Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 16: Sanctuary at Last

We’re getting close to the end of season 2 now. I got very comfortable only reviewing one episode a week over the past couple of weeks, but if I kept that pace, I’d never finish this series. So I’m going back to talking about two episodes again. Honestly, I have no idea how I was managing three all the time I was talking about the first season.

Season 2, Episode 19: The Forgotten Droid

This episode is a little bit more of a goofy one, one that feels like its directed at the younger side of the demographic this show is gearing towards. That being said, it’s still a fun one in my eyes. The Rebels have settled on the site of their new base: A moon in the Yost system. With the help of Sabine’s Mandalorian bestie Ketsu Onyo, who seems to be all in with the Rebellion now.

Before they can make the jump though, they need to make one last fuel heist for the carrier to make the trip. It’s a mission that goes relatively smoothly, that is until Chopper spots a new strut he likes to replace his old, mismatched one. It’s his act of prioritising himself over the crew that causes them to return to the Ghost and escape without him.

Which, honestly, seems totally in character for Chopper.

Not to leave a situation empty handed, Chopper steals the leg anyway and escapes the Empire in a massive Imperial cargo container. It’s here he meets AP-5, an old Republic Era tactical droid that was booted down to counting inventory with the rise of the Empire. Thus Chopper (our R2-D2 analogue) finally meets his C-3PO for the series.

In all honesty though, while a lot of this episode is goofy hijinks and bickering between the two droids, it’s actually a reminder of what a shoddy existence a lot of droids in the Star Wars galaxy must endure. AP-5 is berated, bullied and abused by his commanding officer for basically no reason other than him being a droid.

The Captain of the ship’s use of the word “clanker” makes me wonder if, he too, was a relic of the Old Republic and Clone Wars. Which would explain his crappy posting his his utter, unjustified hatred of droids. Fighting in that war would make you hate droids.

AP-5, after his restraining bolt is removed, is very quick to betray the Empire and start helping Chopper in his plan to lead the ship’s minimal crew into the cargo hold and then eject it into space. Which really tells me you shouldn’t fuck with droids, older models seem to have no problem with simply disobeying their programming and doing whatever they hell they like.

I guess that’s why they’re subjected to regular memory wipes. Either way, the two droids bond when realising they were both at the battle of Ryloth during the Clone Wars, where Chopper was in a Y-Wing that was shot down, only to be rescued and repaired by a young Hera.

As the rest of the crew return to the fleet, they realise that they’ve been ambushed and need to escape top the Yost system as soon as they’ve fuelled up. Although, AP-5 and Chopper reveal that the Yost system isn’t safe at all and is actually a trap. Y’know, considering Ketsu recommended that planet, and the fleet gets suddenly ambushed while the Ghost is away… Maybe she’s still trying to play both sides.

In the end, AP-5 makes a supreme, and ultimately meaningless sacrifice for the Rebels, transmitting the new Hyperspace coordinates for a save haven while getting shot and destroyed by the angry captain of the freighter who has woken up. Obviously though, he is quickly repaired by Sabine and he and Chopper continue bickering like the R2 and Threepio of the original trilogy.

I like AP-5. He’s like if C-3PO had a spine. I guess being a military droid would give him some level aggression in his programming, but he’s a good match for Chopper, who I’ve said on several occasions at this point skews in the direction of Chaotic Evil most of the time. I hope he hangs around for a while.

Also, that new planet they arrive at looks very like Yavin, but it’s not…

Season 2, Episode 20: The Mystery of Chopper Base

This is a weird title for this episode. I mean, I’m assuming they named the base after Chopper considering he was the one that found it for them, but they never actually state that fact, or the name of the base aloud in the episode itself. It’s weird.

In this episode, the Rebellion have finally gotten some solid ground to call home. The hot, dry and mostly inhospitable world of Atollon. Actually, the perfect place to lay low and start building in earnest. The episode begins with Ezra and Kanan training in the cargo hold of the Ghost, with the return of Kanan’s angry “you blink, you die” training methods.

It’s Hera, however, who seems to be acting forlorn about all of this upon seeing them. As it turns out, Kanan and Ezra are planning on leaving with Ahsoka when she comes back. The base is too important and the Inquisitor’s uncanny ability to find them means it’s much safer for them to be elsewhere. Something Hera is taking a little harder than anyone.

The romance between her and Kanan has been all but relegated to subtext once the series got started proper. Because God forbid you depict two characters in a relationship in a children’s show. Before they can leave though, they learn that one of their scouts has gone missing, when Sabine and Rex investigate, they discover a bunch of big spiders that swoop in and take Rex into their burrow.

These things are called Krykna and based on a piece of concept art by Ralph McQuarrie for the Empire Strikes Back. Although in his art they were creatures on Dagobah. Regardless, they’re very tough and all but immune to very well placed blaster bolts. A problem Kanan and Ezra have no problems with as they make short work of the creatures using their Lightsabers.

It’s again here that Hera splits them up, separating her, Sabine and Zeb from the other two saying that they need to get used to not having two Jedi around. I get what she’s saying, but this seems like a poor time to make that particular choice.

Either way, they find Rex and escape back to the ship. Without a single mention of the Lt. Dicer, who was the first one to go missing. Poor woman, they took the time to show Chopper reconnecting the Phantom to the Ghost, but not to show the fate of the woman who kicked this entire misadventure off in the first place.

They are denied escape once again though as the Krykna web down the ship, preventing it from flying away. It’s Sabine who realises that the sensor beacons they have been placing around the base emits a signal that drives the creatures away, and they grab it and use it to drive the creatures and free the ship.

This whole episode felt like an unfortunate side-quest in a role playing game. A diversion from the main plot. Not in a bad way or anything, just that it seems like a side step before getting back on track for the two episode season finale.

It also feels like it borrows elements from the season 1 episode: Out of Darkness, where Hera and Sabine get stranded on an old base riddled with dangerous creatures that have a very mundane, War of the Worlds-like weakness to exploit. Which is fine, if anything I feel like it was executed better here.

The episode ends with Hera and Kanan having one final embrace before they split and Ahsoka coming to take Ezra away. A move that ends with a slow camera pan upwards and a slow and somber version of the Imperial March playing. The significance of which I can’t even begin to imagine what it means.

Verdict:

Both of these episodes were cool, although I enjoyed the first one more. The fact that there hasn’t been a major droid uprising in the Star Wars universe baffles me, although it’s a dynamic I’ve become used to. It’s just how things work in this world. The banter between AP-5 and Chopper is fun, despite the cheesiness of the ending in which Chopper calls the other droid his friend.

The second episode, as I said, was a first season episode done again, but a bit better and some more subtext between Kanan and Ezra. Subtext that is totally lost on Kanan until Sabine all but grabs his cheeks and points his face in the direction of it.

I have no idea what’s coming in this second season finale but I’m super excited to see if it bookends its series with Darth Vader and gives us the confrontation between him and Ahsoka I’ve been wanting to see all these years.


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