We arrive at the half way point of the first season and feel like things are ticking over at a decent pace as well. It’s weird though, throughout my time watching this series I’ve felt that Rebels might have been building in a particular direction. With the events of one of these episodes it seems like the show has decided to throw its arms up and just cancel one of their storylines before it got going.
Season 2, Episode 11: Legacy
This is the episode I’m talking about too. Considering how much goes on in this one, it feels like it races through at a lightning pace. Like the very first episodes of the series, it feels like this was a story that really needed a couple of episodes to hit the emotional beats it wanted. And yet, with everything crammed into the 20 minute run time it all feels a little rushed by the time it’s over.
The episode begins with Ezra having another force vision. A Jedi ability, as I’ve already stated, feels like more of a curse than a benefit. Visions are always maddeningly difficult to interpret and often lead to more trouble than they’re worth.
The vision concerns the fate of Ezra’s parents, which has been one of his major ongoing story threads since the series began. Ezra wakes up in a panic and realises there is something happening concerning his parents, but more importantly, they’re alive. When he comes to Kanan and Hera about this, it feels like it’s finally time for Hera to let the cat out of the bag.
During the Empire Day storyline, the Rodian Tseebo relayed some information to Hera about the fate of Ezra’s parents. Information, for some reason, she never bothered to share with Ezra himself. It’s only now that we and he learn that information: which is nothing important. They’re just in prison, one of thousands spread across the Galaxy.
It’s kind of a wet fart of a resolution to that plant really. Which is the first of many points in this episode that make me think that the writers, for some reason, just want to sweep this Ezra’s Parents storyline under the rug and be done with it once and for all. Which seems really strange to me considering how out of the blue it seems.
What feels like it should be the actual plot and focus of this episode is Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor Duo discovering the Rebel hideout on Garel and orchestrating an ambush of their docked fleet. The timing couldn’t be worse for Ezra, who is rushing around and snapping at everyone left and right in his desperation to return to Lothal; where he believes his parents to be.
Before they can make their escape through the Imperial blockade, Kanan and Ezra need to head out to rescue Zeb and Chopper from an Imperial ambush. It’s weird; troopers, Kallus and the Inquisitors all descent upon the crew and Ezra goes whole hog and tears them apart. Only stopped from charging the force users himself by Kanan shooting and sealing the blast doors.
To me, it feels like Ezra is coming dangerously close to tapping into the dark side here. But Kanan never makes any mention of it, instead just sympathising with Ezra, saying he never knew his parents and wants to help his apprentice have the opportunity to find them he never had.
While the episode feels like it should be a focused on a Hoth-esque escape sequence with Hera’s flying helping the flagship escape and ending with the Rebels narrowly escaping the Empire, that ends up being a side plot. One that is brushed over incredibly quickly so that Ezra and Kanan can take the Phantom and escape back to Lothal.
Once back on Ezra’s home world, Ezra finds a white Loth-Cat at the ruins of his old family home. One that was part of his dream and chases it out into the wilderness of the planet. It’s there they meet Clancy Brown, I mean Ryder Azadi; the former Governor of Lothal and a personal friend of Ezra’s parents. Ryder has just escaped from prison with the help of Ezra’s parents. But brings with it some bad news.
The Rebel broadcast Ezra sent out at the end of season 1. It reached much further than I would have expected, even finding its way into Imperial prisons and to the hears of his mother and father. With the knowledge that their son was out there, fighting the same fight they did, it gives them the strength to orchestrate an escape.
One that, according to Ryder, cost them their lives.
Here’s the thing. Maybe Ezra’s mom and dad aren’t dead. Maybe it’s a red herring and they’re going to come back in dramatic fashion down the road. I genuinely don’t know. However, with the way the episode ends, with Ezra having some kind of dream of his parents telling him they’re proud, silhouetted against twin moons that are a clear parallel to the twin suns of Tatooine…
It all feels like it wants to be done with this entire storyline, because it got any genuine resolution. The result being that this episode felt like it should have been a two-parter, crammed into a single episode. Neither the Rebel escape nor the apparent resolution to the Ezra’s Parents plotline felt like they played out in a way I felt was satisfying at all.
I really wonder what was going on behind the scenes when they were planning this one.
Season 2, Episode 12: A Princess on Lothal
Historically, I’ve not been a fan of gratuitous cameos in Star Wars. It happens a lot and, as I’ve said before, feels like it something that works counterintuitively to the entire goal of making the setting feel large and vast. Because when all these characters somehow just keep bumping into one another, it makes a galaxy somehow feel the size of a car park.
That being said. This is the Princess Leia episode. And I actually kind of liked it.
This episode is a direct follow-up to the previous one, Ezra and Kanan are still on Lothal and try to talk Ryder into joining the Rebel cause. But just having spent a decade in prison, Clancy isn’t in a rush to go back and turns them down.
Meanwhile, we learn from Hera that the Rebel did take a hit from the Imperial ambush in the previous episode, not that we actually saw any of that. To compensate, Bail Organa is sending them three more cruisers for the Rebels to make use of in their fleet, the courier being his 15 year old daughter; Leia Organa.
What follows is a game of pulling the wool over the eyes of a hapless, faceless Imperial officer as Leia acts like the good little missionary arriving to deliver aid to the impoverished people of Lothal. All while secretly allowing the Rebel’s to “steal” the transports and make use of them in their own fleet, leaving Alderaan innocence and the blame falling squarely on Imperial incompetence.
It’s a fun episode, all in all. I actually enjoy Leia’s presence in the episode. She’s feisty and confident, but she also feels like a kid her age. One who does feel a connection and pang of sympathy for Ezra and his situation. Its a good showing of the strength of her character in that she really is willing to risk it all in the fight against Imperial oppression.
Bail has taught her well.
Despite the Empire’s obvious suspicions that the Alderaanian dedication aren’t completely on the level, even all of their additional safeguards in the forms of gravity locks on the cruisers and a couple of AT-ATs standing guard aren’t enough to stop the crew of the Ghost combined with the reinvigorated Ryder Azadi.
The sequence ends in a really cool visual sequence of Kanan, in full stormtrooper regalia, wielding his Lightsaber and taking out the legs of the walker before it can shoot down their appropriated cruisers. The visual of a Stormtrooper with a Lightsaber is a quirky one and a pretty cool nod to that original concept art from before the first movie where we did see white armoured soldiers wielding swords of light.
I’m torn on these ones. While I liked the second episode, the first one felt like a bit of a rushed correction. I could look up whether Ezra’s parents are still alive and going to show up again in the future. If I had to put money on it, I would assume that they are and will. But I’m going to save myself from spoilers considering how very little I actually know about this series.
If this is the conclusion of that arc though, it’s a tragic waste of time and effort on the part of the writers and the audience. Ezra and his parents are one of the major traits of his character. Wanting to know where they are and what he might eventually do to be reunited with them, as well as the impossible choice he might find himself having to make.
All of that has been taken away from us thanks to an off screen death. For a mid season finalie, it feels like a real let down. Obviously that means very little to me and the way in which I’m consuming these episodes. Considering how anticlimactic everything about that episode felt, I really don’t think this is the end of it though.