'Star Wars: The Bad Batch' Breakdown: The Details And History That Enrich "Infested"

This article contains major spoilers for the latest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

After returning to Ord Mantell from another mission for Cid, the Bad Batch find that Cid is no longer in control of her place. Instead, there's a Devaronian named Roland Durand of the Durand crime family, new to the Star Wars canon (which immediately makes this episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, titled "Infested," a worthwhile endeavor). He's taken over with an army of goons and intends to broker a deal with the Pyke Syndicate. Cid threatens the Bad Batch into helping rid Ord Mantell of Roland Durand. They steal the spice meant for the Pyke Syndicate, which complicates things for everyone, when it's lost in the underground cavern system full of irlings, nocturnal creatures sensitive to light. When the Pykes are informed that Cid and the Bad Batch are the ones who stole the spice, they take Omega hostage until their spice is returned to them.

The Pykes

The primary villain in this episode is the Pyke Syndicate and they have a long, storied history in the Star Wars universe. They first appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and were part of a tapestry of the underworld. Hailing from the planet Oba Diah, they were involved in the death of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and were integral to Maul's Shadow Collective which allowed him to take over the planet. The Pykes were also seen in live-action in Solo: A Star Wars Story in the form of Quay Tolsite, the administrator of the spice mines of Kessel that Q'ira killed using her master of Teras Kasi.

Most recently, the Pykes were seen in the last season of The Clone Wars. Ahsoka Tano and the Martez sisters crossed paths with Pykes. Ahsoka and crew were running spice for the Pykes and nearly lost their lives when they dumped the shipment in the middle of hyperspace.

The Pykes are tough customers and don't take kindly to losing shipments of their most valuable commodity.


Spice has been something mentioned in Star Wars from the very beginning. In the very opening scenes of A New Hope, C-3PO worries about being sent to the "Spice Mines of Kessel" and the rest has been history. In the old Legends universe, spice became a very powerful drug and that's carried over into the new iterations of stories. It's long held that George Lucas was incredibly influenced by Frank Herbert's Dune and the inclusion of the mention was merely a passing reference to the Spice Melange that was so prized in the universe of that book series.

It's gone by various names over the years, chief among them is "glitterstim," but that hasn't been used in the canon of Star Wars since the Legends Universe was created.

Other Details

At the beginning of the episode, time has passed since the events of the last episodes of Ryloth and the Bad Batch lament that their last mission involved a lot of angry gundarks. Gundarks were first mentioned in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo comments that Luke looks strong enough to pull the ears off of one. They were mentioned again in Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan Kenobi comments that his padawan hasn't felt that tense since they fell into an entire nest of gundarks. Gundarks weren't seen onscreen until the eleventh episode of season one of Star Wars: The Clones Wars, where Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have to fight one on the planet Vanqor.

Since gundarks are native to Vanqor, it's likely the Bad Batch went there for their most recent mission.

This episode had a couple of cool film references that would be worth looking at. The first was in the cavern system when Wrecker drops the flashlight down into the nest of the irlings. It plays very much like the moment in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where Peregrine Took accidentally awakens the denizens of Moria and, ultimately, the Balrog. Dave Filoni is an unabashed fan of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, both in written form and adapted, so it's no wonder to see moments like this filtered through the lens of his influence on the show.

The other is the conveyance through the cavern itself and how it pulls into a chase sequence in the episode. It felt very much built on the mine car chase in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with the irlings adding an extra layer of complication to the travails faced by Dr. Jones in his adventures in India. The lighting, the stakes, and the speed of the sequence all bear a striking similarity to the major action set piece of that film, and it's a terrific fit here in Star Wars.

Crosshair’s Hunt?

The previous episode of the show ended with Crosshair finally getting the assignment to hunt down the Bad Batch and many of us expected to see that story pick back up this week, especially with so few episodes left, but instead we were treated to this side-adventure with the Pykes.

Although Crosshair doesn't appear in this episode, knowing he's out there adds a tension for viewers concerned about when he might show up next. Will it be next week? Or will Crosshair wait to strike until he can be victorious? That could mean holding him back for the season finale.

We'll learn more next week, but there are still so many unanswered threads, it will be interesting to see how they come together and what is left for future seasons of the show, if that's even a possibility.