Perhaps The Bad Batch would be better served as something other than an animated show. Its themes are semi-consistently as heavy as those explored in Andor, which was praised for handling adult themes; however, the animated nature of The Bad Batch seems to prevent it from being thrown into the discussion of how impactful the Empire’s rise was to the galaxy far, far away, in particular the places farthest away.
Episode 10 of Season 2 of The Bad Batch, Retrieval, does its measured best to keep up with the adult themes of Andor while placing the animated series’ youngest character, Michelle Ang‘s Omega, at the core. Many of the best episodes of The Bad Batch come when Omega’s life lessons take up the bulk of the runtime and Retirevel is no different.
In order for Omega to ultimately become whatever it is she’s meant to become, she’s going to have to continue to learn some hard lessons and in Retrieval she learns another while faced with a dark, alternative path taken by a peer. A bit of an orphan herself, Omega meets Benni Baro, the thief of the Marauder, and bears witness to one of what’s probably a thousand undocumented horrors of the Empire. While Omega’s adopted family is fortunately made up of the quirky but devoted Batchers, Benni has unfortunately fallen in with the greedy slaver Mokko. In one sense, Retrieval serves as equal parts “ignorance is bliss” and “stupid is as stupid does.”
At the end of the day, the episode’s commitment to putting Omega at the center of the story allows for a teachable moment for her and the audience. As Palpatine’s grip on power grows, so do the outlaws that don’t threaten his rule. People like Mokko don’t pose a threat to Sheev, so their disgusting practices are allowed to carry on, something Omega experiences though her interactions with Benni, whose path could have been hers had she simply fallen into different hands. Fortunately, as Tech tells Omega, there are plenty of people like the Bad Batch out there to keep the universe in balance.