"Star Wars: Rebels" Episode 18 – Secret Cargo (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 Guest stars: Lars Mikkelson, Genevieve O'Reilly; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 3/4/17. It is currently available on the Disney XD app.

 This review will contain mild spoilers.

Mon Mothma is back in "Secret Cargo," the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels. Things are definitely gearing up for something major in the ranks of the Rebel Alliance and the frantic pace of their mobilization continues to leave me breathless. This episode gives us the moment where Mon Mothma draws her line in the sand and offers the galaxy a choice and it's stunning.

This episode hints a lot at how things will be changing for the show as well. We have a group of rebels in Phoenix squadron and they are barely in the know. There isn't a major, centralized group making decisions for the good of the entire Rebellion and here is where that starts.

For all that's going on here in the subtext of the Rebel Alliance as a whole, this episode is fairly straightforward. The Ghost is stationed in a small nook of the galaxy on a refueling mission. It's their job to refuel the Y-Wing escort (led by Dutch Vander!) of Mon Mothma's ship so that she can get to her secret destination: Dantooine. 

Thrawn works all this out and sends his new TIE Defenders into the fray. Mon Mothma ends up escaping to the Ghost before her own ship explodes and Hera, thinking fast, takes the Ghost and Gold Squadron into a gaseous nebula that might give them an advantage.

But you know who has figured all of this out? 

Thrawn.

That's why it's so surprising to Hera when there are a pair of Star Destroyers on the other side of the nebula waiting for them.

This episode was intense, giving us dogfighting spaceship combat in a way we haven't seen before in Star Wars and rarely on this show in general. Ezra is able to join Gold Squadron for the episode alongside Gold Leader and it makes me wonder where Ezra was during the Battle of Scariff. Hopefully, Filoni and crew will be given the slack to tell that story sooner or later.

For those worried about "filler" episodes earlier in the season really ought to pay attention to this episode because it puts so many threads from previous episodes this season to use. From Thrawn's understanding of Hera to the need of the Rebellion to coalesce into something stronger. Even the sophisticated probe droids we saw in Warhead played a part. Because of that episode, we know what kind of havoc that particular sort of droid can wreak, so the tension of the episode is heightened even further. 

Make no mistakes, the writers behind Rebels are playing a long game and we're merely along for the ride.

The animation in this episode is incredible. The dogfights have the kinetic energy that was a signature for George Lucas in his work with speed and motion in the films, but add to it the background of the nebula and you have something truly extraordinary. It was a bit reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, but that's not a bad thing. Star Trek and Star Wars have always been complimentary.

And the final explosion looked absolutely gorgeous. The destruction was on par with the thrill of the destruction of the Star Destroyers over the Shield Gate on Scariff. In fact, the other best moment in this episode echoes one of the best moments in Rogue One as well: the final shots.

How much more satisfying an end can we get? This has been the happiest ending our Rebels have got for a long time.

Now I'm only worried about how quickly Grand Admiral Thrawn will take it apart.

This episode scored an 8 out of 10 for me. Simple, straightforward, streamlined. It was a workhorse of an episode that established a lot.

Season 1 Scorecard

Season 2 Scorecard

Season 3 Scorecard:

Season Average: 8.34 out of 10 

For more in-depth discussions about Star Wars Rebels and all other things Star Wars, be sure to tune into Full of Sith every week.  

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Tags: rebels , star wars