This week’s instalment of Rebels brings me the next three episodes in the first season and Fighter Flight is probably one of the weakest episodes of the series, while still remaining entertaining. Written by Kevin Hopps, this episode first debuted on 20 October, 2014.
We’re still early in the series, and everyone is getting to know the characters, and this is a good one to explore the antagonistic friendship that is starting to develop between Ezra (Taylor Gray) and Zeb (Steve Blum). That being said, Chopper is a bit of an instigator.
Hera (Vanessa Marshall) is already tired of the pair’s bickering on the Ghost, so sends them into town, on Lothal, to get some supplies, including a meiloorun fruit, which doesn’t grow on Lothal. We get some backstory for Ezra, including information about his parents through an old family friend, Morad Sumar (Liam O’Brien) and run into problems with the Imperials (who have some meilooruns), which leads to them stealing a TIE fighter.
In terms of growing up Star Wars and Kenner toys, there is an Imperial troop transport seen in this episode which was based on a toy that was never seen on screen (and probably just designed to sell more toys) and of course Kevin Kiner’s score continues to embrace very recognisable cues from John Williams’ original scores.
And of course the other main point of continuity, no, not Ezra’s Force training, the fact that Imperials are terrible shots. That’s what they get for not using clones anymore I guess.
Rise of the Old Masters was written by Henry Gilroy and first aired on 20 October, 2014.
Kanan (Freddie Prinze jr.) and Hera lead the crew of the Ghost on a dangerous rescue mission – Jesi Master Luminara Unduli may still be alive -, which brings Kanan face to face with the Imperial Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs). This gives us our first real lightsaber battle of the series, and introduces the spinning blade lightsabers to the series.
Listen for a guest appearance by Brent Spiner as Gall Trayvis who looks a lot like David Niven! And continuity sees Ezra’s training finally underway on screen as well as a bit of a dialogue lift from The Empire Strikes Back. We also get to see the Ghost’s auxiliary craft, the Phantom, in action.
The episode sees Kanan voicing some doubts about whether or not he can be a worthy teacher for Ezra. It also lets him show off some of his abilities. As truths are revealed, both student and master commit to one another and we are left with a training sequence that doesn’t not look like a father-son moment.
I also love that Ezra is using his wrist slingshot a lot in this episode to do his part in the fight. A ‘child’s’ weapon until he grows into something more, though he does seem to have no issue using thermal detonators.
Greg Weisman pens Breaking Ranks which lets Ezra put his Imperial helmets collection to good use as he goes undercover as a cadet, named Dev Morgan, at an Imperial Academy in order to steal a decoder.
First airing on 3 November, 2014, this lets Ezra interact with characters his own age, and also gives the viewer a look into the training the Imps put their recruits through. The training seems pretty solid, and requires a lot of effort and skill, so what happens when successful recruits become stormtroopers, because they definitely do not seemed that skilled once they put on those white helmets.
We’re informed that the Imperials are gathering shipments of kyber crystals, though for what, the characters don’t know. Though we do. And we learn that the Inquisitor keeps an eye on the training programs in case someone shows some Force sensitive abilities.
Ezta finds an unlikely ally in Zare Leonis (Bryton James) who remains in the academy after Ezra makes good his escape, planting the seed for future contact, and a possible spy.
This episode also shows how well they writers have embraced the Star Wars storytelling formula of fast and faster, while balancing the a and b stories, wrapping them up into a wonderfully enjoyable whole.
The rebellion continues next week with another trio of episodes from Star Wars: Rebels. Until then, the Force will be with you…