Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 14
Star Wars Rebels has the Ghost crew sent on a mission to steal an Imperial fuel shipment when their own supplies are running low.
The predicament is laid on pretty thick from the opening seconds of the episode. Fuel on the Ghost is dangerously low and they clearly aren’t going to get much further on what they have left. The environmental controls are turned down the minimum and Hera is generally coasting to get them where they need to be.
It’s a solid setup and establishes limitations right off the bat. The Ghost won’t be able to do intricate manoeuvres or outrun enemy ships because of the situation so immediately the jeopardy is increased to a level that works really well.
The introduction of the Purrgills was nicely done. They’re giant space whales so there’s no subtlety in the intended effect. We’re supposed to be on their side and feel sorry for their resources being plundered. I’m OK with this as I’ve seen it handled more offensively elsewhere.
Ezra’s connection to them is what makes the whole thing more interesting. It has been well established that Ezra has a special affinity with animals so his feelings really play into his character here. There’s a sense that his force powers are growing and that he feels real empathy for these creatures. They also clearly feel a connection to him as they allow the Ghost to fly alongside them early on and actively defend the group later in the episode.
Visually the Purrgills are very impressive. They are very well designed and their movements are very graceful. There is a lot of visual flair in this episode but the design of the Purrgills is probably the most impressive.
I like seeing the spiritual side of the force as it really shows how wonderful and mysterious it is. It can’t be understood and much of it is down to interpreting feelings. The Purrgills represent that perfectly as Ezra can’t quantify why he is drawn to them but knows that he can trust it.
It’s a shame that this idea isn’t really developed. We constantly hear that Ezra feels a connection to them but it doesn’t really go anywhere beyond having them help out in the final battle. It was also frustratingly obvious where it was all going. Ezra’s connection would inevitably lead to the Ghost crew getting help and everyone who doubted Ezra being proven completely wrong. This is a show for kids first and foremost sure but there was more that could be done here. Exploring the spiritual side of the force is a great idea and a great way to spend an episode set in this universe but the exploration should be on more than a superficial level.
Ezra’s blind trust of the Purrgills was countered by Hera’s cynicism surrounding them. She sees them as animals and nothing more without understanding what Ezra sees. She eventually accepts them but since she disappears for much of the episode it doesn’t feel natural.
I found the reveal that the Purgills could travel through Hyperspace to be really strange. It was foreshadowed when Hera talked about the legend of them inspiring the earliest space travellers to follow them but it didn’t make the actual moment any more believable. I like the idea of ancient legends when everything in Star Wars is largely taken for granted but this was a bit much for me.
The episode had some great set piece moments such as the final battle with the Purrgills helping out and the space jump that reminded me a little of either of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies. It was an exciting sequence that gave a real sensation of speed and peril while giving unique uses of force powers in slowing a descent. The villains seemed completely incompetent but that’s fine as the Ghost crew weren’t at full strength.
Only Ezra is given any meaningful screen time in this episode. The rest of the characters mostly sit off to the side and remark every so often. This season has done a good job of giving the other characters more to do but making it feel more like an ensemble would be a better idea.
I found this episode a lot easier to watch than some of the more recent outings. Star Wars Rebels hasn’t been hitting the right notes for me this season and is definitely missing the greatness it could soar to in season 1. I’m unsure what it is that has changed but this episode was at least tightly focused and very watchable if a little disposable.
A perfectly enjoyable if disposable episode of this show. The spiritual side of the force is teased but not taken as far as it could have been and as usual most of the characters were left off to the side. The Purrgills were an interesting idea and visually impressive to look at and the episode had some impressive action beats.
• the attempted exploration of the spiritual side of the force
• impressive design work on the Purrgills
• some really well executed action sequences
• ideas that aren’t developed as well as they could be
• the other characters being side-lined yet again