Rebels Review: Droids in Distress

What did you think of the Plot?
BEAVeR: I thought this episode, just like the previous one, lacked direction. There is a lot going on, with the mission, the Empire, the droids, Ezra’s Force capabilities… I like when a show has a lot of content, but then it has to be aligned to make for one big and deep story. That was not the case here: everything seemed to happen next to each other, so it’s very hard to pay attention to everything: it feels cluttered. Yes, each sub plot has some strong moments, with Zeb’s backstory or the secret mission of the droids or even the new interesting side that we get to see of the Empire, but they drown in the badly organized story. So indeed, there were things I really liked, , but they could have been so much more. I mentioned the backstory and motivation of Zeb that seems quite interesting, but the episode didn’t elaborate on it, with agent Kallus suddenly revealing he was behind it… for absolutely no reason. So it just feels like an excuse for a heavy fight, while there could have been so much more emotional involvement. If only they hadn’t tried to fit so much in the episode at once…
Oky: I think the plot was alright in this episode. It had quite a few things going on and it wasn’t as generic as that of the pilot, but it did feel a bit like filler as the rebels were basically just trying to make some money for food and fuel. To me it felt more like something you would see in the middle of a season, not in the first episode. Also, the fact that the ion disruptors were banned didn’t make sense to me. Yes, genocide is a good reason to ban them, but doesn’t Palpatine pretty much control the senate? I think if the Empire really wanted ion disruptors, they could easily legalize them instead of going through the trouble of secretly acquiring them. And the rebels got away far too easily at the end. Shouldn’t the Star Destroyer have stopped them? You’d think they’d at least run into some TIE Fighters on their way off the planet. However, I did like how all this put the rebels on the map for Bail Organa, who I’m glad they seem to be keeping as one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance. This and the reveal that Artoo had a secret mission made the episode feel a bit less like a filler.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
BEAVeR: The Ghost’s crew didn’t get a lot of development in this episode, but we learnt more about most of them. While Hera still just seems to be a narrator, Sabine become more than ‘the explosion girl’ with her knowledge of languages, although that seemed a bit forced. The way Kanan dealt with what to do with the weapons was quite surprising to me. Zeb became quite vulnerable. Ezra came over as nagging, and while his Force abilities where nothing new, the way he used them gives some nice opportunities for his relation to Zeb. Finally, Chopper: my fear came true. He went from the rather subtle character to just some grumpy comedy character in this episode. I hope they can still fix it…The same goes for R2 and 3PO: just there for the comedy, and with no new angles whatsoever. Only Artoo’s secret mission was quite nice.
I actually liked how the Empire turned out. We saw some characters of competence that make the Empire more believable: I hope we see more of Minister Maketh Tua, as we see more of the Tarkin-like persons in the Empire as well. Also, the stormtroopers didn’t look like total losers next to Zeb, and agent Kallus was very threatening. Although he doesn’t make much sense to me yet with his moodswings…
Oky: There was some nice character development here for Zeb and Agent Kallus. The fact that Kallus was the one responsible for the extinction of Zeb’s species gave them some depth and made their fight a lot more personal. It also explains why we haven’t seen any Lasats before, at least in the OT. Ezra also had some development as he continues to discover his Jedi abilities, although he keeps reminding me of Luke from A New Hope with all his whining. The titular droids, R2 and 3PO, were pretty much the same as they always are, although 3PO wasn’t quite as likeable than usual since he was working against the heroes rather than with them. Another thing I have to point out: the droids were actually shiny!! One of the things that dragged TCW down for me was how wooden everything looked, even C-3PO, but this is not the case here as even R2 had a bit of shine on his dome. I’m liking the look of this show more and more! I wouldn’t mind seeing the droid duo again some time, although I doubt they will show up very often.

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
BEAVeR: Again, the design team did an excellent job combining the old and the new. The new vehicles are all new but familiar, and that is the best thing that could possibly have happened. The Star Tours inspired shuttle, for instance, is both a nice nudge to the fans as the perfect representation of what a Star Wars bus might look like. The pilot droid seemed less in-universe to me, but his character was very nice, both funny and rather intelligent. The fact that they used the original voice is a nice easter egg as well. Some vehicles that got little attention, but where beautiful nonetheless, were landspeeders at Vizago’s place. The one was a nice version of Luke’s one, possibly even better, and the other one was a beautiful representation of the speeder that sits in the back of Luke’s workshop in A New Hope. It’s great to see that even the minor vehicles get so much love.
We didn’t see a lot of the planet Garel, but I loved it. It’s very different from anything that we’ve seen, with that Monument Valley-like vibe to it and the nice color palette. I hope we see more than just the hangars of it!
Oky: Well, looks like Star Tours is officially canon now, or at least the original pilot droid is. I guess with Disney acquiring the franchise, it was only a matter of time. That was a neat little cameo and the star commuter shuttle (which looked very similar to the Starspeeder) looked pretty good too. This would make a nice set, even if just for the sake of getting a Rex minifig. We also got to see a new planet, Garel, which looked… nice and purple. Not much else to say about it, really. It was a bit disappointing to return to Lothal again so soon, but at least we got one new location.

BEAVeR’s rating: 2/5 They really tried to do too much in one episode this time, so we couldn’t get any really good stories but only a sequence of action scenes and reveals without context. I hope the storytelling gets more mature, willing to explore a single story in some more depth. We could have learned so much more about Zeb for instance, but instead they choose to transform Chopper into a stereotype and give us some action scenes that could have been way better if we had an emotional story to cling to. I hope that they’re taking the slow route from now. Some more multi-episode stories certainly would do the show good, especially combined with the very strong visual aspect of it.
Oky’s Rating: 3.5/5 – This episode was not bad, but not great either. The story was just okay, but the visuals were great and the animation in the fight sequence between Zeb and Kallus was very fluid and high-energy, unlike the choppy lightsaber fights in The Clone Wars, and was a pleasure to watch. The character development is what puts this slightly above average for me. Overall, it was enjoyable enough and I am curious to see the next episode.

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