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Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 3 Episode 9: Harbinger

What is it ? : Crosshair is settling into life with the Batch on Pabu, which Omega is playing on the beach with her hound Batcher. He acts afraid of a cave they've been into many times, so Omega explores, finding a concealed starship, but Batcher runs off as Omega is captured by a figure in the dark.
Batcher fetches the rest of the Batch and they discover Omega being held by Asajj Ventress, who they don't recognise. She explains that she was sent by Fennec Shand, and she tells them that M-Counts are Midichlorian counts, associated with Force Users and Jedi. So the fact that the Empire is searching for Omega suggests they think she is force sensitive, and she agrees to test Omega.
Firstly she gets her to balance on one foot while balancing a stone on her head, Omega doesn't do well at this task. But Hunter receives information identifying Asajj Ventress as an assassin of the Confederacy, Ventress notices them becoming hostile, so gives Omega a new task, to gather a single white blossom from the tree at the top of the island before sundown, which is only minutes away.
The Batch then confront Ventress, saying they can't trust her, even though she makes the point the war is over and both sides lost. A fight breaks out, and when Omega returns with the blossom, she finds Ventress force choking Wrecker, while holding Hunter and Crosshair at bay with her lightsaber.
That night Omega talks the others into giving Ventress a chance, so the next day Ventress and Omega head out in a boat. Ventress asks Omega to reach out and see which creatures respond, as they often match a persons energy. After trying unsuccessfully, Ventress demonstrates and a group of glowing fish surround the boat much to Omega's amazement.
But the fish race away, and a large monster emerges, and Ventress engages it with her saber. The rest of the Batch who have been keeping an eye on the pair from the shore, board the Havoc Marauder and attack the creature, but Ventress warns they're making things worse, so Omega warns them away.
The creature grabs Ventress with a tentacle and pulls her towards its mouth, only for her to reach out and calm it using the force. It gently puts her down and leaves.
Back on the shore, she tells Omega that she isn't force sensitive, and she failed the tests, and Omega and Wrecker leave to get some food. But Crosshair recognises she's lying, so questions her. She tells him that yes, Omega is force sensitive, but she lied as if she is, she should leave the Batch and get trained properly as the Empire will be hunting for her, and they should leave Pabu as they are not as safe as they think they are.
She boards her ship and the Batch watch as she flies off.

High Points : While it's really nice to catch up with Ventress and see what she has been doing since the last time we saw her, this is a very different Ventress and without seeing how she made this journey it's a little difficult to take. I kept expecting her to trick Omega, to force her to use her abilities to determine that she does indeed have them.

Low Points : While Ventress when we last saw her had left the service of the Sith, she was still Dark Side, but now she seems almost Jedi like, and it really would have been nice to see the journey she'd take to change, rather than it just having happened. I say almost Jedi-like, as she still fights the Batch readily, and still has an edge to her.
I'm also not impressed by her just magically finding the Batch on Pabu, and it being explained away as she just had methods, but it'd have been easy for them to explain it away as Fennec having put a tracker on their ship while it was unattended during the last episode, rather than Ventress just having special abilities to track people down across the galaxy when she's never even met them.

We've seem Midichlorians counted twice in Star Wars up until now, and both times it was with a machine, and I have to admit I thought at first that Ventress was just tormenting Omega by the trials she puts her through, and would then just pull out a hand held tester like Qui Gon had. The tests do seem Jedi like, but I really can't imagine the Sith or the Nightsisters doing these meditative type tests, so they seem out of character for Ventress.

So what do you really think ? : Another episode where we're treading water, the storyline doesn't progress at all in this one, and we're exactly where we were a couple of episodes ago, and I really feel we're going to be in this state until a few episodes from the end of the season.

Final Words : The episode is still entertaining, well done and performed, it just feels lacking compared to the majority of this season so far, and I definitely think I'd have preferred a shorter punchier season, than a drawn out one with episodes which should have been skipped.

Score : 8.5/10

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