Alright, the good Rebels is back, and boy is it. After two lackluster episodes (which were lacklusterly reviewed by yours truly), Rebels bounced back in a huge way with it’s latest season three episode, An Inside Man. So much good here – a return for Ezra to Lothal, a new weapon under construction, a truly manacing Thrawn, and the reveal of a mole. Obviously, there will be SPOILERS, so continue after the image if you don’t care.
So we start off in quick fashion back on Ezra’s homeworld of Lothal, which continues to be a very important location in the Star Wars universe. They are summoned back by an old friend in the form of Ryder Azadi, and after a thrilling chase which sees Ezra and Kanan cripple an AT-ST with their lightsabers, they are reunited with another former acquaintance of Ezra’s – the old (former) farmer, Morad Sumar. There they are briefed on how the Empire has been forcing the citizens of Lothal into service in their weapons manufacturing plant and making no bones about it. They also tell Ezra and Kanan (who are accompanied by Chopper, of course) that they have been sabotaging some of the equipment coming off of the assembly lines. They agree to smuggle Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper into the assembly line factory with false ID’s so they can see for themselves. Well, it seems the Empire had other plans, and not only dops Governor Pryce make an appearance at the factory, but accompanying her are Agent Kallus and Grand Admiral Thrawn himself. Thrawn asks Sumar to mount a Speeder Bike he has recently inspected and rev it up to top speed. As we saw earlier in the episode, this will not end well for Ezra’s old buddy… The bike explodes, killing him… Thrawn could literally care less, it was awesome!
Along the way, Ezra and Kanan also learn of a new weapon being exclusively constructed in this facility, under top secret clearance. Chopper stages a distraction and the two escape and commandeer a Stormtrooper and Scout Trooper outfits as disguises. Chopper gets inside the top secret facility and downloads the plans, which happen to be for the brand-new TIE Defender (!!!!! – more on that later). They fall under hot pursuit and find help in an unlikely (kinda) form – Agent Kallus. Taking it one step further Kallus reveals himself to be the new Fulcrum, not a huge surprise if you’ve been paying attention, but I love it.
After creating a diversion, our heroes and Chopper head into an AT-ST and attempt escape. Well, of course Thrawn susses this out and orders the two AT-AT’s to open fire on it, and eventually crush it. Kanan and Ezra end up using their lightsabers to get into the AT-AT and eventually escape.
After reuniting with the crew of the Ghost and Phoenix squadron, they inform them that Kallus is the new Fulcrum, with little surprise – at least from Zeb, and they all take a peek at the TIE Defender’s specs. Closing things out, it is pretty obvious that Thrawn is onto Kallus, and this sets up what I believe will be a great plot point as we continue through season three.
What worked for me:
- All of it! This was one of the best Rebels episodes of the season, possibly the series. The stakes felt real and high, the villains were scary, the Rebels were shook. As it should be.
- Back to Lothal. I love Lothal as a setting, and I love how we keep coming back. Guess it’s not really all that surprising, seeing as Ezra is from there, but still. I also like Ryder Azadi for some reason, and I hope he continues to get meaningful stuff to do.
- Thrawn and the Empire in general. We finally got a look at the Thrawn we thought we were going to get all along, and he did not disappoint. He was cold, calculating, and simply superior to everyone on screen the entire episode. Plus, he more or less straight murdered Ezra’s friend… I also liked Pryce and Kallus, but that’s not surprising, as they typically deliver. Again, the Empire was the Empire in this episode and I loved it.
- The Inside Man. All along I was working under the impression the title was a nod to Ezra’s friends and their connection to this factory on Lothal. In a bit of slight of hand, the inside man was actually Agent Kallus, as he’s revealed to be the new Fulcrum. We all saw this coming, but it was still great. I like how they didn’t act like it should’ve been some huge shock to the audience, also. Lastly, it was kinda funny to see Ezra be a little overzealous with his Force push in selling the escape to the Imperials. Damn man, the dude just helped you and you used the Force to push him through glass. Oh well.
- The TIE Defender. A TIE. Fighter with shields and the blast power to really take it to the Rebels. Another Legends ship (from the game Star Wars: TIE Fighter) entered into canon. Keep them coming!
And next week – more Maul!!! Yassssss! In the meantime, check this weeks Rebel Recon from the official site: