Rebels Review: Double Agent Droid

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: This episode had an interesting premise. The idea of the Empire hijacking one of the rebels’ droids in order to gather intel about them is pretty cool, and I like that they finally wised up to the rebels’ old trick of disguising Chopper as an Imperial droid. This allowed them to get closer to the rebels than ever before and almost resulted in them revealing the location of Chopper Base. Therefore, it is unfortunate that this plot was in one of the more comedy-focused episodes which usually don’t work very well. Luckily the comedy wasn’t as obnoxious as in episodes such as Warhead, but it still didn’t quite work for me and did drag the episode down. Then, towards the end, we get this weird scene of AP-5 blissfully singing while floating through space surrounded by little pink creatures. Was this supposed to be funny? It was so surreal, came out of nowhere, and was never addressed again. He acts as if he has found true happiness in the vacuum of space, but I thought he wanted to get recognition from the rebels, not get away from them? Does he not care about Chopper anymore at all? When did AP-5 become Squidward? It was tonally jarring and didn’t make any sense.
BEAVeR: This show has the tendency to do a comedic episode once in a while. Usually, it isn’t much of a success in my eyes, with simple plots and cheap gags, but this time around it was a fairly nice episode which did manage to get a chuckle out of me from time to time. That was because the episode did a good job in making the comedy come naturally from the characters instead of imposing the gags on the characters. On top of that you had some high stakes to keep the episode feeling meaningful and to give the comedy an extra contrasting edge which made it more fun. The high stakes part of the episode was intelligent to boot with both sides constantly struggling to outwit each other. Even better, this plot was nicely related to the rest of the season because it ties back to the attack on Lothal and makes clear that Thrawn keeps coming up with new tricks and is finally aware of Chopper being around. He was a menace in this episode without a second of screen time, as it felt that he was directly responsibly for “possessing” Chopper and so infiltrating in the very private circle of the Ghost crew. An episode that gives you laughs and chills at the same time. Despite its just a bit too improbable and convenient situations, that’s not too bad for a comedic episode!

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What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: As I’ve said in previous reviews, this show does not seem to handle the character of AP-5 very well. In the beginning, he seemed like a genuinely interesting character with a somewhat tragic backstory of a war veteran who got reduced to a clerk after the war and defected to the rebels in order to find meaning in his life again and protect his new friend Chopper. However, since then they have only been using him for comedy and doing a poor job at that. This episode seems like it was trying to make AP-5 an actual character again, but did it succeed? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. On one hand they once again make him overly arrogant and cynical in an attempt to make him funny, but the thing is, AP-5 is absolutely right about everything he says. He IS very competent and efficient when he’s working on his own and the rebels would indeed do well to listen to him more – he just happens to be very egotistical about it. This makes his struggle to get recognition from the rebels more frustrating than funny. He immediately noticed when there was something wrong with Chopper and did everything he could to ensure that the mission was a success. Then again, it wasn’t hard for him to shine in this episode since all the other rebels were acting like absolute morons, completely dismissing Chopper acting fully out of character, going to the cargo bay all together, etc. Although it was nice to see Hera get protective of her droid once she finally realized what was going on. Controller LT-319 and his staff were an odd bunch as they all spoke with that THX1138-style monotone voice, but he made for a formidable villain as he successfully identified Chopper, hacked him, and nearly managed to extract the location of the rebel base.
437?cb=20170311114331BEAVeR: Once again, what made this comedy episode better than the other ones, was that the comedy came from the characters we’ve got to know. The Chopper – AP-5 dynamic has been explored before, but here it became central to the story so that it really shines. AP-5 has been a bit annoying in previous episodes, but in this one it was just good. So much so that I began to recognize part of myself in him (probably no good news for me!). We got to see that his obsession over details, protocol and order is not just a quirk, but speaks of the care with which he wants to do things. And he might be (just a bit) bigheaded and theatrical (perfectly illustrated by his musical moment!), but when it really counts he’s sincere, like in the moment when he tries to warn Wedge. This makes him more than a mere caricature. Sadly, this characterization is broken a bit when he gives up his attentiveness just on a dare by Zeb. Another thing I disliked was his reaction to seeing the good ol’ Chopper again. Don’t forget that they’ve sacrificed themselves for each other, so it would have been great to have been reminded of their “can’t live without each other” dynamic, and to see a bit of character development as well because now it didn’t really go anywhere. This was present in Hera’s reaction to seeing her droid tampered with, which was interesting, but weird since she was hardly in the episode.

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: Killun Station was mostly just another Imperial station on yet another rocky planet. The atmosphere was green and the rocks were pointier than usual, but other than that nothing out of the ordinary. The IGV-55 surveillance vessel looked a bit silly with those giant dishes mounted to the top of it, but then again so do real-life AWACS planes which it was based on, so it makes sense. Still, I would have hoped for a more appealing and more creative design. And as strange as that scene was, the baby Neebrays were actually pretty cute.

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BEAVeR: I wasn’t expecting grand new locations, but Killun Station was nice to have in this episode. It reminded me a bit of the Citadel in Rogue One which was fitting for a location where once again data had to be stolen. The planet itself was fairly standard: some interestingly shaped rocks and nice colors, which seems to have become the recipe for new planets lately. I do hope we’ll be getting a bit more imaginative locations in the future, but of course that doesn’t have to be in every episode. The AWACS-like Gozanti is very similar: nice, but not very creative.

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Oky’s Rating: 3/5 – This episode had an interesting plot with fairly high stakes and it gave AP-5 a chance to shine, but like many episodes that feature the droids in the main roles, it is ultimately bogged down by poor attempts at humor and other strange moments like the singing in space scene which I would rather forget ever happened. While they did manage to make AP-5 look more competent, they only did so by dumbing everyone else down. I wish they would have found a better way to do this. The villain was decent, but strangely monotone. The new vehicles and locations were serviceable, but unimaginative. So overall, this episode was okay, but I think they can do better.

BEAVeR’s rating: 3.5/5 – It was a nice episode, but not much more than that. The plot was interesting but a bit flawed (everybody going to the airlock at the same time, the ship totally exploding when getting back too much power…), the humor was well woven into it all (such that AP-5 beginning to sing actually didn’t bother me that much, especially with the sequence ending with the dry shot of him vanishing into the Ghost) and there were some character bits in it, but not taken to the next level. I don’t know if we can expect more from this kind of episode: I was amused, so it did its job rather well!

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