– Spoiler Review –
Grand Admiral Thrawn’s hunt for the Fulcrum in his ranks, aka Agent Kallus, comes to a head in Star Wars Rebels‘ latest, “Through Imperial Eyes,” an exciting episode with an unsurprising outcome (at least for me) that still leads to intriguing storytelling opportunities for the show’s final episodes.
While Kallus’ deceptions throughout the episode to keep his position hidden were well thought-out and entertaining to watch (manipulating Lyste into being a scapegoat by putting him on Governor Pryce’s scent), it all felt too easy because this is Grand Admiral Thrawn we’re dealing with here; It came at no great surprise Thrawn was able to pierce through Kallus’ orchestrations, but how he intends to deal with it became the more important takeaway from the episode. Essentially he’ll keep Agent Kallus alive only as a means to feed misleading information to the Rebellion, now that he knows the ISB agent’s deception, which portends grave consequences ahead for Phoenix Squadron and their eventual attack on Lothal. While they’ve delayed Thrawn’s tightening noose by erasing Atollon from the Admiral’s potential rebel base locations, Thrawn can now manipulate them to show their hand anyways, making Chopper and Ezra’s work basically moot. The rebel’s safety continues to slip away, a feeling that consistently hits after any episode starring Thrawn this season, and this looks to be the biggest set back yet. When Thrawn comes knocking on Phoenix Squadron’s door, will they be ready? Will Kallus outlive his usefulness? And will any of the Ghost crew make the ultimate sacrifice to help the rebels live to fight another day? The sense of foreboding isn’t going away any time soon.
Thrawn was operating at peak Thrawn this week, revealing just how deadly both his brain and brawn can be. Not only does he do his best Sherlock Holmes in uncovering the truth behind all the deception aboard his ship, but he gets a chance to show his warrior prowess when defeating the assassin droids Kallus sics on him to buy the rebels time to escape. The way Thrawn so deftly outmaneuvers the droids shows his mind is always a couple steps ahead even when he’s not staring into the starry void and building his plans, while staying emotionless throughout allows him to keep his head in more ways than one, coolly dispatching the final droid in badass fashion. It’s a good thing “Eyes” had such a ruthlessly efficient Thrawn on display, as it allows the show a chance to continue building why he should even be considered a formidable foe besides the reputation that precedes his character from his Legends-set tales. I now fear even more strongly now for the Rebellion and Kallus, as both are truly up against a foe deserving of the name Thrawn.
Agent Kallus has many skills and has a shrewd mind himself, but his ability to keep a straight face in the light of any type of surprising news he hears while around other Imperials is a damn true talent; he barely flinches a centimeter of his muttonchops for crying out loud! This ends up being one of his hardest deceptions yet, as he has to outsmart not only Thrawn, but ISB Colonel Yularen (whose appearance on the show, while welcomed, felt a bit perfunctory) and Governor Pryce. His turn into a more interesting and actually layered character has not disappointed in terms of the stories to be told with an Imperial spy, but has also given David Oyelowo a chance to really bring more variety and his considerable talent to Kallus instead of the more grunt-heavy, blindly loyal Imperial he was at the start.
Here are a few other things:
- How about Thrawn’s override code for the assassin droids? That’s cold, Star Wars Rebels! The captions confirmed what many suspected: the code is “Rukh,” the name of the Legends Noghri character who puts cold steel through Thrawn’s back, thus ending his storied Imperial military career. Quite the reference!
- Phew, Pryce came awfully close to killing Rex this episode! Hope that’s not foreshadowing for the finale…
- It was interesting to see so many named Imperials this episode, considering we mostly get hidden-faced no name officers and stormtroopers, especially the likes of Brunson and Pryce. Though it was also cool to see Thrawn, Yularen, and Pryce interacting and walking around the Star Destroyer to uncover the mystery of the Fulcrum, it did make them feel a bit like a villain Scooby team.
- Just a few weeks back, the descriptions for the final set of episodes were uncovered and now I’m wondering if the, “…help from an unexpected source,” Ezra seeks in the second part of the finale will be Kallus.
- It’s a minor thing…but was this the first time we’ve ever seen the Imperial code cylinders in action, so to speak?
- I’m happy the whole episode wasn’t in first-person, but I wish they had returned to the view at least one or two more times.
- Back in my review of “Inside Man,” where Kallus officially was revealed as Fulcrum, I gave him the nickname Agent Fulcrum. At the end of “Through Imperial Eyes,” that’s exactly what Thrawn calls him. Does that make me as smart as Thrawn? Maybe? Hopefully?
- Curious to learn more about the symbol for Thrawn’s troops, seen prominently on several stormtrooper pauldrons.
- Check out the episode guide for “Eyes” to see what Easter Eggs hid in Thrawn’s room, as well as another insightful Rebels Recon.
Phoenix Squadron and Agent Fulcrum himself believe they’ve deviated suspicion from Thrawn’s thoughts about a Fulcrum being amongst the ranks, but really they’ve just stepped deeper into the Grand Admiral’s growing web, as seen in another great episode, “Through Imperial Eyes.”
+ Thrawn earning his reputation
+ Kallus’ deceptions…
+ …being turned against him by Thrawn…
– …though not terribly surprising.
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” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour“
Season Four: Heroes of Mandalore Part 1
A New Dawn (Novel)