Recap: ‘Star Wars Rebels’ “Relics of the Old Republic”
Rounding out the story begun last week, Star Wars Rebels returns us to the desolate planes of Seelos where Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) must learn to trust Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) in order to escape an Imperial attack. Not only does “Relics of the Old Republic” induce memories from The Clone Wars, especially with the maneuver that eventually wins the day for the rebels and clones, but it fully unites the two eras now proclaimed canon by Disney while also bringing into play the new hunters of Rebels.
One thing that Rebels has always done extremely well with the deeper episodes like this one is develop and portray adult emotions through their animation. Like last week’s episode, “Relics of the Old Republic” is about trust and moving forward despite past prejudices and desires, encapsulated perfectly by Rex and Kanan facilitated by the voice of a new Jedi generation in Ezra (Taylor Gray). Kanan’s journey closer to accepting Rex as different from the clones who tried to kill him, but also as a man is brilliantly juxtaposed by Rex’s realization that there is still much that he can do, because the Jedi are still there to lead him.
There are some really great moments with Kanan and Rex both together and on their own when we can see the shift happening in their thoughts, a process done really well in this episode, but what’s really sweet to see is the interaction between the old clone and Ezra as we see the side of Rex who still very much enjoys everything about being a soldier and teaching others. It is definitely Ezra’s influence that not only turns his master around to accepting Rex as someone worthy of the rebellion’s trust, but also makes Rex see how necessary his skills still are.
Though the reunion of Rex and Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) is a big moment for Rebels, firmly bringing the series together, yet again the show draws from the original trilogy to set the tone for some of the bigger moments. The showdown between the clones and the technologically superior Empire is thrilling as it pulls from the AT-AT attack on Hoth in Empire Strikes Back. Everything about the battle in “Relic of the Old Republic” is great, from the aesthetic allusions to Empire to the underlying themes that mentally set Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor apart from their drone-like replacements. The best moment of the entire episode is when Rex finally realizes that he still has something to fight for as he sees Kanan the doubter save him and his friends from certain death as they fight their final fight against Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo).
“The Lost Commanders” and “Relics of the Old Republic” set the scene for what feels very much like Rebels setting into itself and getting comfortable with what it’s doing, especially now that we know the characters and the era in which they live. The interaction between Rex and Kanan will obviously shift a great deal, as Rex becomes a voice worth listening to within the Rebellion. Kanan is still adjusting to being part of a much bigger organization than he thought existed, and now with someone he still doesn’t trust fully put into a strategic consulting position, how much Kanan struggles with both aspects as the fight against the Empire continues will be interesting.
Besides Rex being introduced into the fold of the Rebellion, another element has been added into the Rebels universe in the form of another ghastly Inquisitor, Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez), who will obviously be joined in the next episode by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s massively hyped Seventh Sister. Unlike last season, where the Inquisitor played by Jason Isaacs took a back seat as the true big bad of the whole run, these Inquisitors are front and center, doing the bidding of Darth Vader, and as their efforts to squash the Rebellion begin to unfold, so too does Season 2 truly kick off.(4 / 5)
(Photos copyright: Disney, Lucasfilm)