"Star Wars: Rebels" 2.12– Legends of the Lasat (8 out of 10)  –  Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Directed by Saul Ruiz; Written by Matt Michnovetz; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, David Oyelowo, Dee Bradley Baker; Special guests: Grey Griffin, Jim Cummings; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 2/316. 

This review will contain spoilers.

When our band of Rebels are lured into a lucrative trap set by Hondo Ohnaka, Zeb finds two more members of his species and they convince him to help them find their new home. Unfortunately, no one knows where this home exists and Hondo has sold the Rebels out to the Imperials. Again. 

This episode is played for laughs at times, because how can you not when Hondo is involved, and it also pulls on heartstrings, as Zeb has to struggle with the fact that he blames himself for the destruction of his people. This feels like the influence of Doctor Who coming into the series, where Zeb is the proxy for the Doctor and the loss of Gallifrey as a whole. But like the Doctor, it turns out he can do something more. Zeb has felt a little like the comic relief in many recent episodes, so seeing him able to do something a little more challenging was a welcome change of pace.

Perhaps the coolest elements of this episode for me hearkened back to the early influence of George Lucas and how the story group is expanding the nature of the Force outside the Jedi and the Sith. We're introduced to the Ashla, which was a name for the Force given in some of the earliest drafts of the original Star Wars film. Seeing them associated with a species based on one of Ralph McQuarrie's earliest Wookiee designs makes a certain sort of sense.

But the stand out for this episode, more than anything else, is the work of Kevin Kiner and what I saw as an influence from Phillip Glass, who scored the Francis Ford Coppola-produced "Koyaanisqatsi." (A neat tie to "Star Wars" is that "Koyaanisqatsi" was filmed by Ron Fricke, who shot the real-life lava shots for "Revenge of the Sith.") The music is nothing short of stunning in a sequence that's already breathtaking. When the Rebels crew find themselves in a labyrinth of astral phenomenon that is capable of destroying ships as they make their way through. The artistry of the background, the stakes in the story, and the beauty of the music combine to create one of the most surprisingly compelling sequences on the show this season that doesn't have anything to do with a Jedi.

Aside from this sequence, the best part of this episode was Hondo. I think Hondo might be one of the best characters in "Star Wars" and I'm glad they've folded him into "Rebels" and that he's adopted Ezra as his pirate padawan. In fact, the best line in the episode is when Hondo reveals how proud he is of Ezra. 

At this point in the season, the show seems like it's getting all of the one-off feeling episodes before we begin raising the stakes in everything we saw in the season two trailer. And I'm wondering if Dave Filoni's warning about watching it wasn't as much about spoilers and more about creating expectations for the first part of the season. Everything feels a bit muted, knowing that we're going to be getting Darth Maul or the Vader/Ahsoka showdown. But that shouldn't shade the enjoyment of this incredibly solid and artistic episode.

Besides, it's been far too long since Zeb has been given a chance to shine. For the blend of music, image, and story, this episode earns an 8 out of 10 from me. 

Season 1 Scorecard

Season 2 Scorecard:

Season Average 8.19 out of 10

 

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Tags: Rebels , Star Wars