Star Wars Rebels Finale – Season 1, Episode 13 – “Fire Across the Galaxy” – Unifying the Rebellion

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       What a fantastic end to a great season! I got to say after the reveals at the end of this episode and the character growth we see take place, I’m excited to see where this series goes. “Star Wars Rebels” has the potential to be one of the greatest animated television shows made if it can handle it next season(s) right and have an ending.

   “Fire Across the Galaxy” was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Simon Kinberg.

    The story follows from the last episode with the crew of Ghost mounting a rescue of Kanan who has been brought to Mustafar by Tarkin in order to be destroyed. It is at this point the Rebels plan is put into motion and they infiltrate Tarkin’s Star Destroyer with the Tie Fighter taken from “Fighter Flight.” On the ship they mount their escape as The Inquisitor prepares to destroy both Kanan and Ezra as Tarkin works to destroy the Rebel Cell for good.

The Pros: The Plan – The plan starts out with stealing an Imperial Transport with Sabine being the distraction while while Zeb and the other take the ship. Next the Tie Fighter Zeb and Ezra stole is used to get into Tarkin’s Star Destroyer and a Energy Pulse is used to shut down all power on the ship (and knockout the troops). From here they make their way through the ship with Chopper staying behind to help them escape once they get off the Star Destroyer.

The Inquisitor – The Inquisitor is the main focus as the most that Tarkin does is call in more troops to overwhelm and destroy the Jedi…but it is The Inquisitor who pushes Kanan to the dark side and makes him despair over the fact that he ran during Order 66 and didn’t stay and fight. He is good at the mind games and is only defeated when Kanan is fighting with two lightsabers and nothing to lose. In the end he chooses death though as he rejects Kanan’s offer to be saved knowing their are far worse things than death if he were to change. R.I.P. The Inquisitor, what a great enemy.

Kanan – Kanan shows that he has truly become a Jedi Master. He is rescued by Ezra and believes that Ezra has died after The Inquisitor knocks Ezra off the bridge they are fighting on. This leads to him fighting with nothing to lose and we see how he has grown mentally as he even offers to save the Inquisitor’s life. He has truly become a Jedi to be reckoned with.

Ezra – Ezra is the one who came up with most of the plan and he sticks with it all the way to the end, risking his own life on multiple occasions to save Kanan. We see how devoted he is to his new family and that he is the glue that is holding them all together and truly becoming a great Padawan.

The Rebellion – The Rebels would have been killed if Senator Organa hadn’t arrived with reinforcements to Mustafar to help them escape the overwhelming forces of Tarkin. The victory at Mustafar is a major blow to the Empire as was Ezra’s transmission which has given people hope and a reason to fight. A United Rebellion is what we see at the end and they are ready to stand openly and together against the Empire.

Fulcrum Reveal – Fulcrum was Anakin’s apprentice from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars!” Ahsoka Tano survived the purge and Order 66 and is now an open resource for the surviving Jedi and the Rebellion. It’s a powerful reveal especially since the Empire is bringing in Darth Vader to deal with the Lothal Rebellion. Can’t wait to see what’s done and seeing her playing such a big role in this series makes me want to watch “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

Empire Rising – The Empire knows that it is fighting a larger rebellion now and is risking in turn. Tarkin is still on the scene but now Darth Vader is as well. Vader is famous for being the ultimate Jedi killer and I hope we get to see him do just that when Season 2 roles around. There is so much potential with using Vader as the main threat, especially since the creators said they want Season 2 to be “The Empire Strikes Back” of the series.

  This show is an amazing show that captures the spirit of “Star Wars” so well. The Finale did this in a great way too, even if we got less character moments with the crew as it was primarily focused on the overall arc and setting the stage for next season. Still fantastic action, amazing story and a great sign of things to come to end a fantastic season.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 12 – “Rebel Resolve” – To Risk

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   “Rebel Resolve” is mostly setup for the finale for Season 1 but it doesn’t change the fact that it is still a good episode, especially in regards to how Hera and Ezra get defined more…and the plan to get the information on where the Empire is holding Kanan is done really well. It is a high stakes infiltration that involves our heroes taking a lot of risks to make the plan even work, but more on that later.

    The episode was directed by Justin Ridge and written by Charles Murray and Henry Gilroy.

    The story begins with the rebels hijacking a Walker to try and find out where Kanan is being held. They aren’t successful as the Imperials have changed how they communicate after they destroyed the Communications Tower. This leads to Fulcrum ordering Hera to stop the search and to hide until it blows over. She orders her crew to do so but they have other ideas as Ezra comes up with an idea to find out where Kanan is being held and is willing to go to any lengths to get the information.

The Pros: Vizago – The gangster we saw prior is willing to help after Ezra proves he is a Jedi and Kanan is too…which leads to Vizago showing him how the Imperials are transporting information (droids) and that now Ezra owes him a favor down the road. It’s another side of him we see even if he is still the same gangster.

Zeb and Sabine – These two are the support for Ezra in going behind Hera’s back and finding Vizago. They stick with him the entire time and are part of the plan as it moves forward. Sabine especially plays a big role later on the rescue next episode.

Chopper – Chopper is one of the main characters as he goes undercover as an Imperial Droid and steals their information. It is his missing of Kanan that leads to the first Alliance among the crew as Ezra has already resolved to do anything to rescue him. Chopper is great in how he ignores the Imperials and the crew at different points. Chopper doesn’t care, except about Kanan.

Hera – Hera is conflicted this episode but we see that she is a soldier. When Fulcrum gives the order to stand down, she does even though she misses her partner and lover Kanan. She eventually joins Ezra’s plot though too after Ezra apologizes and she realizes that he’s doing what she’s wanted to do all along.

Fulcrum – Fulcrum sees the bigger pictures and knows that if a larger rebellion is seen to exist the Empire will destroy them. The only reason they’ve been able to survive so long is because no one can turn another in…all that gets risked due to the actions of Ezra and the crew of Ghost.

The Imperials – The Inquisitor tortures Kanan but is not able to break him which leads to Tarkin ordering Kanan to be sent to Mustafar, which is where Jedi go to die. The Empire never feels powerless in this and always feels like a threat which makes the events of this episode actually mean something.

   This was a really good episode as we get to see Hera the soldier and what it means to to be a rebel leader (sometimes you lose people) and also how Ezra’s recklessness could lead to him going down a darker path since his risking everything for Kanan could easily push him to the edge and desperation, and with how powerful he is in the force…the dark side. Suffice to say this episode was enjoyable, I just wish we’d spent more time with the Imperials.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Idiot’s Array” – Playing the Player

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This is the episode that introduces Lando Calrissian and we see just how shady and brilliant as a manipulator in the game he actually is. We also see that two members of the crew are better or on par at the game as him though when the episode unfolds and the crew have to get him out of the hole he built for himself. This was an enjoyable but not great episode.

The director of “Idiot’s Array” is Steward Lee and written by Kevin Hopps.

The story involves the crew being low on fuel and money and needing a job which Lando offers to them after he gets Zeb and Kanan to gamble him Chopper. From here the story unfolds as they must face gangsters, the cargo Lando is transporting and one another as they seek to come out on top in the long game Lando is playing on them all.

The Pros: Introducing Lando – The fact that Lando is introduced winning a game of gambling is a great introduction to his character as well as his charming everyone but Zeb and Ezra. The others soon see how untrustworthy he is though as his game against a gang puts people at risk.

Sabine – Sabine is passionate about her art and it’s wonderful seeing her discuss the history behind her motivations as well as the fact that she does impressionistic art as well and not just graffiti. She is great in this and is good at setting boundaries with Ezra and Lando.

Zeb – Zeb gambles away Chopper and is trying to make up for it the entire episode. He is right about Lando having most likely cheated though and his distrust of Lando should have been listened to from the beginning. The fact that he thought gambling Chopper away was okay shows some of his flaws though and how Chopper is not fully recognized as a member of the crew until the end of the episode.

Kanan – Kanan also has droid prejudice as he is willing to risk Chopper after Zeb shows him his hand. He’s very defensive of all the crew though and reacts like a good human being when Lando trades Hera for the merchandise. After he saw that Lando had no problems using he people he stops trusting him at that point.

Lando – Lando is a sociopath and shade of grey who only serves Lando. We see this in his accepting of the trade of Chopper the fact that he trades Hera and even though he tells her how she can escape, the fact that it happened in the first place shows how low he is at this point in his development as a character. I hope the crew gets back at him later, seeing Hera punch him for trading her into slavery was rewarding.

Hera – Hera doesn’t put up with Lando’s crap. After he trades her for a gangster boss for a big to find minerals on Lothal she escapes and when she gets back to the ship she punches Lando and supports Chopper’s playing of Lando when he stole Lando’s fuel.

Chopper – This is a great Chopper episode! He gets into Lando’s good graces acting like his servant after Zeb and Kanan had traded him away and later saves Zeb’s life and steals Lando’s fuel, showing he’d been playing Lando the entire time. Chopper’s crazy but smart.

The Cons: Azmorigan – A fat alien gangster that isn’t threatening and is only creepy. Really hated this character and was glad when he was defeated. The fact that he was a threat to Lando was something I never believed.

Ezra – Ezra is so insecure when Lando is flirting with Sabine and discussing her art with her. Really Ezra, you appreciate her? Haven’t you got that she doesn’t like you and only sees you as a friend (really hope they don’t change this). He’s super dense in this and after how much he grew last episode it was a shame to see him regress.

This was a good but not great episode. The villain was weak, Ezra was an insecure idiot and Lando was a bit too sociopathic and crossed some lines that I would have not had him cross as a writer (selling Hera into slavery for one thing). This episode does show the darker side of the Outer Rim though, on the outskirts smugglers like Lando are king and the Gang Lords are the threat besides the Empire shaping the region.

Final Score: 8.2 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Out of Darkness” – A Matter of Trust

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“Out of Darkness” is a Sabine and Hera episode, though primarily a Sabine episode. In this we get some of her backstory and why she has trouble trusting Hera and the crew. It’s a good but not great episode as the main threat doesn’t feel like that much of a threat and doesn’t look threatening. The story is good though.

The episode was directed by Steward Lee and written by Kevin Hopps.

The story begins with the crew being pursued by Tie Fighters who they escape but the ship is injured in the process. After Chopper causes problems the repairs are never complete and when Phantom lands at the meeting place that the mysterious Fulcrum gives them Sabine and Hera find themselves trapped on in the fort with alien creatures closing in on them.

The Pros: Fulcrum – The mysterious informant who passes along missions, I like the idea as it leaves no trace for the Empire with only Hera and Kanan knowing the missions. The idea is very well executed and I hope we meet Fulcrum.

Infighting – Zeb, Ezra and Chopper clash a lot this episode, largely because Chopper continues to harass them which leads to Phantom not being repaired.

Sabine – Sabine was a stormtrooper on Mandalore and she trusted the Empire. She was ordered to do some pretty horrible things to her home and this is the reason she has trouble trusting. Hera understands this but she also is trying to protect them by only getting them information they need to know. They resolve things at the end but I expect Sabine’s trust issues will play a part again, the rebels aren’t perfect.

Hera – Hera is very guarded in this and this is partially due to her being the leader, but I wonder if she lost people too because information was too widespread and the Empire used it against her. Still she is a good mentor to Sabine this episode.

The Cons: The Creatures on the Base – They were meant to look scary but they just look like adorable zerglings…which misses the point of them being a threat. Their fear of light also made it so I could not take them seriously.

This was a good filler episode. Some great character moments with Sabine and Hera and even the humor moments where wonderful. This was definitely an episode that showed that even the lesser episodes in this series still have quality.

Final Score: 8 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Rise of the Old Masters” – Enter The Inquisitor

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     This episode establishes the new threat of The Inquisitor really well as well as implying that Order 66 and the aftermath has been very successful. The only folks around now are untrained Jedi like Kanan who were never able to finish their training and now are the best hope for people like Ezra who are force sensitive but have no experience or discipline. It is a great stakes episode.

   The episode was directed by Steward Lee and written by Henry Gilroy.

    The story begins with Kanan training Ezra but it going wrong and Kanan realizing he doesn’t know enough about being a Jedi himself.  After they receive information that Jedi Master Luminara is captured by the Empire they decide to mount a rescue for her. This leads to Ezra feeling like Kanan doesn’t want him and the things soon become complicated as their information about the prison is outdated and they are forced to improvise.

The Pros: The Infiltration – Finding a way in to the base is one with high stakes all the way through. They have to drop in a shuttle, go in least guarded door, make it look like nothing happened and get to Luminara before the alarms are sounded. Nothing goes as planned and when Ezra and Kanaan reach the location they find Luminara dead and that she was a trap laid by The Inquisitor to capture and kill them.

Kanan – Kanan is very human in this. We see his insecurities in this and realize he was never fully trained but we also see that he uses the force like Ezra. They are most in contact with it when protecting others. In this case Kanan saves Ezra and after they rescue the crew using the force before he begins training Ezra without being insecure.

Ezra – Ezra is arrogant per usual but has a good head. He has no desire to join the dark side and is very attached to his new family. We see him get schooled by the Inquisitor but at least providing a distracting while Kanan fights. He also is key in their escape from the base and says he wants Kanan as a Master.

Sabine and Zeb – Sabine helps them escape the turbo lift and is key in the escape. Zeb trolls Ezra at the beginning of the episode but comes around at the end is key with Sabine. There is also a moment where they make fun of Kanan in front of Kanan about how the plan keeps getting worse and that he never makes good plans.

Hera – Uses her skills as a pilot to use the fact that Ray like beasts want to mate with the ship to be her Calvary against the Imperial forces attempting to stop the Crew from escaping. She does a good job in this and is once again the solid base for all of them.

The Inquisitor – Jason Isaacs is wonderful in this role! This guy is confident, deadly and from what we can gather has killed quite a few Jedi already. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want to mess with and he is so powerful Kanan and Ezra get their buts handed to them and the crew is forced to run away from him. He’s just that dangerous that victory means escaping him not defeating him. Can’t wait to see what they do with this guy. He has a great design with Sith tattoos and the grey skin of his species, the Pau’an.

   I really enjoyed this episode. It establishes the threat of The Inquisitor and The Empire and we see just how outmatched our heroes are, considering their only victory is in surviving not stopping or preventing anything. The Jedi religion is pretty much dead at this point and you really feel it. The Jedi are survivors (those few that are left) and are hunted, there is no safety when the Empire controls all.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 2 – “Fighter Flight” – When Brothers Fight

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   This was a good episode. We get more of Ezra’s backstory and the writers deal with the fact that Ezra and Zeb have clashed with each other since “Spark of Rebellion.” We also see more Imperial Cruelty (though at this point I’d like to see conflicted loyalties with a character and the Empire do more than oppress). For a character episode, it is fantastic though.

    “Fighter Flight” was directed by Steven G. Lee and Steward Lee and written by Greg Weisman.

      The story begins with Chopper trolling Ezra and Zeb which leads to them getting into a giant fight throughout the ship. To force them to make peace with one another Hera sends them on a supply run and asks them to get a fruit that isn’t grown on the planet. From here things unfold dangerously as the Empire buys the only fruit on the planet and things unfold from there.

The Pros: Sabine – Sabine is an artist and doesn’t put up with any of Ezra’s flirting. She is a great character who is very much just doing her own thing. She does art with spray paint and specializes in cartoons.

Chopper – Chopper is a troll and needlessly cruel even though he does help around the ship. This is the first droid I can think of that is an actual jerk like Chopper is. Putting this as a pro because I haven’t seen any droid like this in the Star Warsverse.

Kanan and Hera – Kanan is the worrying Dad when they are out as he predicts trouble is going to happen, though Hera is right as Zeb and Ezra become friends after their adventure and stealing of the Tie Fighter. She is really good at gauging people which makes her one of my favorite characters on the show.

Zeb – Zeb has a quick temper but has a surprising amount of patience with Ezra. We learn in this one that it is due to how similar they are. They are both reckless but will risk everything for other people. They also love having new things as it is implied they keep the Tie Fighter they stole from the Empire.

Ezra – Ezra is an arrogant prick but is capable of growth. We see this in how he holds saving Zeb’s live over his head again and again, but that at the core he is good. Whether it is using the Tie Fighter Zeb steals to rescue the friends of his parents from the Imperials, or putting himself out there for Ghost. He’s reckless but has a good heart.

The Cons: The Empire – The Empire is pretty incompetent this episode and needlessly cruel. I hope this doesn’t become too common as a threat has to be felt as a threat for beating it to mean anything.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10.

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