“Secret Cargo”

The Ghost has been sent on a highly classified mission.  The only thing they were told was to meet a ship at a set of coordinates for refueling, but many details including who they are meeting, why, and even exactly when, are not available to them.  They quickly realize this is much more than a simple refueling stop, as they become an integral part in the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

Simply put, this episode is jam-packed.  The opening scene is a great, tense moment involving one of the “warhead” style probe droids, that leads to a fight, and then an incredible chase through a nebula and a climatic finish that sets the stage for Rogue One and eventually A New Hope.

I really enjoyed the opening moment with the Ghost hiding in the debris field.  Seeing that it was debris from a Separatist battle cruiser was a fun easter egg too.  This opening almost could’ve been it’s own episode.  I was a little disappointed that Zeb didn’t have anything to say about the probe droid considering it’s the same type that he fought off of Chopper Base just a few episodes previously.  Regardless, it’s a good scene with just the right amount of action, fun, and tension.

Turns out the Ghost has been sent to refuel and assist Mon Mothma and her escort of Y-wings from Gold Squadron.  She’s now on the run after formally speaking out against the Empire and it’s actions.  Seeing the Y-wings of Gold Squadron was great enough, but then realizing that it’s actually Dutch, Gold Leader, from the Battle of Scariff and the Battle of Yavin.  That was just an incredible addition to the show.

It’s no secret that I love the costumes of Star Wars, and Rebels has done a great job of translating those into animated form.  I also love anything to do with X-wings.  Now we didn’t get to see any X-wings in this episode, but we did get the next best thing.  We got the classic orange flight suit.  It may seem silly to get so excited about this, but it’s one of my favorite costumes from my favorite moment of my favorite film.  So I was more than a little excited to see the classic orange flight suit.  The day we finally see X-wings on the show I may not be able to control myself.

As if the droid chase, Mon Mothma, and Gold Squadron was not enough, we then get a simply amazing flight through a nebula.  This also marks the debut of the TIE Defender in action, and it does not disappoint.  Although, long time EU fans will notice that it has 6 regular cannons instead of 4 cannons and 2 ion cannons.  The Defender is flown by Vult Skerris the ace pilot from the Skystriker Academy from earlier in the season.  The chase through the nebula is tense and exciting, with beautifully painted visuals and an incredible score from Kevin Kiner.  Although the music is slightly lower in the sound mix due to the dialogue and action.  It’s a nice counterpoint to the moment from season 2 where they find the lost planet of Lira San.

The finale of the episode is a moment that Star Wars fans have waited a long time to see.  Mon Mothma openly declares a rebellion against the Empire and takes the first steps in uniting the various rebel cells across the galaxy.  This could’ve been the series finale for the show and I would’ve been happy with seeing it end like that.  The fact that this isn’t the series finale and they are giving us this moment, just makes me that much more excited for what else is to come in the remaining episodes of this season and what next season will bring us.  My only complaint here is that it’s not clear if Mon Mothma is speaking on an open transmission, much like Ezra did in Season 1, or if this was a transmission sent to just the various rebel cells.  We only see the various rebel groups watching the message.

The second half of this season has really stepped up the game for the show.  The storytelling is tighter and more focused.  I really appreciate the last few episodes not giving us a B storyline, instead choosing to focus entirely on a single story per episode.  It really feels like they have a lot to say on the show and it’s barely fitting into the time constraints of a 22 minute weekly series.  This episode was packed tight and could’ve easily been stretched out into as many as 3 episodes.  The quality continues to step up on each episode and I’m so excited to see what else is coming.

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