Episode 321 & 322 “Zero Hour”
Part 1 Written by Steven Melching
Part 2 Written by Henry Gilroy & Matt Michnovetz
Directed by Justin Ridge
This two-part story gives us the Grand Admiral we’ve been hoping to see all season, and if we weren’t getting a new season (we are), the show would be in a good place to stop. Except it’s not stopping, so we don’t have to worry about it.
We finally see Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson) in his role as brilliant tactician, using art as his method for examining races and cultures to predict how everyone is going to react to his maneuvers. His ships set up a blockade and start attacking the base on Atollon, and no one can escape because Thrawn has two Interdictor cruisers with him, setting up a hyperspace-negative bubble from which no ship can escape to get help.
And it would have worked, too, if it hadn’t been for
that mangy mutt Commander Sato (Keone Young) and those pesky kids the command ship drawing Admiral Konstantine (Dee Bradley Baker) and one of the Interdictors out of position — by colliding with it head on.
Farewell, Commander Sato.
That creates an escape path for Ezra (Taylor Gray) and Chopper, who make contact with Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). Only they can’t afford to send any reinforcements because Thrawn would likely wipe out all of them and leave the Rebellion hanging out to dry. So Ezra heads to Mandalore to enlist the help of Sabine (Tiya Sircar).
Meanwhile, Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and General Dodonna (Michael Bell) are trying to coordinate an evacuation while Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) heads out to warn the Bendu (Tom Baker) about the attack, and just maybe there’s a chance he can get the Bendu to help. Only the Bendu refuses, saying he’s the one in the middle.
Except when the Imperial forces blast the planet to powder, the Bendu takes a little exception to that. As Thrawn and his forces overpower the base, Ezra and the Mandalorians are sabotaging the second Interdictor, giving the rebels a chance to escape. The Bendu, having had enough of this, appears in a giant cloud of smoke and starts pelting the planet with Force lightning, and it doesn’t matter who gets hit. He’s just had enough.
Overall, it was a solid two-part hour, and it only reinforces my thought that the entire season could have been like this. I’m still trying to figure out of the writers were told to limit their use of Thrawn, or they weren’t quite sure what to do with him, or they had to coordinate behind the scenes with Timothy Zahn for the book… or whatever. This is the kind of thing that should have been happening all season. Instead, we got sidetracked way too many times.
But at least it looks like next season will be based on Dantooine. That will take us one step closer to Star Wars and Rogue One, where the base is on Yavin. At some point, the Dantooine base has to feature in the story, and it would be fitting if the entire fourth season was spent with Thrawn chasing the rebels all the way to the Corporate Sector and back, with the high and mighty Grand Admiral trading witty barbs with Darth Vader over who’s got the better success rate running Mon Mothma’s Merry Men to ground.
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