On the D/L – Star Wars Rebels
Season 1 Episode 11 – “Vision of Hope”
After another short break Star Wars Rebels is back and fighting fit. This week our heroes look to rescue an exiled senator who might become an ally to their cause.
Senator Gall Trayvis had been set up previously as one of their informants but he appears in the flesh -so to speak- in this episode. Voiced by franchise defector Brent Spiner, Trayvis is an interesting character who seems hard to pin down at first. I liked the way his character was reintroduced through the eyes of Ezra’s naive outlook on the situation. He has a force driven vision that leads him to believe that the senator could be trusted when the reality was quite the opposite. Kanan rightly said that Ezra’s emotions clouded his judgement. He attached hope to those visions which made it manifest.
It’s a good example of the common Jedi warning of controlling your feelings before they control you. I haven’t seen it done quite this way before other than the feeling of dread informing Luke Skywalker’s decision to go after his friends in The Empire Strikes Back. Ezra’s status as a trainee gives us a unique insight into the problems that Jedi can face when they’re unfocussed and allows us to explore these issues extensively. Ezra seems to be learning his lessons through failure and a desire not to repeat mistakes that might get his friends killed. As training regimes go it’s not the worst way for him to learn but at some point I really think he should learn not to be so headstrong at some point so that he doesn’t constantly get people in trouble.
Hera offered an interesting contrast to Ezra’s hopeful outlook. This episode shows that she likes to remain positive but she is also a realist. I liked the way she figured out that Trayvis wasn’t on their side with growing suspicions gradually throughout the episode. I got the sense that she realised that the senator wasn’t what he appeared to be almost right away only to have that suspicion confirmed when he was pretending to be out of breath. The difference between her and Ezra is that she never stopped hoping that he wanted to help them but remained objective enough to see the evidence in front of her.
Trayvis’ betrayal was handled really well. The revalation that he’s been feeding the rebels information that the Empire wants them to have is a really clever development. It’s a really sinister idea to think that the Empire is controlling the Rebellion by being part of it. They give false hope to the rebels by supplying information that is probably fairly inconsequential but bigging it up so that it seems more important while they learn what they can about the leaders so that they can one day bring it down quickly and efficiently. It sort of reminds me of the Emperor’s plan in the video game The Force Unleashed where Darth Vader encouraged his apprentice to start a rebellion so that anyone disloyal to the Empire could be hunted down relatively easily.
The final conversation between Ezra and Hera was really interesting. I was surprised to learn that Hera is shocked by the betrayal but hasn’t had her hopes completely shattered by this. She still thinks that the Empire can be fought and that giving up would be true defeat. It’s a great moment between these two characters who haven’t had much opportunity to interact up until now. It was nice to see Ezra connect with someone other than Kanan for a brief time.
It was good to see Zare Leonis return. I’m really glad that they followed up on this so soon in what seemed like the ideal episode to do so. There’s still an element of mistrust there as Zare is still to learn Ezra’s real name but he is proving himself to be a trustworthy asset through his actions. I wonder if his promotion to an assignment on another plant is a sign that the Empire knows that he’s an informant and wants to keep an eye on him. It’s little moments like this that keep the show building a subtle level of constant tension. It feels like a dangerous galaxy and that’s definitely a good thing.
Just as a quick aside. This episode thrills with the action sequences as usual. Notable highlights are Zeb and Sabine rescuing their friends as well as Ezra and Kanan sporting their lightsabers against platoons of Stormtroopers
Kallus returns here after a bit of a hiatus but his clear loss every time he goes up against this small band of rebels is making his presence seem somewhat toothless. I think he needs a somewhat significant win to raise his credibility as a villain before he just becomes a laughing stock every time he appears.
Star Wars Rebels continues an impressively strong run of episodes with another outing that gives us a good level of insight into the wider scale of the Rebellion against the Empire.
Ezra’s vision that leads him to believe that the senator they gear up to rescue will lead them to a turning point in their struggle was an interesting plot device. Jedi visions are something that Star Wars fans will be familiar with but to have them cloud the judgement of the one experiencing them so completely feels like a new take on it. The only reason that Ezra felt hopeful is because he applied that feeling to the vision on his own. He allowed himself to be ignorant to the facts that that got the team in trouble. I like they way the show approaches his learning curve but I hope he takes more care in future as there’s only so many times his ignorance can credibly cause trouble for them before he seems like an idiot.
Hera got some welcome development in this episode with an opportunity to show a side to her that we haven’t yet seen. She is immediately suspicious of the Senator despite hoping that he is telling the truth. Her hope doesn’t blind her to the facts so she is able to prepare for his betrayal. Her outlook provides the perfect contrast to Ezra’s thoughts and allows them to have a really nice moment together that hasn’t previously been seen.
I like the idea that the Empire is subtly pulling the Rebellion’s strings in order to manage them properly. It makes sense as far as plans go. They release insignificant information disguised as something significant and try to find out more information about their enemy in the process.
Kallus featured a welcome return here but his appearances are starting to seem almost toothless. It’s hard to believe him as a credible threat when he is constantly thwarted by the small band of misfits that this show follows.