Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 6: Who put this clown in a Darth Vader Costume?

We kick off season 2 of Rebels with a two parter to kick off the dust of the first act. Or maybe not, maybe we need just one more story to be done with Lothal for the near future. Which is why this second series starts off the the two part premier: The Siege of Lothal. Two episodes I’m going to review today.

So this should be a shorter one that means? Right?…

Season 2, Episode 01: The Siege of Lothal: Part 1

Man, it feels like there is a lot going on in this episode right from the get go. Vader and Ahsoka are in play and just hanging around like they’ve always been there now. It’s kind of wild to me that the show isn’t freaking out about them being there as much as I feel the fans are probably doing at this point.

As the episode starts, it seems like the crew of the Ghost are operating in tandem with larger Rebel factions now, something that Kanan seems to hold some resentment towards. It’s a surprising character move, and not one I can say I was expecting. I like it though.

Kanan was a padawan when during the Clone Wars, he was surrounded by Clone Soldiers on a daily basis I imagine. And he saw those soldiers, men he trusted, gun down every Jedi he ever met, including his master. I mean, we saw it first happen first hand during the first episode of The Bad Batch. It makes sense that he’d not want to be around another army, no matter how much time has passed.

I also notice that Ahsoka is taking a particular interest in Ezra. Based on the events of the previous season finale and the opening moments of this one. When the crew are contacted by Minister Tua, the Imperial civilian leader on Lothal and a character I never bothered to mention in any of my previous reviews, Ahsoka takes particular interest in Ezra’s reaction to her cry from help.

She gets the reaction she wants I imagine, because he has done a total 180 from the early days of the previous series where he struggled to empathise or connect with others. Now he’s deep into the Rebel/Jedi Kool-aid and even seems to be spearheading the plan to help the Minister defect from the Empire despite Kanan and Hera being right there.

This isn’t the old days though where the crew just had incompetent idiots to contend with. Now they’re up against Darth Vader himself, a man who easily manipulates events to draw the crew back to Lothal and then blow up the escape shuttle that Minister Tua was due to leave on, killing her in the process and then pinning it on the crew, making them public enemy number 1. Apparently.

Leading to a desperate escape.

I occurs to me that during this escape, Kanan could have very easily killed Kallus as he had him isolated and dead to rights, but he doesn’t for whatever reason.

I guess that’s an honour eventually reserved for Zeb at some point in the future. I’ve mentioned the lack of the good guys wanting to kill a few times now, but It occurs to me that it’s actually Sabine that has the highest body count of any of the crew so far. She just guns down Stormtroopers with wild abandon, something the rest of the crew never seem to want to do.

I guess it’s the Mandalorian in her…

Just like during the first season, the Crew come up with wild long shot of a plan to escape Lothal. Making it pretty apparent to Ezra that he won’t be returning home again once they’re off world. I guess, when I said we done with the tutorial planet, they weren’t messing around. Unlike during the first season though, they weren’t contending with Vader, who somehow knows exactly where they’re going to be and marches upon them, Lightsaber lit.

That’s a hell of a cliffhanger to leave us on.

And honestly, if I were Kanan right now, I’d do exactly what I did as Cal when playing Jedi Fallen Order and run my ass off.

Season 2, Episode 02: The Siege of Lothal: Part 2

So, Vader blows it and lets the Crew escape. I get they’re the main characters and can’t die. But Vader had more than ample opportunity to kill both Kanan and Ezra very easily and instead choses to toy with them. Had these been any other characters, Vader would have wasted no time in ending them quickly and without a second thought.

It’s not an issue, but I’m not going to say it doesn’t bother me. Let’s not cast Darth Vader into the same basket with the likes of Agent Kallus shall we. There’s some amount of prestige that needs to be maintained here, come on…

Anyway, with a blockade in orbit, the crew can’t simply break it in a naff old Imperial Shuttle. So they’re forced to contact Lando and his smooth-ass droid to smuggle of them off-world. While bartering passage, Ezra spots a refugee camp that’s been senselessly burned to the ground by the Empire, leading to an interesting exchange between him and Kanan.

We get to see the difference in their perspective. Kanan has lived through some terrible loss, the Clone Wars and the purge still fresh in his mind all these years later. He’s a man filled with fear, fear of losing those he’s closest to once again, fear of the Empire. Ezra still thinks he can fight the Empire, because he’s young.

But he’s also not wrong. While I totally understand where Kanan is coming from, it’s people like Ezra that end up toppling the Empire in the future.

After their escape, it turns out that the shuttle was being tracked and the Rebel fleet is in danger of being assaulted by the pursuing Empire. So Vader shows up on his one to 1 v 100 the Rebel Fleet. I’m sorry, but what? Look, I get that Vader is a badass, and I also get that it’s cool to see what an amazing pilot he still is… but come on…

Anakin, as cocksure as he ever was, would always have a crew of troops at his back during the Clone Wars. He was cocky, not stupid. And Vader has the entire Imperial army at his beck and call. This just felt like showing off, for the second time in the same episode. I don’t know, it just kind of felt uncharacteristic of Vader in my opinion.

In the end, it’s Ahsoka’s presence that ends up causing a big enough distraction for the crew and the Rebel fleet to escape. Either that, or Hera is just a better pilot than Vader and let him into a trap while allowing everyone to escape. Either option seems believable. Ahsoka and Kanan reach out to the pilot in the lone TIE Fighter to see who he is, only for her to reveal herself to Darth Vader. Who had previously thought her another victim of Order 66.

Ahsoka herself claims that she didn’t know who Vader was when she touched him in the force. And I’m inclined to believe her to be honest, although I’m sure she has her suspicions. The episode ends with Vader being ordered to send another Inquisitor after Ahsoka and the crew of the Ghost all ready to start operating with the Rebelion on a more perminent basis.

I guess my announcement of the tutorial being over might have been a single part too early.

Verdict:

These were cool episodes. I can see why this aired as a “movie” back when it first came out. It’s a strong start to the second series and feels like the series is jumping into new territory going forward. It also seems like the series got a little bit of a bump to their budget, because there were a ton of new characters, model and effects on display.

The show felt a little less plastic in this second season, although all the characters have that weird fuzz on their skin that makes them look like muppets still. I guess that’s just in the style guide. It was super cool hearing James Earl Jones reprise his role as Darth Vader throughout these two episodes.

Even if the crew made him look like a punk twice in a single episode. Hera especially, she just plain out smarted him at the end. Once again proving herself the most competent member of the crew.

Looking forward to seeing where things go from here, who this new inquisitor is and if Ahsoka is going to be sticking around much longer. Maybe it’s not the best idea, the non-Jedi crew are desperate for some attention and Ahsoka would only suck even more air out of the room at this stage.


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