“Faster” opens on Ord Mantell, where Cid offers Omega, Tech, and Wrecker a new mission as her bodyguards. They attend a riot race, and Cid’s racer, a droid named TAY-0, wins. An acquaintance of Cid’s named Millegi challenges her racer with his own, and she accepts. Millegi’s racers sabotage TAY-0 and destroy the speeder, landing Cid in her old friend’s custody. Omega wagers another race against Cid’s freedom and double her debt. Tech repairs TAY-0 and the speeder. However, TAY-0 gets run over again, and Tech offers to race for Cid. Tech wins through the use of strategy and studying previous races. Cid is released, but her opponent warns the Batch that she doesn’t always reciprocate loyalty and to watch out.
This episode really surprised me. I say that because once it really got going and I saw that it was about racing, I felt dread sink in. Cid’s racer droid is annoying and unfunny, and I sensed another filler episode. Even the droid’s name is dumb. However, while “Faster” doesn’t have much to do with the main story, it does involve character development for Cid and Tech. By omitting characters like Hunter and Crosshair, who have received far more attention, “Faster” gives Tech a well-deserved starring episode. You can practically feel the creators listening to fan concerns about season 1. Right from the start, there’s a concerted effort to give Echo and Tech more of the spotlight. I was initially concerned that this would be another “Omega is awesome” episode; I imagined she would help win the race after her initial interest in riot racing. Excelling at a new trick is something she’s done before, but I enjoyed the focus on her training and studying in the season 2 premiere. Sure, make her an awesome, badass character. But make her work for it. Anyway, it makes perfect sense for Tech to be interested in a sport involving machinery, and this was a great moment for him.
This was also a good episode for Cid, whom I haven’t liked that much. I have nothing against Rhea Perlman, but if you had told me she would be a significant side character in a Star Wars series, I wouldn’t have believed it. Cid is abrasive but cares about the Batch deep down. So far, that has been the extent of her character: the Batch’s gruff but soft-deep-down boss with a sweet spot for Omega. This repetitive cycle of Cid sending the Batch on dangerous missions led to much of the “fillery” nature of season 1. It also feels like the Batch never makes any progress with their debt to Cid; the season opener’s war chest would have bought their freedom, but as we saw, Omega flubbed their chances with that. I appreciate the fact that Omega has flaws and isn’t a perfect protagonist, but again, it feels like she hasn’t grown much since season 1 ended. Why even have a time jump? Back to Cid, this episode is important because we finally learn something about her past. I hope we learn more this season, and I think we will. She also says she owes Tech now, which could prove crucial down the line. “Faster” doesn’t tie into the Batch’s need to help the greater Rebellion or Crosshair’s challenging situation, but I’m delighted to care about Cid (at least a little) and see Tech in action!
Some things I found cool but which don’t necessarily factor into the story too much: Omega and Wrecker open the episode on a game of Dejarik. This is the chess-like game Chewie and C-3PO play in A New Hope, prompting the now-iconic line, “Let the Wookie win.” TAY-0 acts like a human with a big personality, bragging that he knows all about racing. Meanwhile, Tech is the most like a droid out of the Batch. We don’t know much about his feelings because he’s a rational, cold individual. Echo has bionic body parts but remains more human than Tech in how he assesses missions and other people.
Kevin Kiner’s musical score in “Faster” is fantastic, especially when Tech drives in the tunnel. This really reminded me of an old Need For Speed game I used to play on the PS1, especially once the speeders started crashing. I used to crash the cars intentionally. This track sounds unlike anything else I’ve heard in The Bad Batch, or any Star Wars, for that matter. I love the unique sounds we’ve been getting in Star Wars lately. As much as we all love John Williams’ iconic work for the main films, the variety is much appreciated. The animation is just as good as usual, although there are fewer “wow” moments in this week’s episode. The race is animated well, but I imagine they could have done a little more here visually. This isn’t a complaint as much as an observation. I don’t need stunning visual flourishes, and aesthetics will always come second to characters and story for me. But if we praise impressive shots, it’s only fair to say when they’re bad or just okay.
“Faster” isn’t the best episode of The Bad Batch, or even the second season. Some people will undoubtedly call “Faster” filler, but I enjoyed the focus on Tech and rare information on Cid’s past and motivation. I can’t wait for more with these characters. I love Crosshair and like Hunter a lot, but the ensemble needs more time to shine. Overall, I enjoyed this episode more than it probably is good. I had a great time with “Faster,” but I would call it serviceable, a little better than average.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode more than it probably is good. I had a great time with "Faster," but I would call it serviceable, a little better than average.
Good point, I can’t believe I neglected to mention how this called back to pod racing.
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Yeah, I had a better time with this episode than most of the show so far. I was getting Episode I vibes from the racing. I was surprised to hear Ben Schwartz and Ernie Hudson as Cid’s rival. I was wondering if that was T.C. Carson for a second.