I knew we were getting some Clone Wars era characters showing up more and more in Rebels as the series went on. But I wanted to temper my expectations of them. After all, Rebels isn’t their show, I didn’t want my excitement for Vader, Ahsoka and familiar Clones to take away from Ezra and Kanan’s stories. I guess today is the day where I put that mentality to the test when we get those familiar faces showing up in force.
Season 2, Episode 03: The Lost Commanders
Hey, Sabine dyed her her… I think I liked it better before.
We begin the episode on our new temporary base of operations; not Lothal anymore, but aboard the Republic Fleet. Which is hurting after Darth Vader decided to one man army the lot of them in his little TIE. They need a place to hide out and recover, but with the Empire infesting everywhere they’re very short on safe havens.
Which is when Ahsoka speaks up and recommends an old military friend of hers who might know of a whole bunch of places the Rebels could use going forward. Even without the episode guide of Disney Plus spoiling the hell out of it, it would have been kind of obvious who she’s talking about. She gives them an old Tactical Droid head and tells them to follow it.
It leads them to the desert world of Seelos, there they find a rad looking, junked up old AT-TE Walker. On board they find the very weathered looking old men of former Captain/Commander Rex, former Commander Wolffe and former Captain Gregor, who are all dealing with a life post Clone Army. Some dealing better than others.
It’s kind of wild that Rex here is only 33 years old. But due to the accelerated ageing that it takes to grow clone troopers faster, he has the body of a 66 year old man. Otherwise though, he seems like the same old Rex. I can’t say as much for his buddies though. Wolffe, who used to server under Jedi Master Plo Koon seems to be suffering from some kind of PTSD. Anything to do with the Jedi seems to trigger him.
I’d guess he feels extreme guilt for his actions whilst under the influence of his control chip during Order 66. Which is why he shoots at Kanan, blocks Ahsoka’s attempts to contact Rex and does what he does later in the episode. I’d say Gregor had spent too much time in the sun and it’d sent him a little bit loopy. But when we see him during The Bad Batch, 15 years prior, he was already acting like he was playing a few cards short of a Sabacc deck.
While much of the series so far has been kind of heavy and all about desperate people desperately trying to keep their head’s above water, this episode feels like one of the first episodes of pure lightness and fun I remember seeing. While they’re waiting for the Ghost‘s hyperdrive to be repaired, the gang help the clones catch a big old Joopa Worm, with Zeb as the bait.
It’s pretty fun to be fair, in a sequence that pays homage to Jaws.
The fun is put to a stop when someone tips off the Empire, leading to a probe droid being dispatched to investigate. Y’know, there’s something inherently sinister about the Imperial Probe Droids. It’s not that they’re especially dangerous or anything. It’s that they just float there, not saying anything or doing much. And you can’t do anything about it. If it spots you, or you blow it up, you’re suddenly on a ticking clock until the full force of the Empire descends upon you.
Throughout the episode, the big conflict comes between Kanan and the clones. He is put on edge by their presence and doesn’t trust them. Understandably so. He watched them gun down his master and only escaped Crosshairs’s blaster by the skin of his teeth. Plus, his mistrust ends up being justified as it turns out that Wolffe, not entirely stable is revealed to be the one who tipped the Empire off. A choice he immediately regrets.
Ending the episode with the crew and the clones stranded on Seelos with the Empire on the way.
Season 2, Episode 04: Relics of the Old Republic
Continuing on from the previous episode, the crew are in a desperate battle against Agent Kallus and the Empire as they descent upon Seelos and give us an action packed, walker on walker battle.
If the previous episode was tipping its hat to Jaws, there is something more of a navel warfare feeling to this second part in the story. The walkers out on the wide open sand plains of the planet gives a real oceanic feeling to the whole affair. After Rex gives it large to Kallus, the agent opts to send three AT-AT Walkers down to the planet to destroy the Clones rather than just blast them with an orbital strike.
With the crew of the Ghost still stranded aboard, they find their only option is turn around and escape into the massive sandstorm that is bearing down upon them. And suddenly, we change from a navel battle into a submarine movie. Inside the storm, the smaller walker is impossible to pick up on the Imperial scanners. A disadvantage the smaller transport doesn’t have thanks to the pair of force sensitives aboard.
So Kanan and Ezra bide their time and manage to make the perfect shot into the neck of one of the AT-ATs in a scene paying homage to the ending of the trench run sequence from the original Star Wars movie. With their window assured, the three clones seem resolute to act as a decoy, sacrificing their lives to the Empire to allow our main characters to escape in the Phantom.
From here we see the three Clones finally back in their element, charging down the remaining two walkers and giving them a good fight. It’s a great little sequence to be honest. Throughout the episode, we see Rex coaching Ezra on the gun, being impressed by the AT-AT’s capabilities and seeming to relish taking orders from a Jedi again. It’s weirdly heart-warming in a strange way.
It’d be a waste for this character to meet his end here.
And I’m glad the writer’s agree with me, because Kanan has a change of heart at the last minute and turns back the ship. Getting his Han Solo to the rescue moment combined with his badass Jedi rescue that allows the group to hijack the second walker and use it against the first.
It’s a good thing that Kallus never got the backup he ordered, because his Destroyer jumped away to pick up the newest villain of the series: The Fifth Brother. A new Inquisitor, one that might be more intimidating than the last one. I guess we’ll see just how long that lasts, eh.
The episode ends with the crew returning to the Rebel Fleet with their list of safe havens from the Empire and the clones in tow. I’ll be honest, the scene of Rex and Ahsoka reuniting with one another after all these years kind of got me. After spending a year watching and talking about Clone Wars, seeing these two characters, older and meeting again hit me in the feels in a way I would have never expected.
There was something about these episodes that just felt really Star Wars to me. Not like what the Clone Wars or The Bad Batch had been giving me, as much as I did enjoy those shows. Something about these two episodes specifically felt like the original trilogy much more than anything I’d seen out of Rebels until now.
The rag tag group of misfits uniting together and daring to stand up against the technologically superior Empire in this specific instance harkened me back to the original trilogy in a way that nothing in Rebels have been able to do until now. I don’t know if it’s because we’re finally off Lothal, which was starting to feel a little samey, or simply because we were on a desert planet, but these two episodes might be my favourite of the entire series so far.
I do like the characters introduced in Rebels, but the combination of the wider galaxy finally feeling like it’s being opened up, combined with the return of familiar faces like Rex and Ahsoka finally makes Rebels feel like it’s got going in earnest.
I’ve been really impressed with second series right from beginning. I just really hope it can keep up the momentum and impress me more and more as it goes on.