Star Wars Rebels has returned! We took a little break from our reviews but we are ready to go for Season 3. We watched this one a few times before our review it so we could get a good look at everything. The Season 3 premiere did not disappoint. The Ghost crew is back and so are we!
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched ‘Steps Into Shadow.’
Aaron: I have learned that I am really bad at predicting what an episode is going to be based on previews and trailers. With this one I expected we would get a lot of Thrawn, a little bit of Bendu, and a more mature and controlled Ezra. Instead we got a very brief glimpse at Thrawn, some deep philosophy with Bendu, and Ezra just being Ezra. And I’m not complaining. I loved this episode.
The episode starts out with an appearance of Hondo. He provided some needed comic relief, because Ezra made things go dark pretty fast. Watching him dispatch of Stormtroopers mercilessly was disturbing to see. The final act of “Force-ing” an AT-DP pilot to walk his own vehicle off the edge to his death was especially alarming. Whatever time has passed, it seems Erza has been spending it with his new Sith holocron friend and not with Kanan. I was a little surprised the holocron was taken from him so early in the season, but based on the preview for the next episode, it looks like it will be back in play soon enough.
The much anticipated appearance of Thrawn was brief but significant. He is an Imperial that sees the bigger picture and can cause real damage to the Rebellion. His ability to surmise the rebel’s plans based on observation of their actions felt very true to the character as we know him from the Legends novels. I’m excited to see where they go with this character.
Teresa: Season 2 left off in such a good place it left us wondering what exactly happened to Ahsoka. We saw some amazing showdowns, and our crew was changed forever. The one thing I can always be sure of in Rebels is that our crew is a family. I am always excited to see how their dynamic changes the more they experience together. The great thing about Rebels is that it never just starts as if our characters have not been doing anything for months. In fact it seems like they have been very active during our time away. You can always tell the team is evolving and changing because there are new character looks each season. I absolutely love this about Rebels. The characters are treated as real people they are not just constantly the same the way we see in other dare I say it, cartoons!
The plot of this episode really showed us just how disconnected Ezra and Kanan have become. We see that the Sith holocron has begun to weave its way into the mind of Ezra. Ezra is showing some tell-tale signs of going down the dark path and I am not sure that this is something that he can get away from. The dark side is not all bad. I really think that the best Jedi are the ones who can embrace both light and dark and can control their interactions with both sides. To understand the dark side you have to be willing to learn. I think the question comes down to whether or not you have strength to learn and to control yourself. We see this in Kanan because he has to learn to see.
Outside of the depths we are going to with the Force, the story is evolving and Thrawn is a huge part of this. His patience and his willingness to truly see things is probably the most concerning for me in regards to our heroes.
Aaron: There has been a bit of a time jump so we get all new looks for most of the characters. Ezra’s haircut makes him look older and more intimidating. Kanan looks awesome with a beard, but I was hoping he would lose the ponytail. Sabine’s hair has never looked better, and Zeb can rock the sleeveless look with those cool purple stripes on his arms.
Right off the bat Ezra seemed the most changed. Not just in looks but also his standing with the group. He was leading the mission we see them on and was even given a promotion within the Rebellion. This seemed like a big jump for the character considering he is still very young. It proved to be more than he can handle when he put himself in a situation that required him to be rescued by Hera and Kanan.
The rest of the crew weren’t a major focus in the episode. Hera was there to ground Ezra. She came down hard on him when his actions led to mistakes. Surprisingly it was Zeb who stood up for Ezra.
The mysterious Force weilder Bendu was maybe my favorite addition to the cast. I love it when Star Wars gets all philosophical about the Force. What is dark and light? Is there a middle that Force users should be trying to walk? Is a Sith holocron something to be feared? I could have watched a whole episode with Bendu just dropping knowledge on Kanan. I want to know more about this character and if he connects to some of the themes we learned in the Mortis Trilogy in The Clone Wars.
Teresa: Aaron hit on the major changes we see in the crew, but I want to expand on the Bendu. The one thing Aaron and I have in common is our love for philosophy of the Force. This is the reason I LOVE the Old Republic era. The dawn of the Jedi and the beginnings of the Sith are of the most interest to me. I love watching our Jedi and Sith characters embrace the knowledge and challenging their own connections with the Force. Bendu is exactly this. All Star Wars needs to do for me is drop terms like Ashla and Bogan and you have me hooked. I love the entire interaction between Bendu and Kanan and the discussion about being able to SEE. This gave me the biggest thrill of the entire episode.
In addition to all of this, the appearance of Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn I think will be essential to the entire story. After watching the Rebels Recon, I think the care that was taken into bringing a character like Thrawn to the series is encouraging. My favorite things about Thrawn is his calmness, it is chilling and intriguing. It definitely makes me worry. I have never truly been concerned for them until this season.
Aaron: The big one for me was the return of Kanan. He had been meditating.. or sulking for a while it seemed. With the help of Bendu he realized that he only had himself to blame for his lack of sight. By letting go of his fear he was able to see more clearly. This whole part of the episode with Bendu, Kanan, and the really creepy beaked spider things was great.
Rex taking on the dismantler droid was pretty awesome too. Both times. This clone knows no fear.
Teresa: There were several big moments for me. The first one was when Ezra walks the AT-DP off the ledge.The feelings I had when I first saw it have stuck with me. I actually had a feeling of fear, worry, and concern. It was like watching someone you have depended on for being on the good side start to slip in the scariest way possible. When people do bad things with good intentions, this is the most startling thing. This is how people begin to go to the dark side. We see these same sort of things happen with Anakin.
The next big moment was how easily he opens the holocron and his willingness to trust it. We see some very strong Lord of the Rings type vibes. The holocron has the same shadow to me that the ring does.
I absolutely love the interaction between Hera and Ezra at the end of the episode. He was given responsibility of his crew for the mission and he failed. Her stripping him of his new rank and her willingness to do the hard things and discipline him showed so much about her character. Ezra is not all bad. He may be going down the dark path, but the redeemability is still there. His friends and family just need to keep their eyes on him.
● “Karabast!” – Sabine
● “When did Kanan teach you that?” – Sabine. “He Didn’t” – Ezra
● “If you can see yourself you will never truly be blind.” – Bendu