Star Wars Rebels: Relics of the Old Republic – Review


Last week’s premiere of Star Wars Rebels, “The Lost Commanders,” moved about as slow as one of the Empire’s AT-ATs, and was just as awkward and clumsy as those lumbering battle vehicles, too. So it’s refreshing to see Dave Filoni and crew immediately pick up the pace in “Relics of the Old Republic,” an action-packed episode full of satisfying emotional beats that push the story along in the right direction.

This episode and “Lost Commanders” essentially form a two-parter, which makes sense given the ground the show’s creators have to cover early on this season. After encountering three surviving clone troopers on a desert planet, the crew of the Ghost are stranded with the former soldiers with the Empire zeroing in on their location (with the exception of Hera and Chopper, who are hiding in a ship above the planet).

Where the previous episode was forced to hit the brakes as it established the plight of the clones post-Revenge of the Sith, “Relics” wastes no time raising the stakes of the episode.

Like an Imperial Star Destroyer dumping its cargo before entering hyperspace, Rebels‘ latest episode is so strong because it jettisons the messy material dragging it down last week. We don’t need anymore background of what the clones were doing, and we don’t need to focus on Wolf’s betrayal. Instead, the clones and their newfound friends jump right into battle with the Empire as Agent Kallus closes in with a ground assault of AT-ATs.

But the episode makes the right decision when it builds on one of the themes brought up last week: Kanan’s distrust of the clones. The Jedi is still wary of them after another group of clones killed his master and nearly executed him as well during Order 66. And breaking with tradition, the show doesn’t belabor the point but rather lets us observe Kanan’s gradual changing of the heart through minimal dialogue and revealing glances between the characters.

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It all leads up to a thrilling showdown, with our heroes surrounded by the Imperial AT-ATs blindly searching for them in the sandstorm. When Rex, Gregor and Wolf decide to defer to Kanan and let him take the Imperials down his own way (going so far as to call him “commander”), it’s the exact catalyst the Jedi needs to make the leap of faith and trust the soldiers, making for one of the most touching moments of the show.

One of the challenges facing the Rebels writers on Season 2 is incorporating the mythology of The Clone Wars. As we saw last week, it’s easy to stumble when trying to bridge the gap, as it requires lots of exposition to update fresh viewers while still moving the plot along. “Relics” navigates those treacherous waters admirably, hopefully giving us a glimpse at what’s to come.

Random Thoughts:

  • We get our first look at one of the new Inquisitors, the Fifth Brother, voiced by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, as he arrives onboard an Imperial Star Destroyer tracking the Ghost. Not much to go on yet, but we can see he has the same spinning lightsaber the previous Inquisitor had, and he’s got a badass Hispanic accent.
  • The animation was pretty good this week, but I was particularly impressed by the clarity and smoothness of the scenes in the sandstorm, which I imagine must be difficult to pull off in this medium. I never felt lost or confused by the action.
  • Judging by the reactions of the heroes, the Empire’s AT-ATs are a brand new vehicle in this era of Star Wars, making this one of the first times they’re put into battle. Hopefully, the show doesn’t merely copy and paste the ideas of the original trilogy, but it could be interesting to see familiar Star Wars hallmarks in their infancy.

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