Two eras collide in the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, giving fans one of the most emotional and gratifying episodes of the series. “The Last Battle” follows the boys as they take off to find ammo and weapons, while Hera and Sabine go look for fuel, reminding the audience that a Rebellion can’t operate without these basic resources and that these things just don’t pop out of thin air. Guiding them through a war torn base is Captain Rex, but things start to turn upside down quickly when they’re captured by a Separatist droid army that’s still in operation as if the Clone War had never ended.
Captain Rex is suddenly tossed back to a violent and unpleasant time when war seemed to be a constant and there was no rest for the weary. For him, the Clone War ended abruptly with Order 66. There was no victory, no fireworks, no Medal of Honor that would recognize his service to the Republic. Order 66 happened and he and Ahsoka escaped the ordeal, parting ways until they finally saw each other again years later in Star Wars Rebels, where he’s pulled back into another galactic-wide conflict. Rex never got closure from the first war—the war he was bred to fight in—so when he’s forced to fight in the “last battle” of the Clone War, he falls back into what is naturally his way of life. That comes with plenty of emotions, since Rex is reminded of a time when he would wake up and go to sleep to the sound of violence and a time when brothers in arms would fall in battle every day. Ezra notices this and compares him to the very droid that put them in this situation in the first place, Kalani.
Seeing Kalani again was also another blast from the past. We originally saw him in the Onderon arc from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There, he was given orders by Count Dooku to travel to Agamar, where the events of this Rebels episode takes place. I love it when loose threads are picked back up again and are continued years later with a set of all new characters. To do it believably and with such emotion, that is remarkable storytelling on the part of Brent Friedman and Steven Melching. It’s also a subtle connection to the upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, since Saw Gerrera was present during those events on Onderon and he plays a role with Jyn Erso’s unit of rebels in the movie.
It was also interesting to see Kanan and Ezra assume the traditional roles of Master and Padawan, and even though they had gone by those titles before, Kanan and Ezra are far from traditional. Additionally, for Ezra to experience a Clone War battle up close and personal, it was both hilarious and very telling. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing, and you’d think a “sword and shield” maneuver would be something that Kanan would use against the forces of the Empire, but the methods of operation against the Separatists don’t easily translate over. I also love that Ezra was the one to lay down an objective viewpoint. He didn’t grow up rooting for the Republic or the Separatists, so it was easy for him to look at the war as a whole from the outside. Observant as ever, he drew the picture for everyone and brought up the fact that if neither the Republic nor the Separatists won, then who did? *insert photo of Palpatine here*
Enter the Empire! As much as I loved the focus on Rex and Ezra’s intelligent reasoning, my favorite part was seeing droids from the Clone War go at it against the forces of the Empire. When those droidekas rolled in to lay down fire, my inner child was enjoying every second of it. Like Pablo Hidalgo said in Rebels Recon, it’s like digging into a toy chest and letting your imagination run wild. It’s also funny to think of The Clone Wars series as nostalgic, since the show ended a only a few years ago, but when I took into consideration the fact that 17 years have passed by for the characters and that the Clone War was briefly mentioned in A New Hope all those years ago, it makes sense that people would feel that way. It was a fitting end to a much-beloved series. That said, that doesn’t mean that I’m done wanting more Clone Wars related content! If anything, it made me want more stories from that time period.
This episode will definitely go down as one of my absolute favorites. It was gold from beginning to end. That said, it didn’t contribute much to the overall story. Had Kalani joined them in their efforts against the Empire, then at least they would have come away with something, since they didn’t acquire any of the munitions they had gone to get initially. They did get a new Phantom, however, which connects to the fact that they lost the first Phantom in the season premiere. Lastly, the credits at the end were a wonderful touch! It was great to be transported back to the series that made me a dedicated Star Wars fan in the first place.
Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 8:30PM EST on Disney XD.