A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Any Rebels episode that begins with the importance of fuel now gives me substantial pause for the primary reasoning that such a mundane storytelling device has been used so often that by this point it feels like the Rebels should always just steal way more fuel than they need because inevitably they’ll run out every two to three episodes. It’s a mature note, of course, to understand the vitality of such simple tasks but at this point, if no one on the show ever mentions the words “fuel” and “transport” again, I’ll be okay with it. I’ll also be okay if Chopper gets dumped in a trash pile and never comes back unless the writers take a substantially different direction for the character. He’s erratic but not in a lovable sort of way that makes any sense. He’s simply confounding at this point and honestly, I have no idea why any of the writers, including Matt Michnovetz, who’s responsible for this script, thinks Chopper in this erratic character trajectory is in any way, shape, or form hilarious. I could theoretically appreciate the attempt at trying to make Chopper more likable, but the finished product left me extremely cold.
The main problem with Chopper is that he largely doesn’t make sense as a character. The Ghost crew are all actual people and complex to varying degrees and even Sabine, who has received the least amount of character development so far out of the crew, feel like characters that could exist. Chopper is a droid, yes, but that hasn’t prevented the Star Wars mythos from churning out droid characters that makes sense and form an emotional connection with the audience. Chopper at the best of times is a droid that helps his crew but it always feels like a plot point of convenience and not of germane emotional heft. At the worst of times, he’s a megalomaniacal homicidal maniac. This episode, he begins with a nod towards his worst. If the rebels were on a day trip and Chopper discovered a mechanical leg he wanted, that’s another thing. But to risk what was a vital mission to grab a leg seems immeasurably selfish and stupid and I’m honestly not quite sure why the episode went that route to begin with. Surely there were better story ideas available?
The Imperial droid AP-5’s connection with Chopper was the episode’s real meat and the reason why this episode doesn’t garner a complete lack of merit it otherwise deserves. The Imperial droid’s circumstances are fairly simple and the simplicity here is frustrating. Nice droid in the care, or lack thereof, of a stupid and vile Imperial officer isn’t groundbreaking storytelling. That the two connect is a nice point and certainly the most relatable Chopper has ever been, but the story is so full of clichés, even the moment where AP-5 is shot doesn’t resonate as much as it ought to have. Sure, him and Chopper bantering at the end like the oldest of pals was nice, but it couldn’t have come at the end of a more beleaguered, nonsensical filler of a story. Like Ezra’s ability to connect with the Purgills, this might lead to something, but it doesn’t excuse the filler presented here. And yes, I know that Rebels is primarily a kids’s show, but that doesn’t mean that kids don’t deserve quality storytelling, either.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The neat callback to the planet of Orondia from Season 4 of The Clone Wars
+“What other options? I am bound by my protocol.”
+“How will the Rebels treat me better?”
+“It appears to be a trap of some kind.”
+“Yep. Try not to think about it.”
-So Hera found Chopper on Ryloth and the episode doesn’t even make that reveal really count towards something substantial
-The direction was extremely poor
Episode Title: The Forgotten Droid
Written by: Matt Michnovetz’
Directed by: Director
Image Courtesy: Star Wars Rebels Wiki