This review contains spoilers.
Sometimes, in order to get to know ourselves better and discover parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t have imagined to be there, we have to be put in a life threatening situation, where we’re tested and experience humility–and it helps if your enemy is right there alongside with you. Agent Kallus and Zeb found themselves in that Enemy Mine-like situation in the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, making for an entertaining, well-rounded, and eye-opening episode that left Agent Kallus’ fate up for vast amounts of intense discussion.
If you ask fans what side of the war they root for the most, the majority will say the rebels, since most of the focus is on the rebellion side and their fight for freedom from the Empire is something most of us will naturally support. However, like the novel that came before it (Lost Stars by Claudia Gray), not everything is as black and white as one would assume. Characters on both sides of the war believe they are doing just acts in the name of something bigger than themselves. So when one of those characters happens to be Agent Kallus and his view of the Empire is slightly shaken, how does that change things moving forward? This episode, like the other character-driven episodes before it, has implications that will ripple across and affect future events that have yet come to pass and that alone makes this episode (and all the others) worth watching.
Plus, there’s the brilliant performances from Steve Blum (Zeb) and David Oyelowo (Kallus) as well as the stunning animation and lighting found throughout the episode that set the mood just right. It was so great seeing two enemies set differences aside and rely on each other for survival. Some of my favorite moments revolved around Kallus and the background stories we got for his bo-rifle and deployment to Onderon. These small details enrich the story and paint a clearer picture of him, so it was great to see the audience come away with a better understanding of Kallus. Some even felt sorry for him. He’s not just a mustache-twirling villain, and instead, he’s a character with complex layers. And while some found his character to be inconsistent, I think the writers did a remarkable job in expanding his story in such a short amount of time and in a believable way.
Something else that stood out to me was Ezra’s observant nature and the one keeping a close eye on his fellow crew members. In almost every instance, he was the one to call out to Zeb and keep the search for Zeb going. It was a subtle way of incorporating his attachment to the Ghost crew, so it’d be interesting to see how that will affect him later on in the future when he actually does lose someone. Would he be like Kanan, who vanquished the Grand Inquisitor without falling off of his path? Or would he be more like Anakin, who let his attachments and emotions consume him?
And of course, there’s the question regarding Kallus and his future. This episode was in no way a filler, as some shows tend to insert material in between that has no relation to the main plot. All of these episodes, as previously mentioned, have bigger plans in the works, and this particular episode set the stage for something more to develop. I, for one, look forward to discovering more of his story as we move forward with the series and how it might affect future events.
- It’s been so great to have Rex around in so many episodes, even when there’s no specific need of his expertise or what have you. I like how he’s just a character that’s being used.
- While they’re not a cuddly species, or even one that has had any of its members do anything noble, I am saddened–and frankly, frightened–by what happened to the Geonosians. While I had been left wondering what the Empire had done to them, knowing it would have been them, I was informed that this was covered in issue #4 of the Vader comic.
- I love Chopper’s battle with the astromech.
- The animation of Zeb running through the hall and his foot slipping on the floor was beautiful. This series has some of the best animation (and lighting), and the little touches that are added only make it better.
- I really want to know what makes Chopper not like Lasats. I hope this is something we learn later on, especially given that his homeworld is canonically listed as Lasan.
- I love how Kallus clearly has no tech skills whatsoever. Because if he did, given who he is, he’d have wanted the transponder immediately to fix himself. Instead, he just hopes Zeb can do it.
- While much of what Kallus says could be him trying to stay on Zeb’s good side, I feel that his mention of Zeb having a fair trial is him being honest. This goes in hand later with Kallus admitting that he never asked about Geonosis.
- Given how Zeb is so nonchalant about the cold after Ezra comments on being outside in it too long, I wonder if it’s just due to Zeb’s bulk, or if his species actually handles it better as a whole, probably because of their fur. When the power cell goes out, Kallus is immediately shivering, while Zeb has little reaction.
- I know it was most likely due to his own survival relying on Zeb’s able bodied-ness, but Kallus saying “You’re going to hurt yourself” was amazing. David Oyelowo is always a pleasure to listen to, and as one would expect, he knocked it out of the park this episode. I loved seeing Kallus in this situation and the stunning voice acting only made it all the better.
- As far as animal designs go in Rebels, I wasn’t sure there would be something that would come to equal the love I feel for my precious space whales, but the bonzami really fit the bill. The design is clean and detailed in all the right places, and the lighting really highlights the more alien design it has.
- I need to say it again, the lighting in Rebels can be really beautiful, and this episode was no exception.
- “The boys and I were deployed to Onderon.” I need that story. I need it so much that it hurts, and not just for the mention of a Lasat mercenary, who, I will believe until proven otherwise, is Puggles Trodd. Rebels hasn’t shied away from using content from the old role play books, and I would be absolutely stoked if this was another example of that.
- I love how even if Kallus didn’t shoot Zeb earlier, it’s clear that he wanted the weapon for the climb, and his look of shock followed by dislike when Zeb threw it out of the cave is priceless.
- The whole getting out of the cave sequence has to be my favourite in the series, so far. All of the elements, but notably the animation and the voice work along with how Kallus was pointing out the obvious on more than one occasion, made it an incredible set of scenes.
- I really loved seeing an actual snow storm happening. Things can get expensive fast in CG, but it looked fantastic.
- I was really excited for a moment that Kallus was going to share his name with us. But alas, it was not to be.
- The final scenes of this episode broke my heart, and again, it really comes down to the incredible score and animation. The heart wrenching knowledge that the Empire wasn’t the one to retrieve him because they’d already allocated their time to it doesn’t help either. But it’s the sparseness of Kallus’ room and it being is as much a contrast as I think you could get from the Ghost cabins that also got me. While the room is large and spacious, especially for one, it’s empty, and there’s nothing to even make it look lived in, at least, until Kallus sets the meteorite on the small shelf.
- Because I am who I am, I really am curious about what Kallus has stowed away in his trunk, and if he maybe has something personal in there. Or if the trunk simply contains just clothes and maybe armour that he needs for work.
- This episode was stunning in so many ways. I was not going in expecting to get the story I got or the fantastic look at Kallus’ character. The storytelling and pacing were extremely strong, and I cannot at all wait to see where this story may eventually go.
In the meantime, make sure to tune into the next all-new episode tonight, March 2, 2016, at 9:00PM EST on Disney XD.