Rebels Review – ”Rebel Assault”

STAR WARS REBELS
”Rebel Assault”

 

 

A few things were made abundantly clear while watching Rebel Assault :

1.  don’t mess with Hera.

2.  X-Wing have been and will forever be cool

3.   I don’t think that Force Wolf is saying “Dume” anymore.  It might actually now be saying “doom” as in Kanan is totally doomed in this thing.

Rebel Assault starts out with some non-stop super  Star Wars action and wastes no time by giving the audience exactly what they want.  Christmas comes early as we are given a fairly awesome X-Wing battle led by the fearless butt kicking space mom Hera. Speaking of Hera and Christmas, where’s a Hera Forces of Destiny figure/doll?!?!? Hasbro you’re missing out with that one. Anyways, while it’s hard to top the still very fresh and dizzying space battles seen in last year’s Rogue One, this opening does its darndest to pump up the show an early shot of adrenaline.   Even the inclusion of former space waffle eating pirate kid now hotshot almost bootleg Wedge Rebel Pilot Mart Mattin didn’t ruin the party!

Thrawn of course is there watching the whole thing almost and letting yet another victory slip from his fingers.  On the ground while all this is happening,  Ezra, Kanan and crew are on exciting Lothal putting bombs on gun turrets and blowing stuff up real good.  

Pretty soon the Rebel fleet gets beat up and Hera crashes in what obviously is the one and only neighborhood in Lothal where everything happens.  She’s captured by Irina “Governor Pryce” Spalko who may think that Hera has the illusive crystal skull of Akator. Once Kanan senses that Hera is in trouble, he turns his speeder bike around to save her and is stopped by that giant Force Wolf.  Is it a warning? A sign that this isn’t going to end well for Kanan?  Is the Wolf hungry and just wants a biscuit?  Is it the world’s biggest She’s All That fan and wants to know what Rachael Leigh Cook is REALLY like? Maybe all of the above but we will have to wait until January to find out as this is the big mid season finale for Rebels.

While Rebel Assault is definitely an improvement on what’s come before and is possibly the best episode of season four so far, the lackluster quality of the season has made it almost difficult to care about what’s going on here.  Yeah it’s pretty clear that Kanan’s days are numbered and a giant sacrifice for Hera and the crew may be happening soon, but this kind of business is how the season should have started.  We’re getting to the real meat and potatoes of season four here and we’ve only got a handful of episodes left to tie this whole thing up.

This is a season that has felt off from the first episode and has relied on nostalgia both new and old to carry episodes.  The X-Wing sequence could have fallen into that “Hey look everyone, X-WINGS!!!” category but it totally works in this one.  The building relationship between Kanan and Hera feels like it’s going somewhere and the selfless decision Kanan makes here will sure lay the groundwork for the series’ impending conclusion.  This may yet be when Rebels season four got it’s groove back.  A few more episodes like this and I’ll forgive the Bossks with electric whips and Ezra smiling as a Bossk gets burned alive.  Maybe.

 

Final grade : B+

Episode 99 – Hardware Wars Raised Us & A New Trilogy Might Kill Us!

This week Jason and Gabe talk all about HARDWARE WARS!  YES, the amazing 1978 short film Star Wars parody from Ernie Fosselius that made them who they are today.  How did it ever get made?  Where is the cast nowadays?  How was Hardware Wars only the beginning of Ernie’s involvement in the galaxy far far away?  All these burning questions & more are answered in this laugh filled, action packed episode!  Join them as they even do a full commentary for the 13 minute long classic!!  Wow!

AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH – before all that, they talk about the BOMBSHELL of news that was the announcement that Rian Johnson is working on an all new Star Wars trilogy!  When could it be set?  What’s going on in it? Will we survive this massive chunk of Star Wars info?  And what about a live action Star Wars TV show?!!  Whew!  It’s a lot of stuff in one hour so head into a bar with Augie Ben-Doggie and celebrate the love with Blast Points!!

Rebels Review – ”Kindred” ”Crawler Commanders”

STAR WARS REBELS
”Kindred”
”Crawler Commanders”

 

First the bad news :  we are still on Lothal and it is still the most boring planet in all of Star Wars.  Not much actually happens in these episodes and Crawler Commanders almost violently put me to sleep about 45 times.  If you’re still reading and you are curious about the good news, Kindred isn’t that bad.  It hints at some interesting stuff that could be coming and there’s just something dang intriguing about those giant Force Wolves.  So in our last back to back, let’s hurry up and get this show over with, two episodes at a time style, we get a very mixed Rebels bag.  There’s decent stuff in especially the first one but man oh man, this show is riding a speeder bike straight to it’s quickly approaching end.

Things get started with Hera and Kanan spending some time together having deep thoughts on what we’re all wondering, just why they are still on Lothal.  Kanan wonders if there’s a deeper purpose that keeps bringing them back there and I honestly hope that’s the case.  Cut to that dastardly villain who can’t get anything done, Thrawn as he unleashes his gorilla mixed with a pencil eraser assassin thing named Ruhk on the Rebels.  Ruhk jumps out of his ship smelling for Zeb, rides a speeder bike, fights Ezra and then he’s pretty much out of the episode.  Maybe and hopefully he’ll turn up again in another episode but for now he was a total waste of time.

Ezra and crew hide out in the cave mountains and the Force Wolves show up and naturally they ask for Kanan.  Next thing you know Ezra’s eyes get crazy and faster then you can say Carlos Castaneda in the desert, they’re on the other side of the planet.  Just like last season’s Bendu, I like the idea of creatures that thrive of the living and cosmic Force but aren’t necessarily Force users.  I’m hoping and sensing that these wolves will actually lead to something at may help bring a satisfying conclusion to some of our main characters.  Or maybe they will talk more and remind Kanan and Ezra that the greatest power in the universe is the strength of family.  We’ll find out!

After that, there’s some stuff about a giant mining crawler, some Trandoshans with electric whips and Ezra grinning when a Seth Green voiced lizard man accidentally falls to his death.   It’s weird and it definitely is not one of Rebels’ best episodes.

The good thing going on with Kindred there’s moments that feel like this thing is going somewhere.  It has a nice forward momentum to it that sometimes Rebels episodes severely lack. Watching it though I can’t help feeling like this first half of season four has been phoning it in.  I think back to episodes like Maul’s flirting with the Ezra and the dark side in Twilight of the Apprentice, the Bendu’s lesson for Ezra and Kanan to learn that they needed each other last season and it makes we wonder what’s going on this season.  We’ve got a handful of episodes left and we are getting Bossk dudes with electric whips.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Bossk with an electric whip and the promise of X-Wings next week but that leads to my weekly gripe that’s still valid, what about the characters?  And not the characters from Star Wars movies or Clone Wars, what about the Rebels characters?  It’s time for this show to address the Bor Gullet in the room and start to lay the foundation that give these Rebels their final act.  Save the Bossks with whips for the next show.   Or my dreams.

 

FINAL GRADE: 
Kindred : B
Crawler Commanders: D

Episode 98 – Directed by Richard Marquand

This week Jason and Gabe discuss the both on and off screen continuing Star Wars influence and mystery of Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand.   From his hiring, to who else could have gotten the job, major plot and character decisions he made, filming and his role is post production, Blast Points sheds some light on this often sadly overlooked contributor to Star Wars history!

PLUS!  there’s talk on that Last Jedi world series ad, international poster, Snoke’s Shadow People buddies, more Sammy Hagar and so much more!!!

So drive your Ferrari to the nearest salad restaurant and celebrate the love with BLAST POINTS!!!

Rebels Review – The Occupation and Flight of the Defender

STAR WARS REBELS
“The Occupation”
“Flight of the Defender”

 

Does anyone really, REALLY care about Lothal?  It’s been the planet on Rebels that they never seem to leave or are constantly coming back to.   It has been interesting to see how with each visit it becomes more and more under Imperial control, but has anyone anywhere proclaimed how excited they were for the next episode of Rebels where they go to Lothal and wear funny hats to blend in? Anyone? …  Anyone?

This week finds two Lothal centered episodes that happily don’t rely on plot lines connected to previous Star Wars movies or shows but still features its own unique set of issues.  The action begins with Ezra straight up throwing a fit that he has to go back to Lothal and check up on everyone’s favorite Star Wars background character Old Jho. Remember him?  No? Well that’s okay as things don’t go too hot when they arrive as the planet.  Lothal has seen better days as it looks like it’s been burned down and the Empire is literally hanging out everywhere.   Ezra goes to a bar, runs into some goofball from the Imperial Academy there and that’s pretty much all that happens in that first pretty much lackluster yawn of an episode.

Things pick up a little in the second one as Sabine and Ezra (who seem to get all the missions now) head out to steal some info on a new super advanced TIE Defender. Everything seems fine until Thrawn shows up and once again let’s the Rebels escape right in front of him as it’s still all part of his master plan or something.

Thrawn does manage to disable the prototype TIE enough so that it crashes and Ezra and Sabine have a trippy Lewis Carrol meets Jim Morrison in the desert moment with a white Loth Cat and giant mystical wolf who may or may not be connected to the Force somehow.

For the most part these episodes seemed to be going through the regular Star Wars Rebels brats and motions and repeating the same kind of stories and action we’ve been seeing for the past few seasons.  However, I’m intrigued by the idea of the giant Force Wolf as it reminds me of Bendu-esque stuff when the show branches out from just doing Star Wars and pushes the ideas of the saga and The Force forward a little.

Having two Jedi in the Rebel Alliance before Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star has always been Rebels’ biggest “what’s up with that” obstacle and when they stretch out the interpretations of Force Users to include giant wolves and a huge rock moose, they’ve got our attention.   As often as Rebels has been wildly frustrating for me at times, it’s also been game changing awesome.  These giant Force Wolves, while feeling a little shoehorned into an episode about stealing a TIE Defender, is a good reminder that the show continues to at least explore the rich mysticism of The Force and reminds me that I can’t wait to see how this whole thing wraps up.

FINAL GRADE: 
The Occupation : C
Flight of the Defender: B+ 

 

Episode 97 : Famous Monsters of Star Wars

Just in time for Halloween, Jason and Gabe are celebrating all things MONSTERS in Star Wars!  Join them as they countdown their top 13 monsters from the whole saga! Who did they pick from the Ewok movies, the read along books and how many are from the beautiful three way Attack of the Clones monster tag team?!  Listen and find out!!

PLUS:  Great moments in Halloween Star Wars History (with drunk Ewoks), Is there a Halloween holiday in the Star Wars universe, Last Jedi stuff,  rumors on possible Sammy Hagar & Mick Dundee cameos & more!!

So put on your Snoke mask, ride the Rubber Chicken and celebrate the love with Blast Points!

Use the forks – Star Wars Cooking

Scariest Star Wars bad guy? For me, it’s Darth Maul. He’s creepy-looking, he’s got a double-bladed light saber, an oddly soothing voice, and he always seems to appear out of nowhere! His theme music (not “Duel of the Fates,” but the whispery, hissing one) is pretty scary too. I’ll admit that his story takes a strange arc in Clone Wars (C’mon… Who can survive being cut in half?!), but his insane lust for revenge and creepy, garbage-spider body makes him even more terrifying. Poor Satine!

The fact that he’s part of an intricate, secret, diabolical plan that has been in motion for a while, is also unsettling. If anybody could bully me into carrying out Lord Sidious’s wishes, it would be Darth Maul. But… only if he lets me ride on his cool scooter first.

In the spirit of the season, here’s a recipe inspired by the Star Wars character that scares me the most. See you in my nightmares, Maul.

Darth Maul Balls

Makes 40 balls

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Red velvet cake mix, prepared in a 9″X9″ cake pan, and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 bags Black candy melts
  • 1 bag Red candy melts
  • 10 butterscotch candies, crushed (a food processor works best for this)
Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and set aside.
2. Crumble a prepared red velvet cake into a large bowl.
3. Add cream cheese and mini chocolate chips, and stir until well combined.
4. Scoop the mixture out by rounded tablespoonfuls, and roll into 1″ balls, placing them on your prepared baking sheet.
5. Once you’ve used up all of your cake mixture, chill the balls in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. While your balls are chilling, nuke the black candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval.
7. Using a fork, dip each cake ball into the melted black candy melts, and place back on the wax paper.
8. Place candy-coated cake balls back into the fridge for another 15 minutes.
9. While they’re chilling, nuke the red candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval.
10. Drizzle each candy-coated cake ball with melted red candy.
11. Immediately sprinkle each one with crushed butterscotch candies, and place them back in the fridge until the candy is hardened, about another 30 minutes.

12. Remove from the fridge and enjoy while wielding a double light saber. Happy Halloween!!

Rebels Review –  “In The Name Of The Rebellion Parts 1 & 2”

STAR WARS REBELS
“In The Name Of The Rebellion Parts 1 & 2”

 

Oh Rebels, why are you making it so difficult for me to love you every week.  If this keeps up, I think we will need to go to couples therapy to sort out my feelings on this show.  We are four episodes into this final season and you’ve already acquired a long list of fresh and unsqueezed raw Star Wars awesomeness, but you’ve used that in all the episodes as a crutch for the rest of the show to stand on.  Last week we had a flawed but suitable and possible conclusion to the epic Mandalore saga which had Mandos shooting rocket jetpacks at TIEs.  This week we return with basically a prequel to Rogue One featuring lots of Saw Gerrera, Mon Mothma, U-Wings & even some laughs with the world’s sweetheart, Two Tubes!  While there’s no denying the coolness of the simple fact that we are are getting animated versions of all these beautiful things, they constantly upstage and overshadow the characters this show is supposed to be about.   This season more than ever feels like the Rebel Alliance aspect of Rebels is in red and underlined, but with only a handful of episodes left and some very big questions about what happens to who that need to be answered, I just wonder if this is the time or place for the Saw Gerrera Hour.  Which physically hurts me to write that as i really did love it so much.  Maybe just give Saw his own show?  The New Adventures of Saw Gerrera?  With his sidekick Two Tubes!

Anyways, the basics of this two parter finds the Ghost crew meeting up with Hera and Zeb at the new secret base on Yavin IV.  There we quickly are greeted by the new Rebel, Hot Kallus and then it’s straight into the planning room with Mon Mothma and a sweet hologram of Bail Organa.  Clearly, this is all Star Wars gold so far.  There’s some stuff about a mission to head to giant Imperial Radar Dish and Sabine, Ezra and Chopper volunteer to go all 2009 Star Trek and dive down to the dish.  Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned and they are picked up by Saw & Two-Tubes who somehow are flying around in a presumably stolen Rebel U-Wing.

Let me back up here and talk about a scene with Saw that happens a little before the radar dish mission.  It’s nighttime at Yavin and mysterious droid suddenly begins projecting a GIANT hologram of Saw’s head basically telling all the Rebels on Yavin that they are a bunch of babies and that the only true way to fight the Empire is to fight dirty. Out walks Mon Mothma and the two of them have a brief but juicy debate over the morals of war.   Written by Rogue One co-writer Gary Whitta, this is an amazing moment that makes you look at both Saw and Mothma’s roles in Rogue One in a whole new light.

The thing that bums me out with scenes like that is thinking about how a moment that strong and with that much Star Wars heaviness is the kind of thing Dave Filoni and crew seem to have such a hard time harnessing into our main Rebels characters.  Major things happen to these people, but feel quickly passed by in sometimes the very next episode.  Week after week, the show’s best moments are often left for characters that have been borrowed from Star Wars films, books or Clone Wars.

As the episodes go on, Saw’s quest to discover the secrets of the Empire deepens as he finds a gigantic Kyber Crystal (perhaps the same one last seen in the unfinished Utapau arc of Clone Wars) and sees the awesome power of the Crystal when it is used as weapon.  Ezra, Sabine and Chopper make it back home and once again probably learn that family is the greatest power there is or something.

So is this a good episode and should you as a Star Wars fan reading a review of a Star Wars cartoon on a website for a Star Wars podcast watch this episode?  Definitely yes to all those questions.  Do I have hope that Rebels will start to address it’s own characters and tell it’s own stories now that we’ve got Mandalore and Rogue One stuff out of the way?  A little bit.  But then as we all know, rebellions are built on hope…

Final Grade : B