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

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 

Episode 96 – What’s Up Mandalore?

This week it’s all about Mandalore as Jason and Gabe dive into everything from Sabine, Satine & brave nephew Korkie! From the history of the super commandos in Star Wars to the season four premier of Star Wars Rebels, Blast Points is looking at all of it!!
PLUS! There’s reactions to the “Solo : A Star Wars Story title, Last Jedi talk, Rebels reactions and more!!
So strap on jetpack, fly into a room of Xizors and celebrate the love with BLAST POINTS!

Interview – Seven Questions With Kevin Rubio

Late Saturday night, The King of All Things Han Solo, Ron Howard posted a photo from the never ending filming Han Solo film with himself, two Imperial officers and the caption “Tag and Bink?” What followed was millions of voices screaming out in joy (and some in confusion) that the Dark Horse comics heroes would perhaps be making a cameo in the upcoming movie. Blast Points reached out to Kevin Rubio, Tag & Bink writer and creator of the legendary fan film TROOPS to get his thoughts on all this with seven hard hitting questions:

BP: We can only imagine what it must have been like to discover that Tag & Bink were to be characters in the upcoming Han Solo film. So where were you, how did you find this out and what was going through your head as you learned about this?

KR: I was at home, groggy from a late night at night at an Awesome FRIDAY THE 13th themed Halloween party (Thanks Bryan! Had a BLAST!), sitting at my desk, pouring over social media when my friend Brian Linder, pinned it to my Facebook page.

BP: I was reading on Twitter about your connection with Lawerence Kasdan and it sounded fascinating. What’s the deal with that?

KR: Actually it was his son Jon Kasdan, the co-writer of “SOLO”. Turns out he’s the big Tag & Bink fan, and as he said: “… I had to get ’em in there, and then had to play it myself (with Toby Hefferman) to do it justice.”

BP: Once the news broke, I was so happy to see all the Tag and Bink love on social media. What was that like and how have the past few days been with all that?

KR: It was gratifying and a little overwhelming for the first few hours, then I had to turn it off and get back to work — deadlines, ya know.

BP: If Ron Howard and The Kasdan’s asked you for advice on how they could perfectly capture Tag & Bink on screen, what would you tell them?

KR: What the hell am I going to tell Ron Howard about film making?! The man’s been in the biz for over 50 years, and has proven himself in pretty much every genre. Jon has apprenticed under a guy who is one of the greatest screen writers of all time! I’m going to tell him about character arcs and three-act-structure?!! Please! For however small or big their role is in the film, Tag and Bink are in good hands, or “Han” as the case may be.

BP: How is illustrator Lucas Marangon handling all this?

KR: He and Howard Shum (the inker, are both thrilled and proud to have been a big part of creating the duo.

BP: For folks out there unfamiliar with Tag & Bink, how would you sum them up and where would you recommend them starting?

KR: Marvel has featured them several times on their website these past few years. Here’s a link — https://news.marvel.com/comics/56751/star-wars-spotlight-tag-bink-return/

BP: And I know when we spoke a year ago, I asked the same question but any chances all this excitement could stir up all some new Tag & Bink books?

KR: I submitted an idea to Marvel and Lucasfilm last year, and although the reception was positive, regrettably they had to decline because they weren’t canon. If things have changed and they want another story, there is one waiting in the wings and Lucas and Howard would love to jump on board for STAR WARS: TAG & BINK AWAKEN.

Thanks Kevin & go check out his Tag & Bink books!!!!

 

(and go way back with last year’s interview with Kevin Rubio here: