Star Wars: The Bad Batch continues to weave together new patches of history from the time period between the Prequel films and Original Trilogy - and episode 11 just gave fans a major piece of Star Wars Rebels backstory (Spoilers Follow)! "Devil's Deal" takes a look at the childhood of none other than Hera Syndulla, during a very pivotal shift in her life. We learn in detail just how the Empire's occupation of planet Ryloth broke Hera's family apart and set the young Twi'lek on the path of becoming a top-notch pilot, and one of the key figures in the Rebel Alliance.
In the episode, we see the Empire trying to sway the people of Ryloth to accept their rule, using key figures at the capital city of Lessu - such as Hera's father, Cham Syndulla. Imperial Vice Admiral Rampart is not convinced the people of Ryloth are properly welcoming the Empire to their planet, but Cham Syndulla believes his people are tired of war (following the brutal battles they fought in the Clone Wars) and don't want to start a new war with the Empire. Hera's mother Eleni doesn't trust the Empire - nor does Gobi Glie. Gobi and Hera end up getting caught for spying on an Imperial refinery and end up on the Vice Admiral's radar.
Rampart puts Crosshair on a mission to track the Syndulla family, as Gobi, Eleni and Hera make a run to meet Clone Force 99, and pick up a shipment of arms from Cid, in order to mount a new Twi'lek Resistance. Not only does Vice Admiral Rampart lure Cham into incriminating himself by jumping to his family's aid - but Crosshair also shoots Ryloth senator Orn Free Taa and frames Cham for attempted murder, thereby taking out a political loose end and breaking the noble reputation of one of Ryloth's most heroic figures, in one fell swoop. In the end, Hera has to go on the run with Gobi, while her parents are surrounded by Imperial Forces.
The end of this Bad Batch episode makes it seem like this story arc is definitely not over. First of all, "Devil's Deal" has shockingly little to do with Clone Force 99, who hardly appears in it at all. It seems more likely that the Bad Batch could play a bigger role in helping Gobi Glie get Hera to safety, liberate Cham, and galvanize the Free Ryloth Movement that plagued the Empire throughout the Galactic Civil War. Based on what we know about the tragic history of Hera's family, there's also the horrible moment when her mother Eleni is killed, leaving Hera and Cham estranged for many years thereafter.
Hera isn't the first major Star Wars Rebels character to show up in The Bad Batch. Her future lover, fellow rebel (and baby daddy) Kanan Jarrus (aka Caleb Dume) encountered Clone Force 99 during Order 66 - as seen in the opening scene of The Bad Batch series.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch continues to surprise us with how it's using its position in the Star Wars timeline to shine new light on major characters and canon events. The next episode will stream next Friday on Disney+.