‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Three Review: “Ghosts of Geonosis: Parts 1 and 2”

Principles and opinions clashed in the mid-season three premiere, “Ghosts of Geonosis: Parts 1 and 2,” where Saw Gerrera made his Star Wars Rebels debut. A battered veteran of the Clone War, Saw later went on to lead Rebel extremists in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Although we weren’t shown how he became the broken and unhinged man in the movie (maybe the series will explore this further in the future), Star Wars Rebels gave us another look into his character and how he was willing to go to one extreme in order to get the answers he wanted.

Ezra and the crew, on the other hand, were closer to the other side of the spectrum. These characters all have different motivations, but they all share one major thing in common: each one of them has lost people or something important that they love. It is up to the individual to not let that loss or the fear of losing more change them into something they’re not. Saw, unfortunately, let the loss of his sister, Steela, and his planet change him. In Rogue One, we saw him ultimately become a Vader-like figure, and his appearance in Star Wars Rebels mirrored Anakin’s own extreme desires and the lengths he had gone to in order to protect what he loved. It’s tragic to see a character slowly bring themselves closer to their own destruction, especially when they believe that what they’re doing is for everyone’s own good.

It was also great seeing a character like Saw challenge the values of someone like Ezra. Despite having done some questionable acts himself in the past (such as controlling that AT-DP driver, which you could tell was part of the influence of the Sith holocron), Ezra has good values that were introduced to him by his parents. They used to tell him, “If we don’t stand up, who will?” Kanan and Hera helped nurture that. As a result, he has a solid understand of good and bad, right and wrong. He knows that intimidating someone who’s already scared and threatening to destroy the one chance its species has to survive in order to get the answers they seek is wrong. He understands that the ends don’t justify the means. So it was a smart move on the part of the writers to have him and Saw clash when it came to the Geonosian and the egg because it helped show the younger audience (let’s not forget that this show is geared toward that age group) that there are different levels of morality out there and that not everyone will think like you.

Ezra’s Empathy: Ezra’s natural inclination to empathize with others around him is one of my favorite characteristics of his. Here’s a character who has the ability to connect with other beings through the Force, making it easy for him to connect emotionally. He was visibly sad when he was told by Rex that Saw lost his sister during the Clone War, and later on, he felt Klik-Klak’s fear and pain when being threatened by Saw. He’s a character who genuinely cares about others and wears his heart on his sleeve, so sometimes, it’s upsetting when fans don’t seem to care about him. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

One of the things Ezra does often is question his Master, and sometimes, express a different opinion from him. To some, this seems like obnoxious behavior, but to me, he’s expressing his individuality and train of thought. Would you rather he go, “Yes, Master. Sorry, Master. Of course, Master”? No, because that’s boring. Also, let’s not forget that when Ezra said they should do something, Rex was also quick to support him. Ezra is exercising his right to make calls, and while Kanan could have been more aggressive about what he wanted to do, he didn’t react that way. Both he and Ezra handled the decision making process throughout the episode with civility. The two can have very different opinions and tactics, but when they’re able to reason and make a decision without sounding disrespectful or controlling, that’s the mark of a great relationship between a Master and his Padawan. So I’m glad that the writers continue to have Ezra speak up about his opinions because that’s consistent with his behavior in the past, but they’ve also had him evolve and know when truly to pay attention to Kanan when it matters most. (Think back to “Holocrons of Fate” when Kanan told him to turn away and Ezra followed through with it.)

Klik-Klak is a classic example of not judging a book by its cover. Some didn’t take pity on him because he and his kind were “killers” during the Clone War, but from the perspective of the Geonosians, so were the clone troopers. (Let’s not forget flame troopers existed and were used during the Second Battle of Geonosis.) Those who did feel something for Klik-Klak—myself included—understood that this Geonosian was protecting himself from armed people, regardless if they were part of the Rebellion or not. We have to remember that the people who were there before were Imperials and they used an insecticide to wipe them out. It was natural for Klik-Klak to fall into survival mode, using whatever was within his reach for self-defense. Those instincts don’t just belong to one species, they are universal. So even without Ezra’s empathic abilities, Rex and Kanan understood that this individual did what he had to do to survive. There was no malice in his actions. Klik-Klak, to me, represented the ordinary citizen trying to make a living under the Empire’s rule, and Saw was willing to harm an unarmed person for his own gain (even if he was doing it for others, as he had claimed). The writers want the viewers to care about this character and what’s happening because as Hera Syndulla once said, “If all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing.” (Also, Klik-Klak was super adorable during his interactions with Ezra. If I could make a plush version of him, I would.)

Cool References: The subtle connections to Rogue One and other Star Wars films were totally on point. Those moments felt seamless, and the story in general flowed so well from beginning to end. My favorites were when Ezra said, “Light it up,” in a manner similar to Cassian Andor and when Sabine said, “Stupid sand. It gets everywhere.” (Photo: Lucasfilm)

The real shining moment of this episode, however, was when Sabine used her jetpack to officially take care of business. I’m so glad that sequence wasn’t teased in a preview clip because it was completely unexpected and took my breath away. People forget that she has Imperial training and the skills passed down to her through her Mandalorian heritage. That is a dangerous mix. While some found her moment to shine a bit excessive, given her other successes in the past, it was great to see others on social media cheer and feel just as excited. Another female character who caught everyone’s attention was Captain Brunson. Although she was lacking experience and let her ambitions get in the way, I was beyond pleased to see another woman of color in Imperial ranks. It was also great to see three different kinds of women in this episode: (1) Hera, the leader, giving out orders and flying them out of a death trap; (2) Sabine, the weapons expert, more than capable of taking out the remaining rocket troopers; and (3) Captain Brunson, who, in her eagerness to get a promotion, showed her inexperience.

Overall, “Ghosts of Geonosis” truly exceeded what I had originally imagined these episodes to be, and given what we’ve seen in the mid-season three trailer, the second half of the season will only get better. It was great seeing the team working together and that everyone had an important role, especially since characters like Zeb tend to get lost in the background. Finally, the writers did a fantastic job at showing that not all Rebels are desperate to go that far into the deep end and sacrifice their values in the process. Like Kanan said to Ezra, “You’re going to find not all of our allies share the same values or even fight the Empire for the same reason we do.” While there is a dark side to the Rebellion, as seen in Rogue One, what I appreciate the most about this episode is that our group of Rebels have a set of values to which they adhere. Whether it’s a result of it being a show in a children’s network or what have you, the fact of the matter is that they operate with the mindset of doing good in order to achieve good. Taking shortcuts and committing questionable acts are not their usual methods of approach, and I’m truly pleased that this was the message that was reinforced in the end.

Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at 8:30PM EST on Disney XD.

Also, stop by later this week for a new podcast episode from Rebels Chat.

6 comments on “‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Three Review: “Ghosts of Geonosis: Parts 1 and 2”

  1. Great review JM! Your comments about Ezra speaking his mind and the healthier relationship he and Kanan are developing immediately put me in mind of Anakin and Obi-Wan bickering in Padme’s apartment, making the contrast between Ezra and Anakin all the clearer. With all the other callbacks to Attack of the Clones in these episodes (I’m loving them, btw) I’m seeing a subtext I didn’t pick up on at first – this story can be read as a commentary on Anakin’s becoming Vader, placing Ezra in a location that was important to Anakin’s transformation, contrasting him with a man who ended up going down a similar but opposite path to Vader, with similar fear of loss, resentment and so on. The episodes were strongly team- and family-focused and Ezra is seen to be fully integrated in those dynamics, with healthy respect all around, giving me all the feels and making me far more optimistic for Ezra’s future.

    I liked Ezra in seasons 1 & 2, but he wasn’t the strongest character in the show. But this season has really developed him by focusing on his relationships with his crewmates, and I’m a lot more fond of him now. It may just be my imagination but Sabine seems to be warming up to him too, it was super adorable to see how excited he was to see her kick butt and though we couldn’t see her face afterward, I fancy you can hear it in her voice that she’s gone from thinking it’s annoying to thinking it’s cute. I wasn’t on the SabEzra ship a year ago but I am now ;)

    Also, did anyone else tear up a little when Kanan had his Yoda moment? Crowning Moments of Awesome all around these two episodes, but that one really got me :)

    • Sabezra, yessss! Haha! I really think Ezra has grown to be a great role model for kids, especially since they are able to identify with that character more naturally. He may not be perfect, but he definitely has some great qualities. And your point about reading this story as a commentary on Anakin’s path to becoming Vader is genius! Thank you so much for putting that into writing and sharing that with me. I definitely want to share it with my mom once I get the chance! Thanks you again for writing such amazing comments! ^_^

  2. I immediately took out the Vader comic and mused if the surviving queen hatched from Klik-Klaks egg – and found the information in the visual guide on this morning! :D
    I wanted to say something concerning Kanan’s blindness, reprising the discussion under your review of “An Inside Man”. I think it was much much better done in this episode. Kanan expressed sensations he picked up that the others didn’t and vise versa. He even walked with his hand outstretched again (and no flashlight ;))) ). I don’t know why the animators decided to do it otherwise in Inside Man, but I liked the blind samurai vibes in Ghosts of Geonosis very much!

    • YES! Yes, yes, yes! I was so happy that it was handled so much better this time around. There was even one moment where he searched for a button before answering Hera’s call. That was exactly the kind of detail I was looking for! Woo! ^_^

  3. Jon Hodges

    It was good stuff, and I am a big fan of Geonosis since Episode II. Klik Klak and the egg are a wonderful part of this. I was saddened at the thought of no more Geonosians in Star Wars, but this was pretty cool :)

    • Same! I’m glad to have seen a Geonosian that was contrary to what we have seen before. So glad you enjoyed the episodes, Jon! ^_^

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