The Star Wars Rebels episodes “Twilight of the Apprentice,” “Trials of the Darksaber,” “Twin Suns,” “Jedi Night,” “A World Between Worlds,” and many others continue to be celebrated and are often considered the gold standard of Star Wars storytelling.
Some Rebels episodes were largely criticized and disliked when they first aired, such as “The Call” Season 2, and gained more favor over time. This episode was commonly deemed as “filler” at the time but no longer has that perception due to its introduction of the purrgil, who are integral to the Rebels finale and the Ahsoka television series.
Instead of focusing on the episodes that have already been extensively praised or reevaluated, we want to focus on some of the show’s most underrated episodes. These episodes are the ones that generally aren’t as highly regarded and are rarely mentioned when talking about the best Rebels episodes. Yet, they all play an essential role in making Rebels the beloved series it continues to be.
1. “Fighter Flight” (Season 1, Episode 4)
This episode follows Ezra Bridger and Zeb Orrelios on a supply run and the chaos that ensues when they steal an Imperial TIE Fighter. Ezra and Zeb are two of the Rebels‘ most important relationships, with this episode laying the foundation of their bond.
Prior to and throughout much of the episode, there is a great deal of tension between Ezra and Zeb. Their experiences in this episode transform their relationship into one of brothers who get on each other’s nerves but will always care for and fight for one another.
The episode is made even better by Hera Syndulla’s insistence that Ezra and Zeb return with meiloorun fruit, the lengths Ezra and Zeb go to procure a meiloorun, and Zeb pretending to be an Imperial named Commander Meiloorun, setting up one of the running jokes in the show.
“Fighter Flight” is sometimes considered to be a forgettable Season 1 story. Still, it is an essential and fun character development episode for Ezra, Zeb, and their relationship that establishes their dynamic.
2. “Out of Darkness” (Season 1, Episode 7)
While “Fighter Flight” is essential for Ezra and Zeb’s relationship, “Out of Darkness” is crucial for developing Sabine Wren and Hera’s relationship. Sabine accompanies Hera on a supply run to Fort Anaxes. She is frustrated with Hera keeping information from her, including the identity behind a rebel contact known as “Fulcrum.”
The episode explores Sabine’s issues, as it is difficult for her to trust Hera after blindly following orders during her time as an Imperial cadet. At this point in the series, it was known that Sabine had defected from the Empire. Still, her trust issues have even more weight after everything revealed later in the series about the Empire taking Sabine’s work and using it to enslave her homeworld of Mandalore.
Throughout “Out of Darkness,” Sabine and Hera grow closer and work together as they fight to survive monstrous creatures known as fyrnocks. Hera may not be able to reveal Fulcrum’s identity yet, but she shows on Fort Anaxes that she trusts Sabine with her life.
The episode does a great deal for Sabine, Hera, and their relationship. Introducing the mystery of Fulcrum also set the stage for Ahsoka Tano’s return to Star Wars television for the first time since The Clone Wars had been canceled.
With Ahsoka, Sabine, and Hera being the three leading characters of the Ahsoka series, “Out of Darkness” also feels even more impactful now.
3. “Brothers of the Broken Horn” (Season 2, Episode 6)
Hondo Ohnaka is a fan-favorite character introduced in The Clone Wars, but his first Rebels episode doesn’t get much love. Hondo makes his Rebels debut in “Brothers of the Broken Horn” when Ezra answers a distress call from Cikatro Vizago’s ship, the Broken Horn.
From the moment they meet, Ezra and Hondo lie to each other, with Hondo claiming that he is the new owner of the Broken Horn and Ezra saying his name is “Lando Calrissian.” Hondo and Ezra don’t fully trust each other, but they are also drawn to and like each other, working together to escape Imperial forces and outmaneuver the greedy Azmorigan.
Due to the relationship established between Ezra and Hondo in this episode, Hondo becomes a recurring Rebels character and a sometimes ally to the Ghost crew. This leads to a compelling arc for Hondo. By the end of the series, he transforms from a selfish pirate who only cares about profit to helping Ezra liberate Lothal from the Empire. Hondo even says of Ezra at the beginning of the season 4 episode “Fool’s Hope” that “He reminds me of the time when there was still something you could believe in” and “For that boy, there is nothing I would not do.”
For Ezra, “Brothers of the Broken Horn” is also an important episode as it helps him and the audience realize how far he has come since he met the Ghost crew. He was once like Hondo, alone and only out for and caring about himself. Now, he is surrounded by a family, the Ghost crew, and has more of a purpose between the Rebellion and becoming a Jedi under the tutelage of Kanan Jarrus.
4. “The Forgotten Droid” (Season 2, Episode 19)
“The Forgotten Droid” may feel like tonal whiplash following the deeply emotional episode “Shroud of Darkness,” but it is still a solid and underrated episode. Chopper is separated from the Ghost crew and is stuck on an Imperial ship when trying to steal a replacement for his original leg.
The episode ends up being integral to the future of Rebels as Chopper and the new droid friend he makes, AP-5, help the Phoenix rebel fleet find a new base on Atollon. They also inform the rebels of an Imperial trap waiting for them in the Yost system.
Atollon becomes the base for the Ghost crew and Phoenix Squadron for the rest of Season 2 and all of Season 3 and is known as “Chopper Base” because of the droid’s role in its discovery.
“The Forgotten Droid” is a rare and much-needed opportunity for Chopper to get the spotlight, to be the hero of the story, and to make a new friend. The introduction of the cynical, highly organized, and profoundly underappreciated protocol droid AP-5 is perfect. A hilarious yet endearing dynamic quickly forms between him and Chopper.
Chopper freeing AP-5 of his restraining bolt, sacrificing his replacement leg to repair AP-5, and both droids successfully helping the rebels find a new base are all satisfying moments. Fortunately, there is plenty more of AP-5 and his dynamic with Chopper in Season 3.
5. “Double Agent Droid” (Season 3, Episode 19)
When Chopper, AP-5, and Wedge Antilles are on a mission to acquire Imperial clearance codes, an Imperial Controller recognizes Chopper from one of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s reports and takes control of Chopper’s programming to locate the rebels’ base. On the way back to the Ghost, AP-5 is the one who can tell that something is off about Chopper and the first one to realize that his droid friend is compromised and has been overtaken by Imperials.
The rebels don’t listen to AP-5 in time but realize he was right all along when Chopper traps them in the cargo bay and tries to eject them into space. With AP-5’s help, which requires him to go out into space to override the hatch control, the rebels can save Chopper and end the Imperial hijack on his system.
Hera’s fierce loyalty and love for her childhood droid friend, Chopper, and what she’ll do when someone tries to sabotage her droid, gets a chance to shine as she sends a data overload back to the Imperial Controller that causes him and the ship he is on to explode. Hera is kind and compassionate but has no problem standing up for herself and those she loves and retaliating against those who wrong them.
“Double Agent Droid” also features one of the weirdest and most delightful scenes in all of Star Wars. Toward the end of the episode, when AP-5 is floating in space, he starts singing while surrounded by baby neebrays, only to be disappointed when the Ghost picks him up and his peaceful solitude ends.