bad Batch’s direction. Crosshair could also find Cid and threaten her if he is used to track down Omega. 

I hope something lures the team away from Pabu so we don’t have to see an island of refugees attacked. And it still opens the door for Pabu whenever the Bad Batch’s story ends.