Rebels Review: In the Name of the Rebellion

In the Name of the Rebellion

What did you think of the Plot?
BEAVeR: What a promising begin to the two parter! An intense action sequence showcasing the dire times for the Rebellion and then that epic confrontation between Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma. Seldom has Rebels given us this kind of spectacle! I love how both the advantages and disadvantages of each side became visible to keep it nuanced and get your own gears going. Mon Mothma is all about the bigger picture, people coming together and putting aside their personal priorities to come to the most peaceful solution with the least casualties. But there’s the undertone in that map scene: being part of a big organization distances everyone from the concrete problems that are going on right now, and the Rebellion prefers to wait and gather its forces while the Empire keeps being responsible for many more casualties in the meantime… Saw on the other hand is more about individualism, about taking action now for what matters to you, with or without help from others. But that also means that it is easier to make moral compromises and offer lives of some civilians… There’s a lot to say about that conversation, so you can bet it was great! However, it was a pity that the rest of the episode didn’t really follow through on the moral conflict. In both parts they wanted to make it look like there was some kind of important dilemma our heroes had to face, while in fact there was none. It’s entirely logical that tapping into the communications will do way more than destroying them and there’s nothing moral about that. And from the moment they were discovered on the freighter with the kyber crystal, riding the ship to the end was not an option because there is no way they’re still going to a top-secret site when Rebels have been found aboard. So the ambiguity set out in the beginning was completely lost later on, making the episode purely about the action. Still, we saw how characters were still doubting about what to do, showcasing that this war also is a very emotional affair which still is a nice touch. And the action was pretty good too, with a great fight on the radar dish (although the cruiser’s involvement was a bit artificial), awesome chase sequence with the TIE Defenders and some genuinely tense moments on the cargo ship (until the deathtroopers suddenly lost all menace…).
Oky: As we get closer to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the show is getting more and more similar to that film, both visually and thematically. We finally see the Ghost crew join up with the rebel cell on Yavin 4 and we are starting to get the idea that the way the Rebel Alliance is being run may not be the best way. The most obvious connection is Saw Gerrera who represents a more radical approach to fighting the Empire. It was interesting to see him and Mon Mothma, two rebel leaders with opposing views, having an argument over how the rebellion should be run. They both raise good points: While Saw proves that he gets results, he also tends to harm civilians and prisoners to get them and his impulsive actions cause him to lose sight of the bigger picture. And just like in Rogue One, Mon Mothma is reluctant to help our heroes do what needs to be done, forcing them to rebel against the rebellion, although this time we are given a good reason for her to be so cautious. The rebellion’s utter defeat at the hands of Thrawn at the end of the last season has made the Rebel Alliance afraid of engaging in open warfare with the Empire which explains their position in Rogue One as well. Good stuff, and this is all in the first few minutes of this two-parter! Unfortunately, the rest of part 1 is nothing but action filler, and not a very good one at that. While the idea of having a fight on top of a communications dish was unique, it got a bit silly with Chopper tilting the dish back and forth, causing both the stormtroopers and our heroes to tumble around constantly. Ezra and Sabine had jetpacks, so the possibility of them falling off didn’t pose any danger, and I don’t understand why they didn’t just fly instead of stumbling around on the dish. Also, the skydiving scene seemed very much inspired by a certain other sci-fi franchise that J.J.Abrams revitalized. I did like the chase scene in the fog, though, which showed how much Kanan and Hera trust each other. The second part was a bit more interesting with Saw and the kids getting closer to unveiling the secrets of the Death Star. Even though we knew that they won’t find the answer they’re looking for, it was still exciting to see just how much they were going to discover. The answer is “too much,” though, because unlike the first part of this story, this episode actually works against the story of Rogue One. The events in that film got kicked off when the rebels learn from Galen Erso that the Empire is using the kyber crystals from Jedha to power a superweapon. The rebels finding out about this already in this episode kind of makes Galen’s sacrifice to get this information to them pointless, unless the Ghost crew never told Mon Mothma about this crucial information for some reason.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
BEAVeR: At this point, Saw isn’t so much a character as he is a vision. But still, I liked how at times you felt his personal history and motivation to act now instead of to wait and how he staid rather friendly to our Rebels, showcasing that he has some humanity left. I also liked how they’re building up his paranoia to where it is in Rogue One while at the same time kind of subverting our expectations by him indeed finding what he’s looking for, showing that his way does lead to results. Mon Mothma, on the other hand, is almost exclusively vision,. We actually don’t know much about her character, and that very emotional outburst during her debate with Saw makes me want to know more! Sabine and Ezra didn’t have much character development because as I’ve said, there weren’t really any choices to make and I don’t think that they’ve gained much insight into “how they decide to fight”. But I liked how they were really willing to tag along with Saw and help to remind him of what’s the good thing to do, speaking of a lovable naivety of the characters. Finally, I was surprised to see Hera also having her doubts with the commands, so finally we see she has her doubts too. And her dynamic with Kanan just keeps getting better and better because all of those little moments that make their relationship seem so surprisingly real.
Oky: It was very interesting to see our heroes starting to doubt the decisions of the rebellion, even Hera. Ezra seems to be especially opposed to their leadership which is understandable since his homeworld is one of the ones that is suffering the most under the rule of the Empire. It also makes sense that he is inclined to support Saw’s extremist approach, given Ezra’s brush with the dark side in the past. I liked the quiet moment where he sat down to discuss the matter with Kanan who seems to be the only one who still trusts Mothma’s leadership which is ironic considering that he was the one who was initially against joining an organized rebellion. All of this uncertainty is caused by Saw who is getting more and more paranoid and obsessed with uncovering the Empire’s moon-sized secret. I like that even though they make him look a little crazy and make it clear with his betrayal that he’s not really a good guy, we as the viewers know that he is right about the Empire building a superweapon of course and you understand his motivations, making him a fairly sympathetic anti-hero. I also like that he looked more like he did in Rogue One with his gray hair and beard which added to the “crazy old man” vibe they were going for. Kallus also looked great and very rebel-like with his long hair and tan jacket. Oh, and it was hilarious how the prisoners kept complaining about the way they were being rescued. The only characters I was not impressed by were the Deathtroopers who failed pretty badly at their job and it was odd to hear them talk normally, although it was nice to hear a female voice coming from under that helmet.

Saw Gerrera

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
BEAVeR: Visually, this was one of the better episodes actually with a lot of new locations. Yavin 4 looked as it should look although almost all shots were mimicking Rogue One just a bit too close: something fresh would have been even better. Jalindi looked great with fresh colors convincing you that the air must be very nice to breathe there, and it’s nice to see where the Empire got its Death Star shield radar dish from. Faos station managed to look different despite being yet another space station because of the civilian aspect, and the same was true for the freighter with its brown tones and different aesthetic than what we’re used to with the Empire and Rebellion. All in all, this episode made the galaxy and its conflict seem big again!
Oky: Ever since this series started, fans have been wanting to see Yavin 4, and in this episode we finally got to see it! It looked just like in the movies and I wish we could have seen even more of it as all we saw was the usual shots of the hangar and briefing room. Perhaps now that this base has not only shown up in A New Hope, but also Rogue One and this show, it will give Lego enough reason to finally make a set based on it instead of yet another underwhelming Hoth set. This location along with the first appearance of a U-Wing on this show added to the Rogue One feel. There’s not much to say about Jalindi since we only saw a few rock pillars and mist. The relay station looked very similar to the one seen on Endor, so I liked that bit of consistency. The civilian space station Faos Station was noticeably more colorful than any of the military stations we have seen before and reminded me of The Wheel from The Freemaker Adventures, another civilian station (albeit not canon). The freighter was fairly uninteresting, which makes sense considering it was supposed to be inconspicuous, and since it wasn’t shaped like a triangle, I can see how nobody would suspect it to belong to the Empire.

Jalindi Relay

Faos Station

Freighter 2716

BEAVeR’s rating: 4/5 – The first part of the first part was enough to make me like this two parter quite a bit. The themes were sadly underdeveloped and the characters didn’t really do much of meaning, but because of the opening minutes you immediately start to re-evaluate everything that happens and are left with quite an impression when all is over. At the same time, the action and plot was good despite its eventual disconnect to the probably intended themes of the episode with creative fights, genuinely tense moments, no overly slapstick moments, subversions of your expectation, great visuals throughout. All in all it’s good, but sadly not great.
Oky’s Rating: 4/5
– I like how the show is introducing themes, characters, and imagery from Rogue One in order to connect the series to that film. In some ways this two-parter enhances the plot of Rogue One, but it also contradicts it in others. The themes were intriguing, the characters were relatable, and some of the action was creative, but there was a lack of stakes in the first part. The ominous tone on which the episode ended was very fitting as the looming threat of the Death Star increases, and Director Krennic was mentioned, so I’m curious if we will see more Rogue One connections in the future.

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