A dangerous quest for a mythical item through unknown territory, fortune favoring the bold, complex puzzle solving, major characters splitting up in a dark tunnel system, an explosive third act, and a terrifying monster guarding valuable treasure that contains a hidden purpose. All of these elements sound like the key ingredients for a classic Uncharted adventure, but in actuality, they’re far from it. So far, far away, one might even say they’re in another galaxy. The aforementioned story traits actually come from this week’s episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which does its best to replicate the intrepid wonderment of the famed video game franchise and, more specifically, its genre.
Titled Entombed, the fifth episode of The Bad Batch‘s second season sees its titular group of rag-tag runaways searching for a lost treasure alongside Wanda Sykes‘ Phee Genoa, a pirate associate of their benefactor, Rhea Perlman‘s Cid. Their journey, and the obstacles they encounter, are obviously designed to evoke the quintessential Lucasfilm feeling of adventure, likely with Star Wars‘ sister franchise Indiana Jones in mind. However, the execution and outcome of their experience fall more in line with Naughty Dog’s aforesaid Uncharted series, specifically in how it uses its plot to convey its ultimate message. The Uncharted games, and tangentially their film adaptation, always end the same way – with the heroes giving up their newfound discoveries and riches for the benefit of the world and those they love.
Entombed does more or less the same thing, with a wide-eyed Omega and her grumpier adult counterparts allowing a ticket to a wealthier life to slip past them in an effort to keep each other, and the galaxy, alive and well. This is something that The Bad Batch has done before, as recently as this season’s premiere episodes, but its blunt framing and straightforward narrative in Entombed work in conjunction to drive the point home with greater relative ease. Also, plainly put, it’s a lot of fun to watch Omega, Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo go treasure hunting because Star Wars has always and will always work best as a science-fiction take on pulp storytelling.
It’s been enjoyable to see the creatives behind the series break formula this season and apply the age-old recipe for Star Wars success to multiple different genres. The result has been a fairly entertaining early group of Bad Batch escapades, but unfortunately, the show’s biggest issue remains. Entombed, for all its likability, still does very little to progress the series or its characters as a whole. It often feels like the series is going in circles, with Omega and the crew learning the same lessons on repeat, and never truly moving forward to their next stage. It’s difficult to stay invested in characters that don’t change, and it’s frustrating when every episode comes with several opportunities to make it happen.
Entombed might have been more exciting if, as an example, it also laid the groundwork for Omega to take a future interest in treasure hunting herself, as many of the episode’s best moments involved her growing ingenuity and childlike amazement. The potential behind this show is there and is evident in thrilling stories like this one, but The Bad Batch is still just one cohesive throughline short of living up to its predecessors’ standards. Even so, it proves itself an interesting, easily-digestible, adventure-of-the-week style project on a weekly basis. If that’s all one is looking for in this, they’ve found it in spades.