A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Star Wars: Rebels closes out the shaky first half of its second season on a high note. My quibbles on certain transitions and plot moments remain. For example, a smoother rewrite of certain scenes could have added more poignancy to an episode that was already brimming with a significant sense of it before it splashed everywhere in the final moments. This episode in particular could have benefited from an extended running time, but even within its condensed timeframe, the amount of layered emotional relationships and plot development that occurs is by and large impressive. It’s fitting that an episode so dominated by the specter of the past haunting Ezra would open with his name being whispered as if it were being carried through by the air itself. The hush whispers of his name would open up towards a dream that quickly establishes itself as being a legitimate vision of the Force. Ezra first sees a white Loth-cat, but he is unable to immediately piece together the vitality of what the animal represents. The vision suddenly transitions into Ezra’s parents sitting in what looks like an Imperial prison cell. It’s the same frame as before but with the additional context of revealing Imperial ships to confirm that assumption. Then, most puzzlingly, Ezra sees an old man on a hill shooting downwards. But the spark that his parents are alive is set and the episode produces an Ezra more determined than ever before.
Tseebo had revealed something to Hera and Kanan and it is in turn revealed to Ezra at last. Tseebo had revealed that Ezra’s parents had been taken captive and were in an Imperial prison, but he was unsure of which one it was. There are over a thousand Imperial prisons and the Empire coded all of their prisoners’s names and photos to make it that much more difficult to track them. Hera had even reached out to Senator Organa after numerous attempts with pirates and smugglers yielded no fruit, but to no avail. Ezra using the Force to go through the prisoner list was a fantastic moment, his desperation clouding his vision. As mixed of a Jedi Kanan is, he guides Ezra through arguably the most emotionally paralyzing process of his life with the knowledge that he needed to let the Force simply tell him what was ahead, not cloud it with his own ideas. And he finds a prisoner named X-10, the mysterious (and oddly animated) elderly figure who turns out was the governor of Lothal that managed to get elected with the name Ryder Azadi. Before they get there, however, the Imperial forces launch a massive attack on Garel, driving the Rebels out successfully towards an uncertain future. It’s a brilliantly tense sequence and it provides an impetus for the Empire to continue their dominance even if their individual characters necessarily don’t step up to the plate.
Ezra dominated this episode and rightfully so and the most impressive display of his ability yet came in the hanger hallways. His sprint and detachment of the stormtroopers, followed by a Force push of Kallus, was incredible. Yet the arrival of the Inquisitors in the hallway played at something much darker within Ezra, the skirting with the dark side that his emotions brought out within him. As Ezra charges angrily towards the Inquisitors, Kanan shuts the blast doors with a baited breath. If Kanan was barely able to hold his own against the two, Ezra certainly wouldn’t have been able to, despite his impressive performance right before. As Ezra’s training goes forward, the skirt with the dark side is something that Kanan is going to have to tackle with more and more and the quick thinking he displays here will soon won’t be enough. The emotional wallop that Ezra receives at the end, however, creates an emotional compromise that could seriously test his resolve going down the road. Ezra’s parents being alive seemed a slim hope enough to begin with, but to know that they were alive until just a handful of moments ago was heartbreaking. Ezra’s message that spread much needed hope through Lothal reached his parents Ephraim and Mira as well and that inspired them to lead a prison riot. Many escaped but they made sure that they got other people out before themselves. Ezra’s expression breaks apart as he realizes how close he was to his parents, but Kanan gives him a bit of hope in that his parents merely changed form in the Force after death, that that form lives on inside him. It’s truly heartbreaking and perhaps that bit of hope may not be enough, but as Kanan notes, without hope, we have nothing. Rest in power, Ephraim and Mira.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The title card placement and accompanying music has improved considerably.
+“There was nothing to tell.”
+I have to love the episode’s meta dialogue about how the Inquisitors and Kallus have largely been quite pathetic at executing their jobs well.
“I merely look to the day when you produce results.”
“You respect them, even though they represent your constant failure?”
+Sabine recognizing the Imperial strategy of pulling back patrols before a major strike
+“Well, that’s pretty impressive.”
“Yeah, I taught him.”
+“I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m giving you an order.”
+“The Force? I planted a tracker on it, Kanan.”
+Ryder Azadi – could the Indo-Iranian root word “azaad”, meaning “freedom” be at play here? Linguistics.
+“I don’t want things to change.”
Episode Title: Legacy
Written by: Henry Gilroy
Directed by: Mel Zwyer
Image Courtesy: Eric J. Geller