Review: Star Wars Rebels, “The Call”

Star Wars Rebels, "The Call" Ezra Bridger
Star Wars Rebels, "The Call" Ezra Bridger
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

A review by Elisa and Johnamarie. This review contains spoilers.

Ezra made a deep connection with one of the coolest and most impressive creatures ever created for the franchise. “The Call” was another fantastic character-driven episode that was both satisfying and enlightening, giving fans a closer look at Ezra’s ability to connect with other living beings as well as the origins of hyperspace travel. As evidenced by these past couple of episodes, what’s so amazing about the series is that it continues to build the characters in small and significant ways while also exploring parts of the galaxy that the movies aren’t able to touch on. This episode was no different, since it delivered on those fronts, especially in capturing the awe and wonder of the Star Wars galaxy.

While some fans expect the Ghost crew to be heavily involved in the inner workings of the rebellion and moving big pieces forward against the Empire, the truth of the matter is that this particular crew works best on the front lines, acquiring resources and contacts. They are soldiers who receive orders and not the kind who dish them out–at least, they’re not in the position to do so right now, like Commander Sato and Mon Mothma (who I hope to see in the series one day). That said, it makes sense that they would suffer as a result of dwindling resources. You’re often made to believe that basic things, like fuel, appear out of nowhere because that’s the nature of storytelling in television, but I appreciate the fact that the rebels have to put important activities on hold in order to acquire basic necessities. And although their original mission took a bit of a turn, the end result was most beneficial for the rebellion and detrimental for the Empire, since they lost an important access point for fuel. It may not have been a mind blowing battle filled with laser blasts and dizzying spins in space, but it was still an important win for the rebels.

Ezra wasn’t the only one to discover something inherently beautiful about the whale-like creatures. I like how Hera originally stood at the other end of the spectrum and how she gradually came to understand the Purrgil through Ezra. As for the Purrgil themselves, I absolutely love the concept and the execution of the story. We’ve seen enormous beasts before, such as the Zillo beast in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and how people have failed to understand them. I like that Ezra was that link and that bridge (Bridger!) between his crew and the creatures. It’s a powerful gift, one that he can easily use to his advantage for either good or bad reasons (as seen with the Fyrnock in season one). And what I like most about his ability is that he is so open to his surroundings that it’s constantly evolving without him realizing, making it a raw talent that I hope to see him harness in the future.

The big moment of pure wonderment at the end is my absolute favorite of the series, so far. I know everyone thinks of Jedi and Sith/Republic and Empire/good and bad when it comes to Star Wars, but my favorite parts of the universe have always been the bits and pieces in between. Did we desperately need to know from where hyperspace travel originated? No, but it made for a good story that enhanced both Ezra and Hera in a positive way. Plus, I don’t know about everyone else, but I have a thirst for knowledge and I like how it enhances the things that surround me. Now that we have this brand new information about how the Purrgil inspired long distance travel, it’s changed the way I see hyperdrives. It’s one of those things that I’ve taken for granted because it’s always been there as part of the story. Now, there’s an origin and a clearer picture of something that is traditionally Star Wars.

Hyperspace travel in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In a lot of ways, this episode reminded me of the Star Wars Rebels comics written by Martin Fisher and Jeremy Barlow in that they took the time to explore what would appear to be minute details, such as acquiring fuel and discovering the truth behind the Purrgil. I find this information and background material fascinating and rewarding. Many thanks to the writers who take the time to think outside the box and continue to build the world of Star Wars in new and exciting ways.

Elisa’s Thoughts:

  • I mentioned this in the season one review of “Droids in Distress”, but I like that we get to see the Ghost crew having to work for money or for something they need, such as fuel. This is an element that solidifies that the Rebellion really is living hand to mouth, and it’s great to see the different ways the struggle they have for supplies and ships manifests in the series.
  • By this point, Ezra’s connection to animals has been well proven. The way it’s evolved over the course of the series has been a real enjoyment, and seeing how it played such a major role in this episode was also fun to see. It’s a power that I’ve enjoyed since The Clone Wars. Though, its use by Obi-Wan Kenobi was understandably limited. Considering the heights that Ezra’s ability is already reaching, I look forward to seeing how far it’ll eventually go.
  • Hera’s personal arc in this episode with coming to accept and appreciate the Purrgil for what they are and not continuing to condemn them for the accidents they’ve caused was a nice side plot. Going in, her dislike of them and her willingness to destroy what they needed to live fits well with the personality that we’ve seen from her. Hera is hard focused and driven, and she’ll do whatever is needed, no matter how ugly it is, to get the job done. We’ve seen this focused side of her on multiple occasions in the series, and I’m glad that it’s something we get to see again in this episode. I am curious if there will ever be a time when she has to make a hard and ugly choice, and it will ultimately be the right thing to do.
  • Kanan and Hera’s banter in this episode was top notch, along with Kanan’s facial expressions. Hera being completely done with Kanan’s personality was also a lot of fun.
  • I love the simplicity of the TIE modification we see in this episode and the further details we got about it in Rebels Recon. Also, it was nice to see more Rodians. They’re a species I very much enjoy, even if they did all end up dead.
  • The story of the Purrgil being the inspiration for hyperdrive was a much enjoyed moment for me. Not only because I personally adore the idea of animals being an inspiration, but also because I love the idea of there being space faring animals that can travel through hyperspace. Another aspect of this that I liked comes from another show Dave Filoni worked on before, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hearing Hera speak of the Purrgil reminded me of the story about how early Earthbenders learned to bend from Badgermoles.
  • A lot of people have commented on the final scene of this episode when Ezra and Kanan are outside while the Ghost appears to be in space. I feel Kanan’s line earlier on about them being in the upper atmosphere is an important one to note because it gives context to what we see later. It’s very clear when the ramp first lowers for their jump that we’re seeing stars. Only after the shot changed, do we see asteroids and more of the planetoid. In short, it’s the upper atmosphere and not space.
  • Rebels will never fail when it comes to giving Ralph McQuarrie’s art love and attention. Boss Yushyn is another example of one of the old designs being brought into canon for an interesting and new alien. I do have hopes that at some point, we will get a McQuarrie alien design that is not a bad guy.
  • Ezra started out with a slingshot and upgraded to a blaster lightsaber, which uses a seemingly permanent stun setting throughout the course of the series. That said, I find it interesting that Ezra has mostly killed in the gunner seat of the Ghost. Other times, he’s used his lightsaber to deflect blaster shots and only recently have we seen him use the Force against another person. A lot of discussion has appeared when it comes to Ezra pushing the mining guild worker off the platform, and with a classic wilhelm scream, it reminded me of Kallus kicking the trooper to his death back in Spark of Rebellion. That is where any similarity ends. Being a rebel is not a clean thing. We’ve seen time and again the various ways life has been taken in this series by not only the Empire but by the rebels as well. This is war. People die. Even if he’s only “still a kid”, Ezra’s been brought into this life, and what I have seen him do in this episode and others, has never made me feel as if he’s done something wrong. He’s reacting to a situation and protecting himself and others from harm.
  • While it could be seen that this episode was merely a filler, I found it to be an important one. Not only for Hera, but for Ezra and his ever growing abilities. Personally, I am excited to see where Ezra’s powers go from here, and what role they’ll ultimately play in the rest of this season as well as in the next.

Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode, “Homecoming”, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 9:00PM EST on Disney XD.

1 comment on “Review: Star Wars Rebels, “The Call”

  1. Well said :)

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