Season Two ends tragically and on a cliffhanger, two things I was afraid of happening. But the scale of the tragedy and the specific cliffhanger is annoying and a little unnecessary.
Right away, the Bad Batch retrieves the location of the Imperial Summit and decides to find the location of Crosshair. Omega says her goodbyes to Phee, who then confronts Tech, who tries to focus on his data pad. Unlike previous interactions, Tech resorts to non-verbal communication with no eye contact, which is common for those on the spectrum in conversations they do not want to have (see thread below from a member of the ASD community).
While I enjoy these two and a potential romance, it seems some things happened offscreen (similar to Hera and Kanan) that are only alluded to onscreen. The two definitely have a deeper connection that manifested at some point. Phee says goodbye to Tech her way after trying to get him to open up; Tech gives one last glance at Phee and boards the ship. This conversation should have been my first clue of what horror would come.
Bye Bye Brown Eyes and Hello Bad Optics
I will start near the end and work backward simply to get the hard part out of the way. Tech’s death was devastating. Not only was it sudden, but we, as viewers, barely had time to process it before Cid betrayed the remaining team leading to Omega’s capture. The broken goggles were the bitter icing on the cake.
It is a particular type of irritation to present an underserved community with representation only to snatch it away. And it reminds me of Lucasfilm openly advertising the first significant role for a black woman in Star Wars with Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story, only to kill her off with a meaningless death in the first act.
Tech’s development this season is what made this show shine. Was that just to emphasize this moment and make it that more painful? A show can have excellent character development without killing them off, but Star Wars always goes one of two routes: redemption or sacrifice. The problem is that the franchise is too old to be playing the same cards.
For the record, I am one of those people who does not think Tech is dead. I always advocate for consequences and for people to stay dead, but nope, not this time. If Maul can come back from being sliced in half, and if Reva can survive being stabbed by Darth Vader twice, then so can Tech. Yes, I know those are both Force-users but Tech is also an enhanced being. He was not on an exploded ship, and we did not see a body, so you know the rule.
If Tech is indeed alive, he is in a bad state. Doctor Hemlock had his goggles, which means he either didn’t see his body and Tech is somehow alive on Eriadu, or Hemlock has him alive for other experiments. Given Hemlock’s suggestion of using Clones as test subjects, it is concerning to think Tech could be in his hands.
Building off that and gathering everything we know thus far, there are two things to note and some conclusions we can draw:
- Tech records everything with those goggles that Hunter now has—thrown at his feet by Hemlock. At some point, we can imagine that the team (or Phee) will check them to see if they can get any information.
- Phee has a droid, MEL, that documents every place and item Phee has visited or logged across the galaxy. MEL might not be relevant to discovering information on Tech (if Tech is dead), but it could help to uncover Mount Tantiss’s location.
No matter what people think about “filler” episodes like “Entombed,” they usually have a purpose. Too much emphasis was put on that earlier scene with Tech and Phee for me to believe that is the last we’ll see of either of them together.
But Tech’s last line in this episode being “When have we ever followed orders,” compared with the “Good soldiers follow orders?” Chef’s kiss. Ultimately, Tech showed he cared in the most direct way imaginable. Now, I hope Lucasfilm takes it back.
The actual Summit was only a way to get the Bad Batch in a place to make that sacrifice without learning the location of Tantiss and learning about Hemlock’s experiments. Why? Because the Bad Batch is not the only insurgent that has infiltrated the Summit. Saw Gerrera arrives to help things go sideways, planting explosives throughout the compound except for the one place that matters (where the officers are in the conference room). Lucasfilm likes to use Saw as a punching bag for fans to blame, and here it is no different. It is fascinating that Orsen Krennic looks the same, while Saw is so much young than he is in Rouge One. He takes the Obi-Wan Kenobi path of aging quickly during the Imperial reign.
We know nothing of the other officers in the room besides Krennic, and why were there only five? One officer, Barton Coburn, who served with Jedi Plo Koon during the Clone Wars, questions using the Clones as experiments, while another, Hurst Romodi, indirectly refers to Senator Chuchi (who I also believe we will see more of in season three). Krennic had nothing to contribute to that discussion, even though Ben Mendelsohn is credited as the voice.
Governor Tarkin has his hands in every project that is valuable to the Emperor. While I could not get through the novel Tarkin by James Luceno, seeing his homeworld of Eriadu realized in a medium other than publishing is nice.
Too Little, Too Late
Throughout both episodes, I had truly forgotten about Emerie Karr because she was a non-factor. And, after the emotional rollercoaster of losing Tech and Omega getting captured, I truly do not care that she is another Clone. This reveal was somehow fumbled even though most people had concluded that Emerie was Omega’s (and the other Clones’) sister. I hope they have better things planned for her.
I wager that Academy-Award-nominated Keisha Castle-Hughes will be (or has been) cast as live-action Omega, so we need more time to get acquainted with her adult voice.
Naming the ultimate sacrifice plan after the original 99 Clone is the kind of poetic that brings more tears to the eyes. The tiebacks to The Clone Wars continue to be poignant.
There is a particularly fantastic scene when the team infiltrates the complex on Eiradu, partially a single shot. Tech comes in and punches a Clone Commander, then Hunter grabs the same trooper and moves him forward, and the “camera” tracks into the following action sequence. It stood out and reminded me of one of their first action scenes on Skako Minor, where they take out a bunch of B-1 battle droids.
I also want to highlight Dee Bradley Baker’s voice work in these two episodes for Tech and Hunter. Tech’s voice is nervous when he speaks to Phee for the last time, and the desperation in Hunter’s “Get him on board” to Wrecker. The latter is especially heartbreaking.
Despite the misstep of potentially killing off a character that brought neurodivergent representation to Star Wars, this entire season was a winner and, so far, exceeds The Mandalorian season three. It is going to be a long wait until season three.