What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: I think I know which call the title is referring to. Hey, Star Wars Rebels, the 90’s called. They want their Free Willy plot back. This was clearly a throwback to those kind of environmental movies where a rebellious kid creates a bond with an animal and saves it from being killed by some bad guys. There was also a plot about the crew trying to get some fuel, but much like in The Protectors of Concord Dawn, this part of the plot was pushed to the side pretty quickly and it became mostly about the space whales. There was nothing new about this plot other than that it took place on a gassy asteroid in space and I could predict everything that was going to happen from the first few minutes which is especially disappointing after how the last episode turned out to be such a pleasant surprise.
BEAVeR: I didn’t expect the episode succeeding Legends of the Lasat to go spiritual/Forcy again, but that was about the only element of surprise in this episode. I was hoping a similar stunt with the plot as in the last episode would be pulled off to twist things, but sadly I’m still waiting. The story was just the same as countless others, just peppered with some fancy setpieces here and there in an attempt to keep things refreshing, even though the setpieces themselves seemed to have run away from other movies. They also tried to keep it interesting by doing something with a connection through the Force with the animals, but in the end it didn’t really feel like a real connection, but more like Ezra had just learned a new language… Apart from a comparison to how Ezra could connect to animals in the past, this episode did nothing to even hint us at what such a connection really entails, which just confirms this episode had nothing new to offer.
What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: Despite of how cliche it was, the stuff with Ezra and the purrgil was handled fairly well. You could feel their connection and it further showed how strong Ezra’s connection to animals through the force is. The purrgil themselves were just what they were meant to be – space whales (with tentacles), which is a pretty ridiculous concept, even for Star Wars, but they made them likable enough that I didn’t mind. What I did mind, however, is that everyone else acted out of character as they completely dismissed Ezra’s feelings towards the purrgil and the messages he was getting from them even though they know that he can communicate with animals, especially Kanan who should have been supportive of his force abilities rather than be annoyed by them. At least Hera had a good reason to distrust the purrgil and she is the only one who had a bit of a character arc when she learned to get over her animosity towards them. And I’m beginning to wonder if Sabine’s tendency to paint things has become an obsession because painting Kanan’s helmet will make it kind of useless when he tries to blend in as a stormtrooper. The only new characters that were introduced were Yushyn and his Rodian workers. Yushyn was a pretty stock villain and I actually felt kind of bad for the Rodians who got killed even though they were just doing their job.
BEAVeR: Another element of surprise in this episode, was that some of the characters acted out of place. Especially Kanan bugged me. While it has just been established that he does anything he can not to kill people, he didn’t seem to have a problem blowing up people and a whole bunch of unique creatures now. It could have shined an interesting light on how his character is far from that of a perfect Jedi, but he didn’t even go into dialogue with Ezra once, so his opinion was just there for the plot’s sake apparently. And then I don’t even want to begin about how his reaction to the alleged death of his padawan differed slightly from that in Fire across the Galaxy…
The rest of the crew suffered from the same plot-induced apathy as Kanan, with Hera being the only one to stand out, but sadly we don’t really go through a catharsis with her. So we’re left with Ezra, who’s the only one to seem to be in character in this episode, good as he is in communicating with animals. I already mentioned how I don’t get how you can call what he achieved a connection, and above that comes the fact that in the end he doesn’t really understand the purgill, he just knows how they live (even though I have to admit I quite like the concept!), finally eliminating his character development as well.
What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: The Asteroid Belt Gas Refinery wasn’t all that interesting, although I do like how it resembled the mining facility on Mustafar a bit. The Mining Guild’s modified yellow TIE Fighters looked interesting with the front two triangles of their wings missing. However, while this may give the pilots more visibility, I do have to wonder if this is such an effective modification.
BEAVeR: The purgill were not much more than the result of the equation “whale + squid”, but they still really worked in the context of the Star Wars universe. It was fun to see that not all animals in deep space are that evil, and they succeeded in not looking creepy with their tentacles, but quite elegant on the contrary. The TIEs were a sober but fun variation on a theme, and made sense given that the facility worked closely together with the Empire, the cutout provides a wider view and the structural disadvantages don’t really matter because they’re intended only to face purgill from a distance. Visually, they also really popped against the blue background of the asteroid’s gas field, which captured the sense and mystique of the sea quite well.
Oky’s Rating: 2/5 – I was not a big fan of this one. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against environmental messages in children’s entertainment (I grew up in the 90’s after all), but if you’re going to do such a cliched story, you need to do something new with it other than set it in space. I did like Ezra’s interaction with the purrgil, but everyone else acted out of character and it was overall boring to watch. It was basically a Free Willy ripoff which doesn’t play much into the main plot and I’m not sure what the point of it was other than forcing an environmental message into the show.
BEAVeR’s rating: 2/5 – The straightforwardness, the predictability, the strange twists of characters and the hoist of missed chances in this episode make it a rather weak one. Admittedly, there weren’t any cringe moments and the action sequences were pretty sweet, but none of it really engaged me, especially after the rollercoaster of the previous episode. We’re really getting a season of highs and lows…