Rebels Review – Double Agent Droid

“Double Agent Droid”
By Jason Gibner

NEWS FLASH: Star Wars is weird.  If you’re not sure about that, try and imagine explaining the basic plot of the eight movies to someone who has never even heard of this wacky story of magical space wizards.  Sometimes, Star Wars animation head honcho Dave Filoni and his crew like to tap into a pure, unfiltered raw version of this unique brand of Star Wars weirdness.  We saw it in Clone Wars with the infamous Sunny Day in the Void episodes which featured a tiny frog and group of droids trekking across a never ending barren desert.  Last season in Rebels, we saw a whole episode about Ezra befriending a group of hyperspace traveling space whales and it was glorious.  Sometimes these random side trips to Goofytown work and are fun pauses from some of the more heavy episodes and sometimes they fumble out the gate and are quickly dismissed by the fan community as “filler”.

Double Agent Droid exists somewhere in between with half the episode playing like a traitor in the midst kind of thing and the other half is AP-5 doing an odd one droid comedy show.  The episode begins with Hera leading a top secret mission to get some Lothal clearance codes.  Jointing Syndulla on the trip are the droids, Wedge “All Time Champion” Antilles and because he has to do everything and go everywhere on this show, Ezra. Upon sneaking onto an Imperial ship, an Imperial listening ship guy who looks a lot like Pablo Hidalgo dressed as Lobot for Halloween identifies Chopper and AP-5.  Once Chopper plugs into the main computer, Lobot Hidalgo reprograms Chopper to spy on the crew and tell the Imperials where the secret Rebel base is located.

I gotta say, the whole concept of an evil Chopper rolling around the ship and maybe trying to poison Wedge was possibly the most terrifying thing Rebels has ever done.  The whole thing just made me feel kinda gross and I had to brush my teeth after watching this one. For some reason we have zero problems seeing Ezra flop around with a Sith Holocron and murder people and be fine a week later but Chopper giving Wedge a mystery thing of space water???!!  Now that’s just going too far.

Naturally it all gets wrapped up in the end but not before we realize that AP-5 has been left floating alone in space after an outside the ship tussle with Chopper.  Seems that AP-5 enjoys this little moment of peace and tranquility so much that he bursts into a song out there.  I’m not joking. And then some little space birds come out and fly around him.  It’s a moment that’ll have fans either smiling or rolling their eyes but hey, like I was saying … Star Wars is weird.   Lucas thought of a bunch of weird stuff and when Star Wars isn’t weird enough then it’s not Star Wars anymore.

So Rebels, before we get to Maul screaming in the desert and Thrawn attacking the Bendu or something, go ahead, put up your feet and go to Goofytown this week.  You’ve earned it.


Rebels Review – Warhead

By Jason Gibner

Over the course of this season of Star Wars Rebels, a dirty word has come up over and over that continues to haunt over almost every episode that doesn’t seem to feature Darth Maul or connect to Rogue One somehow.  The kids on the World Wide Web are using some crazy beatnik jive calling these episodes “filler”.

an item serving only to fill space or time, especially in a newspaper, broadcast, or recording.

Now, in all fairness, I’ve used this lazy word myself in describing some of the season’s “why is this episode even happening” moments. Looking at you once again, space kids with space waffles.  Nowadays, if an episode isn’t telling an epic story featuring lightsabers and characters from a movie, it’s instantly labeled as “filler” and quickly dismissed.  This episode does not deserve that treatment.
Warhead is an intriguing episode that begins with an ode to Empire Strikes Back’s opening with a Star Destroyer sending out probes to find a Rebel base.  Only instead of a probe droid, we get a fairly innocent looking protocol droid wandering around Chopper Base.  Turns out the droid is actually a giant killer enforcement droid and it’s up to the oddball trio of Zeb, Chopper and AP-5 to save the day.

Is this the most mind blowing 22 minutes of Star Wars Rebels you’ve ever seen?  Mostly likely that’s a no but the one thing this episode does have going for it is that it’s a good time.  Thanks to a snappy script from Rogue One writer Gary Whitta, the episode gets right to the fun and balances the Aliens/Predator action of hunting a killer droid with the mismatched team of Rebel heroes.

In an interview Dave Filoni said that the episode was originally to feature Zeb and Captain Rex as the Rebels left on the base, but putting Zeb against the underused AP-5 is a stroke of genius.  AP-5’s delight in wondering what the point of Zeb is almost sounds like fans on a Saturday night on Twitter after a new episode of Rebels just finished.  It’s smarty pants, snappy stuff like that that echoes back to the original trilogy style of dialogue that we all love so much.

In conclusion your honor, this episode is not “filler”.  It offers some fun droid and Zeb action and while Thrawn still really isn’t doing anything yet, the threat with him figuring out Kallus being Rebel’s inside man is becoming way more real.   The Thrawn thing is shaping up to be slow buildup to what eventually will be his total freakout on the Rebel crew.   And that’s gonna be something.

Final grade :  B

Side note :  In this episode’s Rebels Recon on, Filoni said if he knew when this episode was to air, he would have had the warhead droid be a K-2SO style droid.  The chances of us exploding if that would have happened would been high….very high.