Yes, I know I haven’t finished my Clone Wars recaps. Nor, at the time of this writing, have we seen Rouge One. Being adult isn’t all that fun sometimes. However, We have been watching Rebels season three. It is now on winter break. Here are some thoughts on each episode. Mild spoilers after the break.
Steps Into the Shadow (S3E1):Ezra has grown up as we can tell from his new more mature haircut that has to be easier to animate. The plot revolves around Hondo, but, surprisingly, he is least interesting of the guest characters. We get introduced to an ancient force Creature that is neither Jedi nor Sith called The Bendu. He helps Kanan realize that blindness doesn’t mean death. He is voiced by Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor Who, so I can sit and listen to him talk in force cliches all day long. We also get to meet Grand Admiral Thrawn. A character from the older Legacy universe, he gets his first introduction to the new canon. He is cold and calculating. Lars Mikkelsen (Sherlock, House of Cards) voices him as if choosing every single word is of the utmost strategic importance. I don’t really remember Thrawn from the one book I read with him in it, except that I remembered him. In other words, I don’t have any baggage when it comes to my expectations of Thrawn.
The Holocrons of Fate (S3e2): Darth Maul is back an wants a Jedi and Sith holocron so he can see certain truths that only appear when you use both of them. Kanan, over feeling sorry for himself, reasserts his master role over Ezra. This is sorely needed because as we learned in the last episode, Ezra has been dabbling with using the Sith holocron. Ezra’s soul will have to make a choice, Jedi or Sith, so this the main story line behind all of rebels so this is good character development. Plus, we see a desperate Maul who in the animated series is always worth seeing. The ending hints at a trip to Tatooine for Maul for some finished business with a certain Jedi. A really good tight episode which foreshadows some exciting things to come.
The Antilles Extraction (S3E3): Sabine poses as a TIE fighter cadet in order to sneak out a rebel spy. While the action is tense in a will they or won’t they escape way, what this particular episode is good at is developing the Star Wars universe. Training Imperial troops helps give back story to how the Imperials fight and chain of command especially when Sabine choose Imperial Protocol over an order from her commander. We also get the back story to Wedge Antilles which changes how we view him in the original series.
Hera’s Heroes (S3:E4):We learn more about Hera’s past when s he discovers her home has been taken over by the imperials. There is an important artifact of her family’s that is in the home so she, Ezra, and Chopper go to save it. Thrawn is there and understands who she is and why she wanted this artifact. Thrawn has plenty of development here in that it shows that he truly takes the time to know his enemies. This includes not only tactics but its history and culture. At the end, he could lay a crippling blow to the this band of rebels but chooses to let them go. A warrior that is willing to lose a battle to gain an advantage in a war is a dangerous warrior, indeed. Rebel’s Thrawn is turning into a very interesting character.
The Last Battle (S3E5): This is one of the more intriguing episodes of Rebels…and the Clone Wars. This story deals with a set of droids who are still fighting the Clone Wars. Zed, Kanan, Ezra, Chopper, and more importantly Rex, lead a mission to a planet only to discover the last of the droid army. This leads to some funny exchanges such as Ezra asking “Who is Roger Roger?” But more importantly, it poses some tough questions that Star Wars has raised: Who really won the Clone Wars? Why were they fighting? Ezra realizes that both sides, the Republic and the Separatists, lost. They were both pawns in a much larger game. One of the better episodes of Star Wars on television.
Imperial Supercommandos (S3E6): Sabine (a Mandalorian) and Ezra take a mission to a Mandalorian Stronghold. They bring with them a “guest” (read prisoner) Mandalorian who is part of this group. They discover the station has been overtaken by Imperial Mandalorians. Confused yet? It’s really not that confusing. In fact, its a great action centered episode. Plus ,we get a mini Rome reunion with guest turns from Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson as the opposing Mandalorians.
Iron Squadron (S3 E7): Not a bad episode, but…not that great of one as well. A group of young people take on the Empire to help protect their planet. However, they have do idea how big the Empire actually is. In other words, this seems like a Disney outlook on Star Wars. Decent action, but really only notable for another glimpse of how Thrawn is playing a long game.
The Wynkahthu Job (S3E8):Most of the time I enjoy Hondo episodes. This might be my least favorite episode in the series so far. In fact, I’ll include The Clone Wars as well.
An Inside Man (S3E9):Rebels gets back on track. We return to Ezra’s home planet to find people have been sabotaging production of Imperial equipment. The plot takes enough time to humanize a victim, and we find out that someone we have been conditioned to hate is actually a rebel spy. Also, Thrawn is finally showing that he is not only cold and calculating, but deadly as well. A very good episode.
Visions and Voices (S3E10): Back in Holocrons of Fate, Ezra and Maul formed a connection that didn’t break properly. They travel to Dathomir, home of Darth Maul and the Night sisters. There they preform and ancient ritual that further shows Maul that what he seeks is on a desert planet with two suns. It is a tense action filled episode that raises more questions than it answers. One will have me going back to the Clone Wars to see if the answer is there: Why was there a picture of Santine in the Night Sister temple?