— Spoiler Review —
In Star Wars Rebels‘ “Relics of the Old Republic,” the Imperials have arrived and the rebels make a stand alongside the aging clones in a tense battle of slow moving tanks, where only trust and teamwork will save the day for everyone. Tense and thoughtful, “Relics” caps off a solid two part opening for the season proper.
Kallus arrives on Seelos with three AT-ATs, but before Sabine can repair the Phantom—and Kanan convince everyone to leave the clones behind—the squad of AT-ATs is upon them. Using a sand storm as cover, Rex and the clones put their faith in the Jedi again to start evening the odds. Once the team takes down one walker, they head out of the storm and the rebels take off in the Phantom with their list of possible bases. After some convincing by Ezra, Kanan turns them around and helps the clones defeat the final two walkers, taking the clones back with them to the fleet. Cue emotional reunion between Rex and Ahsoka! Elsewhere, the Fifth Brother Inquisitor arrives, setting the scene for his and the Seventh Sister‘s attack next week.
Probably the most beautiful thing about “Relics” is how the clones slightly regain Kanan’s trust and in return the clones regain their fighting spirit. Just from the emotional scene in “The Lost Commanders,” where Kanan shares the vague details of his Order 66 horror story, it should be enough to make viewers understand why he’s so hesitant to trust or help the clones, but as I said it before and I’ll say it again, check out the Kanan comic series to get the full brunt of that moment in one of Marvel’s best series so far. In “Relics” the clone’s faith and rejuvenated spirit while under the command of a Jedi finally begins to wear down Kanan’s armor, as he gets to finally fulfill his younger Jedi-self’s dream about leading an army in the Clone Wars to bring justice to the galaxy. In turn, the clones, who replaced their bred and born solider’s purpose with joopa hunting, regain a sense of purpose and their warrior ways when Kanan gives them flashbacks of their younger days under the Jedi. How they affect one another in such a positive way is great to see for fans of both or either show, but it makes me wonder if Ahsoka was pulling a Jedi Master stunt with the mission because she knew Rex and Kanan could bring out the best in one another. I wouldn’t put it past her at this point.
Kanan’s renewed confidence thanks to the clone’s confidence in him has a trickle down effect, especially to his Padawan Ezra. The young Jedi-to-be would’ve never made the shot to take out an AT-AT in the storm without Kanan’s subtle guidance, while Sabine, Zeb, Hera, and even Chopper seem happier and work better together by episode’s end as their Jedi learns to trust himself a little more. It’s no surprise Ezra is the one championing the clones plight all episode, as his street-rat mentality of helping the downtrodden will seemingly never leave him (let’s hope not).
How about Rex and Ahsoka meeting again for the first time in over a decade? Oh. My. Force. It was a short but sweet scene and it certainly got me a little emotional (and Ksenia Z over at Twitter captured their moment together beautifully). As a fan of Ahsoka, Rex, and The Clones Wars, seeing these two finally together brings warm feelings to my heart. My imagination can only begin to wonder at what good these two can do together for the Rebellion…and if she’ll share her findings or suspicions about Vader with Rex. In fact, going off my earlier point of Ahsoka basically influencing events with Kanan and Rex—much like the Jedi of her time often would—could she be bringing Rex in to see if he knows anything about Anakin’s fate as well? As we’ve seen in the latest S2 trailer, Ahsoka visits Mustafar and I’d bet Rex gave her that intel. I might be reaching, but it’s a fun thought to consider as she’s much older and wiser now.
Despite all the action taking place between slow moving and plodding walking tanks, it’s appropriately tense and suspenseful thanks to how it borrows heavily from nerve-wrecking submarine warfare. Keeping quiet and one’s location hidden are vitally important to survival in underwater battles, and that becomes the tactic the clones and the rebels use in the sandstorm. Not only that, but pitting the AT-TE vs AT-AT’s is kind of a machine dream battle/wish fulfillment and there’s a lot of cool imagery included, especially when the clones ram Kallus’ AT-AT and lift it off its two front legs. Hera’s time in space with Chopper, while a Star Destroyer hangs out above the Ghost, also feels similar to a sub battle and using it in both situations helps sell the tenseness of each moment.
Here are a few other things:
- Did I forget to mention how awesome Chopper is? His grumpy ‘tude, objection/fight to not be shut down by Hera, and subsequent Karate-wake up attack (like seen in last season’s “Empire Day”) make him a truly enjoyable droid to watch. Comedic relief at its finest, folks.
- Did you know the Fifth Brother’s design came from unused artwork from The Force Awakens? If you didn’t, you should probably check out the official site’s “Relics” episode guide for that information and more!
- It was certainly noticeable how much the imagery in the AT-AT’s arrival in “Relics” was reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back‘s, and this gif compilation on Tumblr shows how they are practically identical shot for shot.
- As pointed out on Twitter from the previews for “Relics” last week, Sabine’s neck is missing in the opening moments of his episode. Wonder how that slipped through?
- Agent Kallus continues to be a well-acted evil, though still seemingly evil for evil’s sake.
- Again, more solid work from Kevin Kiner on the music, mixing Rebels with TCW and TESB, making it all work together somehow.
- Wolffe’s howl? Love it.
- Ahsoka’s final line of the episode sounds like one of the Jedi Wisdom Fortune Cookies that opened episodes of TCW. And as I discussed in my “Commanders” review, it seems like whatever happened at this Siege of Mandalore, it was the last time Ahsoka and Rex saw each other.
As you should be able to tell by my “Relics of the Old Republic” review by now, I was a fan of the episode, as it improves on “The Lost Commanders” in several ways. Now I’m just beginning to wonder how often I’ll be looking for evidence of Ahsoka’s subtle hand in events unfolding within the rest of Rebels‘ second season. Bring on the Inquisitors!
+ Clones and Kanan’s mutual trust building
+ AT-TE vs AT-AT
+ Rex and Ahsoka reunite!
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. 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: Step Into Shadows