A review by Elisa and Johnamarie. This review contains spoilers.
Kanan has a change of heart, Ezra connects with the Force, and Rex and Ahsoka are reunited in the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels. In the week prior, an Imperial probe droid visited our heroes after Commander Wolffe contacted the Empire in a moment of weakness. Although some felt the returning episode (“The Lost Commanders”) was not as strong as the season two premiere and the season one finale, many more agreed that “Relics of the Old Republic” was the better half of the two-part story. Not only did it pick up in pace and suspense, but there was a satisfying amount of character development and homage to fan favorite series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
One of the last conversations young Caleb Dume had with his ex-comrades, Commander Grey and Captain Styles, in Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 was about the importance of military titles. The clones stressed to him and Depa Billaba that ranks were in place to establish a clear chain of command, one in which the Jedi’s leadership played a crucial role. Since then, Kanan’s views had drastically changed. At one point, during “Siege of Lothal”, Kanan mocked Hera’s title of general. In the following episode, he warned Gregor not to call him General Jarrus. And finally, Rex referred to him as a general in the current episode, and instead of mocking and flat-out refusing to be called that, Kanan–through his actions and leadership–came to accept the title. It was a difficult first step for him, but Kanan is a natural born leader and someone who’s able to come up with a plan on the spot. It’s the reason why he’s Specter One and we’ve seen him take charge time and again throughout the comic book series, in Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, and in past episodes. This is just one of the many examples of how the Lucasfilm Story Group have been successful in keeping character development consistent across various forms of storytelling.
Left: Kanan uses the Force to “see” the walkers and direct Wolffe’s movements with the AT-TE. Right: Ezra uses the Force to find the AT-AT’s weak point. (Photos: Lucasfilm)
Kanan also had difficulty accepting Ezra’s growing relationship with Rex. The encouragement and words of advice on the part of Rex was a constant reminder of the relationship he had developed with Ahsoka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Growing up, Ahsoka had three major mentors: Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Rex. Ezra has Kanan (his version of Anakin) and Hera (his version of Obi-Wan), so it’s great to see Rex become involved in some way during Ezra’s development. Speaking of Ezra, his golden moment of taking down the AT-AT really demonstrates how far advanced he is with his abilities. The writers on the show have done an excellent job at writing his part because most of the time, the child character ends up being neglected by the audience. However, a lot of children and adults are able to connect and identify with Ezra because he’s just like any other kid without the stereotypical annoying qualities that are often written into child characters. So when Ezra seamlessly goes from playing in Rex’s gunner to focusing and connecting with the Force to do the impossible, one can’t help but feel a sense of pride for the character. In many ways, this was Ezra’s “Luke moment” and he did it spectacularly well.
Something that also stood out in this episode was how “new” doesn’t necessarily mean best. There was the showdown between the clones and the AT-TE versus the stormtroopers and the AT-AT, and although the relics of the old Republic took heavy hits, they managed to triumph in the face of certain death. The win primarily came about because of Kanan’s involvement, instantly reminding Rex of the old ways of warfare at a Jedi’s side. This is a beautifully written scene that, without a doubt, sits at the top in a list of favorite moments from the series–next to his reunion with Ahsoka, of course. In the end, Agent Kallus underestimated the clones, hurting his ego and arrogance in the process–a well-deserved loss.
Left: Rex challenging the enemy to come out and fight. Right: Ahsoka and Rex reunited after years of blocked communication. (Photos: Lucasfilm)
One detail that I wish was more evident throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars was the growing friendship between Rex and Ahsoka. We saw them start off the series together, but as the seasons went on, the two characters operated separately. We barely saw them together. So as fans of both characters, we desperately wanted to see a reunion that evoked deep emotion and those unseen years of friendship. What we got truly surpassed our expectations. And the reunion couldn’t have come at a better time in Ahsoka’s life, when she’s questioning recent events after her encounter with Darth Vader.
In going forward, one of the things that we’re interested in seeing the most is Ezra continuing his practice with the Force. How will encountering two new Inquisitors in the next all-new episode (“Always Two There Are”) affect him? So far, he’s doing all the things that Luke Skywalker will be doing. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke suffers greatly in that he loses his hand and discovers that his father is a dark lord of the Sith. Could we expect similar parallels in the future for Ezra? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, make sure to tune into the next episode on Wednesday, October 28, at 9:30PM EST on Disney XD.