Wow! What an episode!
This week’s Rebels kicked off with some pretty serious tones and didn’t let up until the credits rolled. This was Star Wars Rebels at its darkest yet and gave The Empire Strikes Back a run for its money in that respect.
“Call to Action” started off with an almost shot for shot recreation of Darth Vaders arrival on the the new Death Star during the opening scene of Return of the Jedi except in this case it was Grand Moff Tarkin walking down the ramp of the Lambda Class T-4a Shuttle.
As soon as he stepped off the ramp you got the sense that things where about to get grim for our merry band of Rebels. Tarkin is being voiced by Stephen Stanton; who is the same actor who voiced him in the Clone Wars and in my opinion he does an excellent job of channeling Peter Cushing ( The actor who portrayed Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope) .
Tarkin’s arrival signaled a distinct shift for Rebels and really drove home a sense of impending dread and consequence for the heroes of the show. Up to this point we have had some run ins with the Empire but outside of the Inquisitor nothing that had the feeling that there was any severe consequences if they failed their missions. Yes there have been some interesting stories but in the end the series has painted Kanan and crew as infallible. All that changed with this episode.
Its presumed that Grand Moff Tarkin has been sent to Lothal to ensure that this ” Spark of Rebellion” is extinguished and that word of the Empires Contingent on the planet is just not getting the job done. He makes reference to the Empires tolerance for failure that is reminiscent of Darth Vaders comments to the various Lieutenants in the original trilogy. There is a scene early on wherein Tarkin and the Inquisitor are debriefing some imperial officers and as the meeting is nearing its end you know its not going to end well for the officers. I literally dropped my jaw after seeing how Tarkin dealt with their incompetence.
The bulk of the episode had the Rebels hatching a plan to infiltrate an Imperial broadcast tower and plant a data spike that would allow them to upload there own message across the galaxy to potentially hundreds of planets in other systems essentially acting as a pirate broadcast to counter the Imperials own propaganda brainwashing. Original Trilogy references and call backs were abound ranging from Speeder Bike chases to Imperial Probe Droids. It was also nice to see Ezra use the force to help the group get out of a particularly goose bump inducing situation rather than relying on a traditional Blaster Shoot out.
The entire middle act was building to a clearly obvious showdown with the Kanan and the Inquisitor especially since he was referenced continually through the episode as the leader of the Rebel cell and the focus of Tarkins efforts. The Inquisitor having been shamed earlier in the show also had a personal grudge in play.
At times in the laters minutes of the show I just wanted to reach through the screen and warn my friends that I have grown so attached to this entire season but alas there was nothing I could do to prevent the outcome that I new the show was building towards. Seeing the scene with Kanan ushering his friends away while he stayed behind to prevent the Imperials from following put a lump in my throat. When the Inquisitor landed to confront him and Kanan using his sabre to fry the doors control panel confirmed my fear; Kanan was not getting out of this one.
Our heroes departed Lothal grudgingly without Kanan and managed to get a short broadcast out before the tower was destroyed. Kanan stared into the distance as the tower fell and we got a close up shot of Hera vowing that this “wasn’t over”.
Mixed emotions and a solid dose of stress and nerves as the events of this episode played out where the highlights for me. Very few episodes this season evoked a sense of dread and fear for our characters like this one and if “Call to Action” was any indication of what we have in store for the season finale; I wouldn’t miss it!
Stay tuned for my Season one finale review.
Dwayne”EVO Knight” Morash