*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Brothers of the Broken Horn”
When Star Wars Rebels is good, it’s very good. And while last week’s episode, “Always Two There Are,” didn’t quite hit all the dramatic beats in my opinion, this week’s “Brothers of the Broken Horn” did exactly that. Interestingly, both episodes focus squarely on Ezra’s development as a hero by allowing the burgeoning Jedi Padawan to go off on adventures without the benefit of his mentors and to try to overcome every obstacle in his path.
Rebels is still an ensemble show, but its creators seem to be making a concerted effort to push Ezra to the forefront. He is the most natural avatar for the show’s focus audience after all, and his youth and relative inexperience within the Star Wars universe make him a natural gateway into the saga.
“Brothers of the Broken Horn” taps into the audience’s identification with the character by revisiting the difficulty of one having multiple mentors (a theme from “Always Two There Are”) and extending it to include the common experience of balancing responsibilities with the pursuit of one’s own interests. Consequently, it’s no surprise to the audience that when given the opportunity to get out of doing his chores, Ezra jumped at the chance to do the exciting thing and answer a distress call from Vizago.
For certain, this episode’s inclusion of Hondo Ohnaka was a big reason why “Brothers of the Broken Horn” worked so well. The wily yet lovable pirate/smuggler/Rogue/Jedi sympathizer is once again brought to life by the incredibly talented Jim Cummings, and though the Weequay doesn’t hold the same influence that he did in The Clone Wars, he hasn’t lost any of the bravado that made him such a fan favorite. As a result, he is able to make quite an impression on Ezra and nearly convinces the boy to follow in his footsteps.
However, it speaks to Ezra’s development that he never completely trusts Hondo. Although the pirate is charming and in possession of something Ezra actually needs–in this case, power generators–the boy guards himself against the possibility that Hondo might not be a true ally. To protect himself, he relieves Hondo of a droid control remote and keeps his true identity a secret. This latter choice becomes increasingly important as the adventure becomes more dangerous.
Speaking of which, Ezra’s choice to go by the name Lando Calrissian was a nice bit of foreshadowing as “Brothers of the Broken Horn” brings back characters and elements from “Idiot’s Array” (Lando’s first appearance on Rebels). There is of course the smuggling of contraband, but even more fun is the return of James Hong as Azmorigan, the proto-Jabba and main villain from the “Idiot’s Array” episode.
As one would expect, the encounter with Azmorigan becomes complicated very quickly, and both Hondo and Ezra find themselves on the verge of being executed. Throughout, Ezra maintains his cool and keeps his lightsaber deactivated. It is only in a last-ditch attempt to save Hondo that the boy finally uses his Force powers and reveals his Jedi nature to Hondo.
Unlike last week’s all-too-easy escape from the two Inquisitors, the third act of “Brothers at the Broken Horn” seems to be a more appropriate test of Ezra’s abilities. There is danger to be sure, but there is very little menace. What we do get it are two separate and very fun fight sequences.
After escaping from Azmorigan and his minions with both the power generators and the credits intended for their payment, Ezra discovers the true fate of Vizago. The Devaronian is still aboard the Broken Horn and furious with Hondo for stunning him so he could take his smuggling deal and his ship. After Ezra frees the ship’s true captain, a skirmish breaks out between Vizago and Hondo but everyone manages to avoid any serious harm.
At the conflict’s conclusion, Hondo steals the Phantom along with the power generators and credits from the job and Ezra takes an escape pod back to his friends. When the boy arrives, he finds that Hondo has beat him back to the rebels’ rendezvous due to Chopper’s activation of the Phantom’s automatic pilot. The Padawan and the pirate part as friends and Ezra’s realizes how close he might have come to leading a life much like Hondo’s. Were it not for Kanan and the rest of the crew of the Ghost, his own destiny might have laid along a similar path. But after the trials of “Brothers of the Broken Horn,” Ezra has taken one more step into a much larger world.
Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis of this episode.
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