Star Wars the Bad Batch Season 2 Episode 4 “Faster” Review by Darth Slobo
ALL THRILLS AT HIGH SPEEDS
This episode was a massive change of pace from last week’s episode that featured a group of characters that, outside of Omega, haven’t been highlighted as much in the past. While the intensity and emotional depth of the episode may have been vastly different from last week’s episode, that doesn’t mean it was any less exciting! This week we had an extremely fun episode where we get to explore both the inner tensions of the Bad Batch and its shaky working relationship with Cid, AND we get to explore another planet’s criminal underworld, proving just how popular high stakes gambling is in the Star Wars universe. This episode found a way to blend concepts and ideas from past Star Wars adventures into a fun story that lived “in the moment.” And highlights a character that needed more love, Tech.
EPISODE 4 “FASTER”
We open with the Wrecker and Omega playing Dejarik, where we again see Omega’s dominance of the game beating Wrecker.
The Batch are back at Cid’s bar working more jobs to make up for their failed mission. We learn that Hunter and Echo are off on their own mission, as Cid informs Omega, Wrecker, and Tech that she has her own mission for them. We see and hear Tech get visibly frustrated with their current situation and the fact that they have to do jobs for Cid that are “below their skill set.”
This mission takes them to the planet Safa Toma, where it looks like the settlements are multi-levelled with both above and below ground divisions. Immediately the what we see of the planet has very underworld-esque vibes that feels like it combines Jabba’s Mos Espa and the Boonta Eve classic with Coruscant’s underworld.
Here we are introduced to another form of galactic racing: RIOT RACING, which seems to be a more aggressive form of pod racing where blasters and overt weaponry are fair game.
As Tech, Omega, and Wrecker are introduced to the sport, and the nature of their mission on Safa Toma, we are introduced to… BEN SCHWARTZ as TAY-0
And this droid has attitude. Ben Schwartz is hilarious with his trademark attitude from shows like Parks and Rec and Sonic the Hedgehog. As Cid shares her newest money-making venture is the ship that competes in these Riot Races, TAY-0 wins his race. We are also introduced to another character, Millegi, that reveals he has a long history with Cid. It seems we have a little rivalry between Cid and Millegi as they make a side bet on the next Riot Race: Cid and driver TAY-0 vs. Millegi and driver Jet Venim.
During this exciting race sequence, which is takes me back to Star Wars Episode I: Racer for N64, we see an awesome assortment of drivers which includes droids you wouldn’t’ typically see in this setting i.e. a Modified battle droid and protocol droid, as well as various aliens.
After we see an exciting race between Cid’s TAY-0 and Millegi’s Jet Venim, Jet uses a surprize “battle bot-esque” move to trap TAY-0 and destroy his racer ensuring that Jet wins the race.
After Cid’s loss, Millegi comes to collect, and in the midst of this Omega makes a last-ditch effort to save Cid by making an additional double-or-nothing wager to free Cid from Millegi’s debt.
We get an interesting interaction between Omega, Wrecker, and Tech—while Tech works to rebuild TAY-0—that leads them to question the overall benefits of working with Cid as they continue to find themselves saving her from her own bad business dealings.
While we knew Cid wasn’t the most trustworthy character to begin with, As Millegi is holding Cid, we get some insight into Cid’s history and overall shadiness that she tries to argue she has changed.
As Tech and TAY-0 debate race strategy on the balcony of the racetrack, we are all surprised as TAY-0 gets run down in the stands, a clear set up by Millegi to win by eliminating Cid’s driver.
Now we get to see TECH SHINE!
A character that has made strong supporting role gets to now sit in the driver seat—literally—as he elects to take over TAY-0’s spot as driver and free Cid in the Riot Race.
We see Tech flex his unique abilities by how fast he is able to make strategic decisions while simultaneously racing at high speeds AND studying the course to his advantage. We now know why the episode got its name as Tech has a need for speed. His strategic thinking pays off as he anticipates Jet Venim’s special trap and baits the other racer into falling for it in order to come out on top!!!
The crowd cheers for Tech as he confidently emerges from his racer knowing he would win, while Omega and Wrecker are clearly surprised as they run to meet him at the finish line.
This episode ends with the three members of the Batch going to collect Cid, and on their way out Millegi warns them that Cid may not be as quick to help the Batch as they are to help her.
The selflessness of the Batch in saving Cid is likely to shift the power dynamic between them in future interactions, as she is in debt to them for saving her life, while she may not like to admit it.
STAND OUT SCENES
Star Wars Racing
As soon as we landed on Safa Toma we were teased with sounds that seemed straight from Episode I’s Pod racing sequence! The “Riot Racing” was an extremely fun take on pod racing that added more weapons to make it seem like a marriage between Death Race and Pod Racing. The introductory sequence as we see the racers blaze through tunnels with lit up screens immediately took me back to playing Star Wars Episode I: Racer for the N64. This whole sequence was fun right from the get-go.
It was also great to see Tech’s initial frustration of Cid’s misuse of their talents turn into Tech harnessing his talents to get Cid out of trouble. It was great to see Tech shine in the spotlight as opposed to his usual support role. Here’s hoping we get more Tech story-lines in the future.
Where last week we saw a B1 Battle Droid with a sassy attitude, this week we get a droid that is seemingly built for sass, and who better to play this overly confident droid with attitude than Ben Schwartz. I am a big Ben Schwartz fan, and he definitely brought his trademark goofy confidence to this role in a fun way!
The Criminal Underworld of Star Wars
I thought it was very neat that Safa Toma combined aspects of Jabba’s Tatooine gambling underworld with Coruscant’s underworld to give us another planet with questionable activities. It seems the Star Wars underworld runs much deeper than the Hutt’s, Spice Runners, and bounty hunting, and that is OK with me!
This episode gets 9.5 RIOT RACERS out of 10