– Spoiler Review –
“Brothers of the Broken Horn,” brings back my second favorite The Clone Wars character, Hondo Ohnaka, in a style befitting the once (and hopefully future) pirate king. As thoroughly entertaining, hilarious, and exciting as the episode may be, it certainly reiterates an issue I had upon viewing “The Lost Commanders” only a few episodes ago on Star Wars Rebels: how I thought bottle episodes were going to be a thing of the past.
I didn’t go into too much detail regarding how I felt the season opener dipped in tone a little too much from “The Siege of Lothal” in its review, but “Broken Horn,” gave me the same feeling, if only a little stronger. Both “Commanders” and “Broken Horn” feel a lot like early S1 episodes, where the stakes weren’t particularly high but the crew had entertaining adventures nonetheless i.e. “bottle episodes.” All that changed by the end of season 1 and was continued in “Siege,” which brought the consequences up a few notches for our crew and showed they’d have to be careful and always looking over their shoulders going forward. To make a tone setting opener and then mostly disregard said tone is a little disappointing, as “Broken Horn” features the crew more worried about who’s scrubbing the windows than if the Empire is around the corner or if they’ll get a base for the Rebel fleet. It’s still early in the season and there’s no doubt that’ll change going forward, but one wonders about the choice of making an episode such as this one and what repercussions, if any, will come from its events.
But don’t get me wrong, I was entertained by this episode on several levels, starting with Hondo’s glorious return. While he was obviously hit hard by the Empire taking over, Hondo’s still as spry, crafty, and untrustworthy as ever. However, the one thing old age has given him is a touch of nostalgia and maybe a little delusion (especially for the Jedi, claiming Obi-Wan might’ve been his friend), as he certainly never seems to think he’s fallen too far that he can’t be a pirate king once again. Jim Cummings delivers excellently and the dialogue is chock full of almost instant classics for Hondo, with his retort about the Azmorigan’s wife and his line, “Oh the stories I could tell you…so many of them true,” being stand outs for me. What I always enjoyed the most about Hondo was his questionable character, as he’d be helping the Jedi at first, then turning on them or attacking younglings the next. But in the end, he just laughed it all off as a joke while seemingly making a valid point or wise advice. His penchant for surprisingly blunt and meaningful goodbyes continues, as he helps Ezra recognize he’s truly a Jedi before disappearing into the galaxy once again.
In my review for “Always Two There Are,” I had hoped Ezra’s discontent with dueling teachers wouldn’t be disregarded and dropped without being touched on. Thankfully “Broken Horn” tackles the issue and somehow makes Hondo, the Azmorigan, Vizago, and even Chopper integral to the solution. But while it was nice to see some of these characters again (especially Hondo), it felt odd that Ezra’s issue about what he truly wants to be couldn’t have been tackled by the characters we already have on the show. It’s great that Hondo points out Ezra’s Jedi innards, but shouldn’t Ezra have known that about himself already when he sacrificed himself so that Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper could escape from the Inquisitors last week? When he got to talk to Yoda? Or couldn’t Hera been a little more motherly instead of her switching to demanding mode here? That all aside, watching Ezra deliberate on his future opens up an even more interesting idea to consider: what if he ends up going out on his own, much like Ahsoka did, with his Jedi skills? He doesn’t necessarily have to become a Jedi and giving him a fate other than what we all can predict would be a fun and bold thing for the show to do.
Ever since Ezra’s been in Vizago’s debt (S1: “Rebel Resolve”), I’ve been worried about how and when the criminal was going to take advantage of the favor he’s owned, but that plotline gets tidied up nicely in “Broken Horn.” Hondo starts the episode off by claiming he won Vizago’s ship off of him through cards, but towards the end we find out that wasn’t the case. Instead Hondo pirated his way into the Broken Horn’s cockpit and forced Vizago into his own cell. When Ezra finds Vizago, he calls in the favor and forces Ezra to turn on Hondo, but it quickly becomes every being for himself, with Hondo escaping in the Phantom (which Ezra borrowed to investigate a emergency signal from Vizago earlier), Vizago gets his ship back. and Ezra’s debt is wiped free. I don’t think I would’ve worried so much over Ezra’s favor to Vizago had I known it was going to be so easily erased, without any consequences, due to a contrived situation, but it was a good idea to hold something like that over one of the characters on the show.
In the end, the ultimate standout moment of the episode was easily Chopper coming to the rescue, taking out Azmorigan’s men, getting Ezra back his saber/blaster, and dual-wielding weapons to chase the Azmorigan away. He might be a grumpy pain in the collective ass, but he’s got it where it counts.
Here are a few other things:
- Jason Ward at MakingStarWars.net has written a great piece about not only the tonal issues with Rebels‘ second season, but also points out the lack of “what’s at stake.”
- StarWars.com’s episode guide reveals where Hondo’s old clan symbol can be seen in The Force Awakens and has a new detail about Sabine in the Rebels Recon video.
Hondo Ohnaka always manages to make an episode special and “Brothers of the Broken Horn” most certainly was. However, while it’s still early in the season, the tone bouncing around and the show not spending as much time with the full crew is feeling a little disappointing.
+ Hondo Ohnaka is back!
+ Ezra’s path might not be what we all imagine
– Feels a little too lighthearted at this point
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy”
Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 7: “Blood Sisters” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11 “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice”
Season Three: Step Into Shadows