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Idiot’s Array

Directed by: Steward Lee
Written by: Kevin Hopps

Life has quieted down for the crew of the Ghost.  Unfortunately, this means that they have no jobs and no jobs means no money for fuel or food.  While Kanan tries to look for work, Zeb relaxes with a friendly game of Sabacc.

It’s impossible to talk about this episode without talking about the guest star, Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando Calrissian.  Unlike the return of Darth Vader or Yoda this is not simply a cameo.  Lando is integral to the plot of the episode and features in nearly every scene with our heroes.

Idiot’s-Array-1We meet Lando as Zeb loses Chopper to him in a game of Sabacc.  Lando offers them a way to get Chopper back and make some credits if they help him pick up a piece of mining equipment and smuggle it back to Lothal.  The last few episodes have been going dark in their storytelling, here we get more of a fun adventure that helps to balance out the tone and keep things from getting too heavy.

The plot of the episode is fairly simplistic, and instead of big action set pieces we get smaller more character driven moments.  Billy Dee Williams seems to be having a lot of fun in his role and it helps keep the tone light.  His interplay with Vanessa Marshall as Hera is simply fantastic.  This may be Hera’s best episode to date.  She shines in several moments and we see just how important she is to the crew of the Ghost.  Chopper steals several scenes as well, but we have come to expect that from the little droid.

However, the fact that it is Lando really makes no difference to the episode.  This could have just as easily been any cardplayer, gambler, scum and the episode would play out nearly the same.  Much like Frank Oz’s return as Yoda previously, it could’ve been done by others easily, but it’s a lot of fun to have Lando and Billy Dee Williams back.

I really enjoyed this episode, but there were several points that I feel held the episode back.  After the puffer pig has blocked the main passage to the bridge of the Ghost I was confused that there was no other way to the bridge.  I swear I’ve seen characters go around in other episodes, or at the very least it’s a poor layout for the ship to have the bridge so easily cut off.  We really did not need the final scene of the episode explaining to us, the audience, that he knew that they knew that he knew.  The Ghost crew celebrating gives us closure to the episode and the additional scene of Lando talking to the pig just felt tacked on and forced.

Rebels continues to deliver a great Star Wars story every week, and while this episode had a few flaws it more than made up for it with fantastic voice acting, writing and character design.  Lando’s gold medallion was a nice touch.  Lando’s comment about the larger than average Imperial presence on Lothal feels like a setup for something larger to come later in the show.  Lothal may still have a larger role to play in the growing Galactic Civil War.

One thought on “Paul's Rebels Review: Idiot's Array

  1. This was the first episode of the season that I felt let down by.

    Maybe my expectations were too high due to Billy Dee guest starring. Maybe the lighter tone was too light for me. Maybe the 22 min run time of the episode(s) was too much of a constraint on this story.

    What I do know though is that the action beats in space were without stakes and fell flat for me, that there wasn’t enough gambling / high stakes moments, and it was tough to tell if the audience should see Lando as an ally to the group or not.

    I feel that last point really dovetails with Paul’s, spot on, criticism regarding the final scene of the episode. Lando explained to the ‘pig’ that he knew they knew he knew and then waved goodbye to his new ‘friends’ who were only too glad to part ways. Throughout the episode Lando tricked and lied his way to is goal, even while trying to affect a team player facade. I couldn’t fathom why the crew was putting up with it.

    This caused the tone of the episode to be all over the place for me.

    That said, the visuals were great, I absolutely loved Hera’s line about the useful serving tray, actually seeing Ezra’s saber/blaser in action was cool, and just hearing Billy Dee as Lando again was so so fun. Lando’s character design in general, from the shoulder holster and his sweet looking blaster, to the medallion, to his smirks, was spot on.

    Still, I almost feel like this was a wasted opportunity. I wish this episode was focused on a gambling tournament instead of stealing / smuggling an inflatable mineral locating pig.

    In terms of the overall season plot, I would take a guess that whatever minerals the Empire is mining out of Lothal are pretty important to the Emprie’s overall plan for the Outer-Rim.

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