You’re Not Alone
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
As last week’s superb The Protector of Concord Dawn proved to be a boon for Sabine, The Legends of Lasat added much needed depth to Zeb, who has often waffled between being a warrior and comic relief with the series only occasionally finding the right balance between the two. This episode doesn’t entirely correct that but it’s easily the most concerted effort to understand the character so far and that alone is worth appreciation. At the onset of Rebels, the writers dropped a bombshell that the Lasat had faced genocide at the hands of the Empire, a genocide led by Agent Kallus. Then that fairly stunning angle was sort of dropped, despite the numerous appearances of Kallus afterwards (how does this guy still have a job?) and it seemed like that dramatic part of Zeb’s past that arguably colored his entire future was washed away in favor of him becoming bait for a giant desert slug. The episode, certainly not as polished as last week’s, begins awkwardly enough with a random refugee rescue, but its first few minutes reveal two Lasat that had somehow managed to survive. Zeb is understandably shocked that he is no longer alone, but the quick pacing of the stormtroopers’ attack leaves him few moments to garner a cohesive thought.
Pacing has never really been Rebels’s strongest suit, evidenced quite often by its rush to fit a story into twenty minutes of screen time with a traditional three-act structure that often requires more time to develop and give subsequent heft to the narrative. The stormtroopers attacking led to a fairly neat bridge action sequence, but it could have been excised in favor of a more deep discussion of Zeb’s anger, grief, and shame masking any joy that he had in seeing two of his people still alive. Zeb’s negative emotions were a surprise to the Ghost crew, who had expected a much more positive reaction from their cremate. But for Zeb, seeing two Lasat brought forth all of the emotions he had suppressed for such a long time. Seeing them brings all of the shame and guilt he felt for not being able to save his people. As Captain, it was is responsibility to safeguard the royal family and by extension their subjects (that distinction isn’t completely made clear here) and so the weight of his failure hangs far heavier upon his conscience than what was presumed earlier. Chava’s insistence of finding the original home world of the Lasat simply burns that shame and guilt even further into Zeb’s psyche, as if her words were stinging in what he viewed as nothing more than false hope.
That hope is bound in a prophecy that was bound into what Chava called the Ashla, another name for the Force. Zeb is reluctant to buy into that premise lest his hopes are dashed once more and as they approach a cluster of imploded stars, that reluctance gives way to a desperation. It’s a profound moving sequence in what is otherwise a fairly rudimentary episode (plot-wise), each segment perfectly crafted to combine into one stunning whole. I’ve been critical of the show’s animation style before and in particular it’s handling of character movements (which have improved steadily), but it’s landscape animation has improved by leaps and bounds, especially since the show is no longer bound to the dull landscapes of Lothal. The star cluster in particular is stunningly beautiful to behold and as they approach what Kallus is sure is their doom, a gorgeous piece of music (below) begins to brew like the storm facing the crew. As the string instrumentation swells, Zeb gives into the desperation of their circumstances and the ship propels through the cluster, opening up to a stunning view of the Lasat origin home world. It’s a sight that’s gorgeous to look at, but the pathos and magnitude of the discovery isn’t lost, either and hopefully it remains integral to Zeb’s story arc going forward.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“You’re kind of acting like a child.”
+“You prophecy types always pull something like this.” If this is meta commentary, it’s fantastic.
Episode Title: Legends of the Lasat
Written by: Matt Michnovetz
Directed by: Saul Ruiz
Image Courtesy: Star Wars Rebels Wiki