If You Enjoy Scoundrels
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
It was the moment when Lando Calrissian made his inevitable appearance in Rebels. He was kept intact to his original character, if a bit humbler in his beginnings in consideration of his eventual acquisition of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. But Idiot’s Array, named after a signature gambling move from Calrissian, is at the end of a day a rather unremarkable episode that plot-wise mostly treads water. At a certain point in the future, this episode may perhaps pay off in ways that I have no idea about and that’s certainly fine. But for now, Rebels feels like its treading water with filler episodes that may be entertaining but lack a substantive motivation to move the plot forward. A distinct advantage Rebels has over its predecessor The Clone Wars is that Rebels functions less like an anthology series with the same characters and is a direct narrative with the same core throughout. To fully take advantage of this format, the story needs to feel like its progressing but after the excellent Gathering Forces, it’s apparently stalled. In a scant sixteen-episode season, the storytelling needs to be sharp and on its toes. Here it’s meandering.
Lando himself is written excellently and as it is, having Billy Dee Williams to return and voice him was a nice touch. His simultaneous ability to enchant and repel is kept hilariously intact and his presence is even able to bring out the best in Chopper. The gambler in him pulls off several tricks, even though by the end of the episode he ends at an equilibrium (which, considering the circumstances, was the best outcome he could have hoped for). He strikes contrasting relationship amongst the Ghost crew and that interpersonal dynamic is played exquisitely. In character work however, this week belongs firmly to Hera. The pilot and in many ways the leader of the crew, Hera has gotten the relative short shaft in terms of character development but this episode while not dedicating nearly enough time to her, proves how vital she is to this group. There’s a complete despondency without her, as if the lives of everyone aboard that ship just became that much more restless and aimless without her. She’s clever, quick-witted, and tough. Yet she never allows those strengths to take ahold of her and become warped into weaknesses. It’s remarkable, really.
But for all of strength of characterization here, the plot suffers determinedly. The Lando sequence at the beginning was fun but from that moment forward everything became contrived. The involvement of the pirates just turned everything into a gobbled mess, as if the writers were truly straining to find some credible plot in a galaxy as giant as this one. The Hera as a slave bit was a dark part of the episode and perhaps plot-wise the most credibly handled. It was relatively stable, the narrative, despite the snafus throughout. Then they land on Lothal and it goes quickly downhill from there. The shootout in the dark was poorly done, beginning with the pirates’ random a-ha reappearance that literally seemed to come out of nowhere. Rebels works when it pays attention to its characters in equivalence to its narrative, but right now it’s not really sure what to pay attention to at all. Sure, we got an awesome dogfight sequence and great little character moments, but they can become increasingly marginalized if there’s a prevalent feeling that we’re not going anywhere. Maybe we need more fuel. Chopper, get on it.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“You have the goods?”; “Always.”
+“Her attire is preposterous.”
+The fruit eating is back
+“That was a really useful tray.”
+Hera punching Lando
+“You will have to own me one.”
+“A gambler never shows his cards.”
-The explosion gave Chopper a great hero moment, but it did feel incredibly weak
Title: Idiot’s Array
Written By: Kevin Hopps
Directed By: Steward Lee
Image Courtesy: Temple of Geek