– Spoiler Review –
I almost feel like a broken record talking about Rebels, as I’ve been calling multiple episodes the best of the season and then another comes along and dethrones it. “Gathering Forces” continues that trend, but earned the title of ‘best of the season’ and deserves to keep it for paying off everything set up in last week’s “Empire Day” in surprising and interesting ways.
Kanan’s training of Ezra both succeeds and backfires, which I was very happy to see. Kanan was in the middle of his training before everything went all Order 66, meaning he’s a novice and any training he does give shouldn’t be easy and it looks like Rebels won’t shy from showing failure just as much as success. Kanan overhears when Ezra reveals to Sabine, in a somewhat heated conversation, he learned how to survive best after thinking his parents were dead, and Kanan incorporates that knowledge into his training program. It was a risky move, putting Ezra in harm’s way to force him to face his fear and open himself up to the Force, but much like some of Anakin’s riskier lessons to Ahsoka, it works. Ezra admits his fear regarding Tseebo’s information on the fate of his parents and makes the connection with the living Force, a moment powerful enough to reach Tseebo back on the Ghost.
But it also backfires: Ezra being so new to the Force, and without any type of warning from Kanan, the Inquisitor senses Ezra’s openness and is able to feed off and encourage the young apprentice’s fear, thus making Ezra touch the dark side. Ezra’s summoning of the giant fyrnock from the depths of the base was a pretty stunning moment, and it even surprised the Inquisitor. Kanan and Ezra’s conversation in the Phantom afterwards was pretty powerful, as Kanan apologizing goes a far way to show how this experience with Ezra will be just as much about his own training as Ezra’s. However, Kanan tells Hera they need to talk after the events at the asteroid base and it makes me wonder what he’ll say regarding Ezra, as it has me theorizing they could have another possible Jedi on tap to talk with to help Kanan train people (but that’s all just guess work by me).
Sabine has gotten more and more screentime as of late, and her scenes against Ezra really stood out thanks to her insistence on knowing the truth about his parents. Could it be she doesn’t know the fate of her parents as well, hence her surprise someone wouldn’t want to know? At this point, as much info as we got on her in “Out of Darkness,” there’s still quite a lot left we don’t know. She also rescued that holodisk from Ezra’s basement as a birthday present to him, paying off her glancing out at Kanan and Ezra while training last week, which was our first hint she’s possibly developing feelings towards Ezra. If they ever do have a relationship, Rebels looks to make them have to earn it, not just let it happen because it should/could, which is better than some non-animated shows I watch.
Have I ever mentioned how nice it is to have Jason Issacs as the Inquisitor? Because he really gets to shine in “Gathering Forces,” mocking and manipulating both Kanan and Ezra, and he seems to be having tons of fun doing so (both the actor and the character, that is). And the Inquisitors arrogance was on full display, fighting Kanan with one hand behind his back, another subtle and effective way of psyching out his opponents while showing his skills. He’s quickly becoming a villain worthy of being mentioned in the annals of Star Wars villains.
We got tantalizingly close to discovering Fulcrum’s identity here, and while a lot of people will point to the Corellian Blockade Runner as evidence Fulcrum is Bail Organa, remember three things: 1) Bail didn’t know anything about the crew when he them/had Artoo record everything about them in “Droids in Distress,” while we know both Kanan and Hera have already met with Fulcrum in person. 2) It’s a big galaxy, and if having Ezra’s parents not be familiar characters (or his dad a clone) is a sign Rebels is trying to open up the galaxy, which means ANYONE could own a Corellian Blockade Runner. 3) Bail’s ship is red (see the photo for a comparison between Bail and Fulcrum’s ships); This all adds up to one thing: this is a red herring folks, meant to throw us off, but I’m not going to fall for it, as Fulcrum’s identity is still at large. But if it’s not, I definitely won’t mind.
Here are a few other things:
- Chopper coming to after being repaired was hilarious, as he was flipping out all Chop-itsu style. Also, the happy looks from the crew helped to sell that no matter how much they berate and yell at him, they really appreciate him and consider him as part of the team.
- I feel like they could’ve exited hyperspace, detached, and then the Ghost could’ve gone back into hyperspace, but then again we wouldn’t have gotten that crazy scene of them phasing out in a hyperspace rainbow of insanity. Really cool effect and crazy idea.
- Methinks the tracking device the Inquisitor uses, designed by Sienar Fleet System, is the one Vader placed on the Falcon in A New Hope.
- Where was the debris and dead fyrnocks outside the front of Fort Anaxes, the asteroid base, from all the action seen in “Out of Darkness?” Either that place is haunted by a cleanup crew or the fyrnocks like their home looking spotless for all their visitors.
- Well, there was some mystery surrounding Ephraim and Mira Bridger’s identity, but it’s over: he’s simply Ephraim, and so too with Mira, and not a clone or anything else fans were theorizing. While it might be disappointing to some, I’m really happy the creators didn’t make Ephraim a clone, as this opens up the galaxy a little more, instead of shrinking it down by having everyone know everyone/everything be connected.
- The cold feeling Ezra got was a very effective way to show his brush with the dark side.
Heading into a winter break, “Gathering Forces” is a solid episode that leaves a few tidbits on the table while covering some of the important things from the previous episode’s cliffhanger. As it stands, Rebels has been a very entertaining series so far, building its variety of characters in interesting ways while telling a story which can only lead to bigger places.
+ Sabine and Ezra’s interactions
+ The Inquisitor having fun
+ Kanan’s training
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.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“