As a massive Star Wars fan I was very excited to hear about the new TV show Star Wars: Rebels. I was especially excited to hear about the similar crew between Rebels and Clone Wars. Now that the first season is over I want to look back and see if Rebels was a success as well as the good a bad moments of the first season. SPOILER ALERT below I spoil every episode of Star Wars Rebels Season 1.
Spark of Rebellion:
Spark of Rebellion is our introduction to this group of Rebels that this show will focus on. The tone and pacing of this intro movie are very similar to that of Episode IV. Now that the opening sequence was changed to Vader giving orders to the Inquisitor, I’m surprised by what that adds to the film. Overall Spark is an incredibly fun ride that introduces us to each character without any dragging moments. It is fun and interesting and when I first watched it, it succeeded in making me want more. Another thing that impresses me about Spark of Rebellion is that I found the episode even better now that I have seen the season and know where it is headed. The only criticisms I have about the opening is that sometimes the animation is a little blocky and awkward, especially when dealing with hair. The wookies look quite ridiculous, and I truly hope that this continues to improve. Overall Spark of Rebellion is excellent at what it is, a double episode premiere introducing us to each character. Zeb the muscle, Sabine the artist, Hera the pilot, Kanan that leader, and Ezra the main character street rat ( he is basically Aladdin ). We are also introduced to the ISB agent Kallus, and briefly with the Inquisitor. I give Spark of Rebellion a 9/10.
Droids in Distress:
With the episode Droids in Distress we get some significant cameos. Being that the Spark of Rebellion was the length of two episodes my only complaint on this episode is that it was self contained and therefore felt a little too quickly resolved taking up only twenty some minutes. Beyond that it was a lot of fun to see R2-D2 and C3PO again, as well as the surprise of Bail Organa at the end was a big surprise. However the best part of the episode was what we learn about Zeb’s past as well as his species in general. I really like the rivalry they set up between Zeb and Kallus though wish that this would come into play more, since they don’t play this up much more throughout the season. Overall Droids in Distress was an excellent followup to Spark of Rebellion, and a lot of fun. Overall I would give Droids in Distress a 8.5/10.
Fighter Flight is definitely one of the more silly episodes that I would probably just call a throw away episode if not for the interesting dynamic between Zeb and Ezra. The episode begins with Zeb and Ezra bickering and fighting with Chopper instigating. To get them off the ship Hera sends them on a supply run destined to fail. So of course while in town they get in trouble with the Empire leading into a really fun chase and rescue sequence. One thing this episode shows that I’m glad this show hasn’t shied away from is the destruction the Empire causes. For a kids show there is a significant amount of death and destruction. It definitely gives some weight to what the Rebels are doing. Overall it was a fun episode that was a little too childish for me in the beginning, but I would give this episode a 8/10
Rise of the Old Masters:
Rise of the Old Masters is the excellent introduction of the Inquisitor. Technically the Inquisitor was introduced in the pilot but that wasn’t a real introduction to the character as it was in this episode. The episode begins with some Jedi training for Ezra which isn’t going too hot, when the Rebels receive notice from a rouge senator on the holonet that Jedi Master Luminara is still alive, and held captive by the Empire. So of course the Rebels decide to mount a rescue mission, Kanan especially who feels unqualified to teach Ezra and desire Luminara to train him instead. The first time I saw this episode I honestly believed that Luminara was alive, and the visual of the hologram walking into the place she was entombed was very creepy. I am very impressed that they had a reveal like that, and it gives me a lot of faith in this show. Often Disney can take maturity out of a show because they believe the way the creators will make it will be too much for kids yet this show has proven that Disney will take some risks. This risk paid off because it was an excellent reveal, followed by the introduction of the Inquisitor. Before this episode I was anxious to see an episode with the Inquisitor but the wait was well worth it. There was a certain weight to the situation that I don’t think would have been there had they used him immediately. I also really enjoyed that his skill was obviously far greater than Kanan’s and he seemed to just be playing with them. The only criticism I would make is that they once again are only fitting a story line into a single episode. However it was still paced well and by far the best episode to the point in time it aired. One of the better ones overall as well. Overall I would give this episode a 9.5/10.
Ezra goes undercover! This episode Ezra is posing as Dev Morgan in an Imperial academy. While in the academy we learn that Ezra is there to get a decoder which will allow the team to intercept a Imperial transport carrying a Kyber Crystal. While undercover Exra meets two friend Jai Kell and Zare Leonis. Ezra convinces his two friends to help with his undercover mission however last minute Zare stays back determined to find his sister who went missing from the academy herself. I thought this episode was a lot of fun and the entire undercover aspect was pretty cool though I think it suffered from what most of the episodes have suffered from to this point, they are all completely individual stories, and though I have no doubt Lenois will return and look forward to that too many one shot episodes in a row can be a little tiring. Overall I liked the episode though it could have been pulled out over 2 episodes to give it more weight and time to develop, I give this episode an 8/10.
Out of Darkness:
A few episodes back in Fighter Flight Ezra and Zeb went on their own little mission that explored both their characters a little more as well as their relationship. This episode was for Sabine and Hera. Sabine decides to go with Hera on a pickup from Fulcrum when they get stuck on an asteroid with Pitch Black style creatures. Though the episode was somewhat interesting it is by far the weakest episode yet. The childish antics between Zeb, Ezra, and Chopper were pretty annoying and once again this is more like a throw away episode. Even though it does introduce the asteroid with the monsters which shows up later as well gives a little more attention to Fulcrum who will play an important role later. It isn’t a very interesting episode, the best part is it shows off the two leading ladies who are probably the strongest characters on the show. Overall I am not a huge fan of this episode and would give it a 7.5/10.
Empire Day: All I can say is finally a two parter! Up to this point this show has been so episodic every single episode being so self contained, however that has changed. This is by far the most tense episode yet giving plenty of exiting moments and for once it didn’t feel rushed they took the time they needed to say what they wanted and it worked. This first half of the two parter takes place on Empire Day, the day the Empire was formed. The team has plans to disrupt the celebration, Ezra is moody and Imperial forces are searching for a Rodian. This Rodian happens to have the plans of Imperial growth on Lothal over the next few years and the Rebels try get him far away from the clutches of the Empire. He also happens to know Ezra’s parents, and all this is introduced and explored in the twenty minutes ending with the best chase scene of the show yet. I would give this episode a 9/10. It wasn’t perfect but it is what gave me faith in the future of the show after the episodes had only gone down hill from Rise of the Old Masters.
Gathering Forces: Escape! The second half of this two part episode begins right where the last one left off mid escape. Ezra fights with his feelings about finding out what happened to his parents while Kanan plans a mission to lead the Empire off the Ghost’s trail. He leads them directly into the asteroid that was introduced back in Out of the Darkness. Using the light fearing creatures for help, by way of the force, Kanan plans to fight off the empire disable their tracking device and join up with the others. While under the pressure of Imperial forces as well as the Inquisitor himself Ezra connects with the dark side and summons forth a massive monster that saves Kanan and provides a means of escape. I really like this episode especially since it is a continuation of the action packed Empire Day. Plenty of awesome action and a great fight between Kanan and the Inquisitor. I love that every time the Inquisitor catches up with them he totally outclasses them though through his arrogance they continue to fall through his fingers. I think it works so well because it is believable. I also think Ezra could be on the path to becoming a Jedi Beast Master based on this episode which would be really cool since we haven’t seen much of that on either the big or small screen. Overall I would give this episode a 9/10.
Path of the Jedi: Path of the Jedi is the best episode of Rebels up to this point! It draws on so many influences of what we already know about Jedi and brings a huge amount of character development. This episode is the one that finally made me like Ezra as a character, this is when he became interesting to me, and Kanan as well. It was awesome to see Ezra’s struggle through his fears and the voice appearance of Yoda by Frank Oz was amazing. It felt just right for the character and the show for where it is at this point. The episode was simple and self contained which is something I normally complain about but here it worked so well. Overall I would give this a 9.7/10.
Idiot’s Array: Lando Calrissian is here! Voiced by the amazing Billy D. Williams, Lando is cheating his way into Rebels. Beginning by winning Chopper in a game of Sabac and leveraging the team into a smuggling mission. This is definitely one of the more silly episodes with his mineral sniffing pig that blows up to exaggerated proportions. However this is mitigated some by smooth talking smuggler. This episode has some great moments and brings back a significant amount of nostalgia using Lando in this way, and I will say that does help to excuse some of the sillier moments. Overall I hope to see Lando again and maybe next time with not as silly a plot, but I would give this episode an 8/10.
In Vision of Hope we finally get to meet the rouge senator who has appeared by voice only in prior episodes. He leaves clues as to a meeting place for the crew of the ghost to meet him at in which upon arrival they are ambushed. After a exciting escape the senator reveals himself as an Imperial spy used to root out rebels. Though Hera figured this out and his betrayal is fruitless. Overall this episode is good and I really like how they pay off some aspects that were introduced several episodes later. It gives the show a continuity and doesn’t make it feel as episodic as it occasionally is. I would give this episode an 8.5/10.
Enter Tarkin! With Tarkin comes bigger and better stakes. The crew of the ghost decides it is time to unite to reach out. They plan on taking over the Imperial communications beacon. However, during this daring mission they are backed into a corner and Kanan sacrifices himself for the group, being taken captive by Tarkin himself. This episode is amazing, it has more weight to it than any prior episode, and Tarkin does not disappoint. His command is swift and decisive and he nearly captures them all. It is great to see familiar characters in this show and with Tarkin comes trouble for the Rebels. Overall I would give this episode 9.2/10, it is definitely one of the best episodes to the point of its release.
Rebel Resolve is a continuation of last episode. With Kanan captured and being interrogated and tortured by the Inquisitor and Tarkin, the rest of the crew is desperately searching for him. I really enjoy that they are taking their time to tell the story at the end of the season and using multiple episodes for a single story arc. This was something I liked about Clone Wars and its nice to see Rebels doing the same thing now. It definitely has amped up the tension and the stakes. Finally the rebels find out that the Empire is taking Kanan to Mustafar and we end with a to be continued. Overall I thought this episode was excellent, and I’m glad that they took the time to tell the story and spend some time on this arc, where they easily could have made the last episode and this a single episode they took their time with it. I give it a 9/10.
Fire Across the Galaxy: The finale to Star Wars Rebels season 1 was by far the best episode of the entire season. After the first 5 minutes the episode sets the action at a 10 and doesn’t bring it back down. Exciting chases through a Star Destroyer, epic light saber combat, and a daring escape in Tie Fighters. Though the entire episode was amazing and I loved every moment, the last few minutes took it to another level. With the introduction of Ahsoka to the Rebels and Vader is now in the mix, lots of amazing things are happening for this show. Overall I give this episode a 10/10 absolutely amazing!
Over the entire season they started strong lost a bit of ground but then busted out of the gate and finished stronger than I ever expected. I am really enjoying how this show is going, and I can’t wait to see season 2 and what is to come, especially now that there are even more recognizable characters thrown into the mix. One thing I haven’t mentioned is the music, which is phenomenal even the episodes that I felt were weaker had amazing music. It is a perfect mix of new and old and I feel needs to be praised. I think it is so smart to bring in Ahsoka and Vader at the same time, it is incredibly fitting considering the two characters journeys and I feel that having Ahsoka around means the Rebels have someone who can stand their ground against Vader(not win just stand their ground).