Home / Blog / Review: 'The Bad Batch' Episode 6

Review: 'The Bad Batch' Episode 6

Dec 27, 2023Dec 27, 2023

This week's episode of The Bad Batch is a great example of why the current popular thinking around what constitutes a "filler" episode is outdated. Technically, the "main plot" doesn't get moved forward as this one's only tangentially related to the Empire; Crosshair is absent once again; and it definitely qualifies as a "mission of the week". That criteria would lead some to brand it as "filler", but because it connects to the larger Star Wars galaxy and brings back a fan favorite character from The Clone Wars, it feels relevant to the main story.

I’ve been looking forward to this episode ever since it was first teased in the trailers. Tribe sees the return of Gungi! For anyone who doesn't remember, Gungi was just a Jedi youngling during an arc of The Clone Wars where he and bunch of other younglings went on a journey to collect their lightsaber crystal under the guidance of Yoda and Ahsoka. It was never confirmed if any of them survived Order 66, so it's incredibly heartwarming to see that the cutest of all the younglings made it out okay.

Tribe sees the Bad Batch step in to help Gungi thanks to Omega's intervention. The show has been telling us for a while now that Omega's compassion will play a big role in the team's future, and this episode is yet another example. Without her taking the initiative, this episode doesn't happen.

This story is the latest step taken by the Bad Batch on the way to joining the fight against the Empire. It seems a small one at first, but it won't be the last time they help someone threatened by Imperials. As was made clear in this season's premiere, sooner or later they’ll need to decide whether to start actively fighting back. And it doesn't feel like that's too far away.

Tribe is a very entertaining episode that forges an immediate connection to fans. Not only do we have our first Jedi in The Bad Batch since the very first episode, but also the return of a beloved character plus a journey to a planet well-established in Star Wars lore. It's another strong episode.

Spoilers ahead…

I can't be the only person who wound up theorizing again that Omega might be Force-sensitive. Sure, the hangar bay was a bit dark and soulless, but that couldn't have been enough to tip her off that something was wrong, could it? Her bad feeling might have been brought on by a strong connection to the Force, though admittedly Echo also didn't feel great about the place. The fact that her hunch led to her finding and rescuing Gungi, a former Jedi, does make me wonder if the show is sowing the seeds for Omega to be Force-sensitive in the long run. It seems like too strong a coincidence.

It was tough seeing Gungi imprisoned in his introduction. Maybe it's because we know that Wookiees have a long history of enslavement, but it made me genuinely angry to see the droid mercenaries shocking him with electrostaffs. Once again, Omega does a lot to endear herself to the viewer by instinctively sticking up for him, and we get a great action scene as Gungi uses the Force to pull his lightsaber out of the droid leader's holster and into his hand.

It's always great seeing a Jedi in Star Wars, but it's especially great on a show like The Bad Batch, which has been purposefully devoid of known Force users ever since Order 66. Watching Gungi expertly deflect blaster bolts as they made their escape was wonderful, letting us see how much his training has progressed since we last saw him all those years ago.

Gungi is naturally distrustful of the Bad Batch. While Omega doesn't understand why, the rest of the squad knows what we do. Gungi has definitely been scarred by the traumatic events of Order 66, and he's initially reluctant to trust anyone, especially clones. It takes a while for Gungi to lower his defences, and Omega plays a key role in allowing him to do that as she calmly explains that they’re there to help. It seems their offer of food is enough to placate him, and as soon as they arrive on Kashyyyk, they’ve earned his trust.

Shortly after they touch down on the planet to return Gungi to his original tribe, we are reintroduced to a new creature type from Star Wars Legends that I was very excited to see. These creatures are called kinrath, first introduced in the first Knights of the Old Republic video game, and they look exactly the same as they did 20 years ago (but with more pixels, obviously). They were supposed to be made canon in an episode of The Clone Wars, but it was cancelled after the Disney takeover, as was revealed at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in 2015. Seeing these creatures again made me very happy — Dave Filoni and Jennifer Corbett, who is showrunning this season, continue to canonize elements of the KOTOR series.

Unlike in the video games, where kinrath are openly hostile and must be killed, Gungi makes it clear they will only attack if they think you’re a threat, using the Force to calm the creatures and allow the group to pass through. It's real Jedi behaviour, but also shows us that he's naturally in tune with the forest, as every Wookiee should be.

We see that the Empire is working with Trandoshan slavers to keep the Wookiees in line. Hunter remarks their tanks are Imperial, but they look a lot like old Separatist AATs to me, just with flamethrowers for cannons instead. They make short work of the slavers, freeing their Wookiee captive, who takes them to a small village that hasn't yet been burned down.

The Bad Batch and the Wookiees concoct a plan to eliminate a nearby Imperial/Trandoshan convoy that's burning the forest down and capturing any Wookiee they can. Well, according to Gungi and Yanna, it's the wroshyr trees that come up with the plan; another example of the Wookiees’ affinity with nature.

The Empire are barely present here, with only a couple of clones included in the convoy. They seem like they’ve been kept around to ensure that the Trandoshans are doing what they’re told, allowing the Empire to focus their resources elsewhere. But I was surprised when the Trandoshan commander actually countermanded the clone troopers’ instinct to report a Jedi sighting to the Empire.

It seems like something he shouldn't be allowed to do, but perhaps as the commander of the convoy, what he says goes. I imagine he wanted the glory of bringing in the Wookiee Jedi himself; Trandoshans do enjoy killing/enslaving Wookiees after all, but it seems mighty convenient that he stops the troopers from making the Empire aware that there's a Jedi on Kashyyyk.

The ambush plan goes off pretty much without a hitch, culminating in a final showdown between Gungi and the Trandoshan commander. Gungi slices his flamethrower in half, but sadly the show stops short of showing him dismember or kill a sentient organic being with his lightsaber, just like Star Wars Rebels used to.

Instead, he steps back and allows the kinrath to take care of him, cocooning him with webbing and taking him up into the trees, which is arguably a much grislier end than just killing him with a lightsaber. But that death happens offscreen, and kids can't see it, I guess, which makes it okay…

By the end of the episode, Gungi has joined this new tribe of Wookiee survivors and the Bad Batch's mission is complete. I assume next week will have a completely different story, but it would be nice to see them stay on Kashyyyk for another episode. I wouldn't rule out Gungi returning later in the season either, so who knows?

Either way, it was an absolute treat to see Gungi return. Honestly, the ambush plan went a little too smoothly to be truly entertaining in itself, but Gungi and the Wookiees’ involvement is what kept it tense. My level of investment in Gungi and the Wookiees in general made this a strong episode, on par with the season's first three chapters. I hope we see them again soon.

Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.

Spoilers ahead…