– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars Rebels returns from its winter break with “Ghosts of Geonosis,” an episode that contains its own ties to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (which had quite a few Rebels references) including Saw Gerrera appearing, as the crew tries to uncover what the Empire was so keen to hide they’d been building at Geonosis.
The Saw Gerrera we meet in Rogue One is far more unhinged than the one in “Ghosts of Geonosis,” but the cracks are already beginning to show. And while the episode might not explain how he goes even crazier and unbalanced (though Freddie Prinze Jr. aka Kanan has revealed the show isn’t quite done with Saw yet), it does a better job than the film at explaining both why he’s not regarded highly by the Rebellion and his justifications for taking such extreme measures. The death of his sister, Steela (a moment just as sad for anyone who watched The Clone Wars or has since checked out the Onderon arc to get background on Saw), has affected him greatly. Saw seems to think he’s honoring her by continuing the fight, but he’s twisted his pain with honoring her and thus created an excuse for taking whatever measures he deems necessary to get revenge for her death; heck, I’m not even sure he knows who exactly deserves his wrath, so focused he is on causing pain back to those who aren’t on his side. And while Saw’s methods clashed with the crew’s ideals, they even get into a little tussle aboard the Ghost when trying to figure out what to do with the Geonosian they discovered, I like how it’s only the Imperials’ interference, not the crew, that manages to stop Saw from torturing the helpless Geonosian or killing its egg at that moment. While their insistence on helping the Geonosian shows Saw the errors of his ways, as both he and Klik-Klak have lost so much and were only taking action to protect what’s left of those who had fallen, the crew was unable to truly halt his more extreme tendencies, teasing how we might see his break from the Rebellion happen as he seems to be very hard to reason with. The beautiful part to all of this is having Forest Whitaker (who seemed excited about the show’s return!), who portrays the character in RO, to voice him here in the show. It allows Whitaker to give more nuance to the character than his smaller screen time in RO allows, as he shows a different side to Saw in the episode and conveys the character’s pain and frustrations more deeply. It’s a great performance and helps add extra depth to a character who definitely deserved a little more in RO. Could Freddie’s comment of more Saw mean we get to see him truly go off the edge in a future episode? Either way, Saw’s less reserved side of the Rebellion would be a great thing for the show to explore if they can in the future.
I had never imagined I’d care for any Geonosians, but the show was successful with Klik-Klak. It’s not a new thing to explore, last remaining specimen of once-hostile race found by the main characters who debate what to do with it, but it is new for Rebels and for the Geonosians. They’ve been antagonists primarily their entire time in canon so far, though Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel was the first to show them turn from the aggressor to the oppressed as they became slave labor for the Death Star’s construction, and this is the first time we’ve seen one of the drones as an individual. For the most part, the show succeeds in making Klik-Klak’s actions and ultimate fate feel earned, as we learn he’s just protecting a queen egg and Saw and the crew were actually the aggressor. While he gets to live, and see the queen egg hatched, it’s important to note their story could have a dark ending: in Darth Vader #4, Vader and Doctor Aphra, with the murderbots BT-1 and Triple-Zero, steal a droid factory connected to one of the last remaining Geonosian Queens when they visit the planet. It’s not confirmed this is the same Queen as the one in Klik-Klak’s egg, but interesting such a darker moment could’ve been seeded on a more kid-friendly show. UPDATE: Pablo Hidalgo has confirmed it is, making this happy ending very bittersweet. Also, I’ll be curious to see how the crew feels when they finally see the Death Star and realize some bug drew the damn thing in the sand for them years ago, which they mistook for the jars of poison from the Empire. Oops would be the first appropriate response…
The crew all had their moments throughout, like Kanan getting everyone across the chasm (including himself), Rex’s reflections on Geonosis, Onderon, and buddy-ing back up with Saw, Ezra’s continued lead as negotiator with non-humans (which he just seems to have the patience for, not that anyone else couldn’t do it), and Hera’s deft piloting and return to mother mode for a bit (instead of being cooped up with Alliance High Command). But the biggest standout was Sabine’s response to the rocket trooper’s attack on the descending Ghost: busting out a repaired jetpack (from “Imperial Supercommandos”) and going off like a true Mando would on those fools. The whole action sequence was impressive to say the least, but Sabine’s sweep up of the rocket troopers was its most impressive feature; It’s like the show finally realizes it has a Mandalorian and wants to do something about it this season (something we’ve already gotten and will be getting even more of as the season continues). The only thing I had any issue with was Kanan’s voice of dissent with everyone’s plans; while I get why he would feel that way, it almost felt a little out of character because of how insistent he was about sticking to that point of view even though I believe he’s been on the other side of the argument quite often. Plus, there were plenty of good sight jokes to be had that didn’t get taken advantage of!
Captain Brunson took many by surprise, including myself, when she was initially shown on screen as one couldn’t be faulted for assuming that Rae Sloane, the most pervasive and fan-favorite character of the new canon, had finally come to Rebels. But the moment she was called Captain, also very early on, it was obvious she wasn’t Sloane, as she had gotten Captaincy of a Star Destroyer by the end of A New Dawn (which takes place prior to the show) and she had a further promotion to Vice Admiral (as seen in Kanan #12) by S1 of Rebels (and is now a Grand Admiral in the Aftermath Trilogy!). While yes I would’ve loved it to be Sloane, I was actually happier it wasn’t as it means more diversity and more Imperials (S3 has been adding quite a few faces and names to the bad guy’s side), instead of drones that are more obviously due to budget reasons than a statement on how the Empire molds its recruits
Here are a few other things:
- I always suggest checking out Rebels Recon, but this week is a for sure a not-miss, as it reveals a whole lot about how they brought Saw to the show and how Rogue One‘s story and his TCW appearance shaped how they handled him here, there are some BTS shots of Chopper on the set of Rogue One. and Pablo Hidalgo answers a question about Vader’s castle.
- Saw’s accusation of the Jedi being the reason they lost the war isn’t completely without merit, even though they were stuck being pawns just as much as he was, as had they taken a more hands-on approach to the fight at Onderon it is quite possible Steela never would’ve died.
- The opening took a bit getting going, taking its time with exposition-filled dialogue to catch up everyone on enough details on what’s come before to appreciate what was ahead on the episode.
- It’s weird watching the show now after Rogue One, considering it revealed at least two character’s fates while a third was previously revealed in the Galactic Maps book, but it was cool to see how the crew’s acquisition of the Hammerhead craft became a vital part to the space battle above Scarif. But it’s fantastic to see how these have both taken advantage of the fully connected era and it sure makes things look bright for all potential crossovers ahead!
- I’ll admit, I laughed harder than I expected to at Sabine’s, “Ugh. Sand. It gets everywhere,” comment. It might’ve been cheesy, but Anakin was certainly on to something.
- When Ezra says, “I think he’s afraid,” in regards to Klik-Klak and Rex says, “How can you tell?” I was curious if he was the blind one now and not Kanan.
- Is it just me or was I the only one who immediately thought those giant jars of poison looked a lot like the jars in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Also, I translated the Aurebesh on the jars and it reads, disappointingly so, “Caution.” Back in DV #4, Aphra was very curious what weapon the Empire used on Geonosis…the answer is still out there to what poison gas it was, I guess.
- In case you missed it, the mid-season trailer dropped a few days before this episode and revealed quite a few surprising things…including Old Ben Kenobi and Maul having a rematch!
Star Wars Rebels returns from its break with, “Ghosts of Geonosis,” which dives into the backstory of Saw Gerrera, teasing just how close the crew was to finding the Death Star early, and some surprising discussions that led me to like a bug.
+ Giving Saw Gerrera great depth and Forest Whitaker’s performance
+ Caring about the bugs
+ Sabine goes full-Mando
– Takes a little to get going
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. 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“
Season Three: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” | Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 8: “The Wynkahthu Job” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices“
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (Comic mini-series)
A New Dawn (Novel)