Star Wars Rebels 1.03: “Droids in Distress” Review

The Return of Old Friends

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

Star Wars: Rebels returns for its first regular episode of the week and it’s a solid outing, if staying short of greatness. The animation at the beginning of the episode is phenomenally stunning and the shots of Garel’s landscapes (with that Cloud City vibe) are incredible. There’s a subtle quality of the visual palette that allows the colors to vibrantly contrast. That animation smoothness still does not translate down as effectively to the characters and their moments, however. But I won’t chase after the show on that front unless there’s something absolutely glaring like the Wookies last week. Just a slight nitpick, but they really need to figure out the logo thing. Just have it pop up at the beginning instead of having it cut through a random shot. It’s annoying.

Anyhow, the episode. The crew is short on money and they cut to an Imperial arms deal on Lothal that they could smuggle out for their own sake. They get on a train that leads them to the hangars, where they run into a female Imperial Minister whose involvement in the illegal arms sale is clearly telegraphed from the beginning. On the train (driven by Star Tours’ Rex!), they run into our favorite droids C-3P0 and R2-D2, who in a nice twist are presented as Imperials. In all fairness, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that our beloved droids work for the Imperials considering where they are in A New Hope. The banter between them and the crew of the Ghost is well done, especially the antagonism between the two astromechs.

Sabine as a linguist was an interesting touch and it certainly adds more personality to her besides “I’m the cool Mandalorian girl with explosive paint.” Her treachery with the Imperial Minister was clever in its sheer simplicity. This is why language skills are important, children. The heist itself is interrupted, which makes sense although the lax guarding of the hangar itself is irritating. Last week they got to the Star Destroyer with ease but that could be explained by it being a trap. If the hangar was going to be the site of an Imperial arms exchange, how could a ragtag group get so close to it so easily?

Zeb benefits a lot this week, as we learn that the weapons in the hangar were used as a genocide tool against his people by Agent Kallus. It’s a horrifying revelation that immediately makes Agent Kallus (still hate the name) a much more terrifying villain while adding in layers to Zeb’s characterization. Their fight is thrillingly choreographed, balancing action and dialogue incredibly well. I love that Zeb lost the fight and was just about to die before Ezra’s sudden burst of Force power sent Kallus flying through the air. They escape yet again, but barely so in a tradition that is hopefully truncated soon. The episode comes to a wonderful close with Kanan delivering C-3PO and R2-D2 to Senator Bail Organa. “A simple gesutre of kindness can fill a galaxy with hope,” Bail says as a thank you. Kanan departs, with Bail quietly getting information from R2 on the rebel group he just encountered. I’m intrigued to see where this goes.

Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:

+Ezra: “Was there ever any doubt?”; Everyone else: “Yes.”

+Missing the shot joke

+“I didn’t know there were any Lasats left.”

+The opening shot of the Imperial Star Destroyer was nicely juxtaposed with the final shot of the Tantive IV

+The music was an improvement over last week

-Yet the music at some points was overbearing in references

Great

8.5/10

Episode Title: Droids in Distress

Writer: Greg Weisman

Director: Steward Lee

Image Courtesy: Emertainment Monthly

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