Directed by: Steven G. Lee
Written by: Kevin Hopps
And lo, ye Rebels Report reviewer was presented with The Review’s Dilemma: how art thou supposed to adequately and effectively review a television program at an individual-episode basis if two episodes are released at once? Each week, a new episode premieres on Disney XD, while another episode simultaneously becomes available to watch on Disney XD’s app. And the worst part of all? I, an episode reviewer, don’t have access to either, thus taking the role of the pauper, while Disney’s more direct customers are treated like princes! Talk about the 99%!
That odd and unforeseen detail aside, rest assured that I’m working out a strategy to make Disney’s strange marketing decisions work to my advantage. I did manage to subscribe to Amazon Instant Video’s Season 1 pass for Rebels for a cheap $19.99, only because iTunes refuses to recognize my totally-legit credit card. But lo, ye Rebels Report reviewer was also able to obtain – through completely legal means, I promise – access to “next week”’s episode, “Rise of the Old Masters” (I debated between reviewing both now since they’re out there, or waiting till next week, but I decided to go with the latter; no “RotOM” spoilers here!).
Okay, so “Fighter Flight.” I hadn’t been looking forward to this episode. Disney XD app-users had been spreading word that this was the weakest Rebels we’ve seen so far, so who’d want to watch that? Luckily, everyone has different opinions, so I’d put it on par with “Spark of Rebellion,” and maybe a little better than “Droids in Distress.” It’s very hard to say, and in the end the ranking doesn’t quite matter, because these are all pretty solid outings from Filoni and the gang.
You know how the past couple of weeks we’ve been noticing a very-obvious lightheartedly antagonistic relationship between Zeb and Ezra? Well, now we get a whole episode out of it, and I think it’s safe to say that book is closed now; sure, we’ll see them mess around in later episodes, maybe reach a real point of tension, but, at this point, their relationship has been made very clear to us. And, of course, it was done very well.
I enjoyed the action more in this episode than in any other; it made me truly appreciate the amount of creativity that is forced upon the production team when there isn’t a flashy lightsaber doing all the work. While Clone Wars’ action scenes were more like fireworks shows, Rebels’ action scenes are clever, meticulous, and hugely fun to watch, especially the showdown between Ezra and the troopers on top of the prisoner transport. The moment when the stormtrooper, in just one line about fruit, questions everything about who he is, what he’s doing, and his role in the Empire, made me feel a sharp pang of sympathy after Ezra immediately took him down. (“Took him down” is my favorite term for stormtrooper “kills,” as they never quite seem to die.)
As far as the way things looked, it was the same for me: scenery looks great, action looks great, and the ships were amazing, especially the focus on that one little TIE fighter, but the character models still aren’t cutting it for me. Zeb looks pretty good aside from his strangely dislikable smile, and his newly revealed Dracula-style crawling abilities knocked the wind out of me; I love that Rebels isn’t afraid to take a fantastical approach to its characters. I think this Disney Age of Lucasfilm will really bring us back to the “space fantasy” that made the original trilogy so popular. One more note about the animation: I really think it would’ve worked better as classic animation, in the vein of Avengers Assemble or Young Justice, because then the scenery and battles could retain their realism while giving the characters a chance to look, well, not as cheap.
One things has been bothering me about this series: the Ghost crew lacks a concrete mission. Sure, they’ve all been burned by the Empire, and they want to rebel against it, but how? What’s their plan? It seems more like they steal supplies, do good deeds here and there, and are generally unafraid to fight the Empire. It’s hard to rally behind their cause when I’m not sure what their cause is; we need more than what we’re told in the title of the show. Maybe a grand plan will show up later, but for now, they’re just a bunch of aimless Robin Hoods, making ends meet and flying around a boring old planet. And come on, you know Lothal is getting boring, despite some breathtaking McQuarrie-esque shots throughout each episode.
This was an another excellent episode, but I’m looking forward to seeing the story continue to unravel. I think the group as a whole needs a clearer motivation, and we need more Hera and Sabine, but I’m sure they’ll get their own episodes at some point this season much like Ezra and Zeb did here. I’m getting even more excited about this series as each episode is released, and I think we’re headed toward some really interesting places.