“Star Wars Rebels” Season 1 Retrospect – A Band of Outcasts Against the Empire


     “Star Wars Rebels” is a great series. Such a great series in fact that it has inspired me to eventually review “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which was made by some of the same creators. What was it that made this series great? How would this series be defined? What made this series work were the characters, the themes and the writing and within that the fact that this is the only series besides “Firefly” that really captures the feel of a band of outcasts fighting against a force so much more powerful and overwhelming, all of which made this series work.

      The series was created by Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation with Dave Filoni as Executive Producer and Supervising Director while also being joined by Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman.

      The premise of the series is that a band of rebels fights against the Empire in the Outer Rim world of Lothal as Ezra Bridger learns he is force sensitive and must deal with his role as a force user with potential to become a Jedi as all of the crew of Ghost deals with the threats of the Empire and The Inquisitor.

Rise of the Old Masters Star Wars Rebels ep 3

The Pros: The Soundtrack – Kevin Kiner does an amazing job adapting John Williams’s original score to fit the television series. The music is one of the strongest parts of the series as it creates tension and adds to the characters.

The Premise – The premise is wonderful as we explore the lives of one rebel cell and get to see what life is like for the Rebels in the Outer Rim and how complete Galactic control really is from the Empire.

The Characters – The characters are mostly all fantastic! Whether it is the Imperials, Rebels or even some minor characters, most of them get explored and it lends great power to the series since there is still room for all of them to grow, even though they have grown this season.

The Imperials – I really enjoyed the Imperial characters. Some of them weren’t completely bad and even the bad ones had moments of empathy or mercy and we were given a chance to sympathize with them even though they are the wrong side for obvious ethical reasons.

Agent Kallus – Kallus committed genocide against Zeb’s people and is a very hands on commander. We see him put himself out there on multiple occasions and be in the thick of battle. He is not underhanded and is very Mandalorian in how he does things. You can tell how much he loves battle and he does have respect for his troops.

Minister Tua – Tua is the one trying to put a nice face on what the Empire does and she does a good job at it as she isn’t outwardly cruel though she endorses the open cruelty that others do. She does have a conscience though and we see it when The Inquisitor executes Aresko and another Imperial Commander under orders of Tarkin. So much of what she does is truly ruled by fear even if true belief is there.

Commandant Aresko – I like Aresko, we see him train the recruits and he’s actually a kind guy who looks out for those under him. He may not always succeed but it certainly isn’t from lack of trying. For this reason I actually mourned this characters death.

The Inquisitor – Jason Isaacs is wonderful once more as a fantastic animated villain!  The Inquisitor is cold and calculating and does a good job at getting into Kanan’s head. He’s introduced as a force of nature and in defeat we see his humanity as he fears things worse than death that the Emperor or Vader would do to him for failing to stop Kanan and Ezra.

Grand Moff Tarkin – Tarkin is brutal and we see why he was put in charge of the Death Star as it is thanks to his fighting the rebels as a war and not a police excercise that leads to Kanan’s capture and forces the fledgling Rebel Alliance to reveal itself to save the Lothal Rebels. After his failure to stop them and the reveal of the Alliance he decides that Vader will be brought in to deal with this new Jedi and Rebel threat.

The Crew of Ghost – The crew of Ghost is a band of misfits and comparable to the crew of Serenity in the show “Firefly.” From the witty chemistry they have with one another and wounds they carry for being refugees and the last of their people or kind we see a rich humanity to them.

Zeb – Zeb is one of the last of his people the Lasat and is an intelligent guy who doesn’t put up with Ezra’s crap, though they do become quick friends when they are forced to work together. Like Sabine he is the primary muscle and the one who causes distractions though he is good at pulling his weight for whatever the mission needs. He has a lot of pain over all he has lost and deals with it by being rough around the edges and first and valuing the time he has alone. He still has to kill Kallus for being one of the primary ones responsible for the genocide against his people.

Sabine – Sabine is a Mandalore and ex-stormtrooper who expresses herself through her art. She does a bunch of different kinds of art but specializes in graffiti and protest art. She’s a great actor and is the most witty against opponents. She also has a lot of awareness to and saves a data disk from Ezra’s home so he has a picture of his family again. Her biggest issues are trust issues because of how she was betrayed by the Empire when she served them.

Hera – Hera is the mother of the group and has to make the tough decisions. We see this in her withholding information in case the Empire captures them and the chances she chooses to run or stay low so the entire Rebellion doesn’t get eliminated. She sees the big picture, where none of the other members of the crew really do. She also gets people and is the one who makes Ezra aware of others.

Kanan – Kanan is one of the last of the Jedi who was never trained to be a Master but is forced to become one. He is unsure of himself but when he chooses to fight for his crew and to raise Ezra we see a will of iron born as he withstands torture and sacrifices himself so the Lothal rebellion lives on. He doesn’t die and they rescue him of course, but it shows that he is no longer about just surviving and is not afraid of being known as a Jedi.

Ezra – Ezra goes from a selfish thief to someone who is willing to sacrifice himself to protect his new family. He has a lot of anger and fear towards the Empire and the loss of his parents by the Empire but has potential to forgive as we see him do just that to the family friend who abandoned him as a child. He invents his own lightsaber (that also functions as a gun) and gets his first scar in the final fight against The Inquisitor. He has a lot of force potential but is very much a Padawan in training in over his head, which makes him human and gives him a lot of room to grow.

Chopper – Chopper trolls everyone but comes through in the end. Whether it’s conning Lando to steal his fuel while Lando was conning them or saving the crew on multiple occasions, Chopper may grumble an groan the entire time…but he or it comes through.

Minor Character Shout Outs – The informant Fulcrum is Ashoka (Want to “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” to know fully who she is beyond Anikan’s apprentice), Lando makes an appearance and uses the crew to his own ends and R2-D2 and C-3PO are in the first episode and show the role they play in the Rebellion. Yoda also makes an appearance in “Path of the Jedi” as a voice guiding the Jedi, which I think is what was his primary role in hiding. For those who seek the force he is there to guide them.

The Themes – The themes are fantastic! From dealing with the consequences of Genocide as Zeb’s people were wiped out, what it means to teach when training was never finished (Kanan teaching Ezra) trust and sharing of information during war (The ruling among the Rebels that they should reveal themselves and come together and Fulcrum’s secrets and Hera and Kanan being the only ones who know individual missions) and that just because you are a Rebel or Imperial does not automatically make you good or evil (which fits into the theme of the “Gundam Universe”).

The Potential – There is so much potential in this series and I love it! From showing that the Rebels could do unjust things for just ends and getting the perspective of the Empire and the players within both factions and putting them through arcs. Bringing Vader in and saying next season will be “The Empire Strikes Back” of this series is just what I needed to hear and I hope they follow through with that promise. So much potential to be a great series beyond just the first season.

The Cons: Empire Needed a Major Victory – The Empire needed a victory for me to give this show a 10. The rebels were always on the run but the one time they are “defeated” is only because Kanan surrenders himself to buy them time. It’s something he chose to do, a Imperial Victory is one where the Rebels don’t have a choice and are forced to surrender or lose one of their own. This did not happen, hope it does next season though.

   I really enjoyed Season 1, it did so much right and makes me want to watch a series I was worried about due to how much of a failure “The Prequel Trilogy” was in relationships to “Star Wars.” Not many shows can do that. I hope it will stay good all the way through but I’m not counting on anything, and for what it’s worth this first season was amazing and I highly recommend it to any “Star Wars” fan. You will see characters who grow and change, be in a world that feels lived in and experience some powerful and enjoyable stories.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10


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


       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


   “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 11 – “Call to Action” -The Horror of Tarkin


     This is the episode that shows us just how kind the Lothal Empire was by comparison to the changes in Imperial Policy happening on a larger scale. The symbol of this power and terror and the action behind it is Grand Moff Tarkin who is Governor of the Outer Rim. I’ll get into the details of his brutality later but I’m really curious now how he was handled in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” as I know he appears in it and he makes direct reference in this episode to fighting in the Clone Wars and knowing what it takes to win a war because of it.

   “Call to Action” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg.

    The story involves the arrival of Grand Moff Tarkin who has arrived to rid Lothal of it’s Rebel movement and to shape up the Imperials stationed there for their failures in stopping the Rebels prior. His first act is the execution of Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Grint before sending probe droids around the planet. At the same time the crew of Ghost is planning the hijacking of an Imperial Communications Tower to tell the truth to Lothal and other systems of what is going on under Imperial Rule.

The Pros: R.I.P. Grint and Aresko – Grint and Aresko were actually pretty kind by Imperial Standards. They sought to protect their men and we never saw them act in opression of the population if anything they just trained people who wanted to join the Empire and I really like Aresko. Aresko could be kind and I liked how aware he could be of others. Their deaths show just how much of a bastard Tarkin is and that he doesn’t tolerate failure in the same way Vader doesn’t tolerate failure…which is probably going to cause more problems for Tarkin later in this series.

Agent Callus and Minister Tua – Much like Grint and Aresko Callus and Tua are kind compared to Tarkin, at least to the citizens of Lothal who are Imperials. They react with horror when Tarkin has the Inquisitor kill Aresko and Grint and you get the idea that they are questioning everything they do now since to some degree they are ethical and have standards in war.

The Rebel Plan – Hijacking the communications tower to deliver messages of resistance is brilliant, especially since folks probably remember Ezra’s parents. It’s a great answer to Senator Trayvis’s attempts to turn the people against them now that he’s openly loyal to the Empire now. We get to see Sabine and Chopper in action and they do a fantastic job as well as see Ezra live like his folks and give the message of hope to the people of Lothal. The seed of rebellion has been planted, though at a price.

The Inquisitor – The Inquisitor is successful in this one as the Empire manages to capture Kanan since he sacrifices himself to let his friends escape. We see a different side to The Inquisitor too as he fears and respects Grand Moff Tarkin. We also see he has the least qualms about the new horror of the Empire as he doesn’t even react when he kills Grint and Aresko. He is the closest member of the Old Guard of Lothal who most willing to take the cruelty to the fullest, though even he was willing to let the rebels go if Kanan would surrender so he does still have some measure of practicality.

Kanan’s Sacrifice – Kanan’s moment of sacrifice is one of the hardest moments for Ezra and Hera as both try to stay as long as they can before the escape with Ezra still fighting to stay after. It is his sacrifice that makes the crew ready to fight on and resolved to find a way to save him and make things right on Lothal.

Grand Moff Tarkin – This guy is brutal and I can understand why everyone fears him. He doesn’t tolerate failure and has a habit of inspiring action that brings results. We see this in his destruction of the Tower to stop the transmission and his recognition that the Rebels don’t kill so they don’t have what it takes to win against the Empire. It’s a powerful realization and we see how willing Tarkin is to kill with the execution of Grint and Aresko. What his plans are for Lothal and total victory remain to be seen but I’m glad he is in this series as Tarkin was one of the characters that made “A New Hope” so memorable as a film.

 The stakes have rose as we now have only 2 episodes remaining in the season which Tarkin in charge as the bigger bad than all the villains we’ve met prior who have been hunting our rebels. What they do and what Tarkin does are really the big questions as well as the question is can the rebels win without killing? How does Tarkin’s work in the Outer Rim contribute to him being put in charge of the Death Star? He must be victorious to some degree, so I’m curious how that will be shown, unless we don’t see his greater victories until next season. This was a favorite and stands strong on it’s own even though it is part of the final arc of the season 1 Finale.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 10 – “Vision of Hope” -The Empire’s Power


This is an episode where the Empire nearly wins and where see for just how long there hasn’t been resistance on Lothal. The Empire’s power is strong in this and we see that even though the rebels don’t lose per say, they also find that they are very much alone still in their small war against the Empire.

“Vision of Hope” was directed by Steven G. Lee and directed by Henry Gilroy.

The story begins with Ezra training and have a vision of them rescuing Senator Trayvis from the Empire. From here they discover that he puts hints in the transmissions of where he will be in order to help the Rebels. Though the crew is skeptical they trust Ezra’s vision and mount a rescue. Things soon go wrong as everything is not as it appears to be and Agent Callus’s trap closes in around them.

The Pros: Zare – Zare is his informant at the academy and the kid who stayed behind to find his sister. He is great in this in how he helps Ezra escape and there is sadness about him getting shipped out too. He’s the one who tells Ezra that Callus is planning something.

Sabine and Zeb – These two are the main folks who are defending our main characters (Hera, Ezra and Kanan) and they do a great job of it with smoke grenades, grenades and always remaining just out of reach.

Senator Trayvis – Trayvis betrayed them and was an Imperial plant the entire time. The nature of his transmissions was to destroy Rebel movements that sought him out and he’d succeeded until Kanan and Ezra’s group who just manage to escape. We don’t really get his motivations but I’m putting him down as a pro because you feel his betrayal and how it is a blow to the crew and pushes Ezra closer to the dark side.

Kanan – Kanan is the one who counsels against visions knowing they are hard to understand. He jokes that he saw Ezra in a vision but I don’t know if he was being serious or not since he makes quite a few jokes in this episode. He also saves them when he uses the force to stop the fan long enough for them to escape through it.

Hera – Hera is the one who really wants to believe too but she also suspects Trayvis when Trayvis pretends to be hurt or tired so she gives him her gun uncharged which reveals Trayvis as being an Imperial the entire time to them. She reminds Ezra there is still hope at the end though and is the one who fully gets his pain given how long she’s been running too.

Ezra – Ezra is hopeful for much of this episode until Trayvis’s betrayal ruins that. Before they escape he gives Trayvis a dark side glare which I think will be used by the Inquisitor later to try and turn Ezra to the dark side. He’s tough in this and the betrayal almost breaks him if not for Hera being there for him during and after the betrayal.

This was a fantastic episode and definitely one of my favorites! I like that Trayvis wasn’t good as it gives another antagonist who is most likely complicated for our heroes to interact with and he is also another glimpse into what happened to Ezra’s parents and part of what is pushing Ezra to the dark side. I’m curious to see where his character arc goes from here and what will happen since Agent Callus failed again.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.

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


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 8 – “Path of the Jedi” – The Path Through Fear

Path_of_the_jedi_6     “The Path of the Jedi” is very similar to what Luke faced in Dagoba. It is here we learn that to become a Jedi a Padawan must face his or her greatest fears alone and that it is at the end the Master is there to guide them to safety and to give them words of wisdom before carrying on. It’s a powerful episode, made all the more so by the voice that appears and the fact that we never see the Jedi who is speaking and guiding Kanan and Ezra through their fears.

The episode was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Charles Murray and Greg Weisman.

The story begins with Kanan finding a Jedi Temple on Lothal and reacting angrily to Ezra for missing training again. This leads to him having Ezra find the Jedi Temple using the force. This leads to them entering it together and Ezra having to face the darkness alone to become a Jedi.

The Pros: The Temple on Lothal – I really like the Temple’s design. It is a giant Monolith that opens to reveal a passage and reacts entirely to the force and the mind of the participants. It is also connected to Yoda, which my guess is all the Temples are due to him being on Dagoba or just because is that strong in the force. The setting is wonderful and gives both our characters a chance to grow.

Kanan – Kanan fears letting Ezra down and this leads to him reacting with anger to Ezra and we learn why this is. Kanan left the order for a while and part of it was because he was reactive and angry, much like Ezra. It is this fear that drives Kanan and that Yoda counsels him through so that Kanan can have the confidence to train Ezra.

Ezra’s Fears – Ezra fears being alone and death. He fears being alone when we see illusions of the crew talking bad about him behind his back before them as well as Kanan are slaughtered by The Inquisitor while The Inquisitor continues to hunt Ezra before he finally surrenders and realizes that it doesn’t matter if he dies or not, he won’t fear what he cannot control…this leads to Yoda guiding him with his voice to finish his trial.

Master Yoda – Yoda has a lot of good advice in this. He helps counsel Ezra discover what a Jedi is and that it isn’t in anger and revenge (Kanan never acted that way) and that to be a Jedi is to protect others and to help others to feel alive. It’s a powerful scene since we see Ezra’s need for control and power since he’s been alone all his life asserted initially showing how easily he could cross over to the dark side.

Ezra – Ezra gets a lot of great development in this. We see him make peace with dying and losing all of those he loves but also how he holds onto rage and power in hopes that that will prevent it from happening even as he understands that his role is to help others to heal and to feel alive and that revenge is not the way of the Jedi. When he leaves he grows more connected to Kanan and understands him better too. He also receives a Kyber Crystal and makes his own Lightsaber using things on the ship.

I really liked this episode. It had great direction by Dave Filoni and fantastic writing that went into depth on what it means to be a Jedi. We get the chance to learn more about Ezra and Kanan and see that the Jedi that are still around still have safe havens so that they can still face their fears and come to fully understand what it means to be a Jedi. This is one of my favorite episodes thus far in the series and I highly recommend it.

Final Score: 10 / 10.


Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 7 – “Gathering Forces” – Ezra and the Dark Side


“Gathering Forces” is the second part of the story that began with “Empire Day.” In this we see Ezra use the dark side for the first time and see continuity as the episode from 2 episodes prior is used by Kanan and Ezra in this episode, as well as Organa’s ship and Tseebo. Suffice to say, overall it is a good end to the arc.

“Gathering Forces” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Greg Weisman.

The story picks up where we left off with Tseebo asking for forgiveness for not helping Ezra and his family. Ezra rejects his offer and he goes to fix the hyperdrive while helps them to escape The Inquisitor and his fleet temporarily. They soon realize he is still following them so Ezra and Kana return to Fort Anaxes where the Fyrnocks are located who they plan to use against The Inquisitor as well as leaving Ghost so that Hera can deliver Tseebo away to safety.

The Pros: The Crew – Sabine helps Ezra heal with the disk with his parents, Hera learns what happened to Ezra’s parents when she listens to Tseebo and they all Tseebo escape. The crew is great in this episode though Zeb and Chopper don’t really do much.

The Inquisitor – The Inquisitor schools Kanan and Ezra and forces Ezra to use the dark side, which is always a plus for a Sith. He also feels like a threat the entire episode even though they escape.

Kanan – Kanan comes up with the plan to use the Fort as a lure to pull in the Inquisitors forces and use the Fyrnocks to fight the Imperial forces. He has a lot of awareness this episode too as we see him give Ezra time and space alone after the dark side was used, knowing that it would affect Ezra even if he didn’t feel it at first.

Ezra – Ezra uses the dark side forgives Tseebo and has a moment of peace when Sabine gives him a disk that has a photo of him with his family. It’s a touching moment and we see just how much potential Ezra has as a Jedi this episode.

Okay: The Trap – The Fyrnocks were always cute and not a threat so I didn’t really like them used as a weapon against Stormtroopers since the Stormtroopers looked more threatening.

“Empire Day” was the stronger episode but this one was still great. We get to see Ezra’s force potential and The Inquisitor forced one of our heroes to use the dark side. We also see The Inquisitor fear too as he has to report his failure to his Master. This is contrasted with the peace Ezra finally gets looking at the photo of his folks and forgiving Tseebo.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

Star Wars Rebels – Season 1, Episode 6 – “Empire Day” – Moves of Resistance



“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.

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

Out of Darkness

“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.