In 1999, when Y2K was set to end us all, George Lucas came to the rescue by introducing podracing in Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace. A high-stakes sport that was wildly popular in the Outer Rim territories, podracing (and a little sleight of hand by Qui-Gon Jinn) was the plot device that put Anakin on his highway to hell. Episode 4 of The Bad Batch, cleverly titled “Faster”, puts the win-at-all-costs sport back in the spotlight, only with much lower stakes.
As has been the case in the show’s second season, “Faster” splits up the squad allowing the episodes to focus a bit more on the growth of individual characters. . Episode 4 sees Tech, Wrecker and Omega accompany their sleazoid boss Ciddarian Scaleback to the sordid spaceport Safa Toma. While the episode leans heavily into reminding the clones and the audience just how unsavory of a character Cid is thanks to Ernie Hudson‘s Grini Millegi, an old associate of hers, its primary focus is the continued growth of Tech. So far, no character has shown more growth than Tech and “Faster” is truly his time to shine.
Beginning in the season’s two-episode debut, Tech has continued to move from a nearly insufferable know-it-all and has begun showing signs of becoming sympathetic. Though it was never intentional, Tech has always displayed a tendency to talk down to others and being amazingly unaware of appropriate behavior in most social situations. Through a series of bets and contrivances that put Cid in a bad spot with Millegi, “Faster” puts Tech in a position where his mutation sets him up to save the day. And while he gets to show off his big brain and impress the masses with his calculations, it’s his selflessness in putting himself at risk to save Cid that truly earns him high marks.
Through four episodes, Season 2 has yet to truly pull back the curtain on its main plot thread, focusing rather on making sure the audience knows that these clones are more than just their mutations and that Omega is not the only one who is still learning. While clones across the galaxy face being “decommissioned” and looking at a fate no better than the battle droids they replaced, Clone Force 99 continues carving its own way through the galaxy and growing as they go.