"Star Wars: Rebels" 1.4 – Fighter Flight (8 out of 10) – Directed by Steve Lee; Written by Greg Weisman; Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sirca, David Oyelowo; Rated TV-Y7, Airs on Disney XD 10/20/14.
The latest episode of "Star Wars: Rebels" teams the unlikely pair of Ezra and Zeb on an a run into town for supplies for the Ghost. Hera seems to feel as though this will be a great bonding experience for them, especially since she sets them up to fail by requesting a supply of incredibly rare fruit.
Since neither Zeb nor Ezra like admitting defeat easily, they refuse to go back until they've found the melons they're looking for. And, of course, the only crate in the city happens to be on an Imperial transport, destined for Imperial stomachs. As happens often with Zeb, one thing leads to another and suddenly they're in possession of a TIE Fighter, pursuing the transport that carries not just the fruit, but a number of dissident prisoners that knew Ezra and his parents in times past.
This episode works hard to balance the comedy of a kids show with the unflagging destruction of the Empire. Watching dissent quashed under the heavy boot of the Empire is difficult, especially when it's completely unwarranted, as in the case of the old friends of Ezra's parents. But this installment of the show does a reasonably good job of balancing the lighter, comedic elements with the more morose elements of the war.
The story, though, took a back seat to the development of the relationship between Ezra and Zeb. It feels to me very much in the same vein as Johnny Storm and The Thing from the "Fantastic Four," which might make a certain amount of sense, given Simon Kinberg's involvement with this show and the upcoming FOX/Marvel production. The relationship is one I love watching develop, but I'd rather be watching it develop over the course of a bigger story.
And ultimately, that's where my single biggest problem with this episode lies. It's stagnant as far as the overall story, almost as though it's a filler episode. Perhaps this is all table setting that we'll need before the story can kick into high gear, but it doesn't feel like we're moving anywhere yet. But we still have a ways to go, so this is a problem that I could just be imagining at this point.
The standout in this episode, once again, is Kevin Kiner and his splendid adaptations of John Williams' classic themes. I was most pleased by the appearance of music and cues from "The Phantom Menace." The more quiet musical themes of that movie are some of the best in the entire saga, hearing them crossed over into "Rebels," brought me great delight. Especially when they're used so appropriately and to great effect.
This episode is one that I liked more than the last. It certainly kept a smile on my face throughout. I just wish it had gone a little farther.