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Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 2 Episode 5: Entombed

What is it ? : Omega and Wrecker are in a scrapyard looking for spare parts, Wrecker finds the parts they need, but Omega is choosing things which she just likes the look of. Returning to Cids bar, they find the rest of the Batch overhearing Phee Genoa a colleague of Cids they encountered earlier in the series telling a tale of treasure hunting to Bolo and Ketch.
While Omega shows off the collection of items she has found, which Tech dismisses as worthless, Phee recognises one of the pieces, and opens it to reveal a set of co-ordinates, which she says mark the Kaldar Trinary system, an uncharted system. Assuming someone would only leave co-ordinates for something of worth, Phee talks the Batch into helping her recover the treasure which the item will surely lead them to.
Arriving on the planet on the Havok Marauder, they follow the co-ordinates to a cave while noticing the planet is dead with burned plant life everywhere. At the cave Phee asks Wrecker to move a boulder so they can access, this leads to a small rockfall which reveals an entrance, which Phee remarks shows signs of being the entrance to Skara Nal, which predates the Jedi and contains a valuable treasure called the Heart of the Mountain. After trying to unlock the entrance, and setting off a trap sealing them within the entrance chamber, Omega discovers that the compass they have been using lights up certain symbols, allowing them to correctly unlock the entrance, but leave Phee's Astromech type droid Mel behind.
As they explore further, they are separated by a rockfall when they fire at a creature inhabiting the caves. Wrecker, Tech and Echo move through side caves in the hope they can meet up with the others, which Phee, Omega and Hunter continue. They find a tunnel with traps along it, and the only safe passage indicated by the compass is the ceiling, but Omega locks the compass into a marking on the wall which rotates the tunnel, allowing them to progress, but at the loss of the compass. They then arrive at a door, when Wrecker, Tech and Echo catch up with them, and they cannot see any signs of decoding any traps on the door, when Phee declares that sometimes a door is just a door.
Entering they locate the Heart of the Mountain, a large carved glowing rock, but when they remove it everything starts moving, and they discover they are aboard a massive robot mecha, which climbs to it's feet, causing them to drop the Heart of the Mountain. The Mecha, called the Skara Nal, opens fire with a torrent of energy, destroying the Droid Mell still waiting outside for them, and it moves to destroy the Havok Marauder.
The Batch scramble to recover the Heart of the Mountain and lock it back in place to deactivate the Skara Nal, only for it to melt when put back in place, which permanently deactivates the Skara Nal.
Omega apologises to Phee for the destruction of Mel, but she brushes it aside, saying that she backs up Mels memories just in case this happens, and she'll get the droid rebuilt, and straight away starts discussing her next mission to find lost treasures. . .

High Points : The Skara Nal is an interesting result to the treasure hunt (even if it makes no sense), and would have made a useful plot device for the Batch to have in reserve as the overall plot continues.
I also liked that the Droid Mel seems to be yet another type of Astromech we've never really seen before, which makes sense to have more and more droids which could be used in Starfighter Droid slots, given their ubiquity across designs.

Low Points : So, the key to find the Skara Nal was lay randomly in a scrapyard. The key which can only ever be used once, as it bonds with the wall as part of the final trap before you reach the Heart of the Mountain and the Skara Nal itself. So no one, except whoever set up the traps has ever been here before, yet the legend is famous enough for Phee many thousands of years later to know it's details?
And the legendary Heart of the Mountain seems to be a safety device to stop the Skara Nal from going bezerk and destroying everything. A device so old it seems to have become buried in the ground perhaps by rock formation, yet the plants on the world while burned presumably by the Skara Nal before it was shut down still haven't crumbled away and decayed?
And the whole Skara Nal story I'm confused at, as it appears whoever built it realised it was so dangerous, they deactivated it with the Heart of the Mountain stone. But this stone dissolves and destroys the Skara Nal when it is returned to place. Which makes me wonder why this didn't happen the first time it was used to deactivate the machine? Why did they deactivate it, but leave it in one piece? Who set up the traps, and took the key out to the rest of the galaxy? Why was it just sitting in a scrapyard thousands of years later (it predates the Jedi, so a thousand generations, maybe 20,000 years). Who built the traps? And if they still had enough infrastructure to built the traps, why aren't there any other signs of them on the planet?

So what do you really think ? : This episode makes no sense at all, and rather annoyingly it introduces Phee Genoa as a character type that Star Wars keeps trying to get to work. The female Indiana Jones.
Now I've no problem with gender swapping the character type, but this is the third time they've tried this. We've got Doctor Aphra, which I understand to be fairly well done and successful (I may read and cover the comic series at some point), we had MIka Grey in Resistance, and now we've got Phee Genoa. Now as I said, I've not read Doctor Aphra, but Phee and Mika are basically the same character, a wise cracking, smarter than the protagonists character who is the font of all knowledge on ancient stuff. So why not make them the same character? Why not have Phee be the younger Mika? Would at least be interesting to see a character we know who is around in the First Order era crop up as a youngster? Might help tie that era and series into the overall universe as well.
But the main problem with this is, the background to the Skara Nal just makes no sense at all. I know it's supposed to be a mystery, but it could have been a mystery surrounded by ruins, to show that someone built it, even if they're gone now. The Skara Nal could have malfunctioned at the end rather than be destroyed by the Heart of the Mountain, which seemingly had shut it down safely before. The compass/key device, could have been reuseable, rather than a one off device, hinting people have found this place before, but had to abandon their quest due to the traps. Making the heroes the first people to succeed, but the previous attempts having laid the rumours that the heroes discovered to bring them here.
Because as it is, if you've followed the key here, and then failed at the first trap, then you and the key were sealed inside, so the key couldn't be used again. If they'd found the remains of other treasure seekers, it would have helped. But even as it is, after the very first trap, Wrecker, Echo and Tech manage to take a side tunnel which takes them around all of the other traps, straight to the Skara Nal itself.

Which I supposed could answer my questions. Someone found the key, travelled to the planet, found the cave, decoded the first trap, taken the side tunnels past all the other traps, and then been defeated by a closed door? Or maybe got inside and just decided to not take the incredible valuable Heart of the Mountain!
Makes total sense now.

Final Words : While fairly enjoyable, this episode is absolute rubbish. It serves no purpose in the overall plot (I thought that the Skara Nal Mecha might be used by the Batch later on as a secret weapon, but it's totally destroyed at the end of the episode), and it's internal logic really doesn't make a whole load of sense, all while being driven forward by a very cliched and smarter than thou character who isn't particularly interesting.
In many ways the worst episode of the series so far, in a very patchy season so far.

Score : 6/10

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