Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Star Wars Rebels S03E01 "Steps into Shadow"


"Led by a more powerful Ezra, the rebels break a friend out of prison to help steal ships for the fleet. Ezra’s leadership goes wrong and Kanan discovers Ezra’s new skills come from a dark place."

What I thought?

We're back! It seems like such a long time since the end of series 2. But wait. How much time has passed in Star Wars Rebels land between the finale of series 2 and this one? Ezra is now noticeably taller, slimmer and with the shortest hair you can get without going bald. Sabine has aged slightly, whereas Kanan has gone for the hairy facial look of all mature Jedi Knights. We're led to understand that Ezra has led many missions very successfully since the end of series 2, thanks to his new skills (largely powered by the sith holocron I guess) and his new air resistant hairdo. You'd think at least a few months has transpired but the fact we have Kanan still sulking from his blindness, and all that went down last season, I'm guessing maybe 6 months? Only that period of time, minimum, could explain the physical changes to Ezra, his multiple missions, and his use of the holocron to gain knowledge. The reason I mention timescales is largely because of Kanan, who one can understand would be finding times hard, gets help from a force wielder on the same planet, and goes from not having a clue about how to continue as a blind Jedi, to suddenly spurting into life within only a 2 minute training exercise from his new friend. I know this is a cartoon, and we have to accept some plot oddities as par-for-the-course, but this was quite a leap for me.

Still, this was an enjoyable episode and a very good feature-length opener. We got introduced to Admiral Thawn whom many Star Wars fans who are much into their history than me know about from the books. I was somewhat disappointed after all the hype by his entrance scene, but his vision and reflective verbal words show this is a man much more in the mould of Tarkin than any of the usual hapless Empire commanders. The fact he's playing a long game to find out the size and location of the rebel fleet means we're going to see much more of his masterful plans throughout this season, with a probably finale of serious consequences for the rebels. Not too serious one suspects as they manage to keep going up until A New Hope with a very decent size, so one wonders exactly what Thawn's fate will be, although the books have him still around for a long time. And where will Vader figure this season? There's also multiple mentions of the Emperor which seems a little unusual as I wasn't sure that he was so freely spoken about at this time?

As is becoming more common with Star Wars Rebels, there were some beautiful visuals in this episode. The space station in the clouds was absolutely gorgeous to watch. Everything has much improved dramatically in this show from the rather bland season one visuals. It's just a delight to watch at times now just to simply observe the detail and depth in what we're watching. Hondo was his usual charming self and a great addition to this show. His interaction with everyone, especially the Ugnaughts was amusing and reminiscent of Dory in Finding Nemo communicating with Whales.

Overall, a decent opening, fast-paced, action-packed, entertaining episode that quickly brings us up to speed and sets things out for the rest of the season. 

Rating 7/10 (Very Good)

Ezra is kick-ass bad-ass this season, using his lightsabre and force powers ruthlessly.

Kanan is spending his time kneeing and playing with objects it seems.

Enter Thawn. Not the great visual introduction I hoped for but he's a masterful character.

Beautiful visuals this episode, especially during the space station in the "clouds".

Hondo was his comic best this episode with his language skills.

Kanan's two minute lesson into how to cope without his eyes was really one of those fast-tracked educational courses.

We all cheer when a Star Destroyer appears, right?

A renewed Kanan really shows he doesn't care about the lack of eyesight by hanging out of the ship to catch Ezra.

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