Star Wars: Rebels, Season 1, Episode 5, 'Rise of the Old Masters', Review

10/31/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


Star Wars Rebels continues to be a fun loving, but exciting show for Star Wars fans.  After several episodes that seemed focused more on character development, the stakes are finally raised with the first run-in with The Inquisitor, and some strong ties to both the Prequel Trilogy, the Original Trilogy, and The Clone Wars.

This review will contain mild spoilers for Star Wars stuff, particularly rebels.

Although is is still being teased, we are finally getting into some actual Jedi training between Kanan and Ezra.  The problem is that Kanan lacks the confidence in his abilities, since he was never more than a padawan himself.  This uncertainty is definitely not what Ezra needs during his training either, resulting in what might have been some overuse of the old Yoda adage "do, or do not, there is no try."

Despite the fact that it felt like an overuse of what is already one of the most overused Star Wars quotations, it was actually well used and successful in expounding on a phrase that really never made a lot of actual sense.  It is a phrase that—as Kanan and Ezra find out—is not referring to ability, but confidence and commitment.  The idea is that a Jedi is only limited by his resolve, and is not limited by skill alone.

This episode also casually added a lot of geeky details official canon that has not been specified on screen before, specifically when it comes to lightsabers.  Kanan shows Ezra how to adjust the length of the saber blade to be more appropriate to the wielder's height, and The Inquisitor breaks down Kanan's technique to pinpoint that his master was the Jedi Billaba, pointing out that Kanan favors "form 3" in lightsaber combat.

There's also a strong tie-in to The Clone Wars, when the crew of The Ghost gets news that Jedi Master Luminara is being held captive, so this episode follows an attempt to mount a rescue for her.

Although it does focus far more on Ezra and Kanan, the other primary characters all have their moments, particularly Sabine, who hasn't had her own episode to really unpack her character yet.  She's definitely an intriguing character, so that's likely coming fairly soon.

The show is starting to feel a lot more like The Clone Wars, starting to move into some darker territory, however there's still a lot of humor, much of it lands very well this episode.  It seems like Stormtroopers are sort of the butt of many of the jokes, in the same way that battle droids were in the prequels and The Clone Wars, but the troopers are more human, so the comedy seems to hit the mark a little better (unlike the Stormtroopers' marksmanship).

At the end, Star Wars Rebels feels very much like a story about a family.  The past several episodes have done a lot to establish some sibling rivalry and family disfunction, but this is very much a father son story.  The episode comes to a close with Kanan training Ezra with the lightsaber, and it looks like the Star Wars version of a father and son playning baseball in the back yard.

It has yet to be seen if this is the darkest we can expect the show to get, but each and every episode, despite some minor flaws, has been a phenomenal 20 minutes of Star Wars that most fans should appreciate, and it serves as a phenomenal follow-up to The Clone Wars and bridge between the two generations of Star Wars.

Star Wars Rebels airs Monday nights at 9/8c on Disney XD, or a week early on www.watchdisneyxd.com

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