Rebels Review: Empire Day

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: I have argued in the past that some of the Rebels episodes should take their time with telling a story by splitting it into two or more parts and it seems my prayers have been heard. In this episode, we got our first “to be continued”. So how does the first part in this story arc fare? Well, it was decent for the most part. The rebels sabotage an Empire Day parade and run into an old friend of Ezra’s parents who happens to have vital intel about the Empire which was an interesting development, but aside from that, not much happens as the rest of the episode is filled with chase scenes. I’m not really sure that this needed to be a multi-part story arc, but I guess we will find out in the next episode. At least it didn’t feel rushed like some of the other episodes, so I can’t complain. The cliffhanger at the end was very cliche and felt like it belonged more in a soap opera than a space opera, but I’d have to lie if I said that I wasn’t at least a little curious to see what happens next, so I’ll let it slide.
BEAVeR: The first episode of a two parter often has the problem of being just a weak setup for the conclusion. This wasn’t a clear exception, but Empire Day still does a better job than most of the other episodes. It was streamlined, with a clear main plot and an interesting subplot. I really like how the episode evolved, with the training session in the beginning, having some effect on Ezra, the mission apart from that, and then the sudden new mission that is so important. The episode did a good job mixing more emotional moments with action and surprise. All in all, I had a really good sense of purpose in this episode: while the main mission’s arrival was unexpected, it immediately felt important and worth Rebelling for. The episode did a good job rounding some stories of (the bombing being a success), still leaving a lot of loose ends for the next episode. This wasn’t a very original or spectacular episode, but it certainly had a lot of good moments… and what might be more: no really bad moments.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Posted ImageOky: We got some nice character development for Ezra as we find out more about his past. It’s interesting to know that his parents were rebels too, and you can really see that being born on the same day as the Empire is rough for him. It is implied that the Empire might have been responsible for his parents’ disappearance which makes it even sadder. Tseebo, the Rodian that Ezra knew and who has important information about the Empire, didn’t have much of a personality since he spent most of the episode just spewing out facts about the Empire, but it was interesting to see Lobot’s implant on another character. It was also nice to see Minister Tua again.
BEAVeR: I’m very happy to see how Ezra’s development is becoming more and more like Ashoka’s. The often annoying kid from the beginning starts to grow up. I loved the training session. There was some serious stuff going on there, and it was something new, not just a rehash of what Yoda said. And the thing with that Loth-cat was a good piece of comic relief: still with some meaning. I also loved how Ezra needed some time to think, as it shows how his training makes some deeper layers of his personality loose. It’s also great how that emotional development connects to the plot, with his abilities to sense Tseebo. His character wasn’t spectacular, but it was interesting to see how the Empire can totally depersonalize people. It is these kinds of depictions of what’s wrong with the Empire that I like to see! Finally, it was great to see the Empire not completely incompetent at last. While I didn’t like the lame way in which was dealt with agent Kallus, I did like how the Inquisitor showed some sense, remaining calm and efficient. It might be the first time we see that terrifying efficiency of the Empire again, known to us from the movies.

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Posted ImageOky: Since the entire episode took place on Lothal again, there wasn’t much new to see, except for Jhothal, a small outpost that was as uninspired as its name. Old Jho’s Pit Stop was basically just a poor man’s Mos Eisley Cantina. However, I really liked all the parallels to World War II propaganda. It really showed how the Empire is forcing its will upon the public. The mandatory biased HoloNet news, the parade with its festive Imperial March, and just the mere fact that there is an Empire Day were all great ideas. We also got our first look at the Inquisitor’s starfighter, the TIE Advanced v1 prototype, which looks a bit odd to me, but I didn’t really mind it.
BEAVeR: It seems that every episode with a good plot has a minimum on new vehicles… We got to see the TIE advanced prototype. Not my favorite in flying mode, but I find it very appealing in landing mode, compact, menacing, waiting for its prey… We got to see the ITT from some more angles, but nothing really new here. Old Jho’s pit stop wasn’t spectacular either. I don’t know what I need to think about all those remnants of the Clone Wars, but even with them, the place didn’t feel any different from any other location on Lothal. It’s quite a bland planet, so I think Rebel could make work of better locations. I did like how the Empire forces certain elements, like the holonews playing. The jokes coming resulting from it weren’t very interesting, but I loved the way in which the Empire is showing cracks, with the sabotaged prototype and that interrupted broadcast. When you compare it to the splendor of the parade, with the ravishing Imperial March, the picture of the Emperor in his younger days… you start to see how propaganda works. It’s very interesting that a show intended for kids can bring such topics forward on quite a good manner.

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Oky’s Rating: 4/5 – This episode seemed more like setup for the next one than a self-contained story, but as such, it was perfectly serviceable. There was some nice character development, decent action, good pacing, and nothing that really upset me. I know it’s the first part in a story arc, but I just wish the plot would have been more rounded out. I look forward to seeing the conclusion.
BEAVeR’s rating: 4/5 – I found myself talking about the plot a lot, and I still haven’t said everything. That really is a good sign. Especially when you consider this is just the first part of a two parter, it delivered really well storywise, while giving enough action and character development. While quite a lot happened, I never had the feeling the creators were trying too much. Now the only thing we need is some more originality, in story and locations. If the second part succeeds to deliver that, without slipping into a mere ‘spectacle’, we’re getting the best episode yet.

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