TWG contributor Elisa and I return this week to talk about the latest Star Wars Rebels episode, “Rebel Resolve”. Visit StarWars.com for the official episode guide for additional information and trivia.
General Thoughts About the Plot
EA: With this being our second to last episode of the season, things are definitely firing up. While attempting to find information to help the Ghost crew rescue Kanan, Hera had a talk with Fulcrum that resulted in placing a hold on their mission. Ezra, as always, was undeterred and went forward with his own plan in hopes of gathering the information needed before Hera discovered his course of action. While not as grisly as the previous episode, “Rebels Resolve” was still exciting and gave us plenty of new information to work with in anticipation of what is sure to be a thrilling finale.
JM: Missing a crucial member and friend, the rebel crew of the Ghost rallied together in “Rebel Resolve” in an attempt to save Kanan from Imperial captivity. It was an episode that simultaneously demonstrated the lengths both sides would go to in order to get what they wanted. Ezra unveiled his identity as a Jedi to gain valuable intel and the Imperials used dire methods to break Kanan. Despite revealing his secret, Ezra, in particular, stepped up to the challenge and assumed the role of a leader, putting into practice the skills he had learned from Kanan (and Hera). Personally, the character who really shined the most in this episode was Chopper. He may be unpredictable and have a few loose bolts and wires, but he pulled through for Kanan and for the crew. An emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end, “Rebel Resolve” was another flawless episode, setting the stage and acting as a stepping stone for the final installment of the season.
General Thoughts About the Characters
EA: Kanan joined the ever growing list of Jedi who have been captured, and later, tortured by means of electrocution. For as important as Kanan is to the plot, we don’t see him too much in this episode. When we do see him, he’s either being mind probed by an Imperial interrogation droid (which we haven’t seen in the series proper for quite some time) or he’s being interrogated/tortured by the Inquisitor. Either way, this was not a good day for Kanan.
I found interesting the fact that Tarkin wasn’t all that interested in Kanan being a Jedi, but that he wanted to know about other rebels. As we originally saw in “Out of Darkness”, Hera was the one responsible for finding them jobs that would disrupt the Empire, and she’s the one who meets the informants. That leaves Kanan without any knowledge, and essentially, the wrong person to torture. Whatever information Tarkin wants to extract from him, it’s leading us into a location we all know quite well for the next episode: Mustafar.
JM: Kanan may be rough around the edges, but he’s plenty more skilled in other areas that count in his line of work. In this case, it’s his extraordinary resilience. Unwilling to break and reveal the location of his crew, Kanan appeared more like the “Jedi of old” in this episode. From mind probing to electrocution, Kanan is not stranger to torture. I like that even under duress, he managed to keep his sarcastic nature alive and well, unafraid of talking smack back to Tarkin and the Inquisitor. His main priority is to keep Ezra safe, but both he and Fulcrum gave me the impression that they think Ezra is something more, leading me to believe that Fulcrum is also a Jedi. The next stop for him is Mustafar, a place that he told Hera about once. I’m curious to know how Kanan came to know about Mustafar, since its first appearance was in Revenge of the Sith and it also played a minor role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Since then, it must have gathered the reputation as a place where Jedi go to die and he must have heard it through word of mouth. Kanan, despite his incomplete training, is still a vital well of knowledge for Ezra. And beyond that, he’s a mentor and friend, sharing this connection that the others fail to see. As a result, I like that both he and Ezra don’t stop fighting to protect each other. Kanan instilled a lot of himself in Ezra and that makes their bond even more precious to me than previous relationships in the saga (such as Obi-Wan and Anakin). In fact, they remind me a lot of Anakin and Ahsoka, and I very much appreciate the parallels that are drawn from that.
EA: Even if Hera wasn’t the focus character in this episode, it was her conflict that was front and center. We’ve seen and heard Hera over the course of the series talk about fighting for others and encouraging Ezra to do what was right and expected of him. In this episode, we saw what happened when Hera was told to stop and lay low. As the scene of her speaking to Fulcrum came to an end, we watched as Hera slumped down on the bench and leaned her head against her hand. It was this moment that led her to what I think was the most difficult decision she had to make this season, coming to realize that in order to keep themselves and Ezra safe, she had to stop searching for Kanan.
I love how much you can hear her own heartbreak as she relayed to the others of the crew that they had to stop their rescue efforts. When she called Kanan a soldier, it wasn’t just to distance herself from how important he was to her and the crew, but it was also to group him into the faceless others who have also been lost for freedom. When Hera snapped at Ezra later on about how he thought she didn’t want to save Kanan, we saw her fire return due to her distress about him having gone behind her back to make a deal with Vizago. It was then that Hera was more open to listening to what Ezra had to say and how she was willing to help execute another plan in an attempt to save Kanan. Had their roles been reversed, I truly feel that, for as much as he wouldn’t have liked it, Kanan would have also let Hera go. That is, if he had been told by someone he trusted to stop his rescue attempts in order to keep everyone else safe.
JM: This entire time, we’ve been led to believe that Hera and Kanan called the shots. And that might be the case here and there, but it turns out that Fulcrum is the one who dictates what they do in general and the kind of missions they should get involved in. The fact that Hera abided by what Fulcrum said about letting Kanan go and going into hiding for their safety seemed both in-character and out-of-character for me. Hera has the overall mission in mind and she’s been that way since we first met her in Star Wars: A New Dawn, but I never took her for someone who’d sacrifice someone else for that mission, especially someone as dear to her as Kanan. In front of Fulcrum, she seemed less like a leader and more like Fulcrum’s lackey. A chain of command is obviously in place and she was abiding by the orders given to her, but at the same time, she has her own morals and her own standards and she set those aside because someone in a hood told her which way was the right way. In that moment, I felt like she forgot what it meant to be a rebel, and I’m glad Ezra reminded her later on. Additionally, her constant nature about keeping secrets finally came around and nipped her in the bum when Ezra and the others went off to do what they thought was right. Sure, what they did was careless, but they wouldn’t have done it if Hera was more open with them.
EA: Well, it’s official. If it hadn’t been clear beforehand, it’s clear now that Chopper is not a fan of other droids, or at least, doesn’t hesitate when it comes to potentially harming his own kind. Chopper played a big role this time around, and I love just how often he is used in Rebels. On more than one occasion, his uniqueness was completely overlooked, like in “Vision of Hope” when the trooper wasn’t sure if Chopper was one of theirs or not. This time we saw him painted up for undercover purposes, pretending to be an Imperial droid to gather important information for the crew, which then leads to a very cool space sequence.
This episode also has yet another tender moment to add to Chopper’s short list of them. His interaction with Ezra in the doorway of Kanan’s room was very sweet, and with how grim this episode was promising to be, it was a welcome moment. I love how Chopper went into Kanan’s room in the first place, but watching him react sadly to seeing Kanan’s empty cot really got to me. It’s easy to see all the things Chopper does and call him a “bad droid”, but he has a heart, and it’s moments like these that help demonstrate that when he’s not goofing off with Zeb or being a pest to Ezra, that he cares for the crew that views him as one of their members and not just as a droid.
JM: From his range of emotion right down to his awesome sequence of rocketing through space, Chopper was, hands down, the star of this episode. I have this headcanon that it was Kanan who recruited Chopper after he followed Kanan around in town one day, like a lost dog. I like to think of Chopper as a rescue, and even though he answers back to Kanan, he has this underlying respect and gratitude toward him. The headcanon was inspired by Chopper entering Kanan’s empty room and expressing the need to rescue him at all costs. We first saw it in the AT-DP, when he stayed longer than directed, and when he went undercover as a courier to retrieve the information necessary to locate him. As far as impressive feats go, Chopper rocketing towards the Ghost and matching its speed in order to board it goes down as one of the most memorable and entertaining. He clearly enjoyed himself and doesn’t limit himself to just ordinary droid functions. And of course, Chopper being his unpredictable self, dumped the poor courier droid out of the ship. There’s only room for one droid in the crew and he’s it. Comical and charming in his own way, Chopper never fails to impress or elicit laughter from those with an appreciation for slapstick humor.
EA: Playing a supporting role in this episode, we got to see Zeb pull off a few heroics. Not only did he, once again, show off his blaster skills while providing cover for Ezra, Sabine and Chopper, he also saved Chopper from being left behind once Ezra realized he wasn’t with them in the Phantom.
Something this episode showed that I haven’t talked about before is how non-confrontational Zeb can be when it comes to certain things. When he heard that they were not going to go after Kanan, he simply groaned and slumped. I found it interesting that he’d get vocal and pleading with Hera when it came to having to go pick up fruit and supplies with Ezra, but that he was quiet over something as serious as rescuing one of their own. I also can’t help but wonder what would have ultimately happened had Ezra not pushed his rescue efforts. Later in the episode, we learn that both Zeb and Sabine didn’t want give up on Kanan, but would they have tried to do that themselves had Ezra left things alone? I can only speculate, but I like to think that one of them would have tried to come up with something if a plan hadn’t already been in motion.
JM: The entire episode is about sacrificing yourself to save someone else and putting someone else’s welfare before your own. Zeb saving Chopper within the first few minutes of the episode was one of the many notable examples. When Chopper stayed behind to find more information regarding Kanan’s whereabouts, Zeb sprang into action to scoop him up before the AT-DP went down in flames. I also found it interesting that even though he was a member of the Honor Guard and a military man, that he easily defied Hera’s orders and followed Ezra without question. It says a lot about how Hera’s method of leadership is, in fact, ineffective and how the team obviously prefers a system based on a democracy, especially during dire situations like the one they found themselves in.
EA: A support character like Zeb, Sabine’s presence wasn’t quite as heavily felt in this episode. She was the first to be included in Ezra’s plan to save Kanan after Hera told them that they had to stop. We don’t get a scene of Ezra speaking with her, so it makes me wonder if Sabine clued in on Ezra’s desire as soon as he commed her to ask for “help” about the power cells. Given that she said nothing in specific about the plan while Zeb was putting the pieces together aboard the Phantom, it seemed to me that this was the first time Sabine was hearing it as well–even if she wasn’t fully invested with following Ezra’s plan.
A scene I really did like was when Sabine tried to warn Ezra about not saying anything else regarding Kanan to Vizago. It was a little thing, but it again affirmed that this wasn’t information that should be thrown around, especially to someone like Vizago.
JM: Sabine supporting Ezra came as no surprise to me, especially since she and Hera didn’t exactly see eye to eye when it came to Fulcrum. Like Ezra, she dared to walk on the wild side (something she does often and naturally) and let Ezra take matters into his own hands. People forget that she hated the Imperial Academy with their strict rules. She did things under their supervision that she didn’t want to do, so being told that saving Kanan was out of the question obviously triggered her rebel side and her natural inclination to follow the approach that appealed to her the most. I did find her lack of emotion peculiar, however. She questioned Ezra twice about Kanan being alive or not, and both times, she showed no emotion. There’s not much to go on, but it’s as if she has this impenetrable wall and refuses to let anyone in. We did, however, see a bit of her concern at the end when she mentioned Mustafar and turned to Hera with an unsure tone.
EA: Having a crucial role in this episode, even if he had to disobey Hera’s orders, Ezra and the crew were rewarded for his efforts–somewhat. Not about to stand aside and let Hera cut Kanan loose, Ezra formed his own plan, and with the help of Sabine, Zeb and Chopper, executed it without much of a hitch. Well, up until him having to tell Vizago that he and Kanan were Jedi and him accepting to do the man a favour sometime in the future.
In “Vision of Hope”, we saw Ezra and Hera working together with the same hopes and for the same goals. In this episode, there was a shift and we saw where the two were very different. Hard decisions have to be made at times, and while Hera initially decided to listen to Fulcrum, Ezra had other ideas. This is Ezra’s family, and he’s already voiced that he doesn’t want to lose them. Kanan had responded to Ezra before about losing people, but when it came down to it, Ezra still held strong with his belief that they should go after Kanan and not lose anyone–that he’s much more than just a “soldier” and that he is family.
JM: Once again, Ezra stepped up to the plate and assumed the role of a leader, successfully gathering vital intel to save his friend and mentor. Some fans saw his defiance as a disrespectful act towards Hera, but Hera needed to be reminded that the sacrifice of one for the good of the many isn’t always the best approach–not when a crucial member to your cause is in the hands of your enemy. Others compared his actions to those of Anakin and his problematic views on attachment. What it boils down to is a 15 year old boy who finally found someone important in Kanan and he’s not willing to let go of that–at least, not yet. He doesn’t want to give up without a fight, not after he lost his parents to the Empire. Anakin proved to be emotionally unstable, whereas Ezra still had his head on straight. Ezra didn’t lash out or seethe in anger, and instead, used the resources around him to find an alternative solution. He shares parallels with Anakin, but he’s clearly more mature and far more stable than Anakin when he was in his twenties.
Many more thought Ezra did the stupidest thing by revealing his and Kanan’s abilities to Vizago. I stand by his decision. First, it was an interesting plot point, and I appreciate that the writers opened up a possible side story for the future in that manner. Second, it was the only thing he had to trade that was of value to Vizago. Ezra had to lay out all of his cards and take a risk and that’s what leaders do–they take risks. Will it come back to haunt him in the future? Most likely, but at least he will have Kanan (assuming they survive the next episode) beside him to cross that bridge when they get to it. Ezra is, without a doubt, rough around the edges, but he has his heart in the right place. At such a young age, he’s far more level headed than Anakin ever was about anything and he recognizes that he still has much to learn, but that doesn’t stop him from acting on what he knows is right.
EA: As I mentioned earlier, I found it interesting that Tarkin wasn’t so much interested in whether or not Kanan was actually a Jedi, but rather, in what he knew about other rebels. Other than that, Tarkin didn’t do too much in this episode, even if he was the one who ultimately decided that they were going to take Kanan to a place that never failed at extracting a confession.
For the whole of the series, Kallus never seemed too interested in the Inquisitor. They’ve stood beside each other on quite a few occasions, but overall, the two men have felt quite separate, which is why I immediately noticed Kallus’ near loathing look towards the Inquisitor when he came into the interrogation chamber with him and Tarkin. While this look could be chalked up to the generic “bad guy look”. This was the first time, however, that Kallus displayed any real emotion towards the Inquisitor. I can’t help but wonder if his views towards the Force user have changed after he beheaded Aresko and Grint, or if perhaps, he was feeling cast off due to the Inquisitor’s recent streak of getting things done and knowing where that ultimately leads.
Vizago was a very fun character. He’s normally in it for himself and nobody else, but when he sees a good deal, he’ll go for it. I love the entirety of his scenes in this episode, especially when he was laughing and scoffing at Kanan being a Jedi. Of course, the major thing taken away from his scenes was not the information about the courier droid, but the deal he struck with Ezra. Vizago’s a busy man, and surely, if he’s anything like Hondo Ohnaka, a character he’s been compared to quite often, having a Jedi favour in his pocket could make him a very powerful man under the right circumstances. Clearly, this isn’t something that’s going to be touched upon in this season, since we’re heading into the final episode next week, but I can’t help but feel excited at what Vizago has in store for that favour.
JM: I found it entertaining that Tarkin continued to live in denial. Deep down inside, however, I like to think that he considered Kanan to be the genuine thing, but on the surface, he passed it off as an impossible notion. He was also the only other person besides Hera to give us a bit of context about Mustafar, describing it as a “place that never fails to extract a confession,” which undoubtedly confirmed the fact that plenty of Jedi had gone there to die–or worse, become Inquisitors themselves? Ezra briefly touched on that subject when talking to Vizago and implied that there was more than one Inquisitor. It was a given from the start that there was more than one. The galaxy is vast and there are different rebel related activities happening elsewhere. You don’t have just one hound to send out and catch prey, you send out the pack.
Unlike Tarkin, the Inquisitor we know obviously believed Kanan was a Jedi. He faced him in combat, complimented him on his skill, and he was impressed by Kanan’s resilience. Given how Tarkin sealed the fates of Aresko and Grint in “Call to Action” due to repeated failures, I fear the Inquisitor is also on thin ice. I mean, you live by the sword and die by the sword, right? It would be a bold move on the writers’ part to eliminate the Inquisitor and introduce another in his place. Or, since we don’t know much about him and I would prefer to learn more, it would be interesting to see him be paired up with someone who could achieve the results. Speculation aside, my Rebels Chat partner said it best when she said that between him and Tarkin, Tarkin is the one to fear the most.
As for Vizago, it was fun to see him interact with the rebels during their hour of need. It reminded me of how Obi-Wan and Anakin turned to Hondo Ohnoka in certain instances. I like that he wasn’t as treacherous as he was made out to be. He’s a businessman, but his interactions with Ezra made it seem like he was a fairly neutral character.
EA: The whole bowing scene with Ezra and Vizago. I loved Ezra’s confusion at what was happening before he decided to touch Vizago’s damaged horn.
JM: The scene with Chopper and Ezra in Kanan’s room. I absolutely adored the fact that both of them went there because they missed him. It was a sweet and heartfelt interaction between the two, especially given how they both bugged each other since the start of the series.
EA: Along with wholeheartedly seconding Jo’s thoughts, I dislike that the courier droid is going to run out of power and be lost in the field. THANKS, Dave!
JM: Elisa pointed this out a few episodes ago, but the continued lack of women in the Imperial ranks is really starting to grate me. Even if no model is prepared for it, use Vanessa Marshall or Tiya Sircar to voice a stormtrooper. We know they exist in canon, and given the incessant rumors and leaks about The Force Awakens, we also know that there will be Imperial women in the sequel. I don’t really understand the delay and it only gets more frustrating with time.
EA: Seeing as losing people he considers family is a fear for Ezra, and a significant one, it leaves me to wonder if there will be a time in the future when Ezra will have to decide to leave someone behind for the good of the group. He’s always aware of who is around him and who should be with them, like how he knew Chopper wasn’t with them. Hera and Kanan have both expressed the understanding that you can’t save everyone all the time, and for as positive as Ezra is in believing that you can, that is potentially a very dangerous line of thinking. I would really like to see what would happen if he had to make that choice, because right now, his plans have panned out the way he’s wanted, and for him to grow further in that regard, I feel he needs that streak to end.
Not to constantly compare them, but Ezra and Anakin have overlaps, and we’ve seen what can happen when someone believes that they can save everyone all the time. Not that I want Ezra to go to the dark side by any means, but seeing him come to terms with the difficulty of that reality and growing due to it is something I would like to see.
JM: “Rebel Resolve” turned out to be another emotional episode leading up to the grand and explosive season finale. Moving a step up from hearing the voice, the episode gave us a visual of the shrouded Fulcrum. Many fans desperately want to see Ahsoka Tano as the mysterious figure, but I hope we’ll see someone totally unexpected. I also found it interesting that Fulcrum was quick to leave Kanan in the lion’s den. Despite the Jedi Council turning against her, I don’t think Ahsoka (assuming she is Fulcrum) would talk that way about another individual. Then again, war and ongoing struggles do tend to harden people. Given that this episode is more of a transition and elevated the stakes even more, I look forward to “Fire Across the Galaxy” when the action really breaks out and fates hang in the balance.