Star Wars Rebels, Season 2 (2015-2016) Review

Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels dives considerably deeper into each character’s backstory –we learn more about Ezra Bridger’s family, Hera’s family on Ryloth, Zeb’s fellow Lasats, Darth Vader appears as does Maul and Ahsoka Tano, and in a delightful bit of nostalgia-bait, several characters from The Clone Wars reappear including Hondo Ohnaka and three beloved clone soldiers –Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor. We are also presented with the existence of a broader rebellion, a loose confederation of recalcitrant militants.    

The graphics in Season 2 are simply astounding for an animated show –we can see the shine on stormtrooper’s helmets, the crash of laser fire, smoke lifting from the field of battle, and the score is every bit as transcendent and reminiscent of John Williams’s original. I had a lot of fun watching this show. Also, the detail added into this season is extraordinary –for example, the surgical scars on the former clones who removed their Order 66 chips can be visible, along with the places where characters received battle scars in season 1.

Episodes 1-2 “The Siege of Lothal Parts I and II”     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost crew has now joined with fellow disparate members of the Rebel Alliance. This dual episode season opener begins with the rebels robbing an Imperial cargo while Minister Tua, a female Imperial bureaucrat and representative from Lothal, is currently being blamed by Darth Vader for recent failures on the planet. Therefore, Minister Tua decides to defect. She sends a message to the rebels begging for safe transportation off Lothal before she faces Imperial retribution. She promises to deliver Imperial secrets including a list of rebel sympathizers and also the true reason for why the Empire maintains a heavy presence on Lothal… The rebels decide to rescue Minister Tua, although Kanan privately expresses to Hera his skepticism over joining this new loose confederation of rebels. Kanan lived through the Clone Wars and is not eager to become party to another war –he much prefers the old days when the Ghost crew was simply robbing from the Empire to help the needy. Now, he feels encumbered by the rebel alliance’s military bureaucracy under Commander Jun Sato (Keone Young). At any rate, before they can complete the rescue of Minister Tua, she is killed and Darth Vader returns (reprised by James Earl Jones).

Part II begins with a brief lightsaber showdown between Ezra/Kanan and Darth Vader –they only narrowly manage to escape. However, their ship is an un-shielded transport ship so they must find safer means to get off Lothal. They reluctantly reconnect with Lando Calrissian (reprised by Billy Dee Williams), but he is not currently located on Lothal, so his personal droid links them up with a stolen Imperial ship and they disguise their escape off Lothal. They return to the rebel fleet but their stolen Imperial ship has been tracked by none other than Darth Vader himself who appears in a single TIE Fighter. Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka sense the cold, hateful presence of Darth Vader –and when he realizes Ahsoka is nearby, Vader remarks, “the apprentice lives…” In the end, Vader is returned to his Imperial fleet and he speaks with the Emperor who instructs him to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt down the rebels.

Episodes 3-4 “The Lost Commanders” and “Relics of the Old Republic”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Knowing that the Empire will be pursuing the rebels, Ahsoka Tano sends the Ghost crew on a mission to find a mysterious old military commander she once knew during the Clone Wars… the mission leads them to the remote Seelos system along the outer rim where they find an old Clone Wars era Republic tank outfitted by three aging clone soldiers –none other than Rex (7567), Wolffe, and Gregor from The Clone Wars. While they are too old for battle now, Rex promises to help the rebels uncover some of the secret bases along the outer rim in exchange for helping hunt joopa (giant sandworms a la Dune) which could feed these three rogue clones for the whole year.

However, one of the clones betrays the rebels to the Empire –it turns out to be Wolffe, who issued a distress call in fear of retribution from the Empire. An Imperial probe arrives and raids the ship until Rex shoots it down which is followed by a TIE Fighter and a ground assault of AT-ATs led by Agent Kallus. Instead of fighting while they are clearly outgunned, the rebels head into a growing sandstorm which scrambles sensors and they take a single shot which knocks out the AT-ATs. Darth Vader then orders the Imperial fleet to rendezvous with his shuttle, stranding Agent Kallus who is forced to flee on a speeder. In the end, Rex is reunited with Ahsoka. I thought this was an all-around wonderful string of episodes with lots of callbacks to the era of The Clone Wars, plus seeing Ahsoka reunited with Rex is a terrific bit of Star Wars fan nostalgia. In the end, however, a new fearsome Inquisitor (the Fifth Brother) is summoned by Darth Vader.

Episode 5 “Always Two There Are”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With Kanan and Rex mired in constant bickering (Kanan is highly suspicious of the trustworthiness of clones), Zeb, Sabine, Chopper, and Ezra all volunteer to visit an Old Republic medical facility in order to retrieve supplies with coordinates provided by Rex when they are suddenly surprised by new inquisitors –the Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez). They are surprised to see more than one. In the end, the rebels narrowly escape, albeit troubled by the fact that they do not know their enemies quite as well as they once thought. This episode leaves us hanging on an ominous note –there are apparently many Inquisitors who are now hunting down the Jedi.  

Episode 6 “Brothers of the Broken Horn”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vizago’s ship the “Broken Horn” sends a distress signal but when Ezra and Chopper arrive at the derelict vessel, Ezra discovers the pirate Hondo Ohnaka (who featured prominently in The Clone Wars, reprised by Jim Cummings). Upon arrival, the ship is eerily quiet, filled with inoperative droids –apparently Hondo won the ship from Vizago in a game of sabacc. Ezra lies to Hondo and claims his name is “Lando Calrissian” and together they conduct a deal with Azmorigan (the crime lord from Season 1) in the trade of valuable generators, but it goes awry, and in the end Ezra briefly considers becoming a pirate (after all, Inquisitors do not hunt pirates) until Ezra finds Vizago imprisoned and releases him. This leads to a battle royale as Vizago awakens the slumbering droids on his ship. Ezra escapes back to his crew. He realizes that he used to live like Hondo, but now he lives for something far greater than himself. This episode offers a fun bit of fluff.  

Episode 7 “Wings of the Master”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost and its rebel partners in “Phoenix Squadron” are attempting to break an Imperial blockade over a rebel outpost which is in vital need of food supplies. Hera, Zeb, and Sabine travel to meet with a Mon Calamari mechanic named Quarrie (Corey Burton) and his droid “Bee-Gee” with the hopes of securing a better ship which can break the blockade. After a turbulent trip through the planet’s atmosphere, their ship is damaged and they are given a somewhat dilapidated old ship called a Blade Wing or “B-Wing” from Quarrie. During repairs, Hera explains a bit of her backstory on Ryloth during the Clone Wars and her desire to help people in need. After some repairs, the ship is ready and it manages to break the blockade. In the end, Hera is promoted by the rebels at Kanan’s request.

Episode 8 “Blood Sisters”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sabine and Ezra (along with Chopper) are sent on a mission to meet a mysterious courier using the codephrase “it’s a long way to Alderaan” but the courier winds up being a droid and they encounter a bounty hunter named Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres) who works for the Black Sun syndicate. As it turns out, Sabine is also a former bounty hunter and she and Ketsu were once close friends, even like sisters. In fact, they broke out of the Imperial Academy together. When stormtroopers arrive, they all battle their way through stormtroopers and eventually wind-up joining forces in space. In the end, Sabine and Ketsu reunite and we are led to believe they will cross paths once again down the road.

Episode 9 “Stealth Strike”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra and Commander Sato are captured and imprisoned when the Ghost is suddenly pulled out of hyperdrive by an experimental new Imperial “gravity” weapon aboard an Interdictor cruiser. During the rescue led by Kanan, Rex risks his life and is captured and threatened with torture until Kanan, his frequent sparring partner owing to a prejudice against traitorous clones, decides to rescue Rex. Finally, Rex and Kanan learn to respect one another. In the end, Chopper sabotages the Imperial weapon allowing for their escape.   

Episode 10 “The Future of the Force”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A transport ship is taken over by the Empire and the two inquisitors we previously met confiscate a baby from its grandmother. Meanwhile, Ahsoka explains to Kanan that she has been tracking communications on Mustafar in the hopes of learning more about the mysterious Sith Lord they previously encountered (she does not yet know the true identity of Darth Vader) and thus far details remain elusive. In the process, Ahsoka and the ghost crew uncover an Imperial plot to kidnap force sensitive younglings and prevent future Jedi from growing up. Ahsoka impressively battles both inquisitors and escapes capture. In the end, it is revealed that the Empire was bugging the younglings and they learn of the rebel presence on the planet Garel.

Episode 11 “Legacy”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra has a vision of his parents which leads to information provided by his old family friend Tseebo –that his parents were once taken to an Imperial prison. Following an imperial invasion on Garel they flee back to Lothal where Ezra meets Ryder Azadi (voiced by actor Clancy Brown, who previously voiced Savage Opress from The Clone Wars), former governor of Lothal, who tells Ezra that his parents died not long ago in an imperial prison while they were both encouraging others to break out of prison, and that they were inspired by Ezra’s message which was blasted across the galaxy a few episodes back. Ezra takes comfort in knowing that his parents died heroes.

Episode 12 “A Princess on Lothal”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The return of Princess Leia! Senator Bail Organa sends three much-needed cruisers to Lothal led by his daughter, Princess Leia Organa (voiced by Julie Dolan). The rebels stage a ruse wherein they “kidnap” Princess Leia in order to preserve the illusion of her alliance with the Empire (thereby protecting Alderaan), and with help from formerly imprisoned Ryder Azadi whom we met in the previous episode, the rebels recapture their ships from Imperial forces and Ryder Azadi officially decides to rejoin the rebels in the fight against the Empire.

Episode 13 “The Protector of Concord Dawn”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Concord Dawn is a Mandalorian colony (not an Imperial territory yet) known for its elite warriors who trained clones during the Clone Wars –in particular, Concord Dawn is known for a Separatist faction called “The Protectors.” With the Empire tightening its grip over Lothal, the Ghost crew is seeking a new smuggling route through Concord Dawn. After attempting to make contact, Hera is injured by Fenn Rau (Kevinn McKidd), leader of The Protectors of Concord Dawn, a former fighter pilot in the Grand army of the Old Republic who fought at the Third Battle of Mygeeto. Both Rex and Kanan remember Fenn Rau from the Clone Wars and so they decide to infiltrate the Protector base on the third moon. As it turns out, Fenn Rau is being paid off by the Empire, but Kanan still believes he can persuade the Mandalorians to join the rebellion (he is secretly joined by Sabine). While Kanan attempts to persuade Fenn Rau, Sabine is surrounded by Mandalorians –she declares that her clan is Wren, House Vizsla of the rogue “Death Watch” squad (in truth, Sabine’s mother was merely once a member of Death Watch). She invokes the Mandalorian code which calls for a fight to the death, but in the face-off with Fenn Rau, Sabine simply shoots the gun out of Fenn Rau’s hand and detonates a string of explosives, destroying the Protectors’ ships. In the end, Kanan captures Fenn Rau and, not wanting to draw further Imperial attention, Fenn Rau agrees to allow safe passage through their system for the rebellion.

Personally, I am drawn to any Mandalorian narrative in Star Wars. Between Concord Dawn, the Protectors, Death Watch, and the darksaber –there is quite a rich lore surrounding the Mandalorians.

Episode 14 “Legends of the Lasat”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a tip from the whimsical pirate Hondo Ohnaka, Ezra and the Ghost crew surprisingly rescue a pair of Lasats from Imperial custody: Chava the Wise and a former member of the guard named Gron, both of whom recognize Zeb as “Captain of the Lasan Honor Guard.” None of the Ghost crew were aware that Zeb was once a captain. According to ancient Lasat prophecy, they wish to travel to a mythical place known as Lira San, a paradise where the Lasat originally came from. While escaping Agent Kallus, they fly the Ghost into an anomaly which takes them to Lira San. After discovering this fabled planet, Zeb decides to return to the Ghost and if they find any other surviving Lasats, he will help them chart the path to Lira San.  

Note: It is in this episode that the “ancient” names of the sides of the Force are first revealed by Chava, calling the light side the ashla, and the dark side the bogan. These are repeated by The Bendu on Atollon in a later episode of Rebels.

Episode 15 “The Call”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While in search of fuel, the Ghost crew encounters a pack of purrgil, deep space-travelling creatures whom Hera considers dangerous. The creatures appear to be akin to space whales, albeit with tentacles. Eventually Ezra establishes a mental connection through the force with the purrgil before they vanish –and we learn that these creatures have the ability to travel through hyperspace naturally (they are one of the only known creatures who can travel faster than lightspeed organically). However, Hera is biased against the purrgil since they are dangerous, and occasionally wander into shipping lanes and attack ships, however old explorers would often tell stories about how the purrgil initially inspired mankind to travel through deep space. However, after shooting a pair of hostile TIE fighters sent from a nearby mining operation, the purrgil lead the Ghost to the Imperial mining facility and the crew decides to invade the facility. In the attack, Ezra is rescued by the purrgil who are affected by the gaseous emissions of this facility, while the rest of the crew refuel the ship and destroy the Imperial facility.

The introduction of the purrgil in this episode makes it a remarkable addition to the Star Wars universe in my view –despite being a simple story about a fuel shortage within the rebellion, the purrgil will play an important role down the road.  

Episode 16 “Homecoming”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amidst a battle with the empire, the beleaguered rebels are in need of a place to store rebel pilots and ships. Thus, the Ghost crew attempts to hijack an Imperial carrier over Ryloth. To assist in the mission, Hera reluctantly contacts her Twi’lek father, Cham (Robin Atkin Downes), with whom she has not spoken in years. He was a hero during the Clone Wars (“the liberator of Ryloth”) and fought alongside Mace Windu at the capital city of Lessu. But Hera claims he became far too interested in his vision for Ryloth, rather than his own family, so they grew apart. At any rate, Cham and several Twi’leks create a secret plan of their own wherein they intend to destroy the Imperial vessel rather than hijack it. In the end, the rebels persuade Cham to join their cause and Ezra uses the force on the Imperial captain who then makes an order to abandon ship.

Note: Hera and her father Cham speak with a French accent.

Episode 17 “The Honorable Ones”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Empire has been constructing a mysterious weapon over Geonosis according to rebel intelligence. The Geonosians made weapons during The Clone Wars. When the Ghost crew lands, the facility is initially empty but the crew is quickly ambushed by Agent Kallus and his forces. In the scuffle, Zeb and Kallus wind up together on an icy moon over Geonosis where they struggle to survive in below freezing temperatures, but Kallus (with an injured leg) admits that he secretly respects Lasat warriors and they both realize their own prejudices against one another. In addition, the truth about the massacre on Lasan is revealed. Kallus was initially deployed to Oneron when they ran into a rebel Lasat mercenary who massacred his unit one by one. Even the Empire faces atrocities from time to time. At any rate, they both work together to escape a pack of hungry rhinocerous-esque ice cave creatures. In the end, Zeb is rescued by the rebellion while Agent Kallus is eventually rescued by the Empire. The closing shot contrasts Zeb being greeted by friends, while Kallus sits alone in his sterile room, contemplating his decision to remain loyal to the Empire.

This episode offers a rare bit of insight into the Empire –perhaps Imperials like Agent Kallus are not all entirely one-dimensional, vicious villains. It also foreshadows a change of heart for Kallus.  

Episode 18 “Shroud of Darkness”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The rebels are in desperate need of a remote planet to establish a base. Ezra and Kanan are locked in a lightsaber duel with two Inquisitors (the Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister) after a failed attempt at discovering a new planet for a rebel base. When Ezra and Kanan escape back to the fleet, Ahsoka Tano reflects on her former master Anakin Skywalker. Since the Inquisitors seem to turn up everywhere the rebels attempt to establish a base, Ahsoka suggests that perhaps they should turn to counsel of Master Yoda. Thus, Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka return to Lothal where Kanan and Ezra re-open the Jedi temple from the first season –only this time there is something different about the temple. Kanan is confronted by a guard who warns him that the darkside of the force is pulling at Ezra, and therefore Ezra must be eliminated, while Ezra communicates with Master Yoda (Frank Oz). Meanwhile, the Inquisitors manage to track the Jedi to the Temple. Under duress, when he finally admits that he cannot keep fighting forever, Kanan is surprisingly knighted by his sentinel/guard opponent who reveals his mask to show the face of the Grand Inquisitor he killed in Season 1 –he was once apparently a Jedi Knight, as well. Meanwhile, Master Yoda sighs and reluctantly instructs Ezra to “find Malachor.” The episode ends as the two Inquisitors reveal the location of the secret Jedi Temple on Lothal to Darth Vader.

Episode 19 “The Forgotten Droid”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A silly droid episode: The rebellion believes it has finally found a suitable location for their base in the Yost System. And while seeking a new leg, Chopper mistakenly finds himself stranded aboard an Imperial freighter. With the aid of an inventory droid named AP-5 (Stephen Stanton), Chopper learns that the Yost System is secretly crawling with a heavy Imperial presence. In the end, Chopper is rescued –this is a silly filler episode in my view, but still better than the Jar Jar Binks episodes in The Clone Wars show.  

Episode 20 “The Mystery of Chopper Base”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The rebellion has finally discovered a location for their future base –on Atollon, a hot and dry locale populated with giant “Krykna” spiders. One of the Krykna spiders kidnaps Rex who is then rescued by the Ghost crew. The rebels construct a fence of sensor beacons which deter the spiders from their base while Kanan reassures Hera about his upcoming quest for Malachor.  

Episodes 21-22 “Twilight of the Apprentice Parts I & II”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In one of the best episodes in the series, Ahsoka, Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper travel to Malachor (per Yoda’s suggestion). On Malachor, they very quickly discover an ancient Sith temple where a battle once took place between Sith and Jedi. But they are once again disrupted by an Inquisitor (the Eighth Brother) who sends Ezra crashing below the ground and into the shadows, where he encounters a strange hooded figure dwelling in the darkness. The figure prefers to be called “Old Master” and he promises to show Ezra the secret entrance to the Sith temple so that Ezra can attain the knowledge he seeks. As they weave their way through underground tunnels, the Old Master eventually lifts his hood and reveals himself to be none other than Maul (Sam Witwer). He leads Ezra to a Sith holocron inside the temple, all the while encouraging him to harness his anger.

Ezra hands the holocron over to Maul (formerly Darth Maul) and they both rejoin with Kanan and Ahsoka, fighting the Inquisitors while climbing up into the temple to place the holocron inside the upper chamber obelisk which activates the whole temple as a weapon. Ezra helps Kanan and Ahsoka battle alongside Maul at first, but he soon turns his lightsaber on the Jedi once the Inquisitors are defeated, and he proclaims Ezra his new apprentice. In the fight, Kanan’s eyes are damaged (he is blinded) so he dons a helmet, while Ahsoka battles her old Master, Darth Vader. During the duel, she finally learns the truth as she bursts a hole in his helmet which reveals Vader’s eye (in this iconic moment we hear Matt Lantern’s voice mixed with James Earl Jones which gives a chilling effect). They continue fighting as the temple collapses and explodes. Kanan and Ezra are then whisked away while the future of Ahsoka seems uncertain. Ezra decides to hold onto the Sith holocron…  In the end, we see Darth Vader trudge away from the Sith Temple while Ahsoka is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, a now-blinded Kanan returns to Hera’s embrace, while Ezra’s silence to Rex shows that his oldest friend, Ahsoka Tano, will not be returning. This darkly powerful episode ends Season 2 on an emotionally gripping high note.  

Return to my survey of the Star Wars series

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