“Empire Day” is the first of a two part story with the final part being “Gathering Forces,” because of this much of “Empire Day” is setup but it still manages to be a really good world building episode and showing us more of what Imperial life is like in the Outer Rim and what it has meant for people in the present and past.
“Empire Day” was directed by Steven G. Lee and written by Henry Gilroy.
The story takes place on Empire Day which commemorates the day when the Republic became an Empire. It is also Ezra’s birthday and the day he lost his parents to the Empire. This leads to him going off on his own as he looks for a missing Rodian who the Empire is seeking who Ezra also knows. Around the same time the Empire is releasing a new Tie Fighter the Rebels destroy it which prompts them to go into hiding as Ezra brings them to the place that used to be his home where the Rodian Tseebo is hiding, who knew Ezra’s parents and has been transformed by the Empire.
The Pros: Empire Day – So happy that this is an actual thing. It’s a major holiday in the “Star Wars” universe according to “Rebels” which shows just how much influence and power the Empire has, especially since the Imperial Network must be broadcasted at all times. It’s propaganda to the extreme and it obviously gets the job done since the Rebels never grow into a large movement. They are the permanent underdog because the Empire has oppressed everyone to the point where they don’t fight anymore and just want to live.
The Imperials – The Imperials who are represented (The Inquisitor, Agent Callus, Minister Tua and Commandment Aresko) all have distinct personalities and great chemistry with each other…they also work very well together to stall the rebels so that The Inquisitor can defeat them with his fleet of Tie Fighters.
Minister Tua – Is the voice for the Governor and congratulations the population and explains why they are so important due to all the Imperial weapons they construct, especially in regards to Tie Fighters. She loses it though after the new Tie is destroyed during the ceremony and we see that she’s a true believer in the Empire.
Commandant Aresko – The Commandant was the one who was training new Imperial recruits and is one of the nicer Imperials we meet. In this we see that he is great at his job too as he has the road blockaded to attempt to the stop the Rebels who hijacked a troop transport. He doesn’t succeed but he does stall long enough.
Agent Callus – Callus is smart in this and is a one man army trying to stop the transport. He succeeds in stalling and even when he is outgunned and outnumbered still manages to get some hits and take on Kanan one on one. You don’t mess with this guy.
The Inquisitor – The Inquisitor is driven and like a predator thinks ahead at how to catch his prey. When he knows they are escaping he puts a beacon on the ship and besides that we see him using the force to track them as well. In this he’s brilliant and he doesn’t underestimate his foes which makes him a great foe to deal with.
The Rebels – This is an episode that shows our characters coming together and in many cases getting the chance to face off against some of their major foes.
Zeb – Gets helps set off the mine and is throwing the firework bombs that distract the Imperials. We get to see his love of fighting them in this and he’s the closest thing to joy in this and the next episode.
Sabine – Sabine is empathy and we see her reach out to Ezra when she learns it is home. She also gives him space when he needs it and it is her weapons that are the distraction and used to take out the Advanced Tie Fighter.
Hera – Hera helps them all escape and is the one who Tseebo opens up too. She is the getaway and the connection to the outside and the crew’s escape. She also does a great job navigating against the overwhelming odds.
Kanan – Kanan lays the mine and is the voice of wisdom in this as he respects Ezra’s space as well. We also see that he fears The Inquisitor, from the last time they faced he knows just how outmatched he is against him.
The Chase – The chase is awesome! From the street chase to start, troop transport second and finally ending with a ship chase where The Inquisitor keeps landing hits. You feel the tension of all that is happening and there is really good pacing and action.
Ezra – Ezra gets a lot of exploration this episode. From the fact that his parents went missing and Tseebo is tied to it and didn’t care for Ezra when Ezra needed someone to care for him most…and just how guarded he is around the crew. Ezra opens up to no one about what he says to Tseebo or the pain he feels over the loss of his parents, this goes for the crew too. The crew of Ghost is full of loss and pain.
Okay: Tseebo – He functions mostly as a plot device in this. The Empire wants him because he hacked their system and has troop and ship movements known, Ezra wants him because he knows about his parents and he uses his hacking to help them escape when their ship is hit. Lots of potential but doesn’t feel like a full character yet.
I really enjoyed this episode and would consider it a favorite. It makes the “Star Wars Universe” feel lived and even the minor characters get exploration. The only con he how Tseebo feels like a plot device, but I’d still highly recommend the first part in this story arc.
Final Score: 9 / 10.