On the D/L – Star Wars Rebels

Nov 3, 2014 | Posted by in TV
Star Wars Rebels

Season 1 Episode 5 – “Breaking Ranks”

Star Wars Rebels lets the viewer see what life is like for young initiates in an Imperial Stormtrooper academy as Ezra infiltrates in order to steal information that will help the rest of the team foil an Imperial shipment of Kyber crystals.

Based on my knowledge Kyber crystals are used in lightsaber construction but must have some other application if the Empire want them so badly. It’ll be interesting to find out why the Empire are stockpiling them.

The plan is a fairly intricate one but still manages to be easy to follow. Ezra is enrolled in the academy as a Stormtrooper so that he can steal the information, Zeb and Sabine provide backup for him should he need it while Kanan and Hera go after the shipment. It’s a plan that saves time at a crucial moment given how close they are to losing the shipment and how small their window is. I continue to be impressed at how dynamic and clever these characters are.

Speaking of clever I really liked the training exercise for Stormtroopers even if I don’t fully understand why jumping up platforms makes someone a more effective soldier. It did lend itself to some really cool looking scenes and I really liked when the officers noticed that Ezra seemed to be “too good” showing that the Empire are still actively looking for force sensitive people to prevent the Jedi from rising up again. As a side note it’s quite amusing that one of the Stormtrooper training exercises involves hitting a small target given their infamously poor aim.

Star Wars Rebels

Hera prepares her attack run in The Ghost

The different aspects of the plan worked really well for me. I liked how it was cutting from Ezra trying to escape the academy to Kanan and Hera battling the Imperial transports. I loved the space battle as well, it looked great and had some interesting tactics. It felt very original trilogy in the execution.

As always, character is at the heart of the story in Star Wars Rebels and Ezra is coming along nicely. His fierce determination and selfless attitude are becoming defining traits for him. He cites the influence of being around the team for his burst of altruism but I think he’s just being modest and always had this moral streak within him. After all, it was his idea to save the prisoners in Fighter Flight so I think modesty might be limiting Ezra’s development in some way. I do like that angle as his force powers will grow as his self confidence does.

I find it impressive how they’re handling the development of Ezra as a Jedi in that it’s being done gradually and with some impressive subtlety. There’s a scene in this episode where he struggles to bring a small disk to him. It actually manages to be a fairly tense scene knowing that he could drop the disk and the Imperial officer might hear it and catch him. It’s genuinely a very good use of the force powers by giving Ezra some clear limitations.

A large part of this episode focused on Stormtrooper initiate Zare Leonis who only joined the Empire to track down his sister when she went missing. He believes that The Inquisitor is responsible but has no proof. He and Ezra form a fast friendship and seem to be on similar wavelengths. Zare’s decision to stay in the academy because he hasn’t got what he was looking for yet made sense for him and I liked how his superiors got the idea that he was showing the most initiative in chasing down the rebels. I dare say he’ll return as an informant for our characters and I look forward to that.

Star Wars Rebels

Zare Leonis pretends to chase off the escaping rebels

As always, the tone is spot on. It’s clear that the producers want to use this show to get viewers used to the feel of the Original Trilogy instead of the Prequel Trilogy tone throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars and it’s a good transition I think. It also fills me with some hope that Episode 7 will tonally be on the right track.

Something that is starting to annoy me slightly is that Sabine and Hera are heavily underused. Zeb has taken something of a back seat as well but he benefited from some early development. Hera and Sabine both seem to be really interesting characters but we aren’t getting the opportunity to see it. There’s more they could be doing with them in this show and so far it’s not being done. I do think that there will be development of these characters soon but there should have been some by now.

Other than that, the opening minutes of this episode felt somewhat rushed, almost as if there were chunks of story missing. Maybe the concept was just too big to fit into 20 something minutes and a lot was cut. It didn’t suffer too much but it was noticeable.

  • 7.5/10
    Breaking Ranks - 7.5/10


A strong episode of Star Wars Rebels that gives the viewer an insight into Stormtrooper initiate training. A complex plan that is easy to follow lends a sense of urgency to the mission. The action is well paced with solid intercutting between a ground based battle and one in space giving the episode a solid dose of excitement

Ezra’s character development is coming along nicely but it does seem to be at the expense of Hera and Sabine which is a little disappointing. It isn’t hurting the series too much as yet but if they continue to be underdeveloped it will cause problems.