The best laid plans of mice and men, right? After declaring the end of wi-fi woes and the beginning of a regular review schedule of The Freemaker Adventures, fate had other plans. Is this increasingly harder to get a hold of show worth tracking down? Does the promise of two massive cameos from the movies (yes, bigger than Dengar and Lando) entice you at all?
Let me just address what has been bubbling for the past few reviews, and a tension I think a lot of our readers have with this show. Anything available on Disney XD is becoming too hard to watch, and I feel like this is starting to wear on us. My apartment complex did not have Wi-Fi for a few weeks, making the show inaccessible through the Disney XD app. When my family switched cable providers last week, I lost my password and we went to a service that Disney XD could not be accessed through, leaving me unable to watch. To watch this episode, I went to a friend’s house when it was on TV. That means I watched actual commercials for this review – don’t say we don’t do anything for you, our faithful readers! I would love for this show to become more accessible, whether through something like Hulu or a Disney streaming service. This is echoed by many who don’t want to buy Rebels S1 on DVD and can’t access all of Season 2 through the app.
Alright, don’t go any further if you want to be surprised for this episode.
This episode features the really cool cameos of both Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa! I was excited to see them enter the show, and the show treats their appearance with all of the pomp and circumstance that the two deserve. As they co-pilot a Y-Wing Fighter flanked by two A-Wings, they are chased by two TIE Fighters. As they are chased, Luke hears the Spirit of Ben Kenobi – who’s appearance blocks Luke from seeing what’s in front of him, causing difficulty for him as he flies. This was all really cool, giving it a fun Splinter of the Mind’s Eye vibe, where Ben was expected to pop up and help Luke more often than he did in the Legends canon. The TIEs shoot down their escorts and land critical damage on their Y-Wing. The pair are forced to crash (literally) for a while at The Wheel, and choose to have the Freemakers repair their ship. Despite the astronomical cost of repairs offered by Kordi, Leia agrees to anything that they need done. The Imperials send out a signal: they know the two are on The Wheel and ask everybody to keep an eye out.
Naare barely misses out on meeting Luke and Leia as she is sent on a “secret mission”. As much as Rowan would love to accompany her, she cannot allow him to come along. This is because it is no secret mission: it is a performance review on Coruscant! The Emperor hilariously reminds her that she has, so far, failed in bringing her any kyber sabers, or even kyber saber crystals. While it has been interesting to see Naare grow, and her double life start to fall apart, this episode might cast doubt whether she will turn on the Freemakers – or the Empire.
The appearance of the twins marks significant character shifts in Rowan and Kordi. You might have remembered a previous criticism I had of the show was that Kordi was quickly becoming underdeveloped. Thankfully, she and Leia spend a significant portion of the episode together escaping Imperial capture. As Leia starts to explain that what she does for the Rebellion is done for the greater good, it starts to speak to Kordi. As Kordi hides Leia in a trash incinerator, and then the pair act as a cleaning crew, Kordi starts to see that she doesn’t need to do everything for money. Her change is also caused by seeing the Upper Ring. The upper level of The Wheel is designed for rich people, and Imperials, only. They serve constant free hors d’eovers and live a life of luxury. Seeing Leia reject this, though she still carries a card identifying her as a princess, causes her to rethink her purpose as a scavenger. In the end, she offers to repair the twins’ ship – for free!
Luke and Rowan also go on an important adventure. As the Imperials come to the Freemakers searching for the Rebel leaders, Rowan and Luke run to the StarScavenger to hide. Roger, in an effort to look busy, starts sweeping and throws aside his mug of caf-I mean, 30-weight oil (“the good stuff”), and accidentally damages the ship. This causes Luke, Rowan, and Roger to blast wildly into hyperspace, ending up at Felucia.
The scenes at Felucia might have been one of the most beautiful scenes in recent memory. Luke and Rowan, discussing the nature of the Force, discover the planet is alive in the Force. Whenever Luke uses the light side, flowers bloom all around it. Rather than the dreary picture of a dead world in The Force Unleashed, Felucia is alive and desperate for the touch of the light side of the Force. As an Acklay nests on top of a piece broken from the StarScavenger,
Roger does his best to retrieve it. Unable to retrieve the piece, he tells Luke and Rowan: “Acklay spit is bad for my gears! Also, I am a coward.” This causes Luke and Rowan to search for another way to get the piece back to repair the ship. Luke, explaining the Force to Rowan, shows him that most of life responds positively to the light side of the Force, because it works with the natural order rather than against it. Using their combined powers in the light side of the Force, the two retrieve the piece. Before heading back, Rowan takes one of the flowers with him as a present to Naare.
The episode also marks the return of the excellent Mr. Wick Cooper. Rescued from floating aimlessly in space after his starship exploded, Wick returns with a 10% off coupon. (Yes, he knows that the Freemakers caused his last accident, but he’s a sucker for a deal!) As much as I loved the appearance of the Skywalker twins, I thought that Mr. Cooper was a real strength of the show – only outdone by the excellent Lt. Durpin. These characters show that The Freemaker Adventures really shine with their own characters and don’t use the movie cameos as a crutch. In fact, if you are anything like I am, you might wish that they only used their own characters!
In what may be one of the most clever ways to start casting doubt on Naare, Rowan presents her with the flower. Rather than opening up like it did with Luke, it dies instantly. Naare laughts it off: “well, it’s the thought that counts!” Rowan, not a naive child anymore, is shown with a look of skepticism. As Naare’s story breaks down, the show starts to heat up.
As it was last week with The Perils of Kashyyyk, the episode is heavily plot centric, though it was not as heavy as it was in the last week. There was definitely more time for a focus on the characters and more jokes – if the series could retain this sense of balance, I would be much more happy with it than I was last week.
As the show moves forward in the plot, returning to an ample time spent with our characters, The Freemaker Adventures overcomes its first hurdle (a less than stellar episode) to come back to the greatness we’ve come to expect from it. As Rowan starts to doubt Naare, and Kordi becomes way more friendly to the Rebellion, the show has opened up avenues in a hundred new and exciting directions.
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