As the timeline of Rebels moves closer to Rogue One, it only makes sense that we keep seeing connections and nods to the film. Though there were some last season, this episode brings the bridge to Rogue One closer. With the return of fan favorite characters (some from Rogue One) and great action, we get a solid episode.
Spoilers if you haven’t watched the episode
If you really want to know the events prior to Rogue One, this episode (and more than likely this season) is a must watch. We start off with Kanan, Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper joining the Rebel Alliance on Yavin 4. There, they reunite with Zeb, Hera, Kallus, along with Mon Mothma and other Rebel leaders. They soon discover of a satellite that can respond to attacks quicker. The mission: Infiltrate the satellite and secretly have the Empire’s channel, broadcast its movements to the Alliance.
Mon Mothma gives the mission to our protagonists, but most aren’t a fan of it. They’d much rather blow it up as it would be quicker, easier, and make a small dent on the Empire. Ezra questions whether the way he’s fighting is the right one and while he has his fun moments in the episodes, he’s conflicted. He wants to help people and stop the Empire, but it seems his main priority is to liberate his home planet Lothal. It’s moments like these, where Ezra is at his best, conflicted with the action that needs to be taken and ones he wants to take, questioning himself and his colleagues.
Sabine and Ezra are the ones aboard the satellite while, Hera, Kanan, and Zeb drop them off and plan on picking them up. Of course, if you know our rebels, things don’t go according to plan. They’re exposed and have to fight their way out. Hera and Kanan have a nice scene together as they try to evade TIE Defenders through rocky terrain and Zeb… Zeb continues to just be ‘there’ with some of the crew. Eventually, an unexpected ally helps Sabine and Ezra blow the satellite and escape the Empire, Saw Gerrera.
If you weren’t the biggest fan of Saw Gerrera from Rogue One, you’ll like him here. Forest Whittaker continues to play the character in voice-over and he is simply amazing. You can hear how much fun he’s having while voicing the character. We don’t just see the extremist side of Saw, we see how deranged he is. I can understand why he fights the way he fights, but you can see that all that fighting has had an effect on his head, it’s rather subtle, but a lot of it is in his tone.
Saw takes Sabine and Ezra on a new mission aboard a cargo ship. Something big that the Empire is hiding. At first, they find prisoners and promise to free them, but then they walk into a room filled with Death Troopers. They hesitate at first but Saw quickly fights back. One manages to retreat and that’s when they discover that they were protecting a giant kyber crystal. Why is there one on board? Well, Saw believes it has something to do with building a giant superweapon. Kyber crystals can be volatile and a massive one can be catastrophic; Sabine and Ezra would rather take the prisoners and go, but Saw wants to see where they’re taking it. In the end, they arrive to meet up with a Star Destroyer. Saw sabotages the Kyber Crystal and leaves, making Sabine and Ezra save the prisoners.
There are several nods to Rogue One such as the name of Director Krennic and the planet Jedha. However, the most interesting connection is the relationship between Mon Mothma and Saw. We see the disdain Mon Mothma has for Saw Garrera that is hinted at in Rogue One. The hopeful leader wishes to cut ties with the extremist and although the scene they share together is brief, it is powerful. Showcasing their conviction to fighting the Empire, while trying to disprove of each other’s methods.
Everything about this episode feels right. While I enjoyed the premiere ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ very much, this episode would’ve made a better premiere as it sets the tone for the rest of the season. They hinted at Ezra true priorities and how it might conflict with the Rebel Alliance, as well as showcasing little undertones of darkness, (in Ezra and the episode as a whole) and showing the classic fight between Rebels vs Empire. If future episodes of Rebels are like tonight, we’re in for one of a ride.
Episode Five and Six of Star Wars: Rebels airs Monday, October 23 at 9:00pm EST on Disney XD.