"Star Wars: Rebels" 2.2– Relics of the Old Republic (8 out of 10) – Directed by Bosco Ng; Written by Stephen Melching; Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, David Oyelowo; Special Guests: Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Eckstein; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 10/21/15.
This review contains spoilers.
This was the second episode in the opening two-parter for season two of "Star Wars Rebels" and I must say it worked much better for me than the first. That's not to say I disliked the first episode, but this one contained all the emotional resonance and impact I want from every episode of this show.
Where last week's episode took its cues from "Jaws," this episode played out like a mix between "The Empire Strikes Back" and every classic submarine drama like "Das Boot" or even "Run Silent Run Deep." The Empire has been alerted to the position of the Rebel crew aboard the Clone walker and instead of an orbital bombardment, Agent Kallus decides on ground assault. This is the first time the Rebels have encountered Imperial AT-ATs and they're not quite sure how to respond.
Much of the episode plays out in a sandstorm where a lack of instruments and visual scanning give the edge to the Jedi and we see what a group of clones and Jedi can do once again.
It almost felt like an episode of "The Clone Wars," to be honest, and that's not a bad thing at all.
The animation and lighting on this episode is probably some of the most stunning we've seen on the series. The sandstorm was a thing of beauty and, while I'm sure this was in production long before anyone saw "Mad Max: Fury Road," it certainly evoked similar feelings.
As far as the emotional resonance of this episode, there are a lot of complicated things going on. First, there's the understandable distrust Kanan has for the clones, the wonder and awe Ezra has for them, and the desire on the part of the clones to make right the situation Wolffe put them in. Watching the relationships of these feelings play out, we're given a complex tapestry of emotion in this episode that's not what you'd expect from a 20 minute episode of a show.
The most satisfying moment, however, was the ending. Seeing that reunion between Ahsoka and Rex broke me into legitimate tears the first and second time I saw the episode. I can imagine the same reaction for the third or fourth viewing as well. But this raises even more questions: will Rex truly join the fight? WIll we discover more of what he and Ahsoka were up to during the Dark Times? Will we be able to see Rex meet his destiny?
And as I watch the episode, I'm asked even more questions: How would Darth Vader react to seeing Rex? Rex speaks so fondly of his time with Anakin, would he even believe that Anakin had become Darth Vader? Will he and Ahsoka have to join forces to confront the Sith lord?
That's what I love most about an era of "Star Wars" where I know we'll be getting more and more and more. The writers and artists behind the content know that they have a long time to answer my questions and can present me with new ones constantly. I know I say this a lot, but it's a good time to be a "Star Wars" fan.
For the beautiful imagery, high emotional moments, and brilliant action scenes (walkers climbing walkers!) I'm giving this episode an 8 out of 10.
Season 2 Scorecard:
- The Siege of Lothal (10 out of 10)
- The Lost Commanders (7.5 out of 10)
- Relics of the Old Republic (8 out of 10)
Season Average 8.5 out of 10