A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
“Imperial Supercommandos” is an episode that is poorly titled, terribly written, and barely saved from being a complete and abysmal failure by a handful of good scenes that hold some glimmer of promise the rest of the episode simply isn’t able to muster. The word “hackneyed” is a good one to use here to describe twenty-two minutes of storytelling that either could have been told in five or needed another installment to be executed properly but is instead left lurching somewhere in the middle. The dialogue is borderline sophomoric, the characterizations are maddeningly thin, and the story is a blatant rip-off of “your enemy will save you at the last minute because they’re actually a good person inside.” The last action sequence is a thrill to watch, but even that is cut short by a resolution that would make any decent writer’s eyes spin faster than a washing machine on steroids. Like a good chunk of the episodes of Rebels that don’t hold up (some simply don’t work at all, period), there are chunks of the narrative that are well-executed, the pieces that point towards the delicious pie that could have arrived out of the oven. Instead, the perfectly ripe berries and the decently flaky crust end up mixing with several ridiculous ingredients that is born out of the oven as a charred thing that has now taken several perfect berries out of your life to boot.
The episode feels like such a massive disappointment because it once again held the promise of giving more complex character development to Sabine, who often dukes it out with Zeb for the placement of being the least well-rounded characters on Rebels. This episode gives her once again just a few nibbles of story and characterization, but then leaves the rest as a tantalizing mystery that has frankly outgrown its welcome. There’s only so long a series can drag out a mystery before it becomes monotonous and loses any actual power its resolution theoretically has held. When that mystery is once again revealing that a character is simply being sacrificed for the sake of keeping it alive, it’s time to resolve it by mitigating the damage and simply moving on. Sabine’s past gets another glimpse here, this time a glimpse that is related to her mother. It’s tantalizing to be sure, but in an episode where the script hints at exploring Sabine’s internal turmoil about her loyalty to her Mandalorian heritage before abandoning it, it feels more obnoxious than anything else. Finn Rau and Gar Saxon have distinct ideas about what place the Mandalorians ought to inhabit in a society that is increasingly being divided into two camps. There’s an interesting series of stories there but Rebels never seems to muster up the narrative oomph to really do so.
The sense of logic is also simply off in an episode where Ezra for whatever reason is being sent on a mission with Sabine and Fenn, which seems to ignore Hera’s anger at Ezra messing things up so badly just recently. It doesn’t count as a punishment if it’s never enforced. Finn taking control of the ship is so contrived it’s difficult to believe that it was actually in a script to begin with and the resulting Mandalorian trap may be the least surprising thing the show has ever pulled. Ezra’s constant attempts at trying to fool his captors is hilariously in character, but it does beget a bit of continuity that an increasingly reckless Ezra would suddenly fall so back into the other direction in spite of Hera’s punishment. The escape sequence begins with a set piece befitting the definition of convenience before becoming momentarily thrilling as the Mandalorians chase their escaping rebel captives through the Concord Dawn sky. The fight choreography during this sequence is stunning, even if its aforementioned resolution feels hollow. There’s almost nothing that really gives it a real semblance of emotional weight but then again, perhaps that’s fitting for an episode that hits on that emotional weight but then suddenly forgets that it has to tap into that well as well.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“Every lie you tell holds a shred of truth.” Easily the best line of the episode.
Episode Title: Imperial Supercommandos
Written by: Christopher Yost
Directed by: Steward Lee
Image Courtesy: Nerdist
Every review from now on will have links to organizations who are in need of resources. Please contribute if you are able:
Syrian Refugee/Refugee Crises
Women’s Reproductive Rights