Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 10: Just like the old days

So yeah, last week’s episodes were a little bit of a let-down for me. Despite my own best efforts to enjoy them seeing as how they prominently featured the most attention-starved characters in the series. So, if these week’s episodes; which go back to focusing on Kanan and Ezra were a lot better, would it be mildly painful for me to admit that as a real shortcoming of this series?

Urgh… yes. These are better…

Season 2, Episode 09: Stealth Strike

We begin the episode with Ezra aboard the blockade runner with Jun Sato, a character I haven’t really mentioned before now, but is the leader of the Rebel cell the Crew of the Ghost find themselves aligned with. They’re investigating the disappearance of Rebel scouts in empty space.

In a fashion much like Ahsoka Tano in the later stages of Clone Wars, we are starting to find Ezra breaking off on his own a bit more, being away from his master. Although Sato doesn’t seem to be super thrilled about his teenage tagalong. Before he can burn Ezra anymore with his dry wit, their ship is pulled out of hyperspace by an experimental Imperial weapon: A Gravity Well.

What little piece of a distress call from Sato manages to get to the crew of the Ghost. Hera, taking charge on this occasion, orders Kanan to mount the rescue mission while disguised as a Stormtrooper. And she orders him to take Rex along with him. Something Kanan is less than enthused about.

This looks like it might be the episode where we resolve this ongoing antagonism between Kanan and Rex. Or at least working to lessen it. Kanan makes it pretty obvious that he sees Rex as little more than a stormtrooper himself, the death of his fellow Jedi still raw all these years later.

It’s actually kind of interesting, looking at Kanan through Rex’s eyes. It really takes a lot of the shine off him that he had in the first season. Kanan spent so much of that first season flitting between roles of being this dashing rogue and also a wise Jedi, albeit with occasional bouts of self-doubt.

From Rex’s perspective though, he seems like a child padawan who never grew up. Ahsoka seemed like a much more fully-fledged Jedi by the time Order 66 had happened, and she wasn’t much older than Ezra is now. And given his actions over the course of this series, bickering with Rex, pushing Hera into missions and sulking about both of them when he doesn’t get his own way, he’s a very different character than the Jedi we’ve known before. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Although in the case of this mission, sneaking aboard an experimental Imperial ship with a gravity weapon aboard to break rebels out of prison, I feel like Kanan should probably check his ego at the door and actually let Rex take the lead in this one. Although very quickly, their shenanigans scream of a very clear homage to Luke and Han working to break Leia out of prison on the Death Star, I can’t help but smile.

They even manage to make a pretty good “aren’t you a little X for a stormtrooper” reference without saying the line outright. Which I have to commend the writer’s restraint for making the reference as subtle as they did. Those nods usually hit you like a ton of bricks.

Elsewhere, Ezra manages to break himself out of prison in a pretty slick manoeuvre. One that ends in him quickly stunning two more Stormtroopers with his blastsaber. I’m with Chopper, the fact that these two troopers end up being Kanan and Rez is actually very funny. And in fact, despite the tomfoolery, Ezra ends up being the most mature head in the room. While Kanan and Rex bicker, he orders them to split up and both rescue Sato and Sabotage the Gravity Well simultaneously.

Showing why both Hera and Ahsoka seem to see a lot of promise in him.

During the escape, Rex pulls the old “I’ll hold them off manoeuvre”, which is almost always a death sentence. As much fun as Rex is having, in his old age, he does seem to have something of a death wish. It makes me wonder if he feels some guilt over the Clone Army’s actions during the final day of the Clone Wars. I mean, given the Clone Wars episodes that came out after this series, we know he never personally killed a Jedi while under the influence of Order 66. But the writers hadn’t planned that far ahead, or behind, at this point.

When Kanan goes back to rescue Rex, we see the conclusion of the little arc between Sato and Ezra. While he starts off obviously having little respect for Ezra as little more than some punk-ass kid. Little does he know that Ezra is a punk-ass kid who’s pretty good in a fight and at thinking on his feet. And he escorts them safely back to their ship.

And the episode ends with the Gravity Weapon imploding in one of the most impressive visual shots I’ve seen in the series so far, all thanks to Chopper, who quickly declares himself the hero. You know, I still think Chopper is evil. But I’m starting to like him more and more over the course of this show. He’s nothing like R2-D2, but he might have even more personality than him.

Season 2, Episode 10: The Future of the Force

Despite the prior episode in which we saw them really implying that Inquisitors work alone, we start this episode by seeing the Fifth Son and the Seventh Sister boarding a civilian transport together, which I am just going to assume is how we’re going to see them for the rest of the series. They are obviously there for a baby, one I assume is force sensitive. This almost feels like a follow-up to the Clone wars Episode Children of the Force, where Darth Sidious was kidnapping children in what seemed to be the beginnings of his plans for the Inquisitors.

Meanwhile, we see Ahsoka again for the first time in a while. Since we last saw her, she’s been investigating the Sith Lord they encountered at the beginning of the second series. She claims to know nothing of Darth Vader’s identity still. Honestly, I kind of think she may actively be denying a possibility that I feel she fears could end up being the truth. I mean, she has to suspect. Right?

She sends Kanan and the male members of the crew to investigate one of two locations that seem to have been buzzing with interest from the Inquisitors. They’re led to a world where it seems the Inquisitors are interested in a housing block. While the Jedi investigate where the Brother and Sister have gone, Zeb and Chopper go to find their ships, and blow them to hell.

Also, further proof Chopper is evil: he doesn’t get why Zeb just doesn’t blow the ships up still when they find a human baby wrapped up like a little worm inside one of them. To quote Zeb: “What’s wrong with you?”. Bloody Chopper, just as I was saying I was starting to like him as well.

Meanwhile, Kanan and Ezra find the apartment they’re looking for, only to find an Ithorian mother saying two “red blades” showed up looking for her child. It’s a good thing this is a kid’s show or this lady would most certainly have been murdered and the pair would not have gotten this vital information. At which point their continued confusion over why the Inquisitors might want a child is pretty silly.

I mean, it’s pretty obvious right. Where do they think Inquisitors come from?

You know. When I started watching these episodes today, I can’t say I was expecting to watch an episode inspired by the 1987 movie; Three Men and a Baby. And yet here we are, three grossly underqualified dopes in possession of an alien baby and on the run from evil assassins. That’s the plot of that movie right?

While Kanan might have managed to best the Grand Inquisitor, the task of fighting two at once still seems more than he can manage and the crew are all chased back to the landing bay, where it seems like they’re pinned against the wall. That is until that wall splits open and we get a fantastic Ahsoka Tano hero’s entrance.

Okay, I’ll admit; I wasn’t expecting this. And it worked on me big time.

What I did expect though was for Ahsoka to take these two Inquisitors apart. Like I said so many times during the final few seasons of Clone Wars; Ahsoka has become a fine Jedi. And while her white bladed Lightsabers may be her choice not to affiliate with either the Jedi or the Sith, she was just as capable as any Jedi Knight in the order, maybe even more so. Her defeat of Maul, even in her youth more than proves that.

After the Crew escape, we learn that one of the Inquisitor’s probe droids recorded Ezra trying to calm the baby he was holding, inadvertidly giving away their location to their pursuers.

Verdict:

Cal Kestus must be livid. Where ever he is out there, all these babies getting kidnapped by the Empire must be driving him up the wall. He went and hid that holocron for nothing. You might be able to tell; I’m playing through Fallen Order again.

I liked these two episodes. More than the two I talked about last week. Rex and Kanan’s bickering it a bit grating, I’ll agree with Ezra on that one. But seeing them begrudgingly start respect one another is actually pretty cool. Although, I’ll admit, the more of Rebels I watch, the more I’m starting to think Kanan has far more bark than he does bite. He certainly carries himself like a Jedi when he feels like it, but the rest of the time he is just blundering around like everyone else.

And given he’s probably only the 4th most competent member of the Ghost, I honestly don’t feel like it’s going to be too long before Ezra ends up surpassing him. In both episodes, Kanan shows in two different ways just how unfinished he was when it came to being a Jedi. He know the words, but when it comes to singing them, he struggles to keep in key.

Ending the second episode with Ahsoka’s first Lightsaber fight in Rebels was cool as well. Probably because I wasn’t really expecting it. She is a badass and obviously a lot stronger than most of the other force users on the show, her former master notwithstanding.

It’s interesting seeing Kanan change from this mystical Jedi figure in the first series, and seeing him get knocked on his ass time and time again, as well as getting roasted by other characters who can show just how behind the curve he is compared to the Jedi of old. In terms of his character, I really do wonder where Rebels is going to go with him.

While it’s obvious Ezra is destined to fill the role of a Luke Skywalker-like figure, to grow up to be a great Jedi. Kanan’s journey is a different one, because he can’t just be the classic “wise old master” character archetype, because he is far from being that. He is a flawed character whose future feels much more uncertain to me.

Only continuing to read these posts is going to eventually give you the answers. That, or you could just watch Rebels yourself. I mean, I really can’t imagine who is actually reading these out there outside of anyone who hasn’t already seen the entire series…


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