A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The most upsetting aspect of Star Wars Rebels is how often it misses the opportunity to add to the mythology of the galaxy George Lucas created. That disappointment is felt even further when the episode in question is a filler one, an unfortunate byproduct of there being twenty-two episodes in a season. Certain storylines will take precedent over others based on the airing of the episode and as irritating as this can be, storylines that really ought to be at the center of the proceedings take a back seat so they can be used as midseason or season finales. In some cases, such as with last week’s two-parter, the airing of the episode depends on external factors like related films, series, and merchandising. That is particularly grating but regardless of the specific circumstance, when the natural flow of a story is punctured outside of the usual breaks, it’s difficult for the season as a whole to come together effectively.
The two overarching threads of the season so far seem to be the attempts of Grand Admiral Thrawn to defeat the Rebels by learning about their strategies and their beings and Ezra’s battles with the Dark Side. A third is looking to be Sabine’s Mandalorian past, a vista that the show has successfully visited once. While the Thrawn storyline is touched on briefly here at the end of the episode, neither of the three has been consistently drawn to give the show a consistency. It’s understandable that that’s a difficult task across twenty-two episodes and there’s a risk of redundancy there, but the writers nevertheless ought to be able to overcome those problems with results that are better than what is on display in “Warhead.”
“Warhead” is a thoroughly disappointing episode that has about five minutes of thrilling watchability while squandering everything else to hell. Zeb is left in charge of the station with Chopper and AP-5 while the Ghost crew goes off to handle a mission. Zeb discovers a droid that has seemingly been abandoned and without any sort of precautionary measure, decides to activate it. It’s a thoroughly bemusing decision considering that Zeb has just recently been portrayed as being a competent leader while Ezra was the one mouthing off. Any competent leader would want to do an assessment of the droid or at the very least ensure that more background research was done before a droid was activated.
Zeb doesn’t go through any of those thought processes. He just activates the droid and when he receives Fulcrum’s message that there is a problem with Imperial droids that look innocent but then can transform into terrifying killing machines, he’s shocked at the consequences of his absolute irresponsibility. That the following robot sequence is thrilling to watch simply doesn’t salvage the episode as a whole, even if it does increase its watchability by a considerable amount. Director Bosco Ng cuts some fantastic camera angles but that second act is quickly diffused by a languid third. Even the revelation that Thrawn has narrowed down the rebel base location to 94 planets is written in a fashion that is meant to evoke consequence but is largely unable to do so, cutting the dullest of edges with a blade that was surely much sharper at the onset.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The landscape animation remains stunning
+“Really? You can have those?”
+The plan to use the infiltrator droid as a bomb reaches a thoroughly anticlimactic resolution
Episode Title: Warhead
Written by: Gary Whitta
Directed by: Bosco Ng
Image Courtesy: Coming Soon
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