Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 8: Slashers and Scalawags

I’m just looking at the two episodes of Rebels today. Two very different episodes that focus pretty hard on two of what I feel are the three pillars of Star Wars storytelling; The world of smugglers and scoundrels and the world of Jedi and the Force. The third of those pillars being the world of military and war. Which I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of for a while at least considering Clone Wars was a lot of that.

Season 2, Episode 05: Always Two There Are

This is a cool episode and an example of Rebels going out of its way to tell a situation of the storyline while doing something a little different tonally. Like the two episodes before it that seemed to be paying homage to both Jaws and Submarine movies, this entire episode feels like it’s taking many of its beats from the Slasher Horror genre and incorporating them into a story revealing the presence of even more Inquisitors to the Rebels.

The episode begins with Kanan and Rex bickering. While Kanan is continuing Ezra’s force training, Rex comments that he’s doing so with tunnel vision. In the previous episode, Rex seemed to display some amount of admiration for Kanan upon seeing him take down two AT-ATs in one fell swoop.

I guess that now he’s got to know him a bit better he’s realised the man isn’t quite up to snuff compared to the Jedi he worked with before. I mean, when your two previous commanding officers were Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, it’s not exactly a fair comparison.

To get away from them, Ezra tags along on a supply run with Sabine, Chop and Zeb on the Phantom. Arriving at one of the old abandoned Republic medical stations, this is where the episode starts to venture into horror movie territory. The whole place is powered down and super spooky. While they’re moving through the dark corridors, red eyes seem to stalk them wherever they go.

As they arrive at the main console, Chopper powers on the whole station, the resulting power surge being noticed by the Empire. Kallus goes to dismiss it, but the new Inquisitor: The Fifth Brother, tells them it’s worth investigating. Although he opts to go alone. I get that he’s confident and stuff, but this just comes across as arrogant to me. It’s like Rex said earlier in this same episode, his Jedi commander would go into battle using wits and the force.

There’s no reason to stop Kallus from taking the destroyer there too. Again, other than pure arrogance.

Back to the slasher movie, we learn the red eyes belong to modified Probe Droids. See my comments in the previous part about how inherently sinister these little things are. I guess the writers must have heard me in the future because one of them deactivates Chopper once he is separated from the group.

As the remaining trio rush back to help Chopper, they run into the Inquisitor, but not the Fifth Brother like we were expecting. Instead Ezra bumps into the Seventh Sister, voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar. A Mirialan Inquisitor who gives off much the same sexy, evil dominatrix energy as Asajj Ventress did, maybe even more so.

Seeing her stalking through the corridors of the station with these probe droids floating all around her is a cool visual. As it turns out, the Fifth Brother is there also, but it doesn’t seem like they’re totally on the same page, not only that, I get the impression that Fifth is subservient to Seventh. Pretty much taking the bite out of his introduction before he even gets the chance to do anything. Ezra seals a blast door to allow the others to escape.

One by one the crew get picked off by the pair of Inquisitors. With the Seventh Sister revealing to Ezra that she is specifically hunting for Ahsoka Tano, not Kanan as Ezra first assumed. Fifth Brother is off capturing Sabine while this is going on. Just leaving Zeb to save the day. Which he does surprisingly.

After the first handful of episodes where it felt like he was getting the most development, the series had kind of pulled back on giving Zeb that much attention, just shorthandedly making him “the muscle” and little else. It was nice that he was the one who came up with the plan to lead the Inquisitors into the hanger and blast them with the Phantom while the other escaped on board.

It’s too bad the Fifth Brother didn’t bring Kallus’s fleet with him, or else the Phantom might not have had such an easy escape.

This was a cool episode, although I call question into the title of it. I don’t think Inquisitors have ever been regarded as true Sith, as the quote from Yoda that serves as the title seems to be implying. Additionally, it’s just inaccurate. From this episode, as well as the naming scheme of the two we meet, there are far more than two of them waiting in the wings. Plus, these two only end up meeting up through happenstance, and I get the impression that neither of them play well with others. Sorry, I juts had to get that out there. Not the best choice of quote to use as your episode title.

Big fan of the Seventh Sister though. Looking forward to seeing more of her.

Season 2, Episode 06: Brothers of the Broken Horn

Like I said at this top; this episode is almost totally disconnected from the one that proceeds it. The one connecting thread being the continued bickering between Kanan and Rex, in a continued game of one-upping one another, with Ezra seemingly being the rope in their game of tug of war. It’s like a bunch of table top players arguing about whether to play Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny.

Which translates into Ezra’s personal dilemma for the episode. He’s being dragged around every which way by every other member of the crew which makes him wistful for the “old days” when things were simple and he could just look out for himself without everyone telling him what to do.

So when the rest of the crew go out looking for power generators, leaving Ezra at the ship to do chores. So obviously he jumps at the chance to answer a distress call, taking Chopper and the Phantom to find a very sketchy Weequay by the name of Hondo Ohnaka.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Hondo, and his design is so different, I know it’s been 15 years, but he doesn’t just look older. He looks like a different person. I know Rebels has a slightly different art style, but Ahsoka and Rex look the same, or at least recognisable as who they’re suppose to be. Well, with that voice is impossible for it to be anyone else.

As soon as Ezra walks into this very suspicious situation, Hondo starts spinning a tale to him. One Ezra doesn’t seem to buy. Ezra has spent so much time being the Jedi apprentice that I’d kind of forgot as he started off life as a thief and opportunistic scoundrel. I guess he might be someone who can finally pull one over on Hondo, although probably not.

Hondo has always been a half competent ass, one that seems to get by on dumb luck as much as anything else. It looks like times are tough for him though, he’s no longer the pirate captain he used to be. Now he’s all alone. Say one thing for the Empire, I bet that crushed that band of pirates right away, something the Republic never bothered to deal with.

Ezra agrees to help Hondo sell the Power generators in return for keeping a couple of them for himself. So obviously he walks them right into a double-cross, courtesy of the completion of our trifecta of scumbags in the form of Azmorigan. It’s only thanks to Chopper and his chaotic energy that they escape the deal with their lives, the generators and the credits for good measure. The only real cost being that Ezra has to out himself as a Jedi in order to save Hondo’s life.

From here things get incredibly messy incredibly quickly. Which I like, the unpredictable, backstabbing nature of the world of scum and villainy in the Star Wars universe is nothing if not entertaining. Ezra finds Vizago in the brig of his own ship, who calls in the favour Ezra owes him for his part in the season 1 finale and finding Moff Tarkin’s Star Destroyer.

The pair confront Hondo and Vizago immediately double-crosses Ezra by setting his droids on them. In the fight, Hondo escapes and steals the Phantom, the credits and the generators while Ezra manages to power down the droids and confront Vizago, who doesn’t seem especially sheepish about his actions at all. He thanks Ezra by bundling him and Chopper on an escape pod and dumping them on the planet below, cutting his losses on the whole deal.

Things do work out though, as the Phantom takes Hondo right back to the Ghost where Ezra finds him spinning a tail of bullshit to the crew. Weirdly, they don’t seem pissed about it. Considering things could have very easily gone bad for him. This really felt like a situation where Ezra rolled a Nat 20 on the whole thing.

I’m not sure how I feel about Hondo. He is this element of pure bullshit where I don’t think you can ever trust a word he says, but he obviously does have a heart in there somewhere. You generally just have to dig for it, and you still can’t trust it. I know some people hate Hondo, while I have personally bounced back and forth on him. He does seem a little extra compared to everyone else around him.

Verdict:

There are two very different episodes, both of which I really appreciated for different reasons. I might have mentioned a very long time ago, during my Clone Wars reviews that the Mirilian are my second favourite Star Wars race (behind the Chiss), so I would obviously be a big fan of the Seventh Sister. Plus seeing some degree of infighting and the politics of the order of Inquisitors gives them some extra depth compared to when there was just one of them.

I really like the second episode in spite of Hondo rather than because of him. This is the first entirely Ezra focused episode as far as I can remember where the rest of the crew aren’t there to bail him out. I feel like he is still pretty early in his development as a Jedi, like Ahsoka was in the first couple of seasons of Clone Wars. He still doesn’t feel competent enough to really hold his own yet. Like I said though, he had an insane amount of luck on his side for things to end as neatly as they did for him here.

Y’know what, I’ve been real impressed with season 2 of Rebels so far. I felt there were a few dull episodes in the first season, and a lot of them felt like they were being made on the cheap. This second season feels like a real jump in quality in terms of both the writing and the time and budget being dedicated to the animation itself.

The series continues to impress and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. And looking forward to seeing more of those Inquisitors.


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