On The D/L – Star Wars Rebels

Nov 22, 2014 | Posted by in TV
Star Wars Rebels

Season 1 Episode 7 – “Empire Day”

Star Wars Rebels begins its first attempt at a two part story with “Empire Day”. The team plan to sabotage a new model of TIE fighter being showcased at an Empire Day parade on Ezra’s home planet of Lothal.

For being the first part of a two part story there’s plenty going on here which might mean that the second part is lacking in comparison. The emotional heart of the story comes from Ezra who has a deep personal connection to Empire Day. It turns out that he was born the day the Empire was created which ties him nicely to the larger story.

Star Wars Rebels

The Empire Day parade

In general this episode is Ezra’s story and it’s very well told. It was an inspired choice to introduce us to Ezra’s emotional turmoil through his lack of focus on his Jedi training. Kanan dismisses his lack of focus as being his usual childishness but there’s a sinister edge to Ezra’s distraction when he suggests simply killing a relatively harmless creature that attacks them. Kanan doesn’t think anything of it but it’s definitely unlike Ezra to act this way. It’s a testament to how well this show has built the characters.

It’s quite refreshing to see a more serious side to Ezra as he deals with the pain in his past that he is apparently running from. He resents his parents for apparently putting their cause ahead of their responsibilities to him and has never had closure on those issues so seeing him deal with this turmoil is fantastic dramatic stuff.

Everything starts to hit home when the team are brought into an Imperial plan to hunt down a Rodian named Seebo with ties to Ezra’s parents. Seebo is something of a tragic character as he has had his brain fried by bionic implants and is incapable of being incoherent. Lots of his scenes are played for laughs but there is an upsetting side to this psychologically broken individual.

The Empire are after him because his implants have stored a treasure trove of Imperial intel that could prove instrumental to the Rebellion. Making the stakes equally high on a personal level for Ezra as well as a plot level for the Rebellion’s conflict against the Empire is a great choice that gives the episode a fantastic sense of urgency. Anything that happens in the Galactic level plot directly affects the personal story and vice versa. Even the binary cliffhanger ending manages to keep these linked so no issues with the episode on a structural level.

Star Wars Rebels

Kanan buys time for his friends

With this being Ezra’s story most of the characters take a back seat. Kanan gets more to do than the rest but most of his scenes are related to Ezra’s role in the story. He does have one really interesting moment where it seems like he’s reluctant to use his force abilities in battle leading me to wonder if his training is incomplete which means he isn’t comfortable using these abilities in battle. If this is the case then it’ll add an intriguing layer to his training of Ezra with him being inexperienced as well.

The rest of the characters are in service to the minutiae of their plans to thwart the Empire. I can see why it was done in this episode but there’s still an issue with this show appearing to have favourites among the small collection of characters. There are still characters I want to know more about and they’re just not getting the screen time.

  • 8/10
    Empire Day - 8/10


A very solid first part of a two part story. There’s plenty going on here and it sets things up nicely for the next episode. Hopefully this won’t mean the second part is lacking in content.

Ezra is the focus of the narrative here and we are given a more serious side to this character. He is dealing with emotional turmoil due to his personal connection to Empire Day and what this represents to him on a personal level. There’s so much richness to this story that it’s dramatically fantastic to watch.

There’s a deep connection between Ezra’s personal story and the story of the characters protecting the Rodian Seebo. Each story has great stakes that fit together very well and culminate in an effective binary cliffhanger ending.

Most of the characters take a back seat to Ezra’s story and are more used to carry out the minutiae of the plan. It works here because this is Ezra’s emotional journey but the problem of not building all of the small cast of characters in this show still exists.

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