What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: After the quality of the episodes has been getting lower and lower, we are finally back on track! This episode was full of plot twists, action, and suspense! It was nice to return to Lothal and see that the rebels have inspired the locals so much that they are sabotaging the Imperial factory. The way Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper infiltrated the facility was clever, although it was a bit too convenient how two guards and an Imperial droid just happened to show up exactly when they needed them. However, this nitpick is soon forgotten when we find out that Agent Kallus has been the new Fulcrum the whole time! This was not that surprising considering how his character has been developing, but it was still cool to see it revealed. The action sequence in the climax was also very creative with our heroes using an AT-AT as cover from another AT-AT and the AT-AT trying to crush them by using the weight of the walker. The episode ends on a nice cliffhanger as we find out that Thrawn is planning to use TIE Defenders against the rebels and that he is aware that there is a spy among the Imperials.
BEAVeR: So we’re back on Lothal, but this time it’s for an exhilarating episode! An episode with a basic premise that is reminiscent of a movie coming out in the very foreseeable future but one that is perfectly executed. An episode with lovely creative, far from over the top, intelligent and very Star Warsy action sequences. An episode with a formidable villain, in that one scene especially. An episode with a nice reveal that wasn’t very surprising but wasn’t over dramatized as well. An episode that leaves you thinking over all of the consequences and leaves you with an uneasy feeling. This episode combined a compelling, fast-paced story with a lovely bit of atmosphere creation, with moments of hurry and moments of rest perfectly balanced to be a fun but definitely tense ride. An episode that is fun to watch and that makes you think. And all of that while giving some interesting insights into the logistics of the Empire. I never thought I’d say it, but hurray for Lothal!
What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: It was nice seeing Morad Sumar again. He was the only good part of Fighter Flight (which is still the show’s worst episode to date in my opinion) and the fact that he would side with the rebels after the Empire took his farm away from him only made sense. It was a shame to see him die, but I like how Thrawn made an example of Sumar as it really shows how ruthless he is. I especially liked the double meaning behind his words: “The demonstration is not yet over,” indicating that not only had the speederbike not reached full speed yet, but Thrawn had not yet made the point he wanted to make. He made for a great villain as he once again demonstrated his skill of deduction to anticipate the rebels’ moves and actually made an effort to try and stop them this time, even though they still got away. At the end, it sounded like he is already suspecting Kallus to be the spy, which does not bode well for Kallus. Oh, and more Clancy Brown is always a good thing, so I’m glad Ryder Azadi was in this as well, even though he was just the getaway driver. He seems to be the leader of the Lothal resistance which suits his character. Ezra, Kanan, and the other rebels don’t change throughout the episode though.
BEAVeR: I loved how one scene very effectively reminded us of Thrawn’s cruelness and especially intelligence. It was the perfect scene to remind us that he has a good idea of what’s going on and knows how to exploit it, to make him more than believable once again. This single scene really elevated the episode and gave a particularly tense and foreboding atmosphere to the last scene. We know he knows what’s going on, and we’ve already seen how he can turn a situation from an unfavorable one into a favorable one. I especially love how it will affect Kallus and I enjoy how it affects me. I love how the show has made me love agent Kallus and has given me reason to be scared for and with him. That fact that the reveal of him being Fulcrum wasn’t surprising reminds you of that fact he’s not really a subtle guy even though he tries his best… Yes, he’s going to have a real hard time. Especially since the Rebels don’t really trust him, an unforeseen, logical and extremely exciting consequence of his character’s history. Speaking of the Rebels, I liked Ezra and Kanan in this episode as they were being competent and really eager to help. I just find their characters were a bit underused. I would have liked to see the change of Lothal or the death of Sumar do something more to them.
What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: There wasn’t much new in this episode. It’s nice to know that they are bringing the TIE Defender back into canon, but we only saw the schematics of it. Azadi’s Landspeeder looked a bit more like Luke’s, but it was basically the same kind of speeder we’ve seen before. The only truly new thing was the Imperial Armory Complex. At first glance, it looks just like any other Imperial facility on Lothal, but it was interesting to see the factory floor and get a glimpse of how the speederbikes, TIEs, and walkers that we all love actually get produced.
BEAVeR: Usually we get excited in this section every time there’s a beautiful new planet, so you wouldn’t expect much for this episode with good old Lothal. But on the contrary, I loved the fact that this episode took place on Lothal. We’ve seen it so many times that it has become our home a bit too. So seeing it so affected by the Empire has an emotional aspect. Especially with all of the allusions to fascism floating around, some more obvious than others. All of the red banners with the white and black Imperial logos definitely set off a lot of alarm bells. And then there’s Thrawn’s office with all kinds of stolen treasures and relics, showing a nice consequence of Shroud of Darkness and once again reminding you of what happened in World War II. But the detail I loved most was one of holograms in Thrawn’s office showing a picture that’s a one-to-one translation of Picasso’s Guernica, that visceral painting showing the horrors of mass destruction… Nothing you’d expect in an animated cartoon, but it is very successful at letting you feel how much of a trap it sometimes is to think “the Empire isn’t so bad after all…”. The mere setting of this episode let me feel why the fight the Rebels are fighting is so important. It made me see the factory not with enjoyment because of all of the fancy machinery, but with horror because of the function of every single piece that is made there. It turns your excitement of seeing the TIE Defender revealed into cold shivers. The unsung stars of this season definitely are the excellent settings that add extra nuance to the story. You’ll not easily find a second show like this.
Oky’s Rating: 4.5/5 – This episode had a good story (even though some events were too convenient), unique action, and even some good jokes from Kanan and Ezra. Fulcrum’s identity is revealed and Thrawn is being menacing as always. It was interesting to see how much life has changed on Lothal since the rebels left. The music was great too as it matched Thrawn’s brooding personality and foreshadowed brewing trouble for Agent Kallus and the rebels. The only thing that could have made this episode better is perhaps some character development on the rebels’ side. I enjoyed this one very much and hope that they will keep this kind of quality up in the next episode.
BEAVeR’s rating: 4.5/5 – This episode was nearly perfect in how it contained both action and extremely exciting quiet moments. There wasn’t much character development as I would have liked, but we got something interesting instead: development of the character of the story… This episode did a good job in changing the way you view the show or maybe even the Star Wars saga even though nothing major happened. It’s all so subtle, subconscious almost, and makes you really feel what it is all about. I can’t wait to feel more of this!