Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels or don't want to know what happened, turn away now. Or, y'know, go watch and come back so we can talk about it.
Rebels slowed down for a couple of episodes and then, bam, here comes an episode designed to fling a curveball your way. I heard from a few people who felt the last couple of episodes were "filler", so for those people, how'd you like this episode?
What happened? What didn't happen? We started off with Kanan and Ezra trying to infiltrate an Imperial factory on Lothal and next thing you know, Agent Kallus is a double agent! To top that, Grand Admiral Thrawn flat out killed a civilian. I know people die on the show and I know a lot of Stormtroopers get added to the tally every week, but there was something about the sheer deliberation behind Thrawn's "demonstration" that gave me chills. Especially in the way writer, Nicole Dubuc set it up. Leave things to my imagination and I'll imagine the worst.
This was a very meaty episode Thrawn-wise both in amount and depth of content. Thrawn's ruthlessness was on full display as was his cool calculation. More and more, he reminds me of a snake. Silent and observing as he lures his prey in and then striking when it's least expected. Personally, I felt it was the best dive into Thrawn yet for those of us who aren't familiar with his EU stories. I'm curious to know what EU readers thought of him in this latest episode.
The episode also managed to avoid the pitfall of becoming DARK (even when it was dealing with some pretty grim stuff) by giving Ezra, Kanan and Chopper more of the action and humor. Putting the good guys in trooper armor and sending them into the lion's den is a time-tested strategy and the three of them are always a good mix of troublemaker and hero. We got some pretty cool lightsaber usage (every time these guys take out a walker, I become more convinced that they're the reason the AT-AT's are so sturdy in The Empire Strikes Back). I'm also a huge fan of the way Rebels has used walkers. Watching two AT-AT's try and get a bead on an AT-DP without blowing each other up was entertaining and I didn't see the walker sitting on the other walker coming, at all. That was genius. As was the lightsaber trick that put our boys in the belly of the beast.
But the real plot of this episode focuses on one Agent Kallus, ISB agent and Rebel spy. More specifically, Fulcrum. Whaaaaaat? THAT made me sit up and take notice, I'll tell you what. The second he said it, there I was going through the mental flashcards of what he'd done since he and Zeb were stranded on the Geonosian moon and certain things clicked into place. Still, I was wary. You have to be. Plus, I appreciated that neither Kanan nor Ezra was just going to calmly accept it and fall in line. Kallus needed to work to convince them and he got punched more than once for his troubles (I admit, I laughed each time because I'm a twisted individual). So, yeah, Fulcrum. Okay, then.
I've been thinking about how many avenues that opens up when you really think about it. I've also been thinking about events in the series as they pertain to Rogue One (ZOMG I can't wait!). Could someone on the inside be part of the plan that helped put those Death Star plans into the hands of the Rebellion in some way? Set up some sort of communications gateway? So many possibilities. (Yes, I'm gleefully rubbing my hands together thinking about it.).
Of course, I'm assuming that Kallus will live out the season. Thrawn knows he has a spy. He knows that spy is close enough to him to thwart his plans. I'm betting he's even narrowed it down to a couple of people. Kallus has to be on his radar given the number of times he's faced the rebels and lost, especially on this most recent occasion. Now the question is, what will Kallus do? He's going to have to do something to throw Thrawn off his scent: frame someone else, lay low, damage some part of the rebel's plans. Oooooh, maybe there's a way the rebels can set something up that Kallus can legitimately thwart. Hmmm. Oh. Sorry. Like I said, I've been mulling.
Speaking of plans, let's discuss the plans Kanan and Ezra escaped with. Thrawn's pet project. A TIE Interceptor with shields. We haven't seen one in (unless my memory fails me and, if it does, my apologies) the films, so it's hard to say what's going to happen. This is something else that's tickling my spidey sense as we get closer to the timeline for Rogue One and Star Wars. It may be nothing. My spidey sense is overactive and I'm a speculation fiend, but I want to know more about those plans.
We're reaching the middle of the season and it's been interesting to see the set up of certain chess pieces: proton bombs, the Iron Squadron, Kallus, two new sets of trooper armor, Wedge Antilles, and maybe even Hondo. On Thrawn's side, we have Tarkin, Pryce, Imperial Mandalorians, a new ship, and the might of the Empire itself. Don't forget that we also have Maul in the middle of this whole thing.
I have a feeling we're gonna crest the hill fairly soon and when we do, you're gonna want to strap in and hold on.
That does it for me this week. See you next time and may the Force be with you.
Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 PM ET/PT on Disney XD