Rise of the Old Masters
Directed by: Steward Lee
Written by: Henry Gilroy
Qui-gon Jinn said that training to be a Jedi was a hard life. The life of a Jedi is even harder now, what Jedi left are on the run from the Empire. Kanan was only a padawan during the Clone Wars and has kept his Jedi skills mostly hidden. Now he is being asked to train Ezra, possibly the first person in a generation to be trained in the Jedi arts, and without the benefit and guidance of the Jedi resources or masters.
Kanan’s first attempts at training Ezra are spectacularly bad. It’s entertaining for us the audience (as well as Zeb and Chopper) and it nearly kills Ezra, but I think Kanan took it the hardest out of all of them. He quickly realizes he is out of his depth. It’s one thing to rely on the teachings he received from his master, finally revealed here on the show to be Depa Billaba, but it’s something entirely different to train another.
The holonet coverage of Ezra and Zeb’s TIE fighter theft is interrupted by a Senator-in-exile Gall Trayvis’ pirate broadcast about the Jedi master Luminara Unduli. She’s alive and imprisoned in a top-secret Imperial prison on Stygeon Prime. A prison strong enough to have held Darth Maul when he was captured by Darth Sidious during the Clone Wars. Not only would freeing Luminara be a benefit to Ezra’s training, but she could provide immeasurable assistance in fighting the Empire.
This is just too good to be true, and unfortunately for the crew of the Ghost, it’s not true. It’s all part of an Imperial trap to catch remaining Jedi. We never hear how Trayvis came across his information about Luminara and the Stygeon prison. I wonder if he was simply fed misinformation to lure in more Jedi or if he is actually an Imperial spy. I’m positive we will hear from Trayvis again. Kanan will likely want to talk to him about his information, and casting Brent Spiner as the voice seems like overkill for a bit part like this.
Kanan and everyone are in top form as they attack the prison. Stormtroopers are taken out with a lethal efficiency. At first it seemed like the troopers were sloppy and just stood their waiting to be attacked, but considering this whole prison is a trap for Jedi, it’s possible that they have been instructed to let people in with minimal fighting. After all, breaking into a prison is always easier than breaking out. It’s not clear if anyone is actually imprisoned here. The whole facility could be one giant Jedi trap.
The reveal of Luminara still has me confused after multiple viewings. We see her, but it’s quickly revealed that she is long dead after she walks through the wall and her desiccated corpse is revealed. She’s clearly not a hologram as we’ve seen them before in Star Wars, but I’m not entirely sure what she is. Some kind of dark side force ghost projection? This will probably be a common question for Dave Filoni and crew in interviews and conventions.
The escape from the prison culminates in a fantastic saber duel between Kanan and the Inquisitor. We finally get to see him in action, and he delivers. During the fight I noticed that the Inquisitor is more akin to Asajj or Grievous than Darth Vader or Darth Maul. It’s clear he would stand no chance against a fully trained Jedi Knight like Obi-wan Kenobi, but he quickly overpowers someone like Kanan. The Inquisitor doesn’t have the snarling ferocity that we have seen from dark side users in the past, more of an aristocratic villain who is almost gentlemanly. It’s a different take on the classic dark side user we are used to seeing.
There is a lot going on in this episode, and I imagine this one will be on top of the fan favorite lists for quite a while. There isn’t much to complain about in this episode either. It would’ve been nice if the animation was a bit more refined, small things like Ezra’s hair not hanging upside down was distracting, especially when Hera’s lekku moved similarly later in the episode.
Rebels continues to impress and amaze with each episode. They are changing tone and story from episode to episode but it isn’t a jarring switch. With each episode we aren’t quite sure what we will be getting and so far they have delivered on nearly every promise made.