– Spoiler Review –
In “Warhead,” Star Wars Rebels gives Zeb some much needed screen time as he protects the Atollon base from a deadly new Imperial Infiltrator droid.
If there’s anyone who has consistently gotten the short end of the stick in Star Wars Rebels‘ third season so far, it’s Garazeb Orrelios. Last season gave him some excellent episodes, like having him come to terms with his survivor’s guilt and turning foe to friend, but he’s been his usual muscle/humor support role for the majority of S3. Thankfully, “Warhead” gives everyone’s favorite Lasat a chance to shine, even if it wasn’t as bright as his moments last season. Zeb’s captaincy of the Lasat Honor Guard, and therefore his ability to lead, showed themselves in the most peculiar, but entertaining way this episode: he manages to successfully execute a mission with two of the grumpiest and morose droids in existence. Managing to get AP-5 and Chopper to not only work together without getting in each other’s way, but also to listen to him despite them both obviously not thinking too highly of him gives Zeb a chance for both us and his team to see how important and pivotal a role he can play. His final plan to send the Infiltrator droid back to his Imperial origins with a sabotaged bomb was a stroke of genius, a result of his years as part of a military structure. Overall the episode doesn’t do much to build his character, but it at least strengthens it, much like a lot of S3’s character-focused episodes have been doing. Nothing like making us love and enjoy our main characters even more only to suddenly cut one of them down by the season’s end, hey? Let’s hope that’s not the outcome, but with Thrawn involved that might be the least of our worries.
I really enjoyed the ups and downs Agent Kallus Fulcrum goes through this episode, specifically at the end. In a bit of respect and adoration for Phoenix Squadron’s successful sabotage of the E-XD Infiltrator he smiles over their victory and even calls to congratulate them. While he doesn’t know who saved the day, we and Zeb know he’s actually complimenting his old Lasat enemy and I’m sure these days he’d feel pretty good about that. It would’ve been nice if the episode could’ve at least included a moment where Zeb acknowledged his begrudging thanks for the congratulations from his previous enemy, but alas we haven’t got much from Zeb about turning Kallus other than his little comment in “Antilles Extraction.” The whole situation does make one wonder if each cell is assigned a Fulcrum or if multiple could be contacting a cell, therefore our crew might not realize it is still Kallus Fulcrum talking to them instead of another Fulcrum. As happy Kallus was to see the team succeed, as keeping the Empire from the Rebellion makes his double agent role a little easier to keep secret, he does a damn fine job keeping his disappointment in check when Thrawn reveals this minor setback was as much a victory for them as it was for the Rebellion. As promised by Thrawn in “Inside Man” and teased in the mid-season trailer, Kallus’ role as Fulcrum has the potential to be his undoing, so his next appearance could be quite the episode to watch.
It seems no matter what Zeb ended up doing, it still had a negative impact, Grand Admiral Thrawn is able to deduce that one of the worlds visited by that specific wave of the E-XD Infiltrators has to be home to a Rebellion base if it was sent back with the sabotaged bomb. All season long even Thrawn’s mere presence has made every Rebellion victory, no matter how small or large by Phoenix Squadron, just as beneficial to the Empire. Now Thrawn can narrow his search for the cell’s base, and as the mid-season trailer showed, he will end up knocking on Atollon’s door sooner than later…and it seems it’s thanks to the events of this episode. But in the mean time, the team still has more time for fun adventures like this one, hence why we’ll get some time with Sabine and the Mandalorians coming up.
Here are a few other things:
- The episode opened up with a nice little homage to The Empire Strikes Back‘s opening, with the droids shooting out of the Star Destroyer to scour the galaxy for the Rebellion.
- Speaking of homages, the E-XD looks curiously like the RQ protocol droids, first seen in S1 episode “Droids in Distress.” The RQ stands for Ralph McQuarrie, as the design for the droid is based off of McQuarrie’s earliest drawings of C-3PO. In protocol mode at least, the E-XD is eerily similar and I’m curious as to why that model (both in and out of universe) was used for the Infiltrators.
- AP-5 and Chopper together again was a great highlight of the episode, as is Stephen Stanton’s continued Alan Rickman-like performance of AP-5. AP’s line about his response being delayed due to being stunned over Zeb having a good idea was one of my favorites. I can’t wait to hear more of Stanton’s upcoming Obi-Wan performance!
- As usual, the Rebels Recon this week has some intriguing tidbits, including where Thrawn got the Infiltrators and thus why we won’t be seeing them again.
Thrawn’s looming specter makes even the more lighthearted and enjoyable of Rebellion victories, like the one in “Warhead,” feel like another loss in the end.
+ Zeb making a team out the most unlikeliest of teammates
+ AP-5, plus Chopper, for the humor-laden assist
+ Every Rebellion victory tainted by Thrawn’s presence
– Brevity of battle part of episode made it seem too easy
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“
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