If you got the pun intended by the headline then you know the part of this episode I am going to focus on but before then it is time for my micro-review. For other perspectives on “Fighter Flight” check out the review by Alex and Paul, as well as our latest podcast focusing on this episode.
- Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 2 (Production #105)
- Episode Title: Fighter Flight
- Writer: Kevin Hopps
- Directors: Steven G. Lee
The inmates are running the asylum aboard The Ghost as Chopper is instigating conflict between Zeb and Ezra. Hera fed up with the shenanigans throws them off the ship for a supply run mission designed to get them to work together. While on the hunt for the elusive Meiloorun fruit, Zeb steals a TIE fighter and he and Ezra spring some farmers from an Imperial paddy wagon.
Fighter Flight is a fun romp of an episode that focuses primarily on the relationship of Ezra and Zeb, lots of laughs, some nods to hardcore fans, and a little more attention on Sabine. A more lighthearted episode before next week’s darker tale.
We talked a lot in this week’s podcast about the relationship between Ezra and Zeb and that was really the big character focus of this episode. So what I want to discuss here was the part of the story that could have larger implications on the overarching plot of Rebels and the behavior of the Empire.
In this episode we meet Morad Sumar a farmer from the town of Kothal on the planet Lothal. Sumar when we first meet him is set up as a vendor in town peddling his goods. He is approached by Supply Master Lyste and stormtroopers who ask him if he has reconsidered the Empire’s offer to buy his land. When Sumar tells Lyste to take a hike, Lyste takes the response far to well and simply walks off.
Now in the episode we don’t get a specific reason that they want Sumar’s farm so badly but in a character bio released by Lucasfilm it states that his farm was located near “a major vein of ore.” Clearly this ore is a resource that the Empire is going to exploit.
It isn’t entirely clear what crops Sumar produces on his farm, we do see some moisture vaporators but that does not seem to be the primary product.
We do know that Sumar lives on the farm with a female companion who we assume is his wife but we don’t get any info or dialogue from her in this episode. There is also an Aqualish present on the farm and arrested, presumably he is a farm hand but this is not discussed in the episode at all.
The Sumar plot does a few things for us in this episode. The first is that it gives us hints of Ezra’s back-story. Sumar is revealed to be a friend of Ezra’s parents. It is also revealed by Sumar in dialogue that Ezra has grown a lot since he has last seen him, the implication being that Ezra’s parents have been gone for a while and Sumar may not know that they are gone.
The situation with Sumar also provides us with another example of blatant abuse of power by the Empire. Instead of seizing his property and compensating him through a process such as Eminent Domain, they come to his property with a contingent of Imperial Troop Transports and stormtroopers and destroy his home with a blaster cannon. They then seize him, his wife and the Aqualish farmer and arrest all three, loading them onto the ITT for transport to some detention center.
When faced with potential rescue Sumar warns Ezra away and is resigned to his fate. Even when his transport cell is unlocked Sumar is reluctant to try to jump from the moving ITT for fear of being killed. Eventually Ezra is able to convince all three prisoners to jump from the moving ITT before it is too late.
We see the three prisoners evading blaster cannon fire from the ITT while making their escape. The final time we see Sumar in the episode, he is holding his wife and looking out across the plains of Lothal in a scene that is very reminiscent to the Owen and Beru scene from Revenge of the Sith.
What becomes of Sumar, his wife and their Aqualish friend? Presumably as was pointed out to me on Twitter they end up living as refugees in “Tarkin Town.” It seems clear that they would not be able to return to their farm. Even a trip to collect personal items, supplies or money could result in their arrest. Presumably they are now fugitives with arrest warrants not only for their original trumped-up charges but now with new charges based on the escape.
The Empire’s persecution of Sumar is emblematic of what is going on in placed across the galaxy, particularly the Outer Rim. Will Sumar help the Rebels foment rebellion? I don’t know. I do expect that we will see Sumar again on the show, particularly when we get more information about Ezra’s back-story, Sumar could be an individual that Ezra goes to for information he doesn’t have about his family.
From a storytelling perspective it would be very cool to see Sumar become a bit of a firebrand based on what happened to him. Publishing Holonet rebellion pamphlets or holding secret meeting in Kothal.
Given this show’s need to re-used character models, I think we will see Sumar again. The only question is will the Empire’s confiscation of his property be his own personal spark of rebellion?
Come back next week for my reflections on episode 1.3 “Rise of the Old Masters,” written by Henry Gilroy and directed by Steward Lee. “Rise of the Old Masters” tells the story of the rebels attempt to rescue Jedi Master Luminara Unduli from The Spire prison and escaping whatever traps The Inquisitor has laid for them.
Until then check out StarWars.com’s Andi Gutierrez with Rebels Recon #3: Inside “Fighter Flight.”