Rebels Reviews – Legacy of Mandalore

STAR WARS REBELS
“Legacy of Mandalore”
By Jason Gibner

Alright Rebels, you earned it.  That’s right, you get the intercontinental championship belt with this one.  Legacy of Mandalore is yet another blue ribbon brilliant episode that somehow not only captures that elusive brand of Star Wars magic but show that the galaxy far, far away can thrive on the small screen.  This is an episode to show to anyone who ever questions not just this show but if it was possible for Star Wars Rebels to ever match the quality of Clone Wars.  This is an episode that makes the entire series better while it echoes some the best qualities of its older sibling series.   Here we have a story that is not afraid to take the time it needs to properly convey real deal  emotion, have a dash of saber fueled fist pumping action and manage in 22 minutes to take viewers somewhere they’ve never been before.  This is just good Star Wars.

Opening up right where Trials of the Darksaber left off, we see Sabine, Ezra, Kanan and Fenn Rau headed to the snowy planet Krownest so Sabine can bring the mythical Darksaber to her mother and hopefully convince her to have Clan Wren join the fledgling Alliance.  Things do go as planned as when they enter the atmosphere, they are attacked by a group of totally cool looking rocket jetpack flying Mando warriors.  Once on the ground, the saber is handed off and some old family wounds are opened up before a seriously fun action climax takes place.   To say that the last couple episodes of Rebels have finally given the criminally underused Sabine Wren some brilliant material is a bit of a parsec of an understatement.   By deepening her relationship with her Mandalorian past, her family, the built in connection with Star Wars history, and her exciting future in the saga, the show has finally shown the character the respect she’s been due for quite a while now.


This episode’s bittersweet ending could start some Twitter wars about how it goes down and what it means for the future, but show head honcho Dave Filoni promises the obvious fact that more Mando action is on the way.  Mandalorian history and culture is something that’s existed in the minds of fans since 1980 and for Clone Wars to begin to tell that story and for it to continue so surprisingly and in such a compelling way in Rebels is just plain awesome.  I for one can not wait to see what happens next with this Mandalorian epic they’ve created here and if this is any indication on how the rest of season three is gonna go then we are in for some fun.

Final grade: A

Episode 60 – The Romantic Love Talk of Anakin Skywalker (Smoothtalker)

Jason and Gabe and celebrating Valentine’s Day the only way anyone should and that’s with a tribute to the most romantic person ever in the Star Wars films, Anakin Skywalker! They talk about his most love filled lines and how his gifted Jedi skills also spread into his velvet like way with words. It’s a loving and laugh filled tribute the Chosen One and his carefully chosen talk!
Before that, they go over some of the latest news like Judi Dench saying “Reylo”, Han Solo movie casting, upcoming Rebels episodes and the first guest announcements for Star Wars Celebration! Plus, Watto talk and this week’s Bor Gullet mention!!
So get out your Barry White record, light some candles, make some space fruit float and celebrate the love with BLAST POINTS!!

May the Force be with you, always.

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Episode 57 – The Episode Of The Whills

This week, Jason & Gabe take a deep look at one of the greatest mysteries of Star Wars, The Whills. Though they have been almost in Star Wars since George Lucas’ first drafts, the name Whills been spoken about on screen until Rogue One. Blast Points goes in depth with their history, possible meanings and theories on what they may have to do with the saga’s future….
Before that there’s some news on if Woody Harrelson is playing a certain character, a blurry look at Episode 8 Christmas ornaments, an emergency broadcast on breaking news, and the story group talking Rogue One secrets!
So learn the great gift, celebrate the love and listen today!

May the Force be with you, always.

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Chirrut and Baze art by Darren Tan

Rebels Review – Trials Of The Darksaber

STAR WARS REBELS
“Trials of the Darksaber”
By Jason Gibner

While watching this phenomenal Filoni scripted episode of Star Wars Rebels, I kept saying to my myself that this one felt more like some of those really great episodes of Clone Wars.  Often that show would take a break from the Anakin, Ashoka and Obi-Wan slicing up battle droids action to focus on a smaller, more character centered storyline.  It was those kind of episodes that makes the show continue to win over and connect with both old and new fans what gives it the mighty legacy it still rocks today.


There’s no space battle in this episode, no droid hi-jinks, no fan friendly winks to past movies or clueless imperial moron of the week.  Trials of the Darksaber is a just a simple and powerful little look at the awesome seriousness of lightsaber training and most importantly, a real dive into the meat and potatoes of Sabine’s character.  It’s such a welcome change of pace and honestly the kind of episode Rebels should be creating much more often.


We get started on a real high five note as the episode begins with Kanan and Fenn Rau discuss the fascinating backstory of the Darksaber and just how it ended up basically being the Mandalorian version of Camelot.   From there it’s decided that the blade and what it represents is just too darn important and the crew try to convince Sabine that she has to wield it in order to try and unite her people once again.  Hesitant at first, she eventually decides she will try to let Kanan and Ezra give her a crash course in lightsaber combat.


Now for the small but dedicated fans of the nuances of lightsaber fighting and all the different numbered forms of that, this episode is like the first day Doritos tacos came out at Taco Bell.  It’s what we’ve all for real been waiting our whole lives for.  The training scenes are so well done as they not only strengthen Sabine’s character but are magically able to revive storylines that had been last seen struggling on life support.  Thanks to the Magic of Filoni’s wizard writing skills we finally get some good business this season happening with the previously limp relationships between Ezra and Kanan and Hera and Kanan.


Watching this episode unfold while thinking about the growing mystery of just what will happen next when Sabine heads back to Mandalore, and confronts the Vizsla Clan. It all makes the wait for the next episode feel almost impossible.  At the episode’s end, as Sabine still full of doubt, stands with the Darksaber as Ezra, Kanan and Rau pledge that they will support and stay with her no matter what happens on Mandalore.  They make this cool promise as they remind her they are family.  I’d say that goes for all us watching the Ghost Crew every week as well.  We will stick with this family and thanks to episodes like this one, we are just as curious as they are for where it all go next.

Grade :  A

 

Rebels Review – Warhead

STAR WARS REBELS
“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”.

fill·er
ˈfilər/
noun
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 Starwars.com, 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.

Episode 55 – The Carrie Fisher Celebration

Jason and Gabe are back from two weeks off and are celebrating the one and only Carrie Fisher. They talk about and play audio from some of their favorite interview moments of hers and talk about the massive impact she had on them and Star Wars fans everywhere. Before that, they talk some of their discoveries in seeing Rogue One multiple times, the latest stuff on the Han Solo movie and that hot sauce that was the trailer for the second half of Rebels season 3!  So get on your gloves and your Joey Ramone wig & celebrate the love with Blast Points!!

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Rebels Review – Ghosts of Geonosis

STAR WARS REBELS
“Ghosts of Geonosis”
By Jason Gibner

Let me guess: you suddenly heard a Mardi Gras style marching band going down your street on Saturday night and you were confused why this outburst of joy was happening.  Let me help by letting you know that the unbridled happiness you heard was from Star Wars fans unable to contain their excitement that FINALLY, we’ve entered the age of the Rebels / Rogue One crossover.  No more are we twiddling our thumbs while the Rebels hang out with teenage space waffle eating pirates!  That’s right, happy days are here again and who can believe it but we’ve got Forest Whitaker back as a slighter younger Saw “Lies! Deceptions!” Gerrera!  Like a freaking magic trick, they somehow got an actor from everyone’s new favorite Star Wars movie (until next year when it’s out of nowhere cool to make up elitist nitpick reasons about how much you didn’t like it) on the show.  Like peanut butter and chocolate, pizza and beer or Captain and Tennille, this new friendship between Rebels and Rogue just feels so right.


The episode starts with our Ghost crew heroes sent to the beautiful planet of Geonosis to find out why Saw’s crew hadn’t been to the Alliance and what they found on their mission to the planet.  Once they get there it’s clear that Geonosis is a planet of spooky secrets and a sweet little Geonosian buddy named Klick Klack just adds to the fun.  It’s a dark and moody episode filled with references to awesome Clone Wars history and little nods to the slightly more off the rocker Saw we see in Rogue One.  Sadly, we do not see the handsome Bor Gullet in this episode.  There’s always next week, I guess to go insane with Bad Boy Bor.


The episode wraps up feeling like just maaaaaybe it could have been just an excuse to bring Saw and some Rogue One action.  Our heroes don’t really learn a lot about the mysteries of Geonosis, the secret Death Star project that was there or Saw or anything in general.  Saw gets a nice little arc as he’s reminded of his humanity and his late, great sister but that’s kinda it.  Maybe it was in this episode he remembered that he left that sixteen year old Erso girl in a cave with a loaded blaster and a box of pop tarts.   Maybe he started to feel bad about that and got the Bor Gullet for her for a present?  I’d like to think the did.

Final grade : B+
Tons of fun having Whitaker back as Saw so quickly after Rogue One but I just wish the episodes had just a little more to them.

Also:  Was that Imperial Rae Sloane?!? Probably not, but man, that would be cool bringing her in even for just one episode.