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Star Wars Rebels - Steps Into Shadow (Part One/Part Two) & The Holocrons of Fate - Review: "Twin Suns"

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode Guide:
3.01 Steps Into Shadow Part 1 - Review
3.02 Steps Into Shadow Part 2 - Review
3.03 The Holocrons of Fate - Review
3.04 The Antilles Extraction - Airs October 8
3.05 Hera's Heroes - Airs October 15
3.06 The Last Battle - Airs October 22

Quick Note: SpoilerTV has recently started covering Star Wars Rebels so as a massive fan of the series (and Star Wars in general) I put my name down to review Season 3 as soon as it became available. Three episodes of the season have already aired so I thought I'd do a triple review to get everyone up to speed before the new episode on Saturday.

Star Wars Rebels 3.01 & 3.02 - Steps Into Shadow - Review:
Directed by Bosco Ng and Mel Zwyer & Written by Steven Melching & Matt Michnovetz

For long term Star Wars fans, Grand Admiral Thrawn is certainly a welcome addition to the new Disney canon especially given how good he was in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, which is regarded among the best books of the pre-Disney takeover Star Wars Expanded Universe and comes recommended to anyone who hasn't read them yet despite the fact that they are no longer officially canon. It was great to see that Thrawn made his transition from page to screen in the two-part series premiere, as something that left a good impression on the audience and it's interesting to see that although he didn't appear in The Holocrons of Fate (episode three), he will no doubt be a formidable threat to Ezra, Kanan and company in the season to come.

The episode itself opens with a lighter scene than what will follow, especially as Season 3 is adopting a darker approach now with Ezra in possession of the Sith Holocron that he kept from Maul last season and the growing temptations that the Dark Side has to offer. We open with Ezra, Zeb and Sabine infiltrating an Imperial base to rescue the captured pirate Hondo, who has important information that the Rebellion need. Hondo is a character whose return is always a welcome and fun one to the series, and a welcome early distraction from the darkness that is to follow.

The show doesn't shy away from plunging us back into the thick of things and showing how aggressive Ezra has gotten since his exposure to the Sith Holocron. He's far from the same character who we first met at the beginning of Season 1 and has experienced fantastic growth over the course of the series, adopting a more confident approach at the same time struggling with the growing temptations of what the dark side has to offer, using the force to turn an attacking walker on his allies, committing suicide in the process. It's something that understandably annoys Kanan, who's furious about him using the Holocron. Ezra reacts by saying that it's working, and believes that he can actually use the dark side for good. It seems like a good idea on paper, but then again, he has to watch himself from falling into the same traps that Anakin fell into in the past. We need to remember though that there's a reason that Luke Skywalker was Yoda's last hope to defeat The Dark Side, so something along the way must happen to Ezra and Kanan that will prevent them from coming to their aide.

Could this be the start of some very dark turns for Ezra? Either way, Kanan still must overcome his blindness and after confiscating the Sith Holocron from Ezra, heads to the Atollon wilds to answer what turns out to be a call from The Bendu, a force user (voiced by Doctor Who's Fourth Doctor Tom Baker), who helps Kanan realise that the Force can grant him powers that would make up for what he has lost. This alerts him to trouble that Ezra is experiencing on his current mission that he has undertaken during Kanan's absence, as the Jedi races to help his young apprentice, leaving the Sith Holocron behind with The Bendu.

Thrawn also makes his appearance in this episode after being revealed in the trailer and it's great to see him here even if he doesn't get much to do with the action understandably focused on our main protagonists. The growing Rebel threat is apparently dangerous enough for Governor Pryce to seek out Thrawne's Seventh Fleet, brought in to cause more problems for the Rebels. During a meeting with Tarkin, Price and Kallus, it is Tarkin who is able to predict that the Rebels will be raiding an Imperial shipyard, acting on intelligence from Hondo about captured Y-Wings that are going to be destroyed.

It's a mission that Ezra has been assigned command of and the Rebels find themselves in trouble pretty quickly when they learn that the Empire have already started destroying the Y-Wings. Despite warnings from Captain Rex and Zeb, as well as the fact that the group were only supposed to be there on a recon mission, Ezra rushes in headstrong without a plan and winds up getting The Phantom hit in the process, forcing Sabine to lose control. Chopper is able to restore the ship and fool the Imperials into thinking that The Phantom is crashed, and the team decide to use their advantage and destroy the conveyor belt.

It turns out however that Ezra has forgotten that the bombers need refueling so Sabine and Zeb are forced to refuel them as quickly as possible whilst Ezra and Rex head to the control tower to secure an escape route. Their secrecy doesn't last long however and they are spotted, but the good news is that they have Hera and Kanan on their way to help. Ezra and his team are going to need all the help they can get however because not only do the Y-Wings lack hyperdrives but to make matters worse, Thrawn arrives just as Ezra sends the shipyard crashing down into the abyss, remaining on the station whilst everyone else has escaped.

Ezra is thankfully able to evacuate thanks to the help of Kanan, and the Rebels are only allowed to escape by Thrawn who may have let the Rebels escape but only because he knows that Ezra's team is not the entire Rebellion, just a single cell, and will only act once he has the entire Rebellion in one place. It may be early days but here Thrawn is quickly emerging as an smart, intelligent tactician who may prove to be one task too big for Ezra and his friends.

Hera then decides to suspend Ezra from his command following the disastrous mission and the Y-Wings are sent to General Dodana (if his name sounds familiar, then he's the General in command of the Rebels at the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope as Hera explains that their rebel cell is part of the larger Rebel Alliance across the galaxy. Ezra himself accepts that not telling Kanan about the Sith Holocron as a bad move and apologizes. But it's not going to be the last time that he's going to be tempted by the Dark Side this season, that's for sure.

Overall Episode Verdict: A
+New, darker Ezra
+Tom Baker!

Star Wars Rebels 3.03 The Holocrons of Fate - Review:
Directed by Steward Lee and Written by Henry Gilroy

On the back of the awesome two part opener, we are quickly plunged back into the thick of things as Kanan and Ezra lead a group of rebel soldiers onto a damaged Rebel cruiser, where they learn from wounded soldier that a red blade cut through him as he was forced to tell the location of The Ghost. It turns out to be a trap as whilst they are able to contact Hera, the two learn that Darth Maul has captured them. It's a pretty chilling moment that really works, and regardless of what you think of Maul overstaying his welcome or not, he makes a pretty good impression in this episode which leads to some seriously great moments. It turns out that Maul will turn over their friends but only at a cost, and that's if they give him both the Sith and Jedi Holocrons.

After giving the Sith Holocron to The Bendu in the premiere, Kanan and Ezra are forced to journey back to his location and retrieve the Sith Holocron. The Bendu challenges Kanan and Ezra to make their way through a cave infested by giant spiders, which they are able to do thanks to Kanan helping Ezra. Despite The Bendu's warnings of what would happen if the Jedi and Sith Holocrons were combined, they have little choice but to take the Holocron and leave to meet with Maul.

Kanan ends up rescuing the crew of The Ghost whilst Maul is able to combine the holocrons with Ezra. This leads to possibly one of the best moments of the entire series as we get a great scene where Ezra learns about "twin suns" at the same time that Maul is finds out that "he lives." I mean, it doesn't take much of a leap to guess that has to be about Obi-Wan Kenobi, especially given that Tatooine has twin suns and Obi-Wan would have been believed to be dead after the fall of the Jedi, and someone who Maul still hates. It's certainly a really nice tease that follows an awesome looking visual scene between Maul and Ezra, making the most out of the effective light-show.

Will we get an Obi-Wan vs. Maul fight scene at some point during the series? It seems like a pretty big move for the writers to take, but then given the amount of original trilogy characters we've had so far as well as the hint of a possible appearance from Luke in the same episode judging by the twin suns reference, anything is possible. Luke may not quite be what Ezra expects though because although we all know that Luke is the one that's going to end up destroying the Sith, Ezra doesn't, believing that it is his duty to do so. There's loads of interesting possibilities for the writers to explore further down the line, and I really can't wait to see where they go from here with plenty of potential material to explore in the Star Wars Universe from here.

Regardless of what happens next, one thing's for certain, it's great to have Star Wars Rebels back especially on such a high note. If Season 3 can keep up the form of these excellent first three episodes, then we should be in for an exciting ride ahead indeed.

Overall Episode Verdict: A
+Combining the holocrons.
+Kanan/Ezra working together.

What do you think of Star Wars Rebels Season 3 so far? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Elementary, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Star Trek Discovery, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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