The Bad Batch Takes Star Wars To The Temple Of Doom

The tenth episode of "The Bad Batch" is called "Retrieval" and it's the second half of last week's episode. The Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang) are stranded on a distant mining planet, and their ship has been stolen by a mysterious thief. Now, they await rescue from a very grumpy Cid (Rhea Perlman). But Omega tracks the ship to a mining settlement barely 100km away and they make their move.

In this settlement, they find a Dickensian colony of kids, mining and stealing on behalf of a mobster named Mokko (Jonathan Lipow). A young thief named Benni (Yuri Lowenthal) is the one behind the theft of the Marauder and hopes to earn enough goodwill to eat and drink well.

Naturally, the Bad Batch wants their home back and they infiltrate the mining settlement. Along the way, tables turn back and forth with Benni, who is at times helping them and then turning on them and then helping them again. Eventually, the group of specialized Clones uncovers Mokko's greed, and the kids of the mine turn on the mobster, leaving the mine in their care.

With their ship back, the Bad Batch takes to the stars once more, ready to take on another mission.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Once again, this episode goes straight to the well of "Indiana Jones" inspiration. The ipsium mine looks and operates very much like the mine of children enslaved by the Thugee in "Temple of Doom," replete with red steaming mist and mysterious music (compliments of Kevin Kiner and co.). Under Mokko's thumb, the kids barely scrape by, while he takes all of the wealth for himself. The Bad Batch shows up and fills in the role of Indiana Jones, acting as the force that turns the tide on the evil overlord and rescues the children.

The final standoff of the episode even happens on a bridge across a wide-open chasm, just like the end of "Temple of Doom." Instead of the hero being caught in the middle, though, it's Mokko himself, beset by everyone. He falls into the mist of the mine, much like Mola Ram in the Indy picture. The kids finally turn on their enslavers much the same way as the kids trapped in Pankot Palace, but instead of returning home to their own village, they seize the means of production and start to work for themselves.

It's an incredibly positive note for these kids, and reinforces the anti-capitalist Empire sentiment of "Star Wars."

Details to watch out for

The isolation of this planet keeps it away from a lot of the more obvious places references get dropped into the show, but there are certainly some cool things to check out.

The first is Benni. Benni is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who a lot of folks might recognize as Ben Tennyson from "Ben 10" or as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the Insomniac Games "Spider-Man" series. He has an undeniably youthful bent to his voice that makes him perfect for this character. As far as Benni's physical appearance, his goggle-eyed disguise from the last episode and the beginning of this one recalls a very specific design from the animated iteration of "Battle Angel." In that show, a character named Yugo is disguised as a Hunter Warrior. Like Benni, Yugo has to scrap on the street to survive in a hostile environment, and their costumes feel very similar when they're out doing those sorts of covert missions.

Benni's part of a group run by Mokko that feels similar to the way Lady Proxima runs the White Worms crew — where Han Solo got his start — in "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

The other thing to note is that this mine had been formerly owned by the Techno Union, according to Benni. The Techno Union lent their army to the Separatists in "Attack of the Clones," sitting at a negotiating table on Geonosis with Count Dooku. The mine itself evokes imagery from "Attack of the Clones" as well, echoing some of the designs of the Droid Factory on Geonosis.

Positive messages

There's something inherently satisfying about an alleged kid's show having episodes that are very pro-labor. "No one should have to compete for food," Omega tells Benni at one point, sowing the seeds for the revolution that will take place in the mine. Labor history is full of moments where the workers seize the means of production from their evil overlords and most of them weren't this bloodless. I love that it has ties to Dickensian themes, casting Benni as Oliver Twist to Mokko's combination of Fagin and Sikes.

I always love taking stuff like Dickens and "Indiana Jones" and mixing it up with "Star Wars." Layer that on top of the western tropes in this episode (just like those we talked about last week) and you've got a really great episode. More than that, it shows the growth of Omega. She struggled in the last episode with the concept of home and listening to her talk to Benni about his struggle with the same thing was great work. He's in a clearly abusive relationship with his home, but she manages to help him through that struggle.

There's not a lot here that gets into the larger galactic conflict, but it definitely ends on a note where the Bad Batch realizes they need to start taking sides because there are bad guys everywhere.

New episodes of "The Bad Batch" air on Wednesdays on Disney+.