The fourth episode of the final season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch picked up just where the third episode, or rather the first three episodes, left off. It’s really nice to see that, because this show is now telling one continuous, and serialized story while still maintaining an episodic feel with specific episodes largely taking place in specific places.

This week, we spend most of the story on the planet Lau where Omega (Michelle Ang), Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker), and new pal Batcher crash land after falling out of hyperspace, following their escape from Imperial captivity on Mount Tantiss. It’s an Imperial-controlled port with quite a bit of corruption.

Omega and Crosshair hiding out in The Bad Batch Season 3 Episode 4: A Different Approach (Lucasfilm/Disney)

The show really gives you a feel for the seediness of the place through the overall look and color scheme, to some of the locals we meet. There’s the boarding agent who will take a hefty bribe to let them travel without an Imperial Chain Code, and we meet some scavenger kid selling information, but mainly there’s the Imperial officer who comes across more like a mobster.

We see him taking his cut of the local bar/gambling hall where Omega is hustling in a card game. Then he plays Omega, loses, pays up, and fines her for gambling. But, of course, that’s not his worst. And he later gets what he deserves, getting eaten by what I can only guess is a rathtar that The Empire had in some sort of cage.

I like how we’re reminded that Omega can not only survive, but thrive, in such a cutthroat and sketchy environment while still doing the right thing morally and for her friends. In this case Batcher, whom the Imperials had beast-napped, I guess you could say. It’s also nice to see how Crosshair can do the same. He had left the rest of the Bad Batch when they were working for Sid.

We do get a brief follow up on how Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo) is doing. It’s not good. She’s in a cell, and awaiting some sort of punishment. We are also reminded that Dr. Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson) is hot on their trail, and can track the stolen Imperial cargo transport Omega, Crosshair and Batcher escaped with.

The overhead night shot of the Imperial cargo docks, before Omega and Crosshair sneak in, and all hell breaks loose, felt so alive, and so real. This has to be peak Star Wars animation, or close to it.

And when they do infiltrate the base, and decide to do things with Crosshair’s approach, which means releasing all the caged animals by shooting up the place, I was pleased to see the result and the underlying message, one that is Star Wars to its core. You don’t negotiate with, or capitulate to fascists, in this case The Empire. You trick them if you can, fight them if that doesn’t work, and escape them if you’re outnumbered.

Wrecker is overjoyed to be reunited with Omega in The Bad Batch Season 3 Episode 4: A Different Approach (Lucasfilm/Disney)

But, of course, the real emotional crux of this episode is clearly Omega’s reunion with Hunter and Wrecker (both also Baker), and then Crosshair coming out of the ship and seeing his brothers again. Kevin Kiner’s score changed at just the perfect time, when Omega said “I had help”, and then built up again slowly.

I like all the appearances from legacy, or recent legacy, Star Wars characters in this show, but it’s really the core group of the Batch and Omega, and their story, that I’m invested in. So props to Dave Filoni, the cast, and the production team for that one.

At some point, we’re going to have to admit that Star Wars animation can really stand on its own. The Bad Batch isn’t live action, or a movie, but I don’t need it to be. It has all the right beats just as it is, especially this season. And I now can’t wait to see where this goes from here.

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