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Rebels Reconnaissance: “Fire Across the Galaxy” Review

Rebels Reconnaissance: “Fire Across the Galaxy” Review

*Spoiler warning: This review contains full spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Fire Across the Galaxy.”

When one of your compatriots in captured and sent to the place “where Jedi go to die,” you take drastic measures to get him back.  For the crew members of the Ghost, the events of “Rebel Resolve” have necessitated a daring rescue and “Fire Across the Galaxy,” the season one finale of Star Wars Rebels, reveals just what lengths Kanan’s friends will go to in order to free the captured Jedi.

As the episode begins, Kanan is still being held aboard Grand Moff Tarkin’s flagship, the Imperial Star Destroyer Sovereign, and that ship is flanked by several other Star Destroyers in orbit around Mustafar.  So to make their approach as inconspicuous as possible, the rebels have stolen an Imperial transport in which to travel to the volcanic planet.

Sabine taunting

In a nifty nod to the “Art Attack” short released prior to Rebels’ premiere, Sabine returns to the TIE fighter landing site and once again taunts the Stormtroopers stationed there.  This time acting as a decoy while Zeb and Ezra commandeer the Imperial vessel, the young Mandalorian dazzles with her acrobatic prowess and stretches the limits of human agility through a series of jumps, flips, and spins.  It’s a fun sequence to be sure and serves as a nice counterpoint to the heavier themes and consequences that have permeated the last few episodes.

With the transport secured, the issue of actual infiltration into the Star Destroyer is addressed only after Ezra reveals to Hera that the TIE fighter he and Zeb stole back in the “Fighter Flight” episode has not been scrapped after all.  In fact, the fighter is in perfect working order–although it has undergone a radical change in appearance thanks to Sabine’s painting skills.

The plan is beginning to come together and Hera takes this opportunity to address her shipmates not as subordinates but as members of a family.  Because Kanan is family he must be rescued, and because Zeb, Ezra, and Sabine are family, their captain will not order them to help her.  But as expected, all the crew members of the Ghost volunteer for the mission and stage is set for the final confrontation of Rebel’s freshman season.

Inquisitor, Kanan in torture chamber

As the scene shifts to Mustafar, “Fire” reveals that the Inquisitor has continued his interrogation of Kanan aboard the Sovereign, but his focus has shifted to Fulcrum and the larger rebellion against the Empire.  Tasked with prying this vital information from his captive by any means necessary, the Pau’an begins to taunt Kanan with questions about his survival of Order 66.  Knowing full well the sacrifice Kanan’s master Depa Billaba paid to ensure her Padawan’s survival, the Inquisitor berates Kanan regarding his obedience to her last command to run.  According to the Inquisitor, Kanan is a coward for having followed Billaba’s orders and for keeping a low profile since.  But despite the taunts and threats, Kanan will not break.

Sabine-painted TIE

And hope remains for the Jedi as Hera and her crew arrive aboard the stolen transport and use stolen codes to bypass security and gain access to a TIE fighter docking bay.  According to the plan, the rebels’ re-purposed and re-painted TIE is piloted remotely into the Sovereign and once there, unleashes a pulse that disables the Star Destroyer’s operating system and knocks out several Stormtroopers.  With the way cleared, Hera links the stolen transport with the Sovereign and the hunt for Kanan (with Force-sensitive Ezra in the lead) begins.

But as this Tarkin’s ship, the Imperials will not be so easily dispatched.  The Grand Moff had previously initiated a protocol of “all clear” signals being transmitted at regular intervals, and the disruption of the signals caused by the rebels’ arrival causes reinforcements to be dispatched from the neighboring Star Destroyers.  Hera and company narrowly escape the unexpected troops, but the change in plans means that Ezra must find Kanan on his own while the others provide a diversion.

 Zeb, Hera, Sabine in corridor

Going through the ventilation shaft, Ezra makes his way to Kanan’s holding cell and finds a grateful master waiting for him.  Kanan manages a meager lecture about Ezra risking his life to save him, but the exhausted Jedi Master quickly reveals his pleasure at seeing his Padawan and his pride in the boy.

As the two Jedi make their way out, they encounter a waiting Inquisitor in the type of setting we’ve come to expect in STAR WARS.  On a walkway high above a pulsating power core, a furious battle is fought with mortal consequences.  Like the duels between Luke and Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace, the three-way fight between the Inquisitor, Kanan, and Ezra is furious, beautifully choreographed, and rife with emotion.

Inquisitor en garde

With more swagger than we’ve seen from him since the attempted rescue of Luminara Unduli in “Rise of the Old Masters,” Kanan attacks the Inquisitor with Ezra’s lightsaber and alternates blasts and blows from the weapon in a manner we’ve never seen before.  The Inquisitor is also taken aback by Kanan’s aggressiveness, power, and creativity.  Having previously taunted Kanan for being predictable in his attacks, the Inquisitor is surprised by Kanan’s newfound creativity but manages to maintain an air of confidence in his own abilities.

This is never more evident than when Ezra joins the fight.  Spying Kanan’s lightsaber swinging from the Inquisitor’s belt, Ezra seizes the opportunity to come to his master’s aid and Force-pulls the saber into his own hand and ignites the blade.  Nonplussed with this development, the Inquisitor ignites the second of the two blades on his saber and engages both Jedi simultaneously.

Ezra is quickly dispatched by the Inquisitor, whose throws his rotating blade at the boy and knocks him to the lower levels.  For Kanan, the apparent loss of his Padawan is another crucible in his path to becoming the warrior he is destined to be.  Rather than reacting with anger or fear, Kanan faces down the Inquisitor with simple resolution.  He has nothing left to fear and is now freed to engage his enemy with abandon.  Retrieving his own lightsaber to pair with Ezra’s blade that he already possessed, Kanan confidently calls upon the Force in order to defeat the Inquisitor.

Kanan 2 blades

Rejecting his fear in favor of a renewed faith in the power of the Force, Kanan destroys the Inquisitor’s lightsaber.  The resulting blast knocks the Pau’an off the platform and leaves him hanging on the precipice above a power core rendered unstable by its contact with the severed sabers.  There is just a moment here where one wonders if Kanan will–or even should–kill the Inquisitor who is so clearly at the mercy of the Jedi.  But it never comes to that.

Inquisitor hanging

Instead, the Inquisitor spends his last moments warning Kanan.  “You have no idea what you have unleashed here today,” the Inquisitor says. “There are some things far more frightening than death.”  And with that final statement, the Dark Side user (and servant of Darth Vader and the Emperor) releases his grip on the ledge and plunges to his death.  For a character as tangibly evil and menacing as the Inquisitor to choose oblivion over reporting failure to his superiors speaks volumes about the true power and fear wielded by the binary Lords of the Sith, and based on the conclusion of “Fire Across the Galaxy,” that is a concept sure to be explored in season two of Rebels.

With the Inquisitor dispatched, Kanan and Ezra make their way to the docking bay, and since (as Ezra observes) the Inquisitor no longer needs his TIE fighter, the two Jedi escape in the late Pau’an’s starship.  Hera, Sabine, and Zeb have already departed in the re-painted TIE and the rebels quickly fly away from the exploding Sovereign.  Tarkin escapes as well, taking his subordinate’s advice (unlike in A New Hope) to evacuate in the face of the imminent danger posed by a rebel attack.

Shuttle escape from explosion

For Hera and the others, the situation appears to have not improved as Chopper has disappeared with the stolen Imperial transport.  But as the vast legion of TIE fighters dispatched by the remaining Star Destroyers close in, the faithful droid reappears–and with surprising reinforcements.  Accompanying Chopper as he returns to rescue his friends are a handful of Corellian Corvettes and the Ghost piloted by Fulcrum–whose identity is shortly revealed.

With their reinforcements providing cover fire, the two TIEs bearing our heroes re-dock with Chopper’s transport and soon the small alliance of rebel starships makes the jump to lightspeed.  Finally reunited with all of his friends, Kanan expresses his gratitude.

And then the reveals come fast and furious.  Via hologram, Bail Organa formally introduces himself to the group and divulges what Hera has known for some time–that the crew of the Ghost is but one cell in a burgeoning alliance of several rebel factions.  Ezra and Zeb are immediately amazed and inspired by the revelation that they are part of a larger group, but that news is soon superseded by an even greater disclosure as Fulcrum joins the group aboard the transport.

Climbing down from an adjoining passage to the Ghost, a graceful and noble Togruta introduces herself as…Ahsoka Tano, former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker and fan-favorite from Filoni and company’s previous show, The Clone Wars.  The possible ramifications of this reveal are staggering, but little is actually known at this point regarding Ahsoka’s future in Rebels.  However, from interviews in the latest “Rebels Recon,” the implication seems to be that Ahsoka will be a regular–if not full-fledged–member of the cast of Star Wars Rebels next season.

Ahsoka_Tano_Rebels

Whatever her role moving forward, it was wonderful to hear the former Padawan voiced again by the talented Ashley Eckstein, and I believe that we can safely assume that Ahsoka will play a massive role as Rebels continues to evolve.  According to Ahsoka, it was not the original plan for the rebel cells to unite this quickly, but because of Ezra’s message–and the fact that it gave hope to the oppressed peoples of the galaxy–the rebels must now capitalize on this hope while they can.  Past protocols must be changed as this is a new chapter in the rebellion against the Empire, a new beginning.

But the Empire will not be standing pat either, and as Tarkin returns to Lothal and to Kallus’ reports of civil unrest on the planet, the Emperor’s plan to quash the rebellion begins to take shape.  For Tarkin did come back to Lothal alone.  Rather, the Emperor has sent with him an “alternative solution” to the rebel uprisings–Darth Vader.

Darth Vader

With this addition, Rebels potentially takes another massive leap forward which causes several more questions to spring to mind.  With the Inquisitor gone, does that mean the end of Vader’s underlings as the biggest threat on the show?  Will Vader now make regular appearances on the show?  If so, are we headed for an Ahsoka/Vader showdown that leads to the former’s final fate?

The bad news is that we’ll have to wait until next season to hopefully learn some of these answers.  But the good news is that Star Wars Rebels is continuing to develop into a perception-shattering piece of the STAR WARS saga and a vital part of its continuing future.

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 cdickinson@coffeewithkenobi.com. 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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