Rebels Review – ”Jedi Night” ”Dume”

STAR WARS REBELS
“Jedi Night” “Dume”

 

WARNING : IT WOULD BE REALLY WEIRD IF YOU READ THIS BEFORE WATCHING THESE EPISODES OF STAR WARS REBELS … BUT DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM YET.   SPOILERS LAY AHEAD…..

Let’s just put it right out in the open.  These two episodes of Star Wars Rebels are some of the best stuff the show has ever done.  No, no young Master Codebreaker is not in it.  And no, it doesn’t feature a two hour tribute to Admiral Raddus’ face. It does however somehow manage to take almost all the awkward stuff that has plagued season four so far and perform a Jedi mind trick on us and made it all suddenly kinda awesome.  I’m still not sure who the bootleg Anakin kid is that’s hanging out on Lothal is or why I should care about Clancy Brown’s space Santa character but dammit who cares right now.   This is some mighty fine Star Wars action and I wanna talk about it.

The action starts as everyone is getting ready to go rescue Hera.  Kanan tells Ezra he should lead this mission and Sabine and Zeb put together some hang gliders so they can sneak into the Imperial base.  Kanan decides to go full Legend of Billie Jean at this moment and use a knife to cut his hair.  After debuting his new punk samurai new wave look, they head out to Governor Irina “Pryce” Spalko’s torture pad where she’s trying to get Hera to tell her where that Rebel hidden base is. After rescuing her, Spalko Pryce has the bright idea of stopping them by blowing up the fuel that’s pretty much bankrolling Thawn’s crazy TIE Fighter project.  The whole thing goes boom and Kanan has one final act of true Jedi selflessness as he saves his friends from the fiery explosion but not himself.

Kanan’s death is definitely the major moment of these two episodes and it is done absolutely perfectly.  We all knew the dude was probably doomed from day one but his actions during this whole episode justify him basically meditating through the rest of the season. Just like us, the guy knew this moment was coming and he would finally prove, mostly to himself that he was a Jedi Knight.   It’s an instant classic moment for Star Wars animation with breathtaking visuals and a score by Kevin Kiner that is a reminder that he’s a strong candidate to eventually score some Star Wars cinema.

That moment ripples through the next episode as everyone does their best to move on in whatever way they can.  Sabine and Zeb go off to try and stick one to the Empire, Hera and Chopper mourn and Ezra gets lost (again) and talks to a giant wolf who may or may not be the spirit of Kanan.  Eventually the huge wolf tells Ezra that he’s gotta go back to the Jedi Temple on Lothal and with that promise of some wacky Force stuff to come, we are left hanging until next week.

Is the reason this episode is able to soar when so many before have floundered simply because it actually handles actual consequences and real growth for the characters?  Something this show has gravely struggled with in the past?  As DJ would say, “maybe..?”  However, even before Kanan’s massive final moment, we are given a simple sense of fun and some easy breezy Star Wars magic that has eluded the show so many times before.  Even the effortless scene of the rebels flying around on homemade gliders made this sometimes grumpy Rebels viewer smile.

This is Star Wars Rebels firing at maximum firepower, finally making giant talking wolves interesting, giving hope for actually Ezra doing something and hopefully, HOPEFULLY slapping my wrist for ever doubting Dave Filoni. Bravo Rebels and I can’t wait to see where the next few episodes go.

Final grade :A

 

Rebels Review – Zero Hour

STAR WARS REBELS
“Zero Hour”
By Jason Gibner

“Meh?”
When I think about this seemingly epic two part season finale for Rebels, that’s about all I can come up with.  I keep telling myself that I should have enjoyed this grand conclusion to season three more.   It’s got everything I would want in a biggie size episode with massive space battles, ground battles with a Phantom Menace shoutout shield generator, Mandos shooting rockets out of jetpacks and a Force moose that becomes a giant pissed off cloud.  Sound amazing, right?


After three viewings, I’ve admitted to myself that while I’m far away from calling this one a stinker, I’m just not that into it and there’s a few good reasons why.
The episode could be subtitled The Thrawn Strikes Back as most of it is watching our Rebels get  a beatdown in space and on the ground from Thrawn and the Empire.  While the space battles are the best we’ve seen in the show so far, the fact that the jaw dropping space battles from Rogue One are still so fresh in our heads opens up some unfortunate comparisons.  One of the episode’s biggest moments should have been Commander Sato’s brave sacrifice as he rams into an Imperial ship with the Phoenix Home ship.  It’s a scene that should have played as gut punching reminder that the Rebellion will sacrifice everything or the cause.  Instead the bit pales in the deep shadow of the similar and way more effective Hammerhead Corvette moment in Rogue One.


Not helping the Rogue One comparisons is the inclusion of the Death Troopers in this episode.  These lanky undead elite troopers were breakout stars in Rogue One and while they get to run around in the episode’s ground battle, we never get to hear their garbled voices or see them do anything too interesting here.  If Zero Hour would have given them just one moment where they have an opportunity to shine or be the unstoppable ghouls they’re supposed to be, we’d all still be screaming and getting Death Trooper tattoos on our arms.


In a move that absolutely everyone predicted, Sabine comes back with the Mandalorian crew but now you have to wonder, is she back for good?  What does this mean for the fascinating story the show began for her this season? And what of Kallus?  Now that he’s gone from the Empire for good, what role will he play in the future of the Alliance?  Will grumpy cloud Bendu play into anything again?  Is he still mad at Kanan? And while Thrawn did possibly win the battle here, a lot of the Rebels did manage to escape his grip for what maybe was the 157th time.  He’s a character that becomes more and more compelling with every episode, but the threat from him has to get amped up in season four somehow.   But please Thrawn, keep wearing that goofy helmet.  It really suits you.
Another item haunting this episode is that just one week before it aired, we had that little thing called Twin Suns.  That was the episode that had everyone and their next door neighbors theorizing on who the Chosen One was and talking for hours about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s battle stances.  Love it or hate it, much like last season’s finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice”, it was a hot button moment for Star Wars fandom.  Sadly, with Twin Suns still being debated and discussed, Zero Hour just feels like an afterthought.


The whole episode plays more like what we’d expect from an epic two part season opener that begins the season with an energetic bang.  This is an episode with a lot of fun and cool moments, but none of the game changing moments we’d gotten so spoiled on with previous Rebels season finales.  Yes, this episode delivers some cool Star Warsy moments but do characters develop at all over the course of this two parter? There’s a lot of love in this episode and a lot to be excited about for next season, but Star Wars Rebels just got lost in it’s own shadow here.

FINAL GRADE: B-