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Star Wars Rebels - In The Name of the Rebellion - Part 1 & 2 - Review: "Different Methods"



Note: These reviews were written in-between watching both episodes so when I was writing the review for Part One I had not yet seen Part Two.

Star Wars Rebels 4.03 In the Name of the Rebellion - Part One - Review:
Directed by Sergio Paez & Written by Gary Whitta

The first part of In The Name of the Rebellion kicked off by tying us into Rogue One and just reminding us how close we are to the events of the movie. Hera is serving as a Captain of a squadron that includes Wedge Antilles, who will one day join Rogue Squadron himself with Luke. It looks like he's continuing to learn from the best in an episode that featured plenty of appearances for several big name stars of the Rebellion as we got a look inside their headquarters, and learned more about their politics and the differences between the multiple sections of the Rebellion. Something that you have to remember is that even this close to the events of the movies the Rebellion may be operating under one goal but how they get to that goal is very different, with clashes between two different sects looking set to play a very key part in this final season.

Saw Gerrera returned this week to leave an ominous message. Mon Mothma may be trying for peace talks but Saw himself isn't having any of that and as a result the two are coming to blows on how to deal with a new satellite dish that's responsible for the Empire's new and improved technology in the surrounding region. Their communications have improved and as a result, they've been able to cancel out Rebel attacks by getting in reinforcements quicker, and as a result, Hera's squadron was only barely able to make it out alive, forcing the survivors into performing a dramatic crash landing on Yavin IV. This then led to a clash of leaders as Saw and Mon Mothma came to blows on how best to deal with the Empire, with Mothma trying for a peaceful solution whilst Saw does his best to not hold anything back, going so far as to harm civilians which is something Mothma will not stand. When Mothma responds with passion defending her method of action over his, Saw claims that there's the Rebel leader Mothma is capable of being. She just needs some incentive to get there, because as long as they keep doing things the way they have been doing and "not resorting to the level of the Empire," then the Empire will win. But there are some levels that Mothma refuses to stoop too.

Whatever Saw's doing, it seems to be working. Ezra himself is impatient on the lack of commitment that the Rebels are putting forward to save Lothal, which they were forced to abandon at the end of last season. He looks at Saw and sees that something's getting done. He isn't the only one who's starting to grow frustrated as even Hera is too, dissatisfied by her lack of results after her most recent attack backfired. Their problems reach a tipping point at the Imperial Outpost when they arrive, as Ezra clearly has his goal on destroying the Outpost itself even if the Empire would just as rather build another one.

This episode does a good job at balancing the cast members by using its time to both flesh out Hera a bit more at the same time put Ezra and Sabine in the forefront. The two working together was great, and I loved the short back and forth dialogue that came when they were using their jetpacks but could only activate them at the last possible second to avoid collision with the Imperial outpost, with Sabine claiming that as much as she liked abstract art, she didn't want to end up becoming it. Ezra, Chopper and Sabine's job was promptly made all the more challenging by the arrival of an Imperial ship in the system which came at the worst possible time for the mission. But Chopper accidentally hacking into the Imperial controls allowed Ezra to pull of a Han Solo in A New Hope move and talk to the Imperials posing as one of their own. Ultimately, whilst adding some humour to the situation, it doesn't work in his favour other than causing some brief chaos, and his brash actions lead to them being discovered by the Imperials.

So much for a stealth mission, it seems. But Sabine at least, has a Plan B and wants to salvage something from this. She brings some explosives to the table with the intent on blowing up the Imperial outpost for good. However, they need an extraction plan because some TIE Defenders are rapidly keeping The Ghost at bay. And then, cue the arrival of Saw Guerra, showing up in the knick of time to save the day, destroying both the Imperial ship and the outpost itself in a rather ruthless manner that you would expect from a man such as himself.

And so it looks as though the decision choice has been made. Saw's way, or that of the Rebellion's? The interesting talking point that arises from the conflict here allow for some thought provoking questions that the show is tackling. And with the Ghost crew in the middle, it's going to continue to lead to interesting results.

Star Wars Rebels 4.04 "In The Name of the Rebellion Part Two - Review:
Directed by Bosco Ng & Written by Matt Michnovetz

The second chapter picked up from where the first half-hour left off by having Ezra and Sabine rescued by Saw following the destruction of the Imperial outpost. With both characters separate from the rest of the group this was very much an episode that focused on fleshing out Saw, Ezra and Sabine's characters a bit more as well as tying into Rogue One in one of the biggest ways that we've seen so far, name-dropping Orson Krennic, the Imperial Director in charge of the construction of the Death Star who was of course featured in Rogue One himself. Is it possible that we'll see a Krennic appearance in the future episodes as the show comes towards its end? Even if the show can't get Ben Mendelsohn, some cameo would be nice. After all - we've had the Emperor, Thrawn, Vader, Tarkin... why not bring Krennic in as well?

Either way the show's path this episode unfolded very nicely. We got to see the clashes of attitudes between Ezra and Saw and even though Ezra may be listening to Saw's ideas, he doesn't exactly like the methods that Saw is willing to go through. Saw is quite happy to leave a bunch of stranded Imperial prisoners behind on board their ship to die but Ezra is willing to risk his life to save them. The prisoners themselves we know were brought into construct the Death Star, and were one of the many engineers that worked on the project along with Jyn Erso's father Galen. Obviously the Empire couldn't let the Death Star secret escape so once they were done with them, they would be taken care of like the Geonosians were (This itself was a call-back to the previous storyline with Saw last season, which was set on Geonosis). Luckily for the prisoners Ezra and Sabine are there to help, bringing Chopper with them in tow.

The standout of this episode was the writing which really addressed the continued themes of these two part episodes in a really smart way. Yes there are some reminders here and there that it is a kid's show, but for the most part In The Name of the Rebellion continued to tackle this dilemma of how far the characters are willing to go in a much smarter way than most adult shows have done. It was clear, well-defined and really built on the foundations of the first part allowing the writers to exploit them to maximum effect.

Of course we could never have Ezra, Saw and Sabine discover what the Death Star actually was this episode, but we came very close and it shows how close the Rebels are to putting the pieces together. The superweapon is the Empire's open secret now, people are beginning to suspect that something's going on but not what it is or the true scale of it. Will we get to see Ezra and co's reaction to it being unleashed before the end of the series? Given that The Ghost itself takes part in the Battle at Scarif, it looks almost certain that we'll see at least Hera's reaction to what happens. And it'll be interesting too whether there is any further crossover with Rogue One going forward. We've had Saw show up, now what about Cassian? I'd love for an episode that explored how Cassian ended up with K2-S0. Maybe even a small appearance from Jyn herself, who had history with Saw. But time is running out for that to happen, and I can understand if Rebels wants to avoid this approach.

One of the real benefits of having someone as talented as Forest Whitaker voice Saw is that we really get to see him define his character. This was a real coup for the show to bring Whitaker across to the cartoon as we've seen him help at emotional depth and resonance. Yet at the same time the episode didn't feel like any resolution to Saw's character and his journey with Ezra, which could potentially suggest that we're due to see more of him in the future. At the moment it feels left open and uncompleted, and in a final season, this isn't a good move.

The Rogue One connections didn't just end with Krennic's name getting dropped and the group almost discovering the Death Star. The appearance of the Kyber Crystal and the news that the Empire were using it to power a large super weapon was an interesting one, as well as the inclusion of Death Troopers who served as Krennic's bodyguard. All these tidbits again serve only as reminders that the show is ticking closer and closer to wards its end, but based on all the news that we've seen so far, we should be in for an epic conclusion indeed.

What did you think of In the Name of the Rebellion? Let me know in the comments below.Star Wars Rebels airs its next episodes The Occupation & Flight of the Defender on October 30 via DisneyXD.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The Wire, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, The Exorcist, Star Wars Rebels, Star Trek Discovery, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Succession and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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