Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 19: Jedi/Sith Docking Manoeuvre

Apparently, my new approach to blogging translated to me just not writing anymore. Honestly, I’m kind of feeling it. A byproduct to this new approach is my realisation that without this blog, I’m just not that driven to keep up with Star Wars Rebels on a weekly basis.

Not that this my backhanded way of revealing I’m ending this series prematurely, the completionist in me won’t abide by me dropping away from a number of projects all in one go. What I am saying is that Rebels, it just doesn’t have as much about it under the surface. Clone Wars had this undercurrent of political commentary.

Something Rebels lacks. But I’ll talk about this more at the end.

Season 3, Episode 03: The Holocrons of Fate

Maul’s reappearance in Rebels really has turned the relationship between Kanan and Ezra on its head. After the events of the series two finale, there really is a different air both Ezra and his master. Where as before Kanan seemed like a semi-effective Jedi at best, scrambling through by the skin of his teeth, losing his sight seems to have given him more of a maturity. It seems like its strengthened his connection to the force and given him an air of quiet confidence that he never had before.

He seems much more Jedi-like than he ever did before. Which is a good thing too, because Ezra’s new perspective, brought about by his interactions with Maul and the Sith Holocron have really been a growing experience for him. While Ezra has always been impetuous and gung ho, his increase in his powers since the end of series two have brought with it an edge and sense of danger to his actions.

Where he seemed innocent and a good hearted rascal before, now it feels like he brushes with the dark side on a regular basis. But not in the same way Anakin would during Clone Wars. Anakin’s use of the dark side always seemed to be coming from his emotions and his lack of control over them. With Ezra, it seems like he is aware of the Dark Side and sees it as a useful tool to incorporate into his skills.

A choice that comes from an arrogance in his belief that he can master the sway of the dark side, and not have it master him. He certainly seems torn about it, leaning into the side of whoever he seems to be sharing his company with. While Kanan’s calming influence encourages his Jedi-like urges, Maul continues to push and prod Ezra. He continues to call him his “apprentice” and Ezra’s obvious anger at Maul’s prior betrayal makes him easy to manipulate for the older and more experienced Sith Lord.

Maul’s plan comes from a whole new aspect of the Jedi and Sith Holocrons that I’m sure is probably being invested for this episode. Historically, Holocrons are receptacles of knowledge that required a connection to the force to be activated. Containing holograms and imprints of masters of the past that impart the knowledge they stored in the machine. However, in this episode, if both a Jedi and Sith holocron are activated together, they are somehow able to reveal knowledge that neither individual device should have stored on them.

And what knowledge could Maul possibly want from them? All he answers when Ezra asks him; is ‘hope’. And so we begin to start making our way down the path to the ultimate fate of this series, leading us to the New Hope for the future… on a planet with two suns.

That’s all the information Ezra is able to glean from the explosive contact between the two Holocrons before Kanan pulls him out of it. It was, it seems, enough information for Maul to flee the scene with a smile on his face and a manic repeating of the words: “He lives”. At first I found myself wondering, what exactly does Maul want with the boy on Tattooine when he started talking about hope. But then I realised, that’s not what he’s after.

After all these years and everything Maul has been though, it seems like festering old grudges are all he has to live for. While it might seem like he has some plans involving the Son of Anakin Skywalker, rather, it seems to be that he just wants to settle old grudges with the man who ruined his life in the first place when he cut him in half: Obi Wan Kenobi.

This is a cool episode, one that really drags the original trilogy into the mix. Leading us to a situation where the crew of the Ghost might end up having to protect Luke from Maul so that the original Star Wars movie can happen at all.

Season 3, Episode 04: The Antilles Extraction

Compared to the last episode, this one is a little more by the numbers. It features Sabine on a solo mission infiltrating an Imperial flight academy and extracting young pilots that wish to turn their backs on the Empire and join the Rebellion. Among these is a slightly younger Wedge Antilles.

We’ve seen this story premise more than once before actually, only it’s usually Ezra being the one going in undercover and risking his life. I suppose he’s done enough damage now that the Empire is wise to him, so it’s Sabine this time. And for the most part, the episode is pretty uneventful.

She gets in, finds the would-be deserters and gets them out on her second attempt. The only things that happen in this episode of note are the introduction of Vult Skerries; a veteran and expert TIE pilot who gets enough camera time that I feel like he’s going to become a reoccurring character. The other is the continuation of Agent Kallus’s face turn.

Following the season 2 episode; “The Honorable Ones”, Kallus’s belief in the Empire has been waining. He’s been relegated to a background agent where other Imperials such as Governor Pryce come forward to fulfil the role he once did. Where he quickly stands in the background and grimaces.

For the first time here, we see him actively undermine the Empire by helping Sabine and Wedge escape. claiming it’s all to even the score between him and Zeb. I have no doubt he’ll be doing something like this again before he meet’s his inevitable and untimely end though.

My main issue with this episode is that Sabine doesn’t really get to do anything. I mean, she shows what a confident badass she is, as usual. But there’s no character arc here for her to go through. There are multiple occasions where they bring up she was a former Imperial Cadet, but it never really factors into the events of these episodes.

There was more put on the fact that Maul used to lead the Mandalorians in the previous episode, and that was only brushed past too. I like Sabine, but as usual, she doesn’t really get to do anything but be hyper competent. Which is cool, but uninteresting in terms of storytelling in my eyes.

Verdict:

The first of these two episodes was certainly the more interesting. It continued to deal with the idea of Jedi and Sith toeing the line between light and dark, with the return of Bendu and the coming together of the two Holocrons to create new power. Maul is inside Ezra’s head enough that it’s hard to tell what Ezra is going to do when he’s involved.

By comparison, the second episode was very run of the mill, episode of the week stuff. One that just amounted to “hey, here’s how Wedge joined the Rebellion”, but didn’t have anything important to say about its major characters. Except for ticking the Kallus storyline forward one iota.

Again, Sabine could have so much angst about the fate of her people and her mixed history with both them and the Empire itself due to what it did to Mandalore and her time serving within it. But it doesn’t go there at all really. She just acts super professionally and never really seems that flustered by any of it. Things that make her a cool character, but not an especially compelling one.

Rebels seems like a purely popcorn piece of media by comparison. Something, no doubt, influenced by Disney’s controlling oversight of this project in comparison to the majority of Star Wars. Thinking back, the entire genesis of the show was as a kid’s series. One that the creators had to push back against Disney during the early stages, when they wanted to turn it into a goofy, comedically driven series.

While that obviously got shot down, there is still an air of this series being aimed much more towards kids than Clone Wars was. Hence my lack of real enthusiasm to keep up with this series. But I need to see where it goes in case any of these characters show up in live action down the road. I wouldn’t want to be left out of the loop now would I.


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