Saturday, October 8, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S3E3 The Antilles Extraction Recap/Review (Spoilers!)

I can’t imagine what an episode titled The Antilles Extraction could be about.

The Antilles Extraction is the third episode of the third season of Star Wars Rebels and has Sabine infiltrating an Imperial pilot training facility to extract disgruntled cadets. One of cadets to the shock of everyone is Wedge Antilles. He is the only Rebellion pilot we see on screen who survives both battles vs the Death Stars. He has always been a fan favorite, and one of mine as well. Some of my favorite Legends books were from the Rogue Squadron series which had Wedge as a focal point. Getting to see how he joined up with the Rebellion is fantastic fan service, and provided an extremely fun enjoyable episode.

Star Wars Rebels so far this season is batting 1000 with three great episodes to start the season. The first two focused on the main characters and setup major story arcs for the season. This was more of an aside or a dreaded filler episode. That is not a bad thing when you have twenty-two episodes to get through in a season. When filler is also coupled with fan service, and the story told executed well it can be welcomed. I really enjoyed most of this episode because I got to see how Wedge joined the Rebellion and because I got to see multiple dogfights in space.
Everyone loves lightsabers battles, including me, but I think my favorite parts of the original trilogy are the space battles. It’s no surprise that I loved an episode that had three of them in it. Watching the episode gave me visions of playing X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, and now I kind of want to go buy it on steam so I can play again.

The dogfights aside I think what I liked best about the episode is how the Empire didn’t seem inept. One of my biggest criticism towards the end of season two was the Empire in the show didn’t seem menacing. The leaders seemed like bumbling fools and the crew of the ghost accomplished their tasks easily. There didn’t seem to be high stakes when they went on missions. The first three episodes and this one particular fixed this. It was fantastic to see Sabine’s initial escape attempt fail. I wasn’t sure if she would escape from the Imperials this episode, and that makes the show more exciting. It made her second escape attempt more satisfying because I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the episode. During the end of last season, I knew the crew was going to accomplish their task no matter the obstacle and just having the Empire succeed initially was a good turn for the series.

I had a few small nitpicks from the episode, but it didn’t have any glaring weaknesses. The first was from the initial escape attempt and having the Corellian Corvette not being able to fend off three Tie Interceptors. I already stated I was a fan of the first escape failing, but there needed to be more than three Ties going up against the Corvette to make it more believable. The Falcon got away from more when it was escaping the Death Star. The corvettes shouldn’t be that weak or why would the Rebels use them?  Still just a minor nerdy gripe though. The other issue is about using the codename Fulcrum and the exposition dump we got at the first of the episode. Why does the Rebellion need to recycle Ahsoka’s code name? Why can’t they come up with another one? I guess they want to honor her, but I think it would have been better to just use a new code. This part felt forced into the episode and not natural.

Though I didn’t like the code name, the question is who is the new Fulcrum? I think the obvious choice is Agent Kallus who let Sabine escape. Even though he said he was doing it because he was repaying Zeb. I think he is having a change of heart and is betraying the Empire. I think he is going to play a pivotal role in the season going forward giving intel on Thrawn, and might be the one thing which saves the Rebels from him in the end. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Thrawn uses Fulcrum to provide disinformation, and then kills Kallus once he has proved useful. Another theory would be that Thrawn is Fulcrum, and is laying traps for the Rebels. For instance, how did the Empire know that an escape by some cadets was planned? Maybe Thrawn leaked the information to the Rebels and setup the trap to try and capture who would take the bait. Either way having another secret agent in the series is a good thing.

The series keeps getting better and better and if first three episodes are any indication of what is in store overall for the third season it will be by far the best season to date. Comment and let me know what you thought of tonight’s episode and who you think Fulcrum could be. 

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