Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Droids in Distress” – Weapons of Genocide

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       This episode was great and shows that “Rebels” can take the 20 minute episode format and still tell amazing stories that advance character and plot without needing a television movie like they did with “Spark of Rebellion.” This episode had similar themes to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” as we learn what the Empire did to Garazeb, whose people where wiped out with these weapons when the Empire exterminated his world. But more on that later on. I was really impressed with this episode though and the themes and situations it covered.

     “Droids in Distress” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Greg Weisman, Anthony Daniels and Phil LaMarr.

     The story begins with the crew of Ghost running low on everything and knowing they need a job. When an oppurtunity comes around to steal a shipment for Cikatro, they decide to take the deal. Things get more complicated though as the Imperials come after them and the shipment is revealed to be the weapons that were used to destroy the Lasan.

The Pros: The Empire – This is an episode where you really feel the threat of the Empire and what they are capable of. The fact that Zeb is the last of his people is a big reason for that and that Agent Kallus defeats and nearly kills him in the final fight is as well. The Rebels are truly the underdogs even if they manage to scrape by small victories and sometimes get paid.

Kanan – Kanan makes some tough calls this episode as he decides to take the deal with the gangster since they are just that desperate for money, but when it falls through does the right thing and destroys the remaining guns and delivers the droids back to their master Bail Organa. He also starts to formally train Ezra after Ezra save Zeb using the force.

Hera – Hera is once again the one aware of everything going on. Zeb’s pain over the guns used to kill his people, the fact that they’ll have to sell Ghost if they can’t get a job soon and reminding Kanan of his responsibility to Ezra and that he needs to be trained. She’s the most aware person on the ship.

Sabine – Sabine has a lot of fun this episode. She gets to overload the rifles when R2-D2 suggests it and says it was the original plan (Why they were working with an Imperial Representative) and we see that she lives up to her Mandalorian heritage being one of the strongest fighters when the Imperial Walkers arrive to get the shipment.

R2-D2 – R2’s got sass and is also one of the most active members of the Rebellion as he is connecting them to Organa so Organa can better use them later against the Empire and provide them the much needed funding they need. He was going to destroy the rifles and is a very independent droid, much like in every “Star Wars” film.

C-3PO – C-3PO is the worry wart and calls Kallus to them as he thinks they’ve been kidnapped by the rebels. This leads to the fight with the guns and the stormtroopers shooting at him (stupidly). 3PO wasn’t any help at all this episode and was the but of every joke, but at least was a nice contrast to R2’s selflessness.

Bail Organa – Bail Organa gives the Rebels money for delivering him his droids and his shown to have a higher plan in mine as he asks R2 for everything he recorded while he was with the Empire and Rebels. It’s a great scene and we see how in the fight he is, which in a way shows Alderaan isn’t exactly an innocent player in the game of Imperial Resistance.

Agent Kallus – Kallus killed a Lasan Honor Guard for his weapon and defeats Zeb in combat when he fights using it. The fact that he has one and is so genocidally bent makes him more complicated than Zhao. Why would he use the weapon of the people he hates and views as lesser than himself? I get the idea he fears the Lasan and that’s why he has embraced their combat and probably how he helped destroy them when he gave the order.

Ezra – Ezra really wants to be a Jedi and the first half of the episode deals with that, while the other deals with his caring for Zeb after he hears what happens when Zeb kicks him out of his room and later on it is his fear for Zeb being killed that leads to him force pushing Kallus away from making the kill shot.

Zeb – Zeb’s story is that of tragedy. He is the last of the Lasan and in this episode meets the man who gave the order and was there killing his people. We see how understandably deep his anger and pain are as he joins Kallus in combat. After Ezra saves his life we see he has the beginning of respect for him.

Okay: Cikatro – He would have been humanized if he’d altered the deal and gave them some money. I’m still waiting for this guy to be more than just a classic gangster. He has a great design at least.

    This was an episode that articulated why the Rebels fight (the Empire commits genocide against all who resist), where Ghost fits into the bigger picture (the meeting with Senator Organa and it being secret) and character arcs as now Zeb will want to defeat Kallus even more.

Final Episode: 10 / 10

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