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Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 2 Episode 12: Pabu

What is it ? : We start with the Batch helping Phee Genoa, the treasure hunter from the episode Entombed, with a deal. The buyer of her item tries to double cross her with a Kouhun, but hunter kills it, and then the buyers gang pull weapons and a fight breaks out.
As they leave the planet on the Havok Marauder, a communication comes in from Cid, asking where they are and berating them for losing her money on deals, as well as threatening to reveal their existence for profit. Phee offers them a place to hide out, the planet Pabu, somewhere she suggests might be a better place for Omega than just learning how to be a soldier from the Batch.
Arriving they find a small island jutting out of the ocean, a small town is built on the island with a fortified landing pad at the top with a tower. The tower Phee tells them is the Archium, where she stores many of the valuable items she has recovered.
A man arrives, the mayor of the island, Shep Hazard, with his daughter Lyana. Omega and Lyana instantly hit it off and run to explore and play, while Shep invites the Batch to dinner. The three members of the Batch find Pabu enticing for different reasons. Hunter sees it as a safe place for Omega to learn to be a child and for him to be a parent, Wrecker is enthusiastic about the food, claiming that it's the first time he has been full for a long time. And Tech seems to be forming a romantic association with Phee, and she interests him with the sights and wonders of the island town.
As they speak, Shep tells them that they would fit in, as many on the island are fleeing the Empire, and the settlement has grown so rapidly that they have expanded outside the original walled Upper Pabu, into the shorefront Lower Pabu.
As the sun sets, and the sky changes to glorious colours, Omega and Lyana take Lyana's boat out to sea to watch, as Omega comments that although she was raised on an ocean world it was very different to this one.
As the Batch consider their future, the island shakes with an earthquake, and Tech realises that an earthquake on an ocean world is likely to cause a tsunami, the reason for the walled secure area on the island.
Raising the alarm, the batch begin helping people to the safety of Upper Pabu, but the water rushes away from the island meaning that Omega and Lyana cannot return. Their boat is dashed against rocks revealed by the dropping water level, and they begin racing on foot back to the island as the Tsunami becomes visible on the horizon.
Hunter races for the Havok Marauder, as Tech and Phee release ladders to aid the rush block the staircase to the safe area. In the nick of time, Hunter releases ascension ropes from the Marauder for the children to grab onto, and snatches them out of the way of the tidal wave as it rushes in.
On the island they get the last people up the ladders as the water smashes the settlement below, destroying Lower Pabu.
In the aftermath, Lyana, Wrecker, & Omega slumber sitting against one of the trees on Upper Pabu, as Tech, Phee, Hunter and Shep talk. Tech says it will take years to recover fully from this disaster, but Shep responds that it's only things which were destroyed and with the help of the Batch no lives were lost. Hunter suggests that the Batch could stay and help if they want. To which Phee, Tech and Shep seem agreeable to . . . .

High Points : A really solid episode without the need for a villain, the action is all based around a natural disaster, and Pabu seems like a genuinely nice place.
And I have to admit it was this niceness that set me on edge for a while. I've never really trusted Phee, as she seems to be just out for money, so no more trustworthy than Cid. But the island seemed like a trap to me, or perhaps I thought that Cid's glitchy transmission was tracking them somehow. I was thinking perhaps the food had been drugged, as Wrecker was beginning to drift off to sleep.
But when the earthquake was beginning, and the Batch (along with the Animals of the island) could sense something, I thought it was going to be the repulsorlift drives of a Star Destroyer coming in overhead, and that the Batch had brought disaster to the island.
But nope, the island was what it appeared to be, and the disaster was a natural one.

I'm also a fan of the design of the island, the high peak with the landing pad and Archium on it, the walled area obvious built by long forgotten generations to protect against other Tsunami's (they must be a fairly regular thing here). The town build down the slope towards the beaches and the large blue ocean. It's an idyllic setting, perhaps too similar to Kamino or Castilon, but a nicer holiday destination.

The episode builds nicely, and the similarity to the real world Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, made it seem all the more real as knowledge of that disaster gave me as a viewer a platform to know what was happening and what was going to come next.

Low Points : Not a lot to dislike in this episode, but a couple of things bothered me. Firstly is the treatment of Hunter as Omega's surrogate father. The Batch, all being clones are brothers, and are obviously protective of Omega, just as any bunch of Big Brothers are of their little sister (just think of the treatment anyone who dates her when she becomes a teenager will get if they hurt her feelings). Hunters a protective big brother, not a father, and while the difference isn't much it's one I feel is important.
The other thing that bothers me is as the Earthquake happens, it's sunset. But this is totally forgotten about in the rush of the action. It doesn't become dusk as the disaster unfolds, it remains broad daylight, and even later when Wrecker and the Children are sleeping, it's not nighttime, it's broad daylight. Either nights on Pabu are really short, or the animators forgot about the passage of time.

So what do you really think ? : A great episode, but probably just setting up for an Imperial attack on the world later, giving the Batch somewhere to lose again. Cid is after them, the Empire wants Omega to help manipulate their Kaminoan's, and this perfect little island will probably become a battlefield, the same as so many other places have across Star Wars animation.

Final Words : With three episodes to go, "Tipping Point", "The Summit", & "Plan 99", I'm guessing the the Tipping Point will be the Batch discovering about the experimentation being done on Crosshair, the Summit will be either Mount Tantiss, or Pabu, and Plan 99 will be a new cloned Bad Batch loyal to the Empire. But we shall see.

Score : 9/10

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