Sunday, September 25, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S3E1 - Steps Into Shadow Recap/Review (Spoilers): Solid...

The first episode of the third season of Star Wars Rebels had about everything a fan of the show or of Star Wars could hope for in a premier. The show started off with a bang and didn’t let up for the entire hour. The introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn as the main villain of the season was handled perfectly. The change in the characters was also handled well for a transition to a new season. Rebels opened overall to a solid effort which leaves me excited for where the show will go during season three.

The best parts of the episode where the action and seeing how much Ezra has progressed with his force powers. Seeing him easily handle anything the Empire threw at him was the perfect way to open up the season. It then transitioned to show the dangerous path he is walking. He controlled the Imperial Walker pilot’s mind and forced the pilot to kill the other Stormtroopers and then sent the Walker over a ledge. It was a great sequence to watch for the action, but also to highlight how Ezra is starting to use the dark side to get jobs done.

One reason Ezra has been able to progress down this path is due to Kanan dealing with the loss of his eyesight. Anyone would be shaken by the loss of their eyesight and Kanan at the start of the season has stopped going on missions and has become reclusive from the other crew. Ezra is shown to be resentful of this fact, and Hera points out that he feels partially at fault for Kanan’s loss of eyesight. Kanan goes on his own journey of discovery and talks to a new interesting force sensitive creature. The new creature, Bendu, tries to show him another way of looking at the force to balance Kanan’s perspective. I’m not sure I completely like the addition of Bendu. The character does fit the overall universe, I’m just not sure it is needed. We know Yoda has reached out to Ezra and Kanan before, I’m not sure why he wouldn’t have been used in this scenario instead of Bendu. I guess Yoda has only been able to communicate with them when they have been near a Jedi structure. However, having a strong force sensitive creature living on the world the Rebels set their base up on seems a little to coincidental.

I still liked the interaction Kanan had with Bendu, and it introduces even more grey area for us as fans to consider when it comes to the ways of the force. Everything can be colored and balanced from a certain point of view. The best lines from Bendu were the words of wisdom he imparted about the Sith Holocron. He stated that an object cannot change a person. It is the person who has to change themselves because they want the forbidden knowledge for power or maybe even to try and do good. This was some great Star Wars wisdom to impart and very Yoda like, and also great to include in a show aimed at kids. The idea is a good one. The actions you decide to take throughout life define the person you become. Bendu is a good character, I am just not sure he is needed when you have Yoda lurking around and who has already been used in the show. I also would have preferred Kanan actually going off world in search of peace and balance instead of finding Bendu on the same planet he was on.

The only other small gripe I had from the episode was how whiney Ezra became after the first mission and while he was leading the second mission. He was fantastic during the actual action, but the whiny teen act is a little tiresome for the third season. Granted Ezra is a teenager and this is still a good reflection of how most teenagers might feel and how conflicted they are overall. I just would have preferred it scaled back a bit for this episode.  This was the only part of the episode however which seemed out of place, everything else flowed well and was perfectly paced and explored.

One of the things handled the most deftly is the introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Too much in the first episode and it he might seem incompetent, too little and it ruins the buildup to the season premier. Filoni and team found the perfect balance in the first episode. We saw how cold and calculating he is, and how he plans to draw the Rebels in and bring down their destruction. The crew had to expend a bunch of firepower to recover only a handful used Y-wings, and it might not have been worth the effort. My hope is we get more of Thrawn than we did of the inquisitors last season. He needs to be a constant presence felt the entire season to drive the crew into making mistakes.

Star Wars Rebels hasn’t disappointed in the first two seasons, and the start of the third was more of the same. The introduction of Thrawn was as perfect as it could be, and showing how the two Jedi are handling their current situations was well done. The first episode was simply everything a season opener should be. It gave us reminders as to why we love the show to begin with along with what to look forward to in the future.

What did you think of the season premiere of Rebels? Did you like Bendu? What were some of your favorite moments or least favorite parts? Comment and let me know

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