"Star Wars: Rebels" 2.9– Legacy (8.5 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, Dee Bradley Baker; Special guests: Clancy Brown, Sarah Michelle Gellar; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 12/9/15.
This review will contain spoilers.
"Legacy" is the last episode of the first half of the second season of "Star Wars Rebels." It opens with Ezra having a vision about his parents and insisting that he must spring into action to save them if he can, or at least discover where they've been held. The story of Ezra here very much mirrors the story of Luke Skywalker in "The Empire Strikes Back" and Anakin Skywalker in "Attack of the Clones."
Ezra's attachments to his parents threaten to drive him to lengths not good for anyone walking on the path of the Jedi. Through the episode, he gives into his anger repeatedly and is driven almost completely by his attachment.
After Ezra's informational slip in the last episode, letting the Inquisitors know what planet the Rebel base was located on, and the revelation of his parent's fate this episode, one could easily get the impression that the boy is simply a bad luck charm. His actions seem to cause the most amount of harm to everyone he loves. Having seen the stories of the Skywalkers struggling through their own Jedi training and attachment and Ezra's propensity for finding a third way, I can't see a way around Ezra eventually deciding to leave the rest of his loved ones, the Ghost crew, behind out of fear of losing them.
While Ezra drove the A-story in the present with his search for his parents, he was also the catalyst for the B-story. In the last episode, when he mentioned casually in front of the Inquisitor's probe the location of their base, he inadvertently set into motion the movement of the Imperial fleet that separates the Ghost crew and puts the entire Phoenix Squad cell of Rebels at risk. With Ezra and Kanan on their own, they head to Lothal so Ezra can search for his parents.
They go back to the old Bridger house and find a White Rabbit--er... Loth-cat to chase that will lead them away. The white Loth-cat itself adds a level of "Through the Looking Glass" to the entire episode. Since we've been going through visions and odd, alternate versions of reality, the "Alice in Wonderland" motif with the Loth-cat works really well. This chase down the Loth-cat hole leads Ezra to a mysterious man voiced by Clancy Brown and he knows what happened to Ezra's parents.
After Ezra learns that he was directly responsible for the death of his parents, he withdraws once more to his visions as a Jedi. The visions of his parents, manifested in his vision of the Force, tell him that many things will change. "I don't want things to change," Ezra intones, just like a young Anakin Skywalker tells Shmi on Tatooine. Just like Vader.
Seriously: this entire episode has given me a bad feeling about where Ezra's future is heading. But the series has also been very much about finding a third way, a path that doesn't lead down the path Vader took, but also not exactly the same path Luke took either. Ahsoka and her white lightsabers seem to exemplify the pinnacle of this third, non-Jedi/non-Sith path. Let's hope Ezra stays on that straight and narrow center rather than take the path toward the dark side.
The rest of the Ghost crew, Hera, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper, are given less to do but it's certainly no less interesting. They have to save the rest of the cell and fend off a Star Destroyer in orbit. Hera also has a great opportunity to prove once again that she's probably one of the greatest pilots in the entire galaxy. And if she's one of the best pilots, why isn't she on the Death Star run?
It's a large question and I'm sure there's a beautiful, heartbreaking or totally logical answer.
But we still have at least another season and a half of "Star Wars Rebels" before we have to worry about that eventuality.
Overall, this episode wasn't as well balanced in the tone and pacing department as other episodes, but it had such a compelling emotional core around Ezra, with Taylor Gray doing some of the best work of his career. It adds to the mythology of the Jedi and the Force and advances significantly Ezra as a character. It also had one of my favorite lines ever in it (The Force? Kanan, I put a tracking device on it.) For that, I found I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.
On a closing sidenote: I have to wonder why Loth-cats aren't manufactured as toys by a Lucasfilm licensee. Who wouldn't want a plush Loth-cat? Or Tooka doll? These things seem like no-brainers to me.