Star Wars Rebels Review: “Stealth Strike”

Stealth Strike

Spoiler Review –

The Interdictor cruiser graces the screen for the first time in Star Wars Rebels‘ “Stealth Strike,” an expertly paced and thoroughly enjoyable episode where Ezra’s burgeoning skills become more progressively clear, while Kanan and Captain Rex find themselves finally resolving their issues with one another.

Stealth StrikeRightfully so we’ve spent more time with Sabine and Hera in the last few episodes, but we’re now back to dealing with Kanan and Rex’s dueling master shtick. Taking a couple episode break worked well for their argument as it doesn’t feel too rote at this point, but at the same time I’m happy it seems to be mostly resolved this season as I don’t think I’d be able to handle this going on for all 22 episodes. Kanan might have learned to trust Rex, but there’s still quite a chip on his shoulder about the clones and what they did when Order 66 took everything from him (seen in the excellent Kanan comic series) that he doesn’t want to get comfortable enough around Rex and let his guard down only for it to happen all over again. Considering Kanan was a young teenager when he watched his best friends Captain Styles and Commander Grey murder his Master and hunt him across the stars, you can’t really blame the guy. Rex, on the other hand, wants Kanan to put their differences aside (and show a little respect) so that they can become a team that Rex was bred for (and so he can relive his glory days fighting alongside an unorthodox Jedi). But of course both of these men are too stubborn and aren’t able to admit these things out loud, so hence the fighting.

Stealth StrikeWhere words fail, actions speak much louder anyways. Kanan and Rex are forced to work together once they board the Interdictor cruiser Ezra, Commander Sato, and some rebel troops are being held captive on, but they still can’t agree on their mission’s focus: do they rescue and run or rescue, sabotage the Interdictor, then run? Kanan, who’s default response has been run since Order 66, isn’t ready to be a Jedi all the time yet and is obviously for the quick in and out plan, but Rex realizes just how important and deadly this new Imperial weapon can be and doesn’t want to leave until it’s out of the equation. Surprisingly, it’s Ezra who decides not only to follow both their inclinations, but how best to go about fulfilling each mission (more on Ezra’s uptick in power and confidence in a bit). He goes off to sabotage the ship with Chopper while Rex and Kanan rescue Sato, which is where their bonding starts, as evidenced by the cool ‘pull and shoot’ maneuver, where Kanan Force pulls stormtroopers out of cover and Rex shoots them. Later, as Rex separates himself from the group to help them escape, he’s captured and tortured by Admiral Brom Titus, the commander of the Interdictor cruiser. Once Kanan realizes just how well they work together, and that he’s unable to avoid befriending another clone, he goes off to rescue Rex and escape the ship just in time. Their final salute at the end of the episode certainly makes me wonder how much more effective the Ghost crew will become with Rex and Kanan working together finally.

Stealth StrikeSay what you will about Ezra, but this season he’s come a far way from where he was in season one. Heck, he’s come even further from a few episodes ago, showing off a much more confident and aggressive fighting style/tactics. Commander Sato doesn’t feel like Ezra is capable of much and in a way he functions as a surrogate for the audience, considering there hasn’t been many reasons for Ezra to inspire confidence in the viewers. As Sato is proven wrong and comes around to believing in Ezra’s abilities, thanks to Ezra’s deft handling of every situation he’s in, it’s hard not to completely feel the exact same way about the young, developing Jedi. In a way he’s becoming the product of Rex and Kanan’s separate teachings, molded into one, despite an annoyance with their bickering that made him choose to go on such a mission as a way to avoid hearing more of it. But Ezra’s way of tapping into the Force, being as aggressive as he is, does raise some concerns since it reminds me of Anakin and that there’s an individual out there who’ll be trying to tempt Ezra to the dark side: the Seventh Sister.

Stealth StrikeThe aforementioned Titus is a new Imperial character who screams the 1970’s louder than anyone we’ve met on Rebels so far (and can you say, Space Nazi/Aryan Race?). He’s fairly bright for an Imperial, but he’s plagued by the same over confidence so many of them suffer from, which ends up being his undoing (though he survives to fight another day thanks to his smarts). But what made Titus’ appearance worthwhile in my book was a chance to see Agent Kallus get to be a pain in someone else’s backside than the rebels and for him to come out on top for once. Kallus warns Titus not to underestimate Ezra, but when Titus displays the stereotypical overconfidence, Kallus shrugs and lets him do as he wishes. After Kallus arrives on the scene following the Interdictor’s implosion, he’s rather happy Titus didn’t listen to him and it certainly seems like Kallus is hunting for a promotion. It’s not exactly the much needed character development I was hoping for our mutton chopped baddie, but at least it’s something.

Stealth Strike

Here are a few other things:

  • The Interdictor might make it’s first ever on-screen appearance in “Stealth Strike,” but they’ve already been canonized in “The Levers of Power,” a short story about Admiral Rae Sloane’s part in the Battle of Endor, found within the Rise of the Empire novel which collected A New Dawn, Tarkin, and three new short stories (and “Levers of Power” is worth the price of the whole collection, in my opinion). The ship has a great design and is a great concept/idea, though this one only seems to be a prototype at the moment but its eventual destruction doesn’t seem to prevent the Empire from continuing to develop the idea. And how about that imploding explosion? Gorgeous!
  • StarWars.com’s Rebels Recon clears some air on Sabine’s timeline from Imperial Academy, bounty hunter, to rebel, while Dave Filoni teases we’ll be seeing the consequences of Ezra’s approach to using the Force (which I can only imagine involves the Seveth Sister…)
  • Sabine’s time in the Mandalorian Imperial Academy keeps paying off, as she’s able to explain what an Interdictor cruiser is to the crew to help them grasp the severity of the situation and what it means for the Rebellion going forward.
  • There were a few little, but great things with Rex this episode: he constantly attempts to readjust the stormtrooper armor; he takes off his helmet, hits a stormtrooper with it, then shoots him!
  • Chopper’s bit with the zero-g and dropping Ezra was hilarious and once again, as has been the trend most of the season so far, he comes through to save the day despite being devious and grumpy.
  • Nice to finally see a female A-wing pilot on the show, considering Phoenix Squadron had just been male so far.
  • Rex claims Cody and he practically invented the code system the Empire uses during the Clone Wars.
  • Rebels might be inexplicitly keeping the Imperials we’ve met so far white, but at least the series is excelling in diversity for the rebels and other non-Empire affiliated characters.

Stealth Strike

Kanan and Rex settle their dispute for now while Ezra proves he’s a valuable part of the Rebellion’s team in another top-notch episode, “Stealth Strike.”

+ Kanan and Rex BFFs now

+ Ezra’s confidence and abilities growing

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

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. 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. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour

Season Four: Heroes of Mandalore Part 1

RELATED REVIEWS:
Kanan (Comic)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)

A New Dawn (Novel)