"Star Wars: Rebels" 1.11 – Idiot's Array (9.5 out of 10) – Directed by Steward Lee; Written by Kevin Hopps; Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar; Special Guest: Dee Bradley Baker, James Hong, and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian; Rated TV-Y7, Airs on Disney XD 1/19/15.
Warning: There are spoilers in this review.
If the crew behind "Star Wars: Rebels" keeps this pace of quality, there's not going to be anywhere left for them to go. They quality after "Empire Day" hit a plateau of greatness and this episode does not disappoint.This was also, easily, the funniest episode of the show. I spent just about the entire time laughing hysterically, the timing was perfect for an episode centered around a long con.
"Idiot's Array" sees the crew of the Ghost eager to find a job, when Zeb inadvertently loses Chopper in a game of Sabacc. To Lando Calrissian. Yes. Lando. Calrissian.
Hearing Billy Dee Williams back in the part was refreshing and put a smile on my face. I'd lamented that we'd known about Frank Oz for the last episode, and how much better the episode would be had I not known, they gave us that here with Lando and it worked perfectly. I was genuinely stricken with giddiness. And hearing him say things like "Idiot's Array" and "Sabacc?" It made the little kid in me reading the adventures of Lando Calrissian very happy.
But back to Lando and the game of Sabacc: It's all part of an overarching scheme of his to get the crew to take part in a swindle against a Jabba-inspired gangster voiced by James Hong. In fact, the character design is lifted right from Ralph McQuarrie's work on "Return of the Jedi" with this early sketch of Jabba the Hutt:
The entire episode twists and turns like the first half hour of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" with every bit as much laughter and absurdity. It maintained the same breakneck pace, as well. Every commercial break raised the stakes with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, adding layer after layer of trouble for our heroes.
While the stakes-raising action was great, the best part of the episode is perhaps the comedic timing. The asides from each of the different characters, particularly Kanan and Ezra, made this episode what it was. And the way Lando plays each of them is nothing short of fantastic. In fact, Lando talks to Hera and Sabine both in just the right ways in order to really upset both master and padawan, and he does it in that smooth way that only Lando Calrissian can.
The funniest thing, though, is that this episode gives us the "Star Wars" equivalent of the Spider-Pig from "The Simpsons." Lando's illicit cargo is a puffer pig that makes perfect sense for the story, but creates some of the best comedic setups this show has ever had.
Lando might have also been the best foil they could have chosen in creating an episode that's perfectly balanced for the entire ensemble, or at least the best job they've done of it since "Spark of Rebellion." Every character was able to get in a great moment or two and they each contributed to the story and the action. And Hera was probably given the best moment, having to con her way out of the bad guys ship after Lando sells her out. Having him be the crux of the episode lets everyone get a chance in the spotlight while the audience has a smile on its face. And the events here add much to Lando's character, in that betrayal is always a viable option, and could even be part of the plan from the get go.
And it makes me laugh even harder to think of Han's reaction to him on Cloud City, finding it unbelievable that he's a responsible leader.
This episode was one of the most tightly packed, perfectly paced, hilarious, and well-written episodes of "Star Wars: Rebels" that doesn't focus on the fall or resurgence of the Jedi. It carefully balances the action, wit, and story, giving us one of the most well-rounded episodes yet.
I'm giving this a 9.5 out of 10.
- Short films: 8 out of 10
- Spark of Rebellion: 9 out of 10
- Droids in Distress: 7.5 out of 10
- Fighter Flight: 8 out of 10
- Rise of the Old Masters: 9 out of 10
- Breaking Ranks: 8.5 out of 10
- Out of Darkness: 6.5 out of 10
- Empire Day: 9.5 out of 10
- Gathering Forces: 9.5 out of 10
- Path of the Jedi: 9.5 out of 10
- Idiot's Array: 9.5 out of 10
Season average: 8.59 out of 10