A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Star Wars Rebels lifts its stumbling second season out with the most thrilling episode since the opening hour. One of the elements that has remained consistent (episode quality aside) is the season’s numerous callbacks to its predecessor series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The callbacks so far have largely relied upon characters but this is perhaps the most direct reference to a continuation of a plot from The Clone Wars, specifically the three-parter that opened its second season. The finale of that arc was entitled Children of the Force, which concluded a plot that began with the fearsome bounty hunter Cad Bane trying to steal a holocron from the Jedi Temple. This holocron was a device that contained information on the whereabouts of the galaxy’s Force-sensitive children, since the Jedi apparently never heard of keeping the information about their future in multiple locations so they could turn one off or something. Slight plot mechanics aside, the reveal that Darth Sidious was abducting Force-sensitive children to train a personal army from birth was a massive one that was never addressed again until this episode of Rebels. Similarly entitled to that trilogy ender, The Future of the Force centers its own plot crux around the Inquisitors abducting children for the obvious purpose of creating more Inquisitors and crushing the hopes of rebuilding the Jedi Order one child at a time.
The opening sequence is predictable but dark nevertheless, with the full implication that the Fifth Brother’s twirling lightsaber gnashed through all of the civilians on the refugee spacecraft. I’m still not completely sold on these Inquisitors’s capabilities considering their track record so far, but their callous evil is something that is cemented pretty quickly here. Nor are their characters individually compelling whatsoever, their shadows hiding not just their sly movements but also any hints at an actual personality besides cackling predators for the Dark Side. It is strange in a sense then that their shadowy personalities work so well here, but then again the execution of the ambience around the Inquisitors has never really ever been the problem. The one intriguing character trait between the two I have found is their interaction between each other. I have no idea what the “Fifth Brother” and “Seventh Sister” means outside of potential hierarchical rankings, so I’m going to go with that for now. Under that lens, the Fifth Brother acts with a greater deal of authority but with the irony that the Seventh Sister is clearly more capable. Their quest to kidnap these children (I assume for the purposes of the Inquisitorial Squad, but there is also the distinct possibility they are just straight up murdered instead) falls into the trouble of getting the attention of the Ghost crew. The uncovering storyline hits the tonal points of thrilling, terrifying, and hilarity in a way almost no episode has managed to do, in part because the episode actually manages to crack the tension with jokes at just the right moments.
Kanan, as has been noted in my coverage of the show so far at a fair amount of moments, is not the complete Jedi he would have been if Order 66 had never gone into effect. In all honesty, there’s little blame that can be inflicted upon his being for that, considering the circumstances. There are wonderful little moments like him not recognizing that the child was being kidnapped because he was Force-sensitive and there’s much more dour ones when Kanan’s defeat at the hands of the Inquisitors seems imminent. He does a remarkable job holding them off, considering his lack of formal training and the simple reality that he is outmatched two to one. If it weren’t for Ahsoka, however, he would be dead unless a last minute respite had been somehow achieved. Ahsoka’s years from her leaving the Jedi Order to her first appearance at the end of season one of Rebels are largely unknown, except for the knowledge that a couple of her Clone Wars storylines have yet to see the light of day. But regardless of what she had been doing in that interim, Ahsoka garnered a lot more Jedi training than Kanan and arguably under a Master who was far more intend to innovation and twisting the moral path of the Jedi code as necessary. Ashoka begins the fight with two white lightsabers, a symbol of her neutrality within the Force, as someone who was no longer a Jedi. Her fight sequence with the two Inquisitors is thrilling to say the least, with her besting the two opponents easily. Her tactics are clever but always remaining within the limits of the light side of the Force. The Inquisitors garnered their last-minute reinforcements and signaled their next attack to come, but for now the Rebels proved their might and ignited a further spark in what will be undoubtedly become an all-engulfing fire.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“He’s already briefed on the mission.”
+Numa’s doll from the season one Clone Wars episode Innocents of Ryloth
+“How did you know?”
+The potential of a shared history between Ashoka and the Seventh Sister is intriguing
+The music was fantastic
-The same opening shot of the Ghost. Restrictions of budget?
-Chopper wanting to blow up the TIE fighter before the baby got out was really unnecessary, not funny in the slightest, and further proof that the show has once again lost complete control of this character.
-Ezra letting “Garel” slip loose was a bit of lazy plotting
Episode Title: The Future of the Force
Written by: Bill Wolkoff
Directed by: Saul Ruiz
Image Courtesy: Cameron Movies and TV @ WordPress