Star Wars Rebels S3 Premier

Steps into Shadows was a very interesting episode that sets up the rest of Season 3.

In many ways, Season 2 spoiled us.  Nothing really will compare with Seige of Lothal (S2 premier) or Twilight of the Apprentice (S2 Finale).  It’s not as good as those two episodes, but there are some great moments of insight and plot development.

 

Ezra’s Leadership  2016-09-25-4

Ezra has been signficantly influenced (compromised?) by the Sith Holocron.  It appears to feed on his anger and his success on missions seems to fuel his belief in its teachings.  While his skills have improved, his behavior and choices are far more toxic.

But the episode ends with Ezra recognizing that his decisions (accumulating exhibitions of strength of patients) led to things going very wrong, nearly costing him his life.

This seems like the tone for this season for Ezra.  That the Sith Holocron is seductive (I think of it as a teenager experimenting with drugs), but his relationship with Kanan can ultimately lead him towards good.

 

Bendu

Bendu is an interesting character.  We only see a bit of him, but we get a taste of what his perspective is.  He’s not afraid of the Sith Holocron and quickly questions Kanan’s self-insight.  He teaches Kanan to rely on his insight rather than his fear and grief.  It is through his teaching that Kanan ultimately gains the courage/insight to return to the Ghost Crew.

It’s interesting that he so quickly cuts to the quick with Kanan.  He clearly has no interest in responding to Kanan with Jedi or Sith dogma (as we see Yoda do in RotS with Anakin).  He very quickly questions why Kanan feels as he does and shows him where his blindness lays.

 

Thrawn

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We’re (rather briefly) introduced to Thrawn in this episode.  We learn of his recent promotion to Grand Admiral, a reward for rooting out a rebel cell, though at significant loss of civilian casualties.

What was most interesting was this characterization of Thrawn and the Empire in just one conversation.  We learn of his actions leading to his promotion, but also illustrate that the Empire is willing to risk so many civilian lives to stamp out opposition to its power.  When compared with Vader’s actions in Seige of Lothal (his comment to Minister Tua regarding her actions being another data point) we’re seeing the Empire’s resolve/desperation emerge.  It may indicate that The Emperor has forseen these developments and understand how grave they may be.

It’s also heartening to see Thrawn’s character be so close to that as defined by Timothy Zahn.  Thrawn is someone who would intentionally lose battles just to see how his opponents would respond.  It is through this learning process that he is able to eventually destroy his adversaries.  We see him do this again in this episode.

 

Y-Wings for A New Hope

The great discovery from this episode was that the Y-Wings at the center of this plot were to be delivered to General Dodonna’s crew.  These could be the same Y-Wings we see in A New Hope that attack the Death Star.  That’s an awesome connection and raise questions as to whether Ezra’s actions (disobey orders, jeopardize their fleet and his life) justify the ends (Y-wings that contribute to the destruction of the Death Star which they are not yet aware).

 

One last thing – the animation in this episode was top-notch.  It’s fantastic that they’re able to put more resources behind this show.  The results really make a difference with the story.


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