A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Star Wars Rebels finally introduces its two primary antagonists for the season (or it seems to be that way, anyhow) in a solid episode that nevertheless suffers from a slight mismatch of tones and a couple of plot stretches. The titular reference is one that no diehard Star Wars fan can hope to miss. The Rule of Two was established by Darth Bane as a response to the utter chaos unleashed by the infighting between the Sith Order. The Rule of Two demands that there only be two Sith, a master and an apprentice. The apprentice would become strong enough to slay the master and find a pupil of their own to train. Thusly there would only be two Sith Lords and the hierarchy would ensure the survival of the Sith Order for eons to come. While Darth Bane’s entire story isn’t canon by the new dichotomy, his appearance in The Clone Wars (voiced by Mark Hamill, no less) certified that his creation of the Rule of Two is at least canon. While the Inquisitors aren’t those two (as if Rebels would ever forget Darth Sidious and Darth Vader), that thematic construct serves as a neat parallel. The Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister both are a commanding presence, even if some of the sound is a bit obstructive and their story potential is infinite for themselves and the narrative doors they open.
The Seventh Sister instantly takes the commanding role of the two and it’s hardly a surprise why. Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame was cast in the role of the villainess, so if she sticks around longer than her male counterpart, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. In the narrative, their appearance signals to the Rebels team the resultant consequences of the Inquisitor’s death in season one. As it turns out, he was the Grand Inquisitor and his death sent the Inquisitorial Order, for lack of a better phrase, into a wild tailspin. The chaos that she alludes to sounds similar to what Darth Bane had encountered in his early days, albeit on a much smaller scale. There’s allusions to a jockeying of power between the Inquisitors to rise in the ranks and become an alluring candidate to become the Grand Inquisitor of them all. The Seventh Sister looks like an ideal candidate to do so, especially in consideration of her ability to think strategically whereas the Fifth Brother behaves more as a personification of brute force. If those two wish to advance forward anyhow, then they simply need to up their game. Their failure to capture and contain the Rebels isn’t likely to endear them to the Empire anytime soon.
While Sabine is still my vote for the most character development going forward, Zeb has been almost frustratingly been given short shaft as well. The revelation that he was the last of his species was a heartbreaking one and the establishment of that story with Kallus was a neat bit of plotting to tie the protagonists and antagonists even more tightly. After that, however, Zeb was has largely fit within two molds. He’s either been the comic relief and or the brawny muscle. Two episodes ago, he became an infamous piece of bait for a giant worm and this episode almost feels like an apology for that, or at least a semi-apology. There was a lot of unnecessary comedy that interrupted the great, eerie aura of the medical station where the Ghost crew had gone to pick up medical supplies. There’s nothing wrong with a few light jokes, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of jolting the atmosphere so carefully established. Ezra and Sabine had been captured and Zeb alone had to craft a plan and execute it to precise perfection. His rescue was brilliantly done, with just the right balance. He had to rely a lot more on his brain than his brawn to help him and his friends survive and that’s a welcome development.
Despite their failure, however, the Inquisitors remain a significant threat to the Rebels, especially if the mission to nab and or destroy them spirals far out of the control of just two of them. Kanan and Hera take a backseat this episode and give the story impetus to Zeb, Ezra, and Sabine, a nice change of pace. Kanan opens the episode by trying to train Ezra and the key word lies in “trying.” I’m glad that Rebels isn’t taking the simple path and making Kanan this incredible master who taught his pupil the true ways of the Force in about thirty seconds, which would be a much simpler path for the story to take. Kanan placing an emphasis on the Force to train his apprentice is an obvious path to take, but he himself lacks a proper understanding of how to ingrain the Force with other aspects of life. Rex notes mildly that Kanan’s training lacks wit and a sense of discipline that perhaps only a soldier would be able to provide. Kanan is notably rankled by what he sees as a blatant accusation and files Rex’s comments into the category of things that cause him to distrust Rex rather than actually take those comments into consideration with Ezra’s future in mind. Kanan is in a sense almost frustratingly narrow-minded, evidenced by Hera’s question of how he could have not mentioned that there were more Inquisitors. Kanan’s answer is that he simply didn’t know.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“Real battles usually aren’t.”
+“So there’s where the boy’s lack of discipline comes from, hmm?”
+“The mystics are unnecessary.”
+“One of your disturbances, I assume.”
+“You’re like a broken protocol droid.”
+“We know about Ahsoka Tano.”
+The Force trick with the bombs
-Where did the probe droid come from? Was it just randomly there and if so, why?
Episode Title: Always Two There Are
Written by: Kevin Hopps
Directed by: Brad Rau
Image Courtesy: Dork Side of the Force