Rebels Reviews: Call to Action

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: This episode opens with a scene ripped straight out of RotJ with an Imperial Shuttle arriving at the Lothal base with the Imperial March on full blast. However, it is not the Emperor that comes out of it, but Grand Moff Tarkin, the Empire’s toughest enforcer, who tells the Inquisitor and Agent Kallus how displeased he is with the piss-poor job they have been doing at apprehending the insurgents and that things were going to be different now. From this moment on, I had a good feeling about this episode! It felt so good watching Tarkin take matters into his own hands and show those idiots on Lothal how it’s done. He actually manages to successfully setup a trap for the rebels, and even though he only captures one of the rebels in the end, it’s a whole lot more than the Inquisitor or Kallus ever managed to do and finally scores a small victory for the Empire!
I also liked how this plot continued the story from the previous episode by having the rebels try to transmit a new message of hope after they exposed Senator Trayvis as an Imperial traitor. This is also the first time where what the rebels are doing actually seems to make a difference on a galactic scale by inspiring many people on the nearby planets to join the rebellion.
BEAVeR: The Empire, weak? How could I have said that about the previous episode, when we see how the Empire really is in this wonderful Call to Action. This episode didn’t rely on plot twists. It was clear from the beginning what was going to happen. Tarkin’s plan was simple and effective. But still it looked like a plan not just anyone could execute. I loved the way how this episode suddenly confronts the Rebels with a serious threat. Tarkin’s arrival immediately sets the tone, and his brutal way of getting rid of those two officers is no less scary than Vader chocking his generals. But at the same time, the Rebels can’t go into hiding, with a really important mission this time. This was one of the few episodes that had actual high stakes, giving this episode a lot of suspense and direction. And not a single bad joke ruins the dark atmosphere. I’m a little bit unhappy about how easily the rest of the crew got away once Kanan was captured, as it pulls the dedication of the Empire down a bit. On the other hand, it showed how Tarkin doesn’t get caught up in the moment and keeps his eyes on the prize.This was a great episode, taking us back to the darkness of the Empire. This really was an episode adults can enjoy as well.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: Tarkin was absolutely fantastic in this episode. He displayed the ruthlessness, discipline and competence that we know and love from him. I was actually rooting for him throughout most of the episode, especially when he executed two of the most incompetent officers on Lothal. He really put the other Imperials in this show into perspective. In the beginning, it seemed like the Inquisitor would fill the role of the competent leader, but next to Tarkin he is just another scary dude with a lightsaber. Which is kind of a shame since I had high hopes for the Inquisitor and seeing him follow somebody who is not even force-sensitive makes him somewhat pathetic.
Ezra and Kanan had some nice moments again too. It was touching to see how Kanan sacrificed himself to allow the others to escape and how Ezra had to deal with loosing his mentor and surrogate father the same way he lost his parents. Therefore, it was only fitting that it was him who spoke the message of hope in the end, carrying on the legacy of his parents. I also liked how he used his ability to control animals from previous episodes to get them past the probe droid.
BEAVeR: When Tarkin enters, everything changes. He really is the cool, calculating, business-like leader we know from A New Hope. On one hand, I really liked how he confronted the bad guys we had to date with their failure. But on the other hand, that makes it difficult for them to be taken seriously in coming episodes. So I hope they will change after this episode, fighting and scheming like they have something to loose, making them in more dynamic characters. So I hope Tarkin’s presence will be felt in coming episodes, even without him featuring in it. He really represented the spirit of the Empire, getting quickly to the bottom of the case and setting an adequate trap. When the tower gets blown up, his body language says so much: he keeps his eyes on Kanan and doesn’t even blink. He clearly knows what he’s doing. Yes, this is a known character the show dealt with impressively. Bringing him in the show was a great decision. It would have been nice to have him reacting with Zare Leonis as well… the possibilities!
This episode was more about the Empire than the Rebels, but they had some great scenes as well. The scene on the highway was slightly comical, but also had a threatening undertone, and Ezra’s dealing with the situation was quite ingenious, but not perfect: a lovely combination. And his broadcast in the end was impressive as well. It showed how with his parents and his teacher missing, he realizes how much he got from them. These kinds of episodes really make him grow up fast. Kanan finally, finally had a moment of him becoming a real Jedi. In his past, he has lead a hidden life, but now he is finally ready to sacrifice himself. Isn’t it interesting to see how his emotions actually help him to be a better Jedi?

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: There weren’t any noteworthy new locations in this episode. The communications tower was the same kind of tower that Ezra used to live in, which is kind of ironic now that I think about it. I did like how the Imperial hangar at the beginning resembled the Death Star hangar though. Also, we got another Clone Wars reference with the return of the Republic Police helicopter/gunship. I’m still not a huge fan of this vehicle, but it’s another one of those things that makes Lothal’s Capital City feel more consistent with Coruscant.
BEAVeR: I really liked the opening shot, with the Star Destroyer casting it’s shadow over the city and the shuttle departing for the bay. The blue light made for a very eerie atmosphere. An amazing shot for an amazing episode. The communications tower was nothing really new, but I liked the inclusion of some very familiar turrets. I never quite liked the Coruscant Police Gunship, and found it’s unaltered inclusion pretty lame. It’s nice how it echoed how Tarkin was already like this in the times of the Republic, but I still would much rather have seen a new ship there.

Oky’s Rating: 5/5 – This is easily the best episode yet since the Empire finally poses a viable threat to our heroes! And it’s no surprise that Greg Weisman was one of the two writers on this episode. I so wish they would just let him write all the episodes. Anyway, I hope Tarkin was right when he said that things are going to be different from now on and I look forward to the last two episodes of this (rather short) season!
BEAVeR’s Rating: 5/5 – The Empire finally got to show its teeth, immediately plunging the show in a much darker atmosphere. Play time is over, it’s about to get serious. I hope this marks a turning point in the series. It’s interesting that in the first season alone, a lot has changed already. One thing that’s starting to bother me though, is that this show has featured quite a few traps already. Rise of the Old Masters and Vision of Hope both featured a trap already, and it’s starting to wear off a bit. I’m still waiting for some real creativity in the series. Right now, the show has succeeded in getting the Star Wars atmosphere right. Now it’s time to add something fitting and new to it. I can’t wait to see what the next episode brings!

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