Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 2
“The Lost Commanders”
Star Wars Rebels finally begins the second season after giving the premier episode as a preview back in June with the crew of the Ghost going to seek out potential allies for the Rebel Alliance.
The allies turn out to be none other than the Clone Troopers Rex, Wolfe and Gregor. If you haven’t watched The Clone Wars then you’ll have absolutely no idea who I’m talking about but Rex was a very important presence in that show as he was featured throughout all of the seasons and had a close friendship with Obi Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka.
A lot of questions are still flying around after The Clone Wars ended that Star Wars Rebels seems to be committed to answer. We already got the answer of what happened to Ahsoka at the end of last season and now we find out what happened to Rex. It turns out that he went into hiding once the Empire came into existence and had removed the control chip that would make him murder his Jedi friends once Order 66 was declared. It is a little bit of a cop out for Rex to have no blood on his hands but it’s consistent with what fans know of his character. He was starting to question what he was fighting for by the end of The Clone Wars so seeing him where he is now feels like the natural progression of that.
There is the possibility that picking up unresolved story threads from The Clone Wars will alienate fans who started with this show. I think in this case it should work out fine as long as you know what Clone Troopers are but it’s something the producers will have to be mindful of.
Kanan and Ezra are the focus of the narrative as usual but it completely makes sense as having a Jedi perspective on finding Clone Troopers after all these years is a very important point of view to explore. Kanan is predictably hostile to them as he witnessed Clone Troopers murder his master before coming after him. This is all detailed in the excellent Kanan centric prequel comic series that definitely warrants a read. Freddie Prinze Jr. managed to make Kanan sound pained as he recounted the ordeal and the emotional weight of his words can easily be felt. He is letting his baggage influence his thinking and it makes perfect sense given what he has been through in his life.
On the other side of that is Ezra who quickly takes to Rex and the other troopers. He doesn’t have the baggage that Kanan has so takes them at face value. He is completely stuck in the middle as he likes Rex but is unable to fully understand what Kanan has been through. In this case Ezra is symbolic of the hope for the future and putting the past behind them since he is the future of the Jedi unburdened by the sense of loss felt by the survivors like Kanan.
The other characters don’t fare nearly as well with Zeb being handled incredibly clumsily. He is basically fed to a creature by the clones and comes out of it easily convinced that it was a good thing. It’s so far out of character for Zeb that it boggles the mind. Sabine has very little to do other than be there and move the plot forward when she needs to. I have noticed that she has recoloured her hair. That counts as character development…right?
Other aspects of the episode were clumsily handled such as the battle -if you can call it that- with the Imperial Probe Droid that had all of the characters behaving incompetently just so that Rex could land the winning shot and prove himself to Kanan. I understood the plot reason for it but it really didn’t work in terms of execution.
Wolfe’s betrayal didn’t work either. The idea behind it was solid as he wants to protect his friends by keeping the Empire from hunting them down but his apology and the instant acceptance of it by the others made absolutely no sense
It’s not a bad thing but as a series return this episode is a bit too low key. Audiences haven’t seen Star Wars Rebels since June and to have this be the first outing does feel like too slow a start. If this had been the second or third episode after a significant break then it would have been better. It was very marred by poor execution in significant areas as well.
It is only a part 1 with part 2 still to come so I’m hopeful now that all of the set-up is out of the way there is plenty of room for excitement. Having them stranded with the Empire on its way is a solid place to start.
A fairly low key return after such a long break for the series that answers another lingering mystery from The Clone Wars.
The return of Captain Rex and the answer to the question of what happened to him when Order 66 was declared works really well and is consistent with the character established in the earlier show. If you aren’t familiar with that show then you might be a little lost here but as long as you accept that these are Clone Troopers then there should be enough for you to get by.
Kanan and Ezra are the focus of this episode which makes sense given the Jedi history with the Clone Troopers. Kanan is very hostile to Rex and his men because of the raw memory of clones gunning down his master before coming after him. It’s not something that is easily forgiven and the appropriate amount of emotional weight is given to everything he says.
Ezra is the opposite as he is unburdened by the tragic history that weighs Kanan down. He is a positive character who gives people the benefit of the doubt but is completely caught in the middle as he is likes Rex but is unable to truly understand Kanan’s position.
The rest of the characters are clumsily handled with Zeb acting completely out of character and Sabine’s only function being to further the plot when it needs it.
Some of the story elements were really clumsy as well such as the battle with the Imperial Probe Droid that has all the characters behaving incompetently so that Rex could take the winning shot and start Kanan down the path to trusting him. Wolfe’s betrayal wasn’t well handled either with his motivation making sense but the hasty apology that is quickly accepted by everyone not working at all.
This is only part 1 so hopefully part 2 will pick up. Having everyone stranded with the Empire on their way is certainly a good start.