Stealing a TIE
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Star Wars: Rebels is still taking a while to finds its voice and that’s certainly fine. It really wasn’t until the fifth episode Rookies where people had enough confidence in The Clone Wars series. Fighter Flight is certainly the lightest episode yet, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does remove some of the tension that had just began to seep in. By all accounts, next week is supposed to be terrifying, so there’s that. The episode largely revolves around Zeb and Ezra who steal a TIE fighter and are later able to use it to free a farmer and his wife from Imperial forces. Theoretically, that’s not a terrible idea. But in terms of execution, it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. But the ultimate ace this show has that it can use effectively is the dynamic between the Ghost crew, with Hera and Kanan essentially having to be the parents. The rapport between these characters feels natural, even if their circumstances don’t.
Until the duo arrive at the farm, the plot doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere but that isn’t necessarily an issue. As with the greatest episodes of some more adult dramas (like Fight in Masters of Sex and Q & A in Homeland), there’s a lot of character interaction that’s largely between two people and for the most part it works here. Zeb and Ezra are almost polar opposites and their combined “Do we have to?” was quite sweet. I’m slowly growing on Ezra as a character (key word is “slowly” here) and it was a smart pairing between the two of them. It’s as if being with Ezra allows the hidden inner child in Zeb to escape and it’s a wonderful character note.
Ezra is struggling with his Force powers and I like the concept that his sudden burst of power last week was truly an anomaly. He can’t even remove the lid from the crate of fruit and that makes sense considering that his training with Kanan hasn’t even begun yet. His slingshot device, which was rightfully annoying to so many, including myself, is thankfully largely ineffective, which helps to sell his entire character to me. His hair color is still a little irritating and his resemblance to Aladdin isn’t helpful considering his character, but they’re toning him down and it’s as if they’ve taken a serious look at the feedback on his being over the top from the numerous shorts and clips from earlier.
The Imperial are forcing a farmer and his wife to sell their farm and it turns out that Ezra knows the farmer. As their wild antics with the TIE fighter lead them to the smoking homestead, the episode hits one of its strongest notes. The Empire grabbing lands from impoverished farmers is a classic note from dyspeptic government entities and them just blasting the homestead apart was a quick, strong signal of that. It’s a mark of telling a lot of the story without throwing it in your audience’s face and it works incredibly well here. But then it goes a bit overboard. The escape sequence begins incredibly strongly, but then it deteriorates just as quickly with the saving grace of a quick move of cleverness from Ezra.
I do enjoy how the show is taking a look at how the average citizen is impacted by the Empire and we’ve been given strong indications of how oppressive even the local units can be. But at a certain point (such as next week it looks like) the show has to expand its focus beyond the farms and fruit vendors that have almost overwhelmingly populated it so far. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the show immensely so far and certainly more than I would have thought originally. For the Imperials to become as big of a threat as they truly are, eventually the show has to go beyond the rural settings that it’s largely espoused so far (last week was a small step forward in that direction). It’s not necessary for them to go off of Lothal just yet, but surely the planet cannot just be all farmers and fruit vendors being terrorized by moronic Imperial officers who have the target aiming ability of a mouse. This was a good, light episode but I’m waiting for more dramatic material to kick in.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Chopper making fun of Ezra’s Force attempts. Oh, Chopper.
+The wrench explosion was a clever touch.
+The animation is absolutely stellar on the setting fronts. The opening shot of the Ghost landing is gorgeous and I love the landscape shots where it seems like the sky has been painted.
+The music was great this week.
+The stormtroopers driving the prisoner tanks had a great design.
+”Then I’ll be sure to look elsewhere.”
-Kothal? Did I hear that right?
-The cutaway to the logo is still annoying. Just have it at the beginning, for heaven’s sake.
-Don’t TIE fighters have something like windshield wipers?
Title: Fighter Flight
Written By: Greg Weisman
Directed By: Steven G. Lee
Image Courtesy: Awards Circuit