Saturday, 6 May 2017

Star Wars Rebels S30E21/E22 "Zero Hour"


Thrawn implements his plan to take out the rebel base on Atollon.

What I thought

Here’s what the whole of the season has basically been building up to; Thrawn’s long-game of learning about his opponents via acquiring history and testing them is to be rewarded by him launching his assault to destroy the rebellion before it even begins. It’s a two-parter but thankfully shown together or it really would have nuked any tension there might have been. As it was we did get to see Thrawn really bring in the heavy artillery in terms of star destroyers this episode after learning of the rebel base’s exact location via utilising his trump card from a few episodes ago, Kallus. Quite how everyone’s favourite special agent didn’t foresee how much Thrawn knew about him, I’m unsure. Maybe he did? We know he took a risk by hanging around after that incident where he had to frame the other guy as Fulcrum, and we knew Thrawn knew it was him. Seems he was just waiting for that next communication to get what he needed from Kallus. Poor Kallus was then dragged around all episode by Death Troopers having suffered the indignity of a black eye, exposure as a traitor and that single section of hair being out of place!

It was great to see Thrawn actually show he’d been building up to something big and taking down the rebel base. He truly showed his hand and used everything the Empire had to throw at the Rebels. Seems he didn’t realise he was actually not targeting the whole rebellion, so his homework wasn’t that accurate.

There were some epic space battles as both General Dodonna fleet and Herra’s are partially obliterated in space and retreated back to the surface as a new Empire ship, the incidentor, blocks hyperspace jumps. It was full epic space battle there in part 1, much like the end of Rogue One or start of Revenge of the Sith.

The ground assault was very low-key though, and nothing like I expected. It seemed to be only Rex and Zeb defending the base with several smaller walkers easily taken out before the bigger AT-AT wannabies turned up, one of which was ridiculously taken down by Kanan’s lightsabre as if he was chopping up butter. The Rebel base has always looked like a library as it’s so quiet and the numbers of people so few. Even with the extra fleet hanging out there, I’m still wondering where they have all parked up their big ships and personnel? Then there’s how quickly and simply Thrawn is down and in the base in a nanosecond, with the main Rebel gang surrounded. Of course, it was sadly never going to be as easy as that. However, this should have been a much bigger pay-off for Thrawn but it came across as half-hearted. Yes, he looked like a tactical genius and an excellent thinker but also someone who didn’t really live up to the billing he’d had pre-season or the screen-time he’s mustered this season.

The Bendu is another I’m unsure about this season. We all knew he sat on the fence in terms of dark and light side, but he was largely helpful in the first half of the season with Kanan’s issues. Here he suddenly goes super aggressive and angry over being called a coward. His immense storm is a seriously long time building up a head of steam and then he seems to be super picky on taking down more Empire than Rebels despite his supposed impartiality. If he was really angry with Kanan, why not take him out? Hmm, slightly odd behaviour by the Bendu whom I think there’s a reasonable chance we’ll see more of. We also got more Mandalorian action this week as Ezra convinces them in record time to send a few people to help out. The whole landing on a massive ship and effectively destroying it was cartoon-style ridiculous but effective I guess.

Overall, I was disappointed with this episode. I’d hoped throughout the season that there was a real build-up to Thrawn proving how masterful he was, but also that he got big results. He largely failed to really do what he set out to do, although how he could have prepared for a force-sensitive creature getting in the way, I’m not sure. I’d have liked Thrawn to have achieved a better result, and some meaningful sacrifices, other than Sato, Constantine and Bendu, neither of whom had enough build-up or meaning for us to really care about their demise. All the main cast live to fight another season without any real losses. Sure, lots of rebels did die and ships destroyed this episode, but we didn’t see those deaths really, nor know who those people were. It was a solid finale but I’d have liked a lot more ruthlessness and perhaps a twist right at the end.
Verdict 6/10 - Decent finale but not one that quite lived up to the season-long billing.
What I liked:
  • Death Troopers! Great to see, although they were mute and not overly highlighted.
  • Thrawn’s master plan is a real show of the Empire’s strength
  • Great space battle

What I didn’t like
  • The Bendu I’m struggling to totally understand his role in this season or his logic with who he targeted at the end.
  • Thrawn didn’t really achieve anything significant enough, thus downplaying his whole build-up this season.
  • Not enough meaningful sacrifices for a finale that was what the whole season was all about.

That shield they nicked off Geonosis came in handy!

Poor Kallus. Paraded about all episode as a traitor.

In the space of a minute, Ezra obtains their help.

One man, a rebel and Zeb; the sole defenders of the rebel base it seems.

Uh Oh. That's a lot of trouble!

Death Troopers! Can't get enough of them.

And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids, I mean Bendu.

Lightning doesn't strike twice, or on target much, even if it is Bendu.

Looks somewhat picturesque but it's Bendu's demise.

Classic spacesuit worn by Ezra as he and his Mandaloian pals take down a Star Destroyer; yes, really.

Kallus makes his escape.

Bendu has a few parting words for Thrawn

And the final scenes with everyone from the main gang intact and almost in hugging mode.

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