Season 1 of “The Bad Batch” opened with the origin story of “Rebels” star Kanan Jarrus, so it’s fitting that we’d see the origin story of fellow “Rebels” protagonist, Hera (Vanessa Marshall).
Episode 11 focuses on Ryloth, as its senator, Orn Free Taa (Phil LaMarr), and resistance leader Cham Syndulla (Robin Atkin Downes) have brokered a deal for an Imperial refinery to be established on the planet, except it seems like it was a bad one, as it also requires the entire planet to surrender their arms and put their complete trust in the new Galactic Empire, something that understandably makes Cham and his lieutenant, Gobi Glie (Corey Burton), uneasy.
They surrender their arms, but not before Gobi takes Cham’s daughter, Hera, with him to purchase more from the Bad Batch. And that’s pretty much all we see of the Bad Batch in this episode; the focus is intentionally put on Ryloth.
Of course, the imperials ambush them and attempt to convict Gobi and Hera for treason without a trial, which draws out Cham to rescue them, though he gets ambushed himself. Hera escapes on her own with her droid Chopper (another “Rebels” protagonist), and the episode ends with her fleeing, all alone, paralleling Kanan’s flight from the inhibitor-chip controlled clones in Episode 1.
I’m not sure what the purpose of this episode was except for the obvious fanservice and setting up of “Star Wars: Rebels”, which takes place chronologically after “Bad Batch”. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hera and Kanan appear later in this show, but as it stands, both cameos are a nice little nod to “Rebels” fans those who haven’t seen the show won’t understand.
Thematically, Episode 11 does some cool world-building illustrating how the galaxy is changing, and how quickly the ideals and relationships forged during the era of the Republic are getting poisoned by the Empire.
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 1: Episode 11 “Devil’s Deal” gets an 8/10