– Spoiler Review –
“Fighter Flight” is a little more lighthearted than the previous episodes, but it shows the flexibility of the show by doing a rather fun episode right. It also proves Star Wars Rebels can focus on character development without having to involve some over-arcing season long plot and still be overly engaging and enjoyable.
“Fighter Flight” opens with several reasons why one should love Chopper: he messes with Ezra’s Force training; shocks Zeb (though it was meant for Ezra); and unscrews Ezra’s bunk so it comes crashing down on Zeb, which he brags about to Sabine. He’s really become a distinctive droid, having already faced off against R2 (the droid we all already love), and is proving he can stand on the same level as R2 personality-wise. He’s just not as helpful, but his mischievousness is infectious and I look forward to his antics as the series carries on.
Ezra and Zeb are already on edge with one another, as Ezra’s been holding his actions to save Zeb’s life from Agent Kallus over the Lasat’s head constantly, while the other isn’t acknowledging it. Then thanks to Chopper’s bunk bed shenanigans, an angry Zeb and Ezra tear after one another across the Ghost, but are stopped by a scolding Hera. She forces them on a supply run, with the ultimatum not to return without a meiloorun fruit. Kanan knows Hera’s game and it’s not till Ezra runs into an old family friend, Morad Sumar, that he finds out the meilooruns don’t even grow on Lothal (though you’d think since he’s lived there all his life, he’d have known it). Of course what seems like a simple way to have the two trouble makers calm down and work together becomes a crazy, fun adventure of its own.
After Ezra and Zeb find the only meilooruns on Lothal are under Imperial control, Zeb wants to return to the Ghost while Ezra wants to steal them. Everything doesn’t go as planned and the Imperials, led by Supply Master Yogar Lyste, are on the chase. There’s some really great scenes which display Zeb’s abilities, like his climbing and jumping skills, plus his shear strength. Cornered by a TIE and troopers, Zeb does the only sensible thing and steals the TIE, Grand Theft Auto style. Fleeing in the TIE, Zeb catches up to Ezra and liberates him from his Imperial pursuit, making off into the Lothal prairie with the stolen vehicle. The pair continues to butt heads, destroying property and nearly smashing the TIE into a giant rock after they get fruit all over the viewport (no wipers?).
Kanan and Hera enjoy their time without the quarreling kids, until Ezra and Zeb radio in with their current predicament. Definitely unhappy with their antics, and how it’ll attract unwanted attention, Kanan orders them to ditch the TIE and come in right away. Getting in trouble together starts to help Zeb and Ezra bond again and on their way to ditch the TIE, they find Sumar’s little home destroyed and he and his wife captured by Supply Master Lyste’s Imperials. Ezra implores Zeb to help him liberate his family’s friends, who reluctantly agrees.
All episode long, Ezra’s been struggling with his telepathic Force abilities and it’s finally when he needs them most, to free Sumar, his wife, and an Aqualish, that he manages to control them. When both Zeb’s ruse as Commander Meiloorun crumbles quickly (thankfully showing the Imperials aren’t completely incompetent) and Ezra’s freeing of the prisoners tip off the Imperials, another fun but frantic action sequence ensues. The earlier one showcased Zeb’s skills, while this one gives Ezra the spotlight, as he hops between troop transports, blows up a turret with a wrench, and uses meilooruns as offensive weapons. However, Zeb’s upside down rescue of Ezra was the true highlight of the episode.
My only issue with “Fighter Flight” comes from motivations, or rather the lack thereof. Why exactly does the Empire, or more exactly Lyste, even want Sumar’s small, remote patch of Lothal land? It doesn’t seem to be strategically located nor is there ever any mention of it being built over necessary resources for the Empire. And did he blow up Sumar’s home just because Sumar didn’t want to sell? While we know the Empire is bad, it’d be nice to know the why behind Lyste’s actions, other than he’s just being evil to show he’s evil. Update: It seems a card Rebels Report found about Morad Sumar explains that his land is near enough Kothal (the town Zeb and Ezra visit) and even nearer to a major vein of ore. Those motivations make sense for Lyste’s actions, but why weren’t they included in the episode?
I laughed a whole lot during this episode, with Chopper, the antics of Zeb and Ezra, and lastly and most heartily, Sabine’s painting. Watching Zeb and Ezra learn to get along was definitely fun and full of stand out action scenes, with the pace never really letting up. Their developing friendship didn’t feel forced or too quick, as their admiration for one another’s quick thinking and other skills brought them together in a realistic way.
Here are a few other things:
- Sabine’s painting makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Though she didn’t have a ton of screen time, she nearly stole the episode with her picture.
- Would’ve been nice to get a quick line or two about Sumar’s friendship with the Bridgers, helping viewers be more behind Ezra’s attempt to rescue him instead of it just being to liberate him from the evil guys doing evil things.
- The meiloorun is a fruit mentioned briefly in one of the Legends’ X-Wing novels (so says Wookieepedia). While I’ve read them all, I don’t remember that specific mention or reference. It shows you just how deep the Story Group is digging into the Legends material (more on that in my review of Tarkin).
- I was especially happy to have Lyste in this episode, helping to show the Imperials aren’t all incompetent and that we won’t need to have Kallus or the Inquisitor to have good bad guys.
- Update: The official site’s episode guide is up, featuring the “All for Fruit” audio clip, Rebels Recon, and more.
While it didn’t have any far reaching implications like the final scene in “Droids in Distress,” “Fighter Flight” did a great job with giving two of our characters fun, action packed, hilarious, and enjoyable bonding time. It showed Rebels won’t shy away from giving it’s characters room to grow and mature, even at the expense of an over-arcing plot, and how well made and enjoyable such excursions can be.
+ Lighthearted romp
+ Chopper’s antics
+ Sabine’s painting
– Lyste’s lack of specific motivation
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | 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. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | 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“