This review contains spoilers.
Spiders. Spiders everywhere! The penultimate episode of the second season of Star Wars Rebels featured one last group adventure. While things appeared to be going right for the rebels, they quickly discovered that the planet they settled on is out to kill them. So not only do they have to worry about the critters in their backyard, but they also have the Empire looming ahead of them in the distance. It’s a constant struggle, as it should be, since that same struggle existed in the saga films. The episode itself was also filled with all sorts of symbolism and foreshadowing, sending fan theorists into a frenzy regarding the fates of the protagonists heading off to confront Vader and his Inquisitors. Although people cried out “filler” once again (and it’s not), the ominous moments scattered throughout make this episode a necessary watch, since it puts things into motion and helps set the stage for the season finale.
A spider attack might sound weird and unoriginal, but it was important to show that the planet wasn’t as perfect as they had imagined and it was also a last team effort that featured the entire Ghost crew. It was their last big hoorah of the second season–working with each other for what might be the last time–before separating to tackle their own individual tasks. My only critique is the fact that the episode used spiders. They’re such a recognizable species and they’ve been used before in Kevin Hearne’s novel Heir to the Jedi. Although I like the comparison because in both instances the rebels were looking for a base, it would have been great to have seen something completely different and alien that was just as dangerous and threatening.
The sweet moments shared between Zeb and Ezra as well as Kanan and Hera made the episode more emotional for the fans heavily invested and connected to these characters. One thing missing, though, was a goodbye between Ezra and Sabine. Ezra’s been shown to have a “thing” for her, but a friendly exchange between the two characters would have been rounded out the episode more. It also could have replaced the 5 seconds spent on Chopper attaching the Phantom to the Ghost prior to the crew entering the spider caves, a scene that wasn’t all that necessary. The moment that really broke my heart was Hera and Kanan’s hug. Those two characters have been through it all together ever since their debut in Star Wars: A New Dawn, so it’s frightening to see them go their separate ways.
This was also the first time in a while when Ezra really acted his age and not necessarily in a good way. I’ve always been a fan of how he was more mature and observant than your standard teenager. In this episode, however, he took a few steps back and it didn’t sit right with me. Obviously, he was on the edge about staying on top and killing the Inquisitors before they kill him, but as an Ezra fangirl, there was something about his behavior that didn’t add up, especially given how far he’s come since the first season. And now, with where he’s going and what he’ll end up doing, my main worry is that audience members will be more disconnected from the character. I don’t want Ezra to fall into this trend of being an annoying teenage character. That stereotype is overdone, so I hope the writers have better plans for him in the future–plans that will (hopefully) make him a more likable character for the rest of the audience.
One other point that didn’t sit well was the fact that poor Lieutenant Dicer wasn’t mentioned again after they went into the spider caves to save Rex. Granted, she was probably already dead, but the crew mentioning her name would have shown that some care was there. In the end, the episode carried an eerie feeling to it because of the danger looming over the Jedi characters. Since it’s connected to the final episode in that sense, I look forward to watching the one-hour season finale before revisiting the episode. Sometimes, you’re able to discover more of the symbolism after the fact.
- It’s great to have another instance of Sabine watching Ezra and Kanan training. I don’t think we’ve had that since season one’s episode “Empire Day”.
- Their sparring speaks to how skilled the two have become and how Kanan, understandably, still has the upper hand. Their conversation together again shows the different ways of thinking that Master and Padawan share, and it’ll be interesting to see how the themes foreshadowed in this moment and in the episode as a whole will come into play in the finale.
- Ezra in this episode felt more outspoken but not in his usual way. I don’t want to say he has a temper, but there’s more than one instance where he comes up short with his patience.
- So happy to see AP-5 again. I hope this means that he’ll be a more permanent feature in season three.
Kanan saying they were waiting for Ahsoka to arrive makes me wish we knew where Ahsoka was and what she was doing at that moment.
- Lieutenant Dicer. All I’m going to say is that I did not personally like how she was handled in this episode. I’m not saying she had to live. I just wish that there had been even a single comment when it came to her once they got into the caves. Either Rex or Ezra could have found her and made a brief comment or maybe Rex could have said something. That’s all I’m saying.
- I’ve wanted Rex and Sabine to team up since he joined the series, and I’m happy that we got to have that before the finale.
- I love the area Zeb had set up for himself and how it was listed as Zeb’s Hideout in the episode guide. Also, I love how this scene introduced us to more of the native music that people in this universe listen to and the adorable Convoree, which are sourced from my favourite bird in The Clone Wars. This scene also had another instance of foreshadowing with Zeb bringing up that they can swap war stories once they got back.
- The spiders are creepy as all sin. I love their design. The animation on them is beautiful and the sounds they make are exactly what you’d not want them to sound like, and I mean that in the best way possible.
- I do like that Ezra tried to connect with the spiders and that it didn’t work. We get further information on his failure in Rebels Recon, but it makes sense that Ezra can’t connect with all creatures, even with multiple attempts.
- I really hope we get to see Sabine with a jetpack in the future.
- When watching this the first time, I felt levels of horror at watching Kanan and Ezra toss Sabine off the cliff. I liked that we got to see their reactions, especially Kanan’s when he saw that she was alive and well.
- Now, as someone who enjoys Kanera (Kanan and Hera), I’ve found the final scene the two share to be quite telling of their relationship. I’ve viewed the couple as more platonic in their love of one another, and this scene between them continues to sell that for me. We don’t get a lot in media of two people, who clearly love one another, working side by side while not being in a romantic relationship, and I personally love to view their relationship that way. I know a lot of people were hoping for a kiss, and at the same time, I was too. However, the fact that they didn’t during their goodbye hug, when all the walls are down and they needed to be there for one another as much as they could be, it speaks to me that their relationship is something else to one another. Something more rare, but just as special. And just to add, the “dear” and “love” that they used to more often give one another never tipped the scales for me, since both can be common terms of endearment for some people/families/cultures, whatever the relation two people have with one another. Saying that, with how media goes, they will end up together at some point, they will share that kiss, and when that time comes, I will be excited for it. But until then, I like the relationship they’re currently sharing.
- And now, the final scene with Ezra. All would have been fine had it not been for the music just before Ahsoka arrived and how the single Convoree was circling overhead like a tiny fat buzzard. I’ve wanted a scene between Ezra and Ahsoka since she joined, and this is the third we’ve gotten. I love the interactions they have with one another, and how relaxed they both come off. I also adore how Ahsoka seems to give the spiders a little glare after Ezra says that he can’t connect with them and it consistently makes me smile now that I’ve noticed it.
- The final shot and the music that comes with it destroys me, though.
- This episode hit all the marks even if they were uncomfortable and unsettling, and that’s why I feel the spiders were a fantastic creature for it. The score and symbolism throughout felt geared towards making the audience feel on edge. While we have a week between episodes, I can only imagine marathoning the season once it’s complete, and how well this episode will help play into whatever dread is coming for us in the finale episodes. Saying that, I’m still feeling the dread. Even now that we’re a short time away from the finale, it hasn’t lessened. I have guesses as to what’ll happen or what I fear will happen. But after this much build up towards the end of this season, I’m trying to prepare myself for anything.
- And did we get a mystery? Was it the spiders? Was the mystery why they hadn’t been attacking before? Had time allowed, I think this episode could have benefited from having another couple people disappear before Rex.
Make sure to tune into the highly anticipated season finale tonight, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at 9:00PM EST on Disney XD.