The Bad Batch: Gungi and Hunter’s guilt

Hunter in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
Hunter in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

The Bad Batch episode “Tribe” reunited the Batch with a Jedi for the first time since the series opener “Aftermath.” It was an emotional ride of an episode with the return of Gungi from the Clone Wars.

What interested me was how fast Hunter agreed to help Gungi return to his homeworld. The Batch definitely have a soft spot for helping kids. Also, one of Hunter’s biggest drives this season have been wanting to make a safe home for Omega. As long as the Empire is around, the galaxy is never going to be safe for her to be a kid. On the surface, that parental emotion comes out for Gungi as Hunter wants to protect him.

I do wonder if there are some underlying motives too. I think Hunter is struggling with a lot of guilt too. In “Aftermath,” Hunter fails to help a particular padawan Caleb Dume, who would go on to become Kanan Jarrus from Star Wars Rebels. He watches in horror as his reg clone brothers murder Caleb’s master, Depa Billaba, right in front of him. There’s nothing he can do to stop it.

Chasing after Caleb in the snowy woods, he’s clearly confused at what’s happening around him. He’s aghast to hear Crosshair repeating the sentiment of the regs that murdering the Jedi is the right thing to do. After Crosshair shoots at Caleb and gets knocked out, Hunter fails to calm Caleb down. The boy looks at him with the exact same fear, anger, and confusion that Gungi gives them. Gungi snarls at Echo and is very slow to trust the Batch with good reason. Before Hunter can get through to Caleb, the regs close in forcing Caleb to flee to his own safety. All Hunter can do is lie that he killed Caleb, which is probably the most protection he could offer at the time despite Crosshair not believing it.

I bet that moment haunts Hunter. He has no idea if Caleb made it out alive. There’s a chance he may never know or ever get to meet Kanan Jarrus as an adult thriving with the Ghost crew. It probably eats him up especially now raising Omega. I think there’s a part of him that wishes he could have done more.

Helping Gungi is a way to possibly silence some of that guilt. Hunter now knows why the Empire is evil and the lies they told about the Jedi. Here’s another young Jedi who has lost everything, is on the run, and is in need of help. A Jedi who looks at the Batch in fear and doesn’t know what else to do other than guard himself.

Hunter is quick to accept this quest. The mission they were on for Cid doesn’t matter anymore. What matters to him is getting this child somewhere safe. He couldn’t fully help Caleb in the end, but he can help Gungi. It’s a second chance that Hunter was probably not expecting to get, and he seizes that chance the moment it’s presented to him. At least he’ll be able to rest a little easier at night knowing that Gungi is safe for the time being.

“Tribe” was an excellent episode. I loved how it delved more into Hunter’s motivations through Gungi. All of the Batch got to redeem themselves a little bit that day, which they probably needed.

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