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Recap: STAR WARS REBELS Drives a Wedge Into the Empire With a Functional Episode

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Episode 304 “The Antilles Extraction”
Written by Gary Whitta
Directed by Saul Ruiz

More evidence that Star Wars Rebels is moving us toward A New Hope: the introduction of Wedge Antilles and his trusty sidekick Hobbie.

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Again this week, it’s a straight shooter of an episode: Sabine Wren, former cadet in the Imperial War Machine, gets selected to go undercover at the Skystrike Academy — home of the elite pilot cadets for the Empire — in order to extract several cadets who want to defect to the Rebel Alliance.

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Turns out it’s our ol’ pal Wedge Antilles, along with a redshirt named Rake and Derek “Hobbie” Klivian, and they don’t really have much of a plan to get out past sending a signal to the new Fulcrum — not Ahsoka, although she came up with the “James Bond” type code name, apparently (see the new book) — who passes the word along to Commander Sato and the gang.

Ezra and Kanan are assigned to backstop Sabine in case things go sideways — which they will, of course. In the meantime, Hera and Zeb pull escort duty to get a supply of food to Teralov to replace the one that got ambushed in the episode’s opening sequence. And it’s too bad Green Leader didn’t make it, because he bore a passing resemblance to one certain Red Leader who led a certain squadron against a certain battle station in a certain movie…

But alas, missed opportunity.

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Speaking of which, it would have been nice if the real Sabine had shown up for this. You know the one: punked out, eager to blow things up, throw graffiti all over the place? Her. Can you imagine if the first two-thirds of this episode had been Wren blowing up and tagging parts of Skystrike Base, with the result of more than just two cadets making it out as defectors? How would that have played out, Gary Whitta?

But it’s not. Instead, we get generic Sabine doing generic things to get Wedge and Generic Cadets out of the Generic Imperial Base. Even when Governor Pryce and Agent Kallus show up to complicate things, it doesn’t really get that complicated.

Although it was a nice touch having Sabine blow into her Imperial ID like it was an old Nintendo cartridge…

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In the end, of course Sabine gets Wedge and Hobbie out — too bad about Redshirt Rake, though — and we have another piece of the Star Wars puzzle in place. But if we’re going to get by-the-numbers episodes just to ramp up to Rogue One and ten minutes later A New Hope, then what’s the point of these original characters in Rebels? What purpose do they serve? So far we’ve got Thrawn, Y-Wings for General Dodona, now Wedge and Hobbie. Next episode will give us what piece of the original trilogy?

Star Wars Rebels is uniquely placed to tell some good stories leading into the movies. Here’s hoping the entire season won’t miss that opportunity.

 

Star Wars Rebels airs Saturday nights at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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