"Star Wars: Rebels" 2.4– Brothers of the Broken Horn (8 out of 10) – 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, Jim Cummings, James Hong; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 11/4/15.
This review contains spoilers.
At last we have the glorious return of everyone's favorite space pirate, Hondo Ohnaka.
This episode sees the crew of the Ghost, including the newly minted member Captain Rex, heading out on a mission to retrieve power generators for a planet of people who will freeze to death in the cold if they don't get them. Ezra is left behind with the ship, along with Chopper, to finish his chores.
This gives us an opportunity to see Ezra listless. He's beginning to question his choices and wonder if the hero's journey he'd embarked on is really right for him. When a distress call comes in from Vizago's ship, Ezra goes out to investigate, only to find Hondo Ohnaka in possession of the ship, Vizago's droids, and the generators the rebels are looking for.
On the surface, this episode seems incredibly light. Hondo is probably the funniest he's ever been here, dropping one-liner after one-liner that needs to be added to some sort of "Star Wars" soundboard immediately. After living under the thumb of the Empire for more than a decade, Hondo hasn't exactly done well for himself. Gone is his gang and entire crew, and he's operating completely on his own.
Of course, Ezra quickly finds that Hondo is in the middle of a swindle that turns easily into violence. Ezra is required to think on his feet and truly discover for himself why he's suited more toward the life of a Jedi than a pirate. And why he's certainly not cut out to be a Jedi pirate, like Hondo suggests.
But digging deeper into this episode, beneath the laughter, this is actually one of the saddest episodes I've seen. Think about the Hondo we knew during the Clone Wars. He was confident and hilarious just like now, but he had a small empire of his own, a fleet of ships, a gang. He was a decent and respectable sort of pirate. He was even able to capture Count Dooku and two Jedi at the same time. Here, he's alone and desperate. His plans make little sense and he seems like he's looking for a friend as much as a score.
His spirit has been crushed almost entirely by 14 years living in the Empire. Palpatine's regime is no picnic for anyone, even someone as carefree as Hondo Ohnaka.
This is easily a favorite episode of the season, so far, if nothing else because of how enjoyable it was. It was as funny as an episode of "Futurama," and I kept laughing the whole time. I also loved Ezra's soul searching, watching the writers give him time to discover for himself what it is he wants. Having lived on the street his whole life and drafted into the Rebellion against the Empire at such a young age, and chosen for a life as a Jedi, he never had a chance to decide for himself what he wanted. This episode forces Ezra into situations that show us (and him) what he's made of.
It also mirrors a little bit of Luke's journey in "The Empire Strikes Back." Chopper is cut off from Ezra before he goes onto his trial and Luke is shown truths about his lineage, while Ezra is shown truths about his own destiny as well. They even invoke Lando Calrissian to remind us of "Episode V." There are more echoes as well, including hitting hyperspace just as soon as the Star Destroyers are about to get them, just like the last moments of the film.
Also, to be honest, I think this episode might be the best work Taylor Gray has done voicing Ezra yet. And this episode was also Chopper's finest hour.
Adding the fun action, comedy, and heart to the undertone of sadness in the episode makes it a solid entry in the season. I'm rating it an 8 out of 10.