Rebels Review: Gathering Forces

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: Ever since this show started, we have been waiting for an episode that gets everything right, from the plot to the characters to the execution, but until now, none were quite there. At last, I think we have finally found that episode. This story just felt right from the beginning. There seemed to be actual stakes, both for our main characters as well as the overall fight against the Empire. I really liked how they brought back elements from past episodes, such as the asteroid clone base from “Out Of Darkness” and used it against the Inquisitor and his troops. It shows a great sense of continuity and that there was an actual point to that episode other than developing Sabine and Hera’s characters. It’s no surprise to me that Greg Weisman was the one who wrote this episode.
BEAVeR: I had great expectations for this episode, and one big fear: that they’d try to overdo it, with overly epic battles and sudden big emotions. But the episode surprised me. It went beyond my expectations: it wasn’t too rushed, but it left me like I’d been watching an hour worth of film in twenty minutes. Not only was there the strong character development, there was some actually meaningful story as well. The important plans really were a goal worth pursuing, and Kanan’s ‘sacrifice’ was interesting as well. And with the Empire for once pretty capable, the final battle had high stakes, making it more dramatic than in Rise of the Old Masters. Ezra’s involvement in it all made it even more intriguing. It was a well thought out, but still realistic and honest story, with just the right taste of emotions in it. And never did they try to loosen it up with some sloppy humor. Pretty strong for a kids show!

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: The character development is strong in this one! We see Ezra finally dealing with his feelings about his parents and unlock his true force powers as a result. It was a bit corny, but it worked for me. Not only that, but he briefly taps into the Dark Side as well. I have to admit, the way he controlled that giant mother fyrnock was pretty badass. Too bad they never answered the question of what really happened to his parents, but that’s a story for another episode I guess.
I liked how Tseebo actually used his knowledge to help the rebels escape instead of just spouting information the whole time. I also liked the Inquisitor in this episode as he showed some competence by shooting that tracker onto the Phantom, even though he failed in the end once again. I hope he will have an actual victory over the rebels soon.
BEAVeR: Ezra was the real star of the episode, and I’m kind of starting to like him. I love how he isn’t all good, but still is much more lifelike and likable than Anakin in the prequel trilogy. He’s not necessarily idealistic, but has a good hard and a lot going on. In this episode, I loved the way he reacted to Tseebo. Most of all, it showed his deep uncertainty, and that’s exactly what the show tapped into with the fyrnocks. This episode did a great job in really showing us Ezra’s feelings, both with those symbols as with his actions, saving Kanan (and how desperate he is not to loose anyone anymore). I loved it. A lot.
It was also great that Ezra didn’t stand awkwardly out with his character development. There was Tseebo as well, the unintentional but finally not unwanted hero. Very original concept there: I love how this show is introducing us to more and more grey characters, rather than the black/white ones often seen. Sabine also had some strong moments in these last two episodes, and I must say I adore the extremely subtle way in which they’re now treating Ezra’s and Sabine’s ‘relationship’. Kanan was excellent as well, although his knowledge about the Force seems to vary from episode to episode… It’s good to show us how he grows as well, but please let us keep a bit of continuity. Finally, the Imperials did a rather good job, with the Inquisitor attaching that beacon (again showing us the scheming empire, just like in the original trilogy) and the stormtroopers rather bravely dealing with the fyrnocks. In the end, I felt that they weren’t trying hard enough though… It seemed to me like the Inquisitor could have dealt with that giant monster much quicker, but I’m still okay with it. Everything else was just so good.

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Posted ImageOky: There weren’t any new locations in this episode, but as I said before, that’s actually a good thing in this case since it shows continuity. There weren’t any new vehicles either, although the Imperial Landing Craft made its first canon appearance since the dreaded special edition of A New Hope. Also, there was another Corellian corvette which was not the Tantive IV as I initially thought when I first saw it. Nevertheless, this strengthens my suspicion that the rebels’ mysterious informant may be working with Bail Organa, which would be another great bit of continuity.
BEAVeR: Nothing really new here. Once again, I had the impression the Ghost is just too formidable, withstanding countless shots. Revisiting the asteroid belt was very clever, as it gave us the opportunity to see how different characters react to the same environment. It was made very clear here what it means to be a Jedi there, and I loved the parallels with the Force cave on Dagobah, with the vial creatures and the Dark Side lurking. It was a great location, both for the story and the characters… but it still doesn’t justify the lame Out of Darkness to me. Finally, it was great to see our Fulcrum-riddle resolved, which was great as a reference to Droids in Distress as well. I’m really beginning to appreciate the references to things to come in this show (like the cyber crystals for some kind of laser superweapon…).

Oky’s Rating: 5/5 – This is the first episode of this series that I feel comfortable recommending to anyone. It had a good story, great character development, nice continuity, and was just all-around well written and executed. It also ended on a touching note, which is a perfect place to leave it off for the month-long break of the show. More episodes like this please!
BEAVeR’s rating: 5/5 – This was a superb episode. A meaningful story, believable and yet surprising development of characters, some symbolism and a lot of references without bragging about it. As I said, really strong for a kids show. So the first two parter played out great. I actually want to see them both in one piece now… that will keep me busy until the show resumes, because I’m really going to miss it after this incredible episode!

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