Welcome to The Recap Holocron, a mystical device that will provide a breakdown of each Star Wars Rebels episode moving forward. Your Presence in this Holocron is Elisa Ardell, who will also be providing personal thoughts and theories along the way…
Kicking things off with a blown up transport, a message from a new Fulcrum agent, and Sabine going undercover to help none other than Wedge Antilles defect from the Empire, “The Antilles Extraction” is a smaller story after last week’s episode, but what it may lack in action (which there is still plenty of), it makes up for in character growth and hinting at things that will surely have big repercussions in the future.
Opening with a bang: While escorting a transport carrying food, six rebel pilots try to stand their own against an Imperial warship and its three TIE fighters. Once all is said and done, the rebel pilots of Green Squadron have been destroyed, along with the unarmed transport whose pilot tried to beg for mercy.
- Just a little added observation, but the expression of the guy talking to the woman at the start of the episode really made it look as if he were flirting.
Fulcrum: Back at Chopper Base, the Ghost crew and Sato have heard of what happened to the failed transport and the loss of their pilots along with the crew of the transport. With the loss of pilots they’ve been having, brought up by Ezra, Sato chimes in that he’s been working on a solution with Fulcrum. Ezra’s hope that Ahsoka survived is made all the more heartbreaking when Hera corrects him and says that Fulcrum is a code name used by many informants, though, it was initially created by Ahsoka. With a message that is spoken in a disguised voice, the rebels are told that there are Imperial cadets at the Skystrike Academy who wish to defect to the rebellion. With Sabine having real personal knowledge of life at an Imperial academy, and not being as recognizable as Ezra, she is the one who receives the undercover mission.
- After having seen so many pilots perish over the course of the second season, I was wondering when the need for more pilots would eventually come up.
- Many people, myself included, feel that the new Fulcrum is Kallus. Given what we can hear of the voice and its speech pattern, and what happens later in the episode, Kallus feels like a good bet. Saying that, after what happened with Ashley Eckstein’s (Ahsoka) voice being discovered so early on, I will be wary of any other Imperials I see who are being given any screen time. We do see Lyste, however, on the promo image with the Imperials.
First day at school: In disguise as a cadet, Sabine is whisked away to the imposing and sky high Skystrike Academy. After initial trouble with her credentials, Sabine successfully infiltrates the academy, while Ezra and Kanan play the waiting game at a safe distance away in space in one of the corvettes. For his part, Kanan does a good job with settling Ezra, who admits he’s not that big on these solo missions, though, he has no excuse for when Kanan points out that he’s only that way when it’s not himself carrying them out.
- I really enjoyed that when Sabine was having trouble with her credentials, she did the old NES cartridge fix method of blowing on it to get it working.
Pep talks and training: After a very encouraging talk from the Skystrike Academy’s flight instructor, Argin Relik, Sabine is ready for the next morning’s combat training. All goes well for Sabine and her wingman, Wedge, until the final remaining target is a heavily damaged rebel ship signaling its surrender. Not one to be deterred, their instructor informs them to destroy the vessel. Sabine is the one to speak up about proper Imperial protocol, and after a snide remark about breaking the rules being part of the test, the Ghost comes swooping in, destroying both Wedge and Sabine’s TIE fighters. Once the simulation ends and Sabine and Wedge are both scolded by Captain Vult Skerris over the dangers of not following orders, Wedge takes Sabine aside, admitting that he respects her for taking risks and going through with what she knows is right, but he warns her that others at the academy will not see it that way.
- Sabine’s sad expression at the end of the scene stuck out to me as interesting. It seems to be a byproduct of what else had been going on, namely what came up in her conversation with Wedge, and potentially what she had been ordered to do in the simulation. We’ve heard her mention before that the Empire made her do awful things when she followed orders, and I wonder if those were real life scenarios or only simulation.
Honored Arrivals: Together, Governor Pryce and Agent Kallus arrive at Skystrike Academy. ISB has information that some cadets are planning to defect and they are there to find the identities of the traitors. Pryce takes this chance to inform Kallus that she hopes she can teach him something new, something which Kallus seems none too pleased about.
Hall Talk: On her own in the halls, Sabine comes across Wedge speaking in hushed tones to two other cadets. Their conversation is brief before the three men go their separate ways. Wedge, on his own, is found by Sabine. With little prompting, Wedge admits that he’s been thinking about what Sabine said earlier, about how this isn’t what she had signed up for. After asking if he’s ever thought about getting out, Sabine shares her real identity, informing him that she’s there to get him out. Wedge is happy to hear that the Rebellion did get his message and confirms that there are others also wanting to get out. They part ways, Sabine off to formulate a plan, while Wedge talks to the other pilots wanting to defect.
- I have no doubt that Wedge did send a message, but the message we heard was clearly a Fulcrum agent. My thoughts on this is that Wedge’s message was intercepted by ISB, and possibly, by Kallus himself. He, in turn, passed along a properly coded message to the Rebellion. I am unsure of how he knew how to do this, but from there, he did actually report the message and made sure to be at the Skystrike Academy to help ensure that these cadets did escape.
- Argin Relik’s voice is one of the best things ever.
Tests: Once learning that Kallus has yet to find anything in his investigations, Pryce has a plan to go ahead and allow the cadets to begin taking their TIE fighters out into space to continue their training. Sabine meets up with Wedge, Rake, and Hobbie telling them that there is a rebel ship nearby waiting for her signal. After telling them that they have to trust her and sending a signal out to Ezra, they head out to space with others to train in a simulated dogfight. After enough time for Sabine to begin wondering where he’s located, the corvette with Ezra and Kanan arrives, something that does not go unnoticed back down on Skystrike Academy. With their pick-up ship now waiting for them, Sabine tells the others it’s time to go, the four of them breaking off from the rest of the TIE fighters and heading for the corvette. Pryce warns them that this is their only chance to come back to base, and when they don’t, she activates the rigged fighters into disabling themselves. After ordering one of the pods to be destroyed, she orders the retrieving ships to go after the transport. Ezra, for his part, tries to go after Sabine, even with Sabine telling him to abort the mission and Kanan warning him that they can’t take another hit like the one they’d just received. In the end, it is Chopper who forces them to leave by making them enter hyperspace, leaving Sabine and the other pilots behind.
Interrogations: Held in an interrogation room, Pryce threatens that if she does not get the answers she wants from the would-be defectors, she will use force, showing off the table and electric prod torturing device. She then picks Wedge as the first victim of her interrogation. Sabine is quick to admit that she is the rebel out of the group, and Wedge is just as quick to stop Sabine, only to accidentally give her real name away in the process. Now having the information she was looking for, Pryce sends Kallus off with the others, leaving her to deal with Sabine alone. This is a mistake because as soon as she has the chance, Sabine fights for her life with an impressive amount of skill. Knocking out both troopers first, she fights hand to hand with Pryce, ultimately managing to best the older woman when she kicks her into the sparking prod and electrocuting her, sending her unconscious to the ground.
- I absolutely adore this fight scene. Star Wars doesn’t often have the chance to have a really brutal hand-to-hand fight scene, especially thanks to all the blasters and Force users around. This fight is not only impressively animated, though, it shows off the skills that both of these characters have. Sabine’s winning cry that her clan taught her better is also a perfect end to this fight.
Unlikely friends: Free of Pryce, Sabine goes and fetches Wedge and Hobbie, the two having been in the process of trying to figure out how to save Sabine. Now together, the three of them escape down the halls which are quickly being locked down. Trapped between two sets of closed doors, Kallus appears, telling Sabine to not shoot. When asked why she should not shoot him, he tells them what levels to avoid before activating the door controls and giving them further information on which hangar would be their best possibility. Sabine, keeping her weapon on him, asks him why they should trust him. Kallus answers her, “Tell Garazeb Orrelios, we’re even.” Taking that as a clear sign of Kallus’ honesty, she and the others escape down the hall that Kallus had opened for them.
- I love that Kallus helping Sabine wasn’t something flashy or an instance of him throwing everything Imperial out the window and making a break for it with Sabine and the others. As it stands, he can get away with what he did. A small act that he stepped in to perform before stepping right back out. It lets us wonder if we’ll see him do something similar again, and if he does, what will he say is his reasoning, since he’s already used the single excuse he did have.
The Escape: Without many options for escape open to them, the three are forced to escape in a TIE/sa bomber. While it is not the fastest ship available, it can take hits, and that is what they need at this point. With the comms jammed and unable to contact her friends, and with Captain Vult Skerris hot on their trail, he is quickly doing damage to the far slower ship. Just in time, the corvette comes out of the clouds, blocking Skerris’ attack and sending him elsewhere to avoid crashing, while also giving Sabine and the others time to dock onto the corvette to narrowly zip them away to safety. Back at Chopper Base, the rest of the Ghost crew and Sato meet up with those who have returned. Sabine introduces Wedge and Hobbie to Sato, who welcomes them to the Rebellion.
Final Thoughts: This was a really good episode, and it was a lot more than only fanservice with Wedge and Hobbie. We were introduced to Skystrike Academy, something which is surely ominous enough for us to see or have referenced again later on, and if nothing else, we got to see Kallus do something that was a very big character moment for him. Like some other episodes that get accused of being a filler, this episode has set up more than a few questions that I can’t wait to eventually have answered.