ReviewsTelevision & Film

STAR WARS REBELS Serves Up a Hot Special

Episode 318 “Special Cargo”
Written by Matt Michnovetz
Directed by Bosco Ng

[photos: Lucasfilm]

It’s the beginning of the beginning…

We’ve all known for a while, that Rebels was going to eventually get us closer to the events in Rogue One, and we’ve already seen the addition of Saw Gererra in the series. Now, we take our first few steps toward the assembly of what will be the Rebel Alliance as a fighting force to take on the Empire.

The Ghost is in the midst of a debris field waiting to make a rendezvous when they encounter an Imperial probe droid and … everything goes to pot because they can’t get a clean shot before the rebel fleet shows up.

And Captain Vander of Gold Squadron! He looks just like Angus MacInnes, but Yuri Lowenthal sound anything like him. And the rebel ship is carrying “valuable cargo” that the Empire really wants. Turns out it’s Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), who’s now on the run because she’s been speaking out against the Emperor. She’s on her way to The Meeting among all the various rebel cells, working to unite everyone in a coordinated operation based out of Dantooine.

Moving through the Archeon Nebula, the Ghost takes on heavy damage after encountering the new prototype TIE interceptor, and then Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is waiting on the outside of the nebula to capture Mon Mothma.  And just when it seems like the rebels will have to give up the Ghost (sorry… had to), Gold Leader and Ezra (Taylor Gray) pull out of the nebula and use their ion cannon to ignite the protostars in the nebula, knocking out Pryce’s two Star Destroyers and allowing the Ghost to escape.

Some very good effects here, with the Mutara Archeon Nebula playing brier patch for the Rebels. The addition of Gold Squadron was a nice touch, too, especially since we just saw them in Rogue One at Scarif. I just wish Yuri Lowenthal had at least tried to sound a bit like Gold Leader…

Ion cannon were used to great effect this week, as it helped stave off the new TIE interceptor (which is going to have to meet a rather decisive demise before the end of the series…) as well as knock out two Star Destroyers. This show and Rogue One have shown more ways to destroy a Destroyer than almost all the other movies combined, seems like…

The end of the episode gives us a payoff that’s just big enough to make you wish for this kind of solid writing all season: Mon Mothma making a desperate plea to unite the Rebellion, officially resigning her position as a Senator and throwing in with people who are going to fight and die for a lost cause. And the final shot of the fleet assembling … this is the kind of thing you want happening all the time in the series. There’s even a hint of John Williams in the musical sting at the end.

It’s nice that Lucasfilm continues to have Genevieve O’Reilly play Mon Mothma, just as they’ve had Forest Whitaker come in to reprise his role as Saw Gererra. It shows that there’s a little more attention paid to the connections between the animated series and the overall movie universe (are you paying attention, Marvel?), and it feels more like the series is integral to the broader stories being told (are you paying attention, Marvel?).

One of these days, though, Grand Admiral Thrawn really needs to do something brilliant to show off his tactical genius.

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

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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