What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: This is the first episode that doesn’t pick up where the previous one left off as it begins with Ezra already having spent weeks at the Imperial Academy. The first half of the episode seemed unoriginal as it felt like a combination of the TCW episodes Clone Cadets and Death Trap, but the twist with the Inquisitor halfway through was unexpected and made the rest of the episode more interesting. However, it was never fully explained why Ezra joined the academy in the first place. They said something about a kyber crystal, but they never show it or explain why it is so important to destroy it, other than that the Empire is going to do bad things with it, making it nothing more than a McGuffin. I didn’t even know kyber crystals explode like that until I saw it happen, and Kanan and Hera’s mission to destroy it felt very rushed, so I really think they could have spent more time on this part of the plot.
BEAVeR: During the first few minutes of the episode, I got the impression this was just going to be a rehash of what we’ve already seen in the Clone Wars. There was the superficial bickering between the ‘contestants’, the challenges that just seem to be there for ‘being cool’… but as time went on, I began to appreciate this episode more and more. I really like how not all cadets are there “to fight for the Empire!” and to bully everyone, but turn out to have their own hidden objectives and can see past their differences to reach their goals. And those goals were quite interesting as well… The quest for a sister (which is already interesting when we’re talking Empire), and some sudden stuff about those kyber crystals. That made me quite excited, but somehow I wished the Empire got hold of those, as I’m curious to what they would do with them. That space battle didn’t quite fit into it all though… But I thought this episode followed quite a good plot (after the first couple of minutes), with some nice surprises, the Inquisitor showing up and more. My biggest remark would be that all of the Rebels’ missions seem to be the same: the Empire wants something for some reason, but they can’t let that happen. We’ve seen enough of that, so we need new objectives, or more depth on what they’re doing exactly.
What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: I liked the interaction between Ezra and the other cadets as it felt very natural. I especially liked Zare Leonis since he seemed like a good kid and his motivation was clear. I hope they will follow up on his search for his sister. Jai Kell was not as likeable since was a bit ignorant, but he came to his senses in the end, and any character voiced by Dante Basco is awesome in my book. The Imperials were dimwitted as usual, except for the Inquisitor, who continues to be menacing.
BEAVeR: There weren’t really any major developments of the main cast in this episode. The way Ezra uses the Force keeps bugging me however, as that really takes the gravity of such a mysterious power away. The Force really seems like a handy dandy toy now… But I liked how this episode illustrated how the crew is getting confident in Ezra’s capabilities, and that he is really finding a family in them. The cadets were all quite nice, as there weren’t too much stereotypes. The writers did a good job not to introduce too many cadets, giving them the opportunity to flesh out the ones we did get to see, and gave them an interesting story. As for the Imperials, their training was ‘softer’ than I would have imagined, giving them almost a friendly look, only to be contradicted by agent Kallus and the Inquisitor. After all that happened on Lothal, it surprised me they aren’t permanently looking for our crew though. I mean, how much Jedi can the Inquisitor be tracking? It was also great to see some characters return like the ambassador. I keep hoping they can portray the Empire in its ambiguity of oppression and stability though.
What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: The Imperial Academy is set on Lothal and its interior looks the same as that of the Death Star, so it didn’t seem like anything new. “The Well” was very reminiscent of the training arena on Kamino, which makes sense, and I liked that the blasters the cadets were using had the same yellow bolts as the training remotes the Jedi used. We also got a closer look at the AT-DP’s, but other than that, there wasn’t anything new.
BEAVeR: No new vehicles featured in this episode, but it was nice to get a closer look at the AT-DP and the TIE carriers. Those vehicles came over as quite weak though. Especially the carriers. I didn’t like how just the Ghost could destroy a group of three so easily. They kind of created an almighty ship with that, and that’s not what I want to see. Part of what made the Falcon so amazing, was the fact that she had her weaknesses. The training facility on Lothal wasn’t anything special, and just seemed like a generic Imperial building. It would be nice if they would get some more variety in those, but it would be hard to keep everything homogeneous then, so I’ll give them some credit.
Oky’s Rating: 3.5/5 – I enjoyed this episode more than I thought I would, but it still felt very rushed. Once again, it seemed like they were trying to do too much in one episode. Even though I was getting tired of the multi-part arcs in The Clone Wars towards the end of that show’s run, I think this story would have worked better as a two-parter. It would have allowed them to set up the kyber crystal plot and show Ezra enrolling in the academy and befriending the other cadets instead of dropping the viewer into the middle of the story and wrapping it up far too quickly. That way we could have actually cared about the plot and gotten the new characters to know better. As it stands, it’s just an okay episode.
BEAVeR’s rating: 3.5/5 – While I enjoyed the second part of the plot, I think the episode should be interesting from the very first frame. Also the lack of serious character development and the quite lame space battle take the score down a notch. Still, it was a good episode, and I hope to see more of these stories with non-stereotypical characters and interesting twists. We’re slowly getting ready to go to the more serious stories, and I’m excited for that!