– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars Rebels finally gives Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios his due with the unique Lasat culture, striking visuals, one of Kevin Kiner’s best original tracks for the show to date, and Steve Blum some room to shine in an enduring oddball of an episode titled, “Legends of the Lasat.”
While the female characters have only really started to get the focus they deserve this season, Zeb hasn’t had much of a focus at all, outside of his exhilarating fight with Agent Kallus back in “Droids in Distress,” which is literally back at the start of season 1. We’ve known he was a member of the Lasan Honor Guard, which is where he got his bo-rifle, and that most, if not all of his people were wiped out by the Empire, but that’s been about it. “Legends of the Lasat” unearths some more specifics about his history, the Lasan culture, and gives Steve Blum a chance to flex his considerable talent. Upon rescuing two wayward Lasan refugees, Gron and Chava, from the Imperials (thanks, but not really thanks, to Hondo Onaka), they call him Captain Orrelios, confirming his Honor Guard membership but revealing he was actually one of the higher members of the group which protected the Royal Lasan Family.
Safely on the Ghost, the two new Lasats attempt to track down a planet from an ancient Lasan prophecy, but Zeb stomps away in frustration. Ezra confronts his pal, wondering why Zeb isn’t eager to help some of the last remaining members of his species with their quest, and Zeb bares it all. All this time he’s considered the fall of Lasan his fault, as he feels being the Captain of the Honor Guard when the Empire wiped them out means he’s failed his people irrevocably. The anger he has at himself for his self-blamed failure certainly explains his behavior throughout the series so far, like his grumpy attitude about everything and his eagerness to bonk bucketheads together. But that anger also has caused him to forget his people’s ways, as he thinks rituals and prophecies are nothing more than a joke, meaning he doesn’t know how to find hope for his people again. Ezra’s line about not failing his people now and stop fretting over the past hits Zeb right where he needs it, motivating him to go along with Chava’s rituals to find a safe-haven for their species. Steve Blum is a prolific voice actor and he expertly puts all that experience into Zeb’s revelations about his past and how it haunts him still, really giving the scene an extra emotional push on top of animation’s delivery of Zeb’s body language.
The Lasan, much like many other cultures and worlds out there, have a different take on what the Force is and how they interact with it. Seeing others who aren’t Jedi or Sith tap into the mythical energy field surrounding everything seems to always make for entertaining galaxy-building and “Legends” certainly has that in spades. The Lasan call the Force “Ashla,” a name some Legends (the novels, not the episode) fans should be familiar with: in the ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ era (I’ve read the comics and reviewed the novel), the Je’daii believed in balancing themselves between the Ashla (light) and the Bogan (dark). Here though, the Lasan just simply call all of the Force Ashla, not even giving it any dichotomy. The Ashla has given them a prophecy to finding Lirasan, the mythical safe-haven for the Lasat, regarding a Fool, a Warrior, and a Child. What I really liked about this prophecy was how The Three both found representation in different characters and in Zeb himself, but the episode left which version you thought represented the The Three better up to you. If you were to look at different characters as representing the Three then: the Fool is Hondo, described as selfish, though responsible for leading the journey, which he does by connecting the Lasats with one another; the Warrior is Kallus, described as bloodthirsty, hunting down anyone’s hope of tomorrow, which he does by pursuing the rebels; the Child is Zeb, to destroy the warrior. But for the prophecy to actually work, the child must save the other two, which in a way Zeb does by going into a space anomaly which neither Kallus and his captured Hondo follow. That final part is thin as best, while having all three represented in Zeb makes for a much more compelling take on the prophecy and of Zeb himself.
As I saw it, Zeb represented the Fool’s selfishness when he continued to think only of his pain over the loss of his people, ignoring Gron and Chava’s hopes simply because he didn’t think they could be real. He leads the journey though, when he is there to rescue them and when he comes around, changing his bo-rifle into a configuration we’ve never seen before which guides them to discovering the location of Lirasan. He, most obviously, always represents the Warrior due to his militaristic nature and desire to fight, and if you take ‘hunting’ the hope for tomorrow as ‘doubting’ that hope, then he certainly has that in spades during the episode. And lastly, his maturity level can sometimes come across like a child’s, but he saves the others inside of him like the Child should for the prophecy to work: he banishes the Fool inside himself by no longer carrying the self-imposed and unrealistic burden regarding the fate of his people and he empties his doubt about the hope for tomorrow and guides the way to Lirasan with his bo-rifle, hope, and a little supporting hand from Kanan and Ezra. It’s a really well-thought out way to show Zeb grow as a character, overcoming the demons he holds inside himself. And while he’ll still hate Kallus for what he did to his people, he probably won’t hate him as much considering there’s a whole planet full of Lasat’s Kallus can’t touch (and which sets up for their upcoming episode, “The Honorable Ones”).
I can’t end this review without mentioning the gorgeous visuals at the tail end of the episode, as well as one of Kevin Kiner’s strongest tracks to date. The imploded star cluster is a stunning space anomaly you can’t take your eyes off of, recalling paintings one might see at Louvre. And the way the anomaly shreds the TIEs apart and begins to tear apart Kallus’ ship gave the beautiful star cluster its dangerous side, while the Ashla or whatever it may be bouncing across the Ghost and causing laser blasts to veer away from it gave me moments of excitedly stunned silence. Their trip though kaleidoscope hyperspace is something we’ve seen somewhat before in Rebels, but their arrival at the hidden Lirasan leaves just as lasting of a memory on the brain as the anomaly does. Bravo to the animation team, proving their mastery of their tools with some of the show’s most gorgeous moments. But to top it all off is Kiner’s “Journey into the Star Cluster,” (to be found at the official site’s episode guide) a haunting piece of violin-heavy music which adds and expands the visuals’ beauty and danger in those final scenes.
Here are a few other things:
- Trust Pep-NO! to have some great insight on “Legends,” specifically about Zeb’s experience throughout the episode.
- I can’t be the only one who, after spending all episode hunting for Lirasan, was a little bit disappointed we didn’t get to go down to the surface and see it! I understand it was probably 100% budgetary reasons so at least the view of the star system it was in made for another gorgeous image in the episode. Maybe one day we’ll see the surface of Lirasan…
- Something hidden in the episode, which I kind of glimpsed in my first watch and definitely caught in my second, is a Kanera moment. After coming out of hyperspace in front of the imploded star cluster, Kanan puts a supportive hand on Hera’s shoulder and she gives him reciprocal smile of thanks (as seen in these screenshots), but she follows it up with a look which causes them both to quickly hide their shows of affection. Could it be because they still think the others don’t know…or does that speak to something happening between them in the past which causes their relationship to go no further than what we see on screen? Time will tell…
- Hondo, a favorite of mine from The Clone Wars, had an appearance here I enjoyed quite a bit more than the one in “Brothers of the Broken Horn.” In “Horn” it felt strange to have him come on the show to give Ezra emotional help instead of one of other main cast, while here he’s just the catalyst for the story and Ezra gets to provide emotional help to Zeb. He was absolutely hilarious here and truly felt like the old Hondo.
- Zeb reveals it is Kanan who brings Zeb into the group and holy Ashla do I want to hear that story now.
- In the previous episode’s review, I thought I noticed Ezra looking harried and sounding disinterested. I’ve watched parts of it for a third time and I’m pretty sure I was seeing things, while “Legends” certainly shot down the whole theory.
- Got to love Tumblr for not only the big things, but for the little things as well, like when someone spotted a Blue Milk ad in the spaceport during this episode!
Sabine said it best in the episode, “This is gonna be an interesting ride,” and indeed “Legends of Lasat” certainly was, giving Zeb a chance to take front and center in the group for the very first time, delving into his people’s culture, what makes him tick, and giving us some of the best music and imagery from the series to date.
+ Revealing Zeb’s past
+ Zeb as the Three
+ Gorgeous visuals, haunting music
– Not really an issue, but it would’ve been nice to see the surface of Lirasan!
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. 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