(Un)official Star Wars Rebels Thread

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My most recent rewatch of Star Wars Rebels made me remember much I absolutely adore the show. Here I’ll share my thoughts, interpretations, and favorite details about it. While there will obviously be spoilers for the episode I’m discussing at any particular moment, I will do my best to avoid spoiling episodes that have yet to fall under the microscope for this round.

Anyone else is welcome to comment as well.

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Starting with the prelude shorts:

The Machine In The Ghost

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This 4-minute short, released in 2014 during the lead-up to the TV movie premiere of the show, is just about the perfect introduction. We meet three of our principal cast members; Kanan, voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.; The Twi’lek pilot Hera, voiced by Vanessa Marshall; and the obstinate astromech dubbed “Chopper”, credited as himself in the main series.

We see the general look of the show, get a sense of the dynamic between these three characters, and get a tour of their ship, a combat-modified freighter called the Ghost. Much of the music and shot layout are derived from the scene in the original Star Wars movie where the Millennium Falcon is attacked by TIE fighters while escaping the Death Star, and the short has that same rapid pace overall.

For those of you without a Disney+ subscription, this short and the other three are available on one of the official Star Wars YouTube channels for free.
 
Art Attack

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This short introduces Sabine (voiced by Tiya Sircar), a young Mandalorian girl who serves as the the Ghost crew’s resident weapons expert and graffiti artist. We also see a little bit of Lothal, the planet where most of the action is centered for the first season, and learn the name of the crew: the Spectres.

The action is, admittedly, a little juvenile, relying heavily on the infamously poor combat training of the Imperial stormtrooper, but the short also shows off how the Imps bully the Lothal citizenry basically with impunity.

Sabine’s artistry may seem like a gimmick now, but it takes on critical importance in future seasons; giving the Spectres a tool to unlock ancient secrets but also making them more trackable for the Empire.
 
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Entanglement

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The third short introduces us to Zeb (voiced by Steve Blum), a powerfully built but surprisingly nimble Lasat who serves as the Spectres’ brawler.

The action is really well-planned out here; Zeb hands the space Nazis’ butts to them in a stunning demonstration of his speed and skill with his bo-rifle, which he uses here as a double-ended electrostaff. The stormtroopers and lone TIE pilot don’t stand a chance, and Zeb doesn’t even seem the least bit out of breath as he casually chats with Kanan and cracks one-liners on his comlink during the fight. The thing ends with a TIE fighter explosion and Zeb enthusiastically welcoming more challengers.
 
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Property of Ezra Bridger/Not What You Think

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If the show has a main character, it’s Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray). In this short, the Spectres shoot down a TIE fighter and Ezra takes it upon himself to bamboozle, rob, and incapacitate the pilot, the same one Zeb humiliated in “Entanglement.”

Ezra displays his uncanny survival instincts and his weapon, an electro-slingshot hidden in his wrist gauntlet.

This completes the character introductions. Next, they all cross paths in the full premiere.
 
Spark of Rebellion

Alright, the full premiere!

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Going forward I won’t post a full synopsis or analysis, just things that I appreciate, things that work well, or things that tie into previous episodes. I’ll also mark what I consider turning points in the show.

EDIT: Aw crap I lost a big extension of this post.

Tomorrow, I guess.
 
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It started out as a preteen show and over several seasons it ended up much more adult. Ten years ago now. How time flies.
Indeed Rebels is fantastic viewing, new and interesting characters that tell their own story with links to the bigger story arc that get introduced slowly. I've heard people describe Rebels recently as Andor but kid friendly.
 
Rebels is rated TV-Y7 in the US and it retains this rating for the duration of its run. I do feel that this is appropriate.

It would be foolish to mistake this kid-friendliness for weakness, however. It does not take long at all for the show to start playing a fun game that I like to call “Whose Trauma are we Dealing With This Week?”
 
Rebels is rated TV-Y7 in the US and it retains this rating for the duration of its run. I do feel that this is appropriate.

It would be foolish to mistake this kid-friendliness for weakness, however. It does not take long at all for the show to start playing a fun game that I like to call “Whose Trauma are we Dealing With This Week?”
Rebels is light years better than the Ewok Adventures written by George Lucas. I recently watched both Ewok movies for the first time. As a crusty and hardened Cold Warrior, after finishing the second movie I was dealing with a great amount of trauma. Absolute trash that is not suitable for younglings orJedi Masters. I would much rather watch the Holiday Special.

Rebels, like the Clone Wars, contains many story elements you will need to know for the upcoming Dave Filoni Ahsoka series. Hopefully Dave and John Favreau can keep Kathy and the story group at bay, unlike Mando season three.

I think Rebels was an old Lucasfilm project and mostly free from Disney interference.
 
You could brush up on your paper modeling skills and do a paper model rocket conversion of Chopper!

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From a few years ago in the Cardstock forum.
 
I'm a bit bitter about Rebels because it gave me hope that Disney Star Wars would be good. Unfortunately it was not to be, but I wouldn't mind keeping Star Wars Rebels along with Rogue One as part of the canon.
 
A Sabine Wren paint job on those fins would be cool.
Good idea! I just painted them white, I also use them for an R2-D2 rocket, they are friction fit removable after flight. They are the same planform as the Centuri Design Contest plan for the X-Wing!

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I'm a bit bitter about Rebels because it gave me hope that Disney Star Wars would be good. Unfortunately it was not to be, but I wouldn't mind keeping Star Wars Rebels along with Rogue One as part of the canon.
All roads lead to the Sequel Trilogy as Kathy and the story group rule. Filoni and Favreau are just their contracted help. No Rebels "World Between Worlds" will be used to retcon any Disney Star Wars! The new Rey movie is on the way. A sequel to the Sequel Trilogy will be the future, just as Kathy has foreseen. ;)
 
Good idea! I just painted them white, I also use them for an R2-D2 rocket, they are friction fit removable after flight. They are the same planform as the Centuri Design Contest plan for the X-Wing!
Given how R2D2 uses canted rocket motors to fly in the Prequels, maybe a canted set of flame fins could be used on all R2 units.

The Ghost would need canted motors coming out of the cargo bays if not using add on fins or long forward probes.
 
A few thoughts that survived deletion last night:

  • The use of the ringing/whistling sound to signify the light side of the Force is a unique tool to put us inside Ezra’s head and communicate when he’s using it, or when it’s speaking to him. It gives the audio track an ethereal, space quality, and lends weight to key dramatic moments
  • Rebels does not skimp out on action. This episode evolves into a 90-mile-an-hour speeder bike chase at 6 minutes, an air battle at 9, and a brief space battle at 12. It doesn’t overstay its welcome though, with everyone settling down a bit beginning around the 12:30 mark.
  • Kanan acts as the leader and chief intelligence negotiator, picking missions and briefing the team. It’s different from his role later in the series but it also works well here.
  • Hers displays a real knack for understanding people’s potential and vulnerabilities, first with Ezra and then with the Imperial freighter captain. Hera gets a win for insight.
  • James Earl Jones and Jason Isaacs are absolutely perfect in their roles. Jones sounds as authoritative as ever (despite his audible age) and Isaacs brings his Lucius Malfoy A-game. Combine that with the Pauan head, and The Grand Inquisitor is genuinely terrifying.
  • Zeb does a great Wookiee impression and the gag is perfectly timed.
 
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Alright, Part 2:

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  • When I watched this with Mindy, it didn’t take long for her to pick Chopper and his “rocket butt” as her favorite of the Spectres. It kind of took her by surprise the first couple times he used it.
  • A wonderful bit of facial animation as Ezra realizes with horror that he’s being left behind.
  • Hera using Zeb’s full name makes it official: Hera is the Space Mom on the show.
  • There are few great memes made out of the show, and Ezra impersonating Jabba the Hutt is the source of a number of them. And no wonder, Taylor Gray and the animation team deliver the joke perfectly.
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  • Obi-Wan’s message firmly connects the series to the prequel era without making it prerequisite viewing. Further, the series as a whole is a pretty good starting point in the franchise, all things considered.
  • Orphan protagonists are nothing new, but Ezra’s resignation in admitting it, and the continued pain it causes him throughout the series, make him feel very real to me. They did a great job in bringing him to life.
  • The Wookiees look…I’m not even going to try to say this politely, they look horrible. The visual style and budget at this point in the show don’t lend well themselves to the species’ shaggy hair. I will give the crew points, however, for making the Wookiees more facially emotive than previous iterations in live-action.
  • Kanan’s Jedi abilities should be obvious at this point, but him revealing them to the stormtroopers still gives me goosebumps. The music, the way he calmly dodges a blaster bolt, the fear in Kallus’s voice, and the way it’s all edited and framed make for one hell of a sequence.
  • Chopper manning the Ghost’s guns remotely is cool. I don’t know why, it just is.
  • Contrasting the hopeful tone of Obi-Wan’s message with the epilogue featuring The Grand Inquisitor is the perfect ending to the episode. It is these two contrasts, hope and despair, that set the tone for the next four seasons.
 
I really enjoyed the Rebels series a lot. I had never watched any of the animated series until the pandemic when we watched two seasons of the Mandalorian, and a friend told us we needed to watch The Clone Wars to understand it better. So we did that and then watched Rebels. Now we are watching The Bad Batch and waiting for the next season.

I enjoyed The Clone Wars, but you could tell the development of that series was a bit haphazard. In contrast, it’s obvious that Rebels had been planned from beginning to end, and each episode served to move the characters and the story along the arc. To me, that is so much more enjoyable. The Bad Batch is good in that regard as well.

I am really looking forward to Ahsoka. We will finally catch up to some of the old Rebels characters again.
 
There is a book about Ahsoka, with an audio book version read by the voice actress from the Clone Wars. It might be available in your local library. Kind of a fun story.
 
There is a book about Ahsoka, with an audio book version read by the voice actress from the Clone Wars. It might be available in your local library. Kind of a fun story.
I met Ashley Eckstein and E.K. Johnston at a book signing for that one in 2016. I’ll have to dig up a photo.
 
Droids in Distress

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Ha! You thought I had abandoned this thread, didn’t you? You were wrong!

In this episode, we play the first round of Whose Trauma are we Dealing With This Week? And the answer is Zeb.

When the Spectres intercept a shipment of banned T-7 ion disruptors intended to go into mass production on Lothal, we learn of the Imperial genocide of the Lasat people using T-7s. If you’ve seen The Mandalorian, you know what a disruptor does to an organic being; the target is vaporized instantly, with nothing left to bury. Understandably, Zeb recoils in horror upon laying eyes on the weapons for the first time. The mission and memories leave Zeb in a foul mood, and he locks Ezra out of their shared cabin on the Ghost.

The Spectres crossed paths with the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO while intercepting the shipment and take them “captive” aboard the Ghost. Kanan agrees to return the droids to their owner.

Later, Kallus catches up with the Spectres and wields the traditional Lasat Bo-rifle in combat with Zeb, in an apparent mockery of the Lasat tradition that only members of the Honor Guard of Lasan may carry one. He also taunts Zeb, revealing that he was the one that ordered the genocide, starting a character arc shared between him and Zeb that spans the remaining duration of the show. In a stunning display of dexterity, strength, and resourcefulness Kallus bests Zeb in their duel, but Ezra instinctively saves Zeb with the Force before Kallus can strike a killing blow. Although Zeb assumed that Kanan saved him, learning it was Ezra sparked a genuine gratitude. Kanan also agreed to expedite the start of Ezra’s Jedi training, which had been delayed by the Ghost’s missions.

To close the episode, Kanan returns the droids to their owner Senator Bail Organa, who reveals himself a friend of the Jedi and asks R2 to recount what he learned about the Spectres.

This is one of those episodes where it’s very clear they’re putting pieces on the board. Several developments in this episode become critically important later. We learn much about Zeb and Kallus specifically but we also get snippets about some of the rest of the cast. Hera is gentle and motherly in her explanation to Ezra about Zeb’s past, Sabine is skilled in at least three other languages, Chopper does not get along with other droids, Ezra had likely been instinctively using the Force to survive on Lothal’s streets.

The music in the battle with the walkers is basically ripped right out of The Empire Strikes Back, which is a nice touch. The duel feels legitimately dangerous, like either of them could be killed with a single blow at any time. You can feel Zeb’s righteous fury and Kallus’s bloodlust.
 
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Fighter Flight

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In this episode, Zeb and Ezra further work out their differences in a little adventure that begins with a shopping trip into town, swiftly followed by stealing an Imperial TIE fighter. Here’s what I love about it.
  • They don’t cheat with Chopper’s prank on Ezra; there is no Force sound effect when Chopper moves it.
  • Zeb and Ezra’s shared cabin is filthy, and it probably smells horrible too.
  • Zeb makes a motion to roll up his sleeves to punch Ezra, despite not having sleeves. Somehow the animation still works.
  • Ezra really is insufferable about Zeb’s debt, as you’d expect a 14-year-old to be.
  • Ezra’s conscious control of the Force improves continuously throughout the episode.
  • Zeb steals the fighter from the same pilot he and Ezra humiliated (separately) in the prelude shorts. He pops up a couple of times in the series.
  • In Zeb’s hands a TIE fighter feels genuinely dangerous, in the same way a steak knife feels dangerous in the hands of a two-year-old. Somehow they accomplish this with him also being a quick study at the controls, which is a neat feat of screenwriting.
  • They really nail the brotherly dynamic they develop. The bickering sounds very genuine and believable.
  • Lothal’s landscape is absolutely beautiful. Much of it, much of the show really, is derived from Ralph McQuarrie concept art for the original trilogy. Lothal specifically came from early ideas for Alderaan. The color palette and framing also contribute much, even in brief transitional shots like this one.

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  • Get yourself somebody who looks at you the way Ezra looks at his armful of meiloorun fruits.
  • Zeb is really expressive in his facial animation. Adults will likely catch that he and Ezra are lying about the TIE fighter, kiddos could be forgiven for buying it.
Overall this episode is typical for the first season. Intimate in scope, highly character driven, lighthearted. It also sets a few pieces on the board, some of which won’t pop again for a couple of seasons.
 
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Rebels season 5 err I mean Ashoka 2nd trailer dropped yesterday. Very excited for where it seems to be taking Hera, Sabine, and Ashoka in post RotJ. Great episode recaps!
 
Rise of the Old Masters

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In this episode, the Spectres infiltrate an Imperial prison and attempt to extract a Jedi Master rumored to have survived the Clone Wars. Here’s everything I love about it.
  • Kanan’s brief mention of Yoda is a neat callback (callforward?) to the original trilogy era. It also provides a bookend for this episode where Kanan and Ezra both learn what “there is no try” means to a Jedi.
  • The title card is exceptionally well-timed. It pops up when Ezra falls off the Ghost while it’s several thousand feet in the air.
  • Fans of The Clone Wars television series and sharp-eyed prequel viewers will recognize Luminara, but again, they do a great job of keeping Rebels reasonably self-contained. Her story is not important here.
  • The Base Delta Zero initiative mentioned in the Holonet feed was established in the old Expanded Universe as meaning that a planet’s crust would be glassed by Star Destroyers. Framing such an operation as a “liberation” is eerie knowing this.
  • I don’t know if I ever mentioned this or if it’s ever come up before, but the Ghosts’s rear turret is actually a separate ship, an auxiliary starfighter and shuttle called the Phantom. It’s well integrated into the ship’s design and it’s a handy plot device for splitting up the crew from time to time.
  • Kanan makes taking down stormtroopers not only easy but effortless. His fluid motion makes it look more like dancing than fighting.
  • Kanan: “Nice and quiet like.” Ezra: “aaaaAaAaAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ!!!!!” (crashes violently into a door) Kanan: -.-
  • The tone shifts rapidly here. The score cuts out for a minute here and is replaced by chilly winds, tense silence, and the rumbling of sterile climate control systems. The color palette shifts to cold, dark blues and bloody reds instead of the warm, pleasant yellows of Lothal’s grasslands. Pay attention, the show gets serious fast. Blink and you’ll miss it.
  • Show creator Dave Filoni voices several stormtroopers in the show. One of them is guarding Luminara’s cell.
  • The reveal of Luminara’s remains is suitably dark without being disturbing or gruesome. Tasteful.
  • The Grand Inquisitor is a perfect villain. He’s a genuine threat that forces setbacks upon the Spectres with the appropriate amount of menace. He engages Kanan in lightsaber combat effortlessly and uses the opportunity to learn more about him, find a weakness that will be crippling long-term.
  • The score that follows TGI everywhere is nothing short of awesome. The choral voices echo Duel of the Fates while also not being directly derivative of it.
  • Here’s something I don’t love: the spinning lightsabers. Their design is fine and I like the way they’re used, it’s just that the flashing images either slow down the frame rate or darken the image when watching via Disney+. I think they take up too much bandwidth.
  • The score borrows from the Death Star escape in the original film in a few appropriate spots.
  • The creatures attacking the stormtroopers continue the nature vs. abominable technology conflict of the originals.
This episode provides the first hints at how dark things will get in the series. Dangerous encounters with darksiders and high-ranking Imperials will become routine, missions will be risky or just plain crazy, and the Spectres will continue to have doubts about themselves and each other.
 
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Breaking Ranks

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In this episode, Ezra goes undercover at the Imperial Academy on Lothal and forges connections with new allies. Here are some things I love about it.
  • The stormtrooper training program walks a dark line: while many things we see in the program might not look out of place in a JROTC class, there is absolutely no question that the Empire is recruiting and employing child soldiers.
  • Jai Kell is voiced by Dante Basco, who is always great no matter what he’s in. I find this doubly impressive since he turned 39 years old in 2014 when the show aired. I can’t imagine how much contorting of his voice he has to do to sound like a 14-year-old.
  • The episode wastes no time in reminding us of Ezra’s growing power in the Force, and also none in establishing that the Empire is working to identify Force-sensitive kids.
  • Chopper looks like an Imperial droid, but some of his stock colors stick out underneath too, underscoring that the mission has been ongoing for some time now.
  • Kallus must be really distracted to not recognize Jabba’s Ezra’s voice when he handed off the datapad.
  • They do a great job of initially confusing us regarding Zare’s loyalties. That moment when he catches Ezra stealing the decoder is tense.
  • There is also a great deal of tension in the scene where Ezra uses the Force to steal the decoder. I always find myself hoping that Kallus takes one more second to become suspicious and turn around, despite knowing the outcome.
  • Ezra’s decision to extract Jai following Aresko’s chat with The Grand Inquisitor clearly illustrates his personal growth over just this portion of the first season, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for some growth on Kanan’s part.
  • The raid on the kyber shipment is the first moment of many where the secret construction of the Death Star looms like a dark shadow. The Spectres have absolutely no idea the terror and darkness they’re battling.
  • Juxtaposing the space raid with the hijacking of the walker is a classic Star Ware narrative technique to continually build suspense and excitement, and it works as well as ever here. It’s also so seamless you could almost forget the battles run concurrently.
  • Zare’s decision to stay behind and try to find his sister earns him a win for courage.
  • Ezra’s admission that he has bonded with the crew is perfectly timed. Instead of being a newcomer, he’s been entrusted to complete an extended solo mission and his performance on it was more than admirable. It’s a far cry from his stunts endangering the entire crew on Stygeon Prime.
 
Out of Darkness

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In this episode, a routine supply run goes awry, leaving Hera and Sabine stranded on a hostile asteroid. Here are some things I love about it.
  • The lighting crew knocks it out of the park in making Lothal look beautiful at all times of day, or night in this case. Here, the rock formations are illuminated only by the light of Lothal’s moons.
  • I love that the Phantom has its own defensive armament, so much in fact that I wish we saw it in use more often.
  • Sabine’s trust issues may seem a bit childish or unjustified at this point, but they actually are important foundations for other parts of her story that the show explores later. Win for narrative consistency.
  • I find it insanely impressive that the crew could do the particle effects of the leaking fuel on the small budget afforded to the show.
  • Again, the shot layouts are absolutely beautiful, even just for this brief moment where the Phantom pulls into the Ghost’s docking port. I want this as a poster.image.jpg
  • The intelligence agent, Fulcrum, is not our first clue as to the existence of a wider rebellion, but Fulcrum’s introduction ties the Spectres more closely to it without upstaging them.
  • The boys screwing around and bickering in the Phantom always makes me chuckle. They really nail the dynamic that three brothers would have.
  • So, regarding Fulcrum’s voice: If you don’t know Fulcrum’s identify, you will likely have absolutely no luck unscrambling the transmission. The episode credits do not mention Fulcrum either. But if you’re rewatching this episode later, with Fulcrum’s identity revealed, you’ll likely place distinctive elements of the voice and smack yourself for missing it.
  • Hera’s plea for Sabine to have a little faith in the Spectres’ long-term plans sounds like a self-insert for the writers begging the viewers to have faith in them and be patient with the progress of the show. It’s easy to miss as a first-time viewer, but harder once you’ve seen where the show goes and how beautiful, how impactful it ends up being.
  • The POV shots from inside the hangar and dissonant music let us know that Hera and Sabine are being watched. I love how they hold back on giving us a full look at the creatures, too, only showing a single big yellow eye to start with.
  • Kanan has the best one-liners.
  • Hera and Sabine take cover behind the rhydonium canisters despite the fact that their attackers don’t have ranged weapons. To me that signifies how ingrained their combat training is, as opposed to the stormtroopers that just stand around.
  • Ezra has picked up Zeb’s “karabast!” curse. Love it!
  • Zeb congratulating Ezra’s inept attempts to woo Sabine will never not get a genuine laugh from me.
  • Sabine’s trust issues are apparently resolved, neatly bookending the episode. It can be a difficult thing to resolve a conflict in 22 minutes without it feeling contrived, but to me it feels genuine.
 
Empire Day

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I feel that these next three episodes, “Empire Day”, “Gathering Forces”, and “Path of the Jedi”, work best viewed back-to-back-to-back. Set aside an hour and 15 minutes to watch them this way and you won’t regret it.

To start with, here are some things I love about “Empire Day”.
  • The episode begins with a lesson from Kanan to Ezra in forging connections with others, which becomes a recurring challenge over this episode and the next. This deep dive has made me more deeply appreciate how neatly bookended these episodes are.
  • Today, we play a fun game that I sometimes call “Who has PTSD this week?” This time it’s Ezra. The Loth-cat’s shock and anger at the mere mention of the titular Empire Day speaks volumes regarding the depth of Ezra’s pain.
  • The TIE pilots having to hold people at gunpoint to get them to raise their cups for the Emperor.
  • The wind going through Ezra’s hair as he stands at the balcony of the tower he’s turned into a hideout. It must have been a real pain to simulate and animate that.
  • Kevin Kiner turned the foreboding Imperial March theme into an actual joyous-sounding parade march.
  • The Imperial roundel on a red background making absolutely unambiguous the fascist nature of the Empire.
  • Kanan 1.). going full stoner and 2.). coolly moving to draw his blaster before Ezra takes point and intervenes
  • Ezra’s pained, longing expressions made me sympathetic to him before, but learning that his birthday coincides with Empire Day, and that his parents were probably arrested on this day too, feels like a gut punch.
  • The audio flashback makes it clear that the Bridgers were not reckless or uncaring. They genuinely loved Ezra and were willing to put themselves at risk to make the galaxy safe for him.
  • Throughout the episode, Ezra constantly rejects connection. He ran off to his tower hideout to he alone, he declined to open up to Kanan at every opportunity, and he lied to Sabine about the disk he found. Yet, his latent talent and longing for connection led him back to the Spectres, back home, and to Tseebo. He is learning to make connections, he just doesn’t know it yet.
  • The Empire managed to get upgraded disrupters into production. It’s a small detail but it illustrates that while the Spectres are certainly an irritation to the Empire, they don’t yet have any real hope of interfering with its operations.
  • The speeder transport chase is executed masterfully. It’s fast, exciting, dangerous, and lots of fun. There’s even a brief opportunity for Zeb and Kallus to revisit their rivalry.
  • The chase seamlessly evolving into a high-altitude air battle. The shot composition and sound in particular are off the charts. I wish I had some big subwoofers to pump it through.
  • Ending with the reveal that Tseebo knows what happened to the Bridgers and a big To Be Continued… card. Wow.
 
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Gathering Forces

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In this episode, the Spectres continue right where they left off in their attempts to evade the Empire’s clutches as they travel with Tseebo, a data worker who stole half the Empire’s secrets. Here are some things I love about it.
  • Ezra can summon quite a lot of venom in his voice and give the meanest looks imaginable. He’s genuinely scary sometimes. But that doesn’t stop him from being sympathetic, it’s clearly coming from a place of deep hurt.
  • It takes no more than 90 seconds to catch up any viewers who took a bit of a break. The Ghost is swarmed with TIEs, TGI is leading the attack, Chopper got damaged manning the Phantom’s guns, Tseebo not only knows what happened to Ezra’s parents but is also carrying an unimaginable amount of classified intel.
  • After learning that Tseebo likely volunteered to be implanted, then downloaded the data and ran, taking on the Empire without any support, I think it’s clear that he has earned himself a win for courage.
  • Chopper being startled and defensive when he’s powered on.
  • The whole sequence where the Phantom detached from the Ghost in hyperspace. The colors, blurring, and stretching really sell how crazy dangerous that maneuver is.
  • Occasionally Kanan will drop a nugget of wisdom that I find applicable to my own life. His explanation that everyone has fears, but that speaking about them is a mark of courage, is one of them.
  • Every scene on the asteroid base. Ezra’s forgiveness of Tseebo juxtaposed with him connecting to both Tseebo and the nasty creatures, a Top 10 scene in my opinion. The stormtroopers and The Grand Inquisitor advancing into the hangar to a men’s choir and a John Williams theme. Ezra tapping into the dark side (pictured) to summon a gigantic creature and defend Kanan.
  • Jason Isaacs again nailed his portrayal of The Grand Inquisitor. What I wouldn’t give to be in a recording booth with him working his magic.
  • The facial animation during the aftermath in the Phantom really makes it work as a sensitive moment between Space Dad and apprentice.
  • With so much darkness over the last 45 minutes or so, the warm light of Sabine’s hologram gift is exactly what the episode needs to end on a hopeful note.
 
Path of the Jedi

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In this episode, Ezra and Kanan confront their fears in a quest to determine whether they are each worthy of being master and apprentice. Here are some things I love about it.
  • The establishing shots firmly reset the tone from the emotional roller coaster of the previous two-parter, but it’s quickly established that the events of the episode directly relate to what happened on the asteroid base. Basically a two-parter plus a stand-alone epilogue. All that to say that I *really* like how this season is being structured.
  • I’ve commented on the music and shot composition several times already, but they’re truly off the charts in the arrival at and approach to the Jedi Temple.
  • It would have been easy to make Lothal all one biome with no distinguishing features, but the temple is clearly located somewhere in the polar regions. Snow covers the ground, Kanan and Ezra’s breath condenses into mist, and the sky is lit up with daytime aurorae. It’s shockingly beautiful.
  • Ezra is not above making quips and complaining in such a sacred place because of course he isn’t. He wouldn’t be, not at 15.
  • The use of the Force’s ringing/whistling sound effect when the illusion of Kanan walks through the door behind Ezra. If you’re new to the show it might pass you by, but once you start listening for the sound, it’s unmissable.
  • The artifacts introduced by the limited bandwidth actually work to the show’s advantage in this episode. When the apparition of TGI activates the spin function on his lightsaber, the resulting lower frame rate is reminiscent of Luke’s slow-motion encounter with the illusion of Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, with a surreal nightmarish quality.
  • Ooooo, animated dolly zoom around Ezra when TGI stabs Kanan.
  • The camera tilt, cold blue lighting, and claustrophobic framing in the vision of the rest of the Spectres roasting Ezra. It very clearly conveys what this would feel like for Ezra, like the Ghost is no longer a stable, comfortable, supportive home.
  • Ezra’s courage in allowing himself to be struck down.
  • Frank Oz’s return to voice Yoda. Also the decision to have Ezra speak to Yoda first. It relieves the first-time viewer of the expectation to already know who he is.
  • Ezra’s response that the Spectres’ assistance makes people feel “alive” may come off as corny, but Taylor Gray delivers it with such sincerity that it can’t help but ring true.
  • The whooshing sound that Ezra’s lightsaber makes as it ignites. I don’t believe we’ve ever heard a lightsaber make that noise before.
Path of the Jedi is one of my favorite episodes of this season and the show overall. We get deep dives into the fears and insecurities that Ezra and Kanan harbor, and their relationship as master and apprentice can be considered fully formed at this point. Ezra getting a more credible weapon is also a big step, one that will allow him to become a far more capable crew member.
 
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