This week's episode of Star Wars Rebels brought fan favorite Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars into the mix. "Brothers of the Broken Horn" features Ezra teaming up with Hondo as he struggles with fully adapting to his life as a Jedi. The episode is considerably lighter in tone than any other episode this season, however it ultimately fell flat in terms of drama and advancing the major story lines of the show.
Let's start with the positives: Hondo is back! Hondo became a favorite of many during the run of The Clone Wars, myself included, and he did not disappoint in his return. Although the years have not been kind to Hondo, he is still very much the same old pirate we knew from The Clone Wars, always trying to scheme his way into the best deal, often resorting to less than virtuous means, but never actually being a good guy or bad guy. Once again, Jim Cummings did an excellent job of voicing Hondo, adding some subtle signs of aging to the familiar voice. As great as it was to see Hondo again, this felt like a one and done appearance by the character on Rebels, particularly when Hondo's conversation with Ezra at the end suggested he felt Ezra was on the right path and there was nothing more he could do for him. That being said, we have seen Jedi go to Hondo when they were in need of help with underground dealings, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for the show to bring him back. But for now, it looks like Rebels is done with Hondo Ohnaka.
On the flip side, however, there's Azmorigan - the crime lord we first met in Season One's "Idiot's Array". Azmorigan definitely still has unfinished dealings with the Rebels, which sadly means we'll have to see more of him. The show has yet to find a way to make Azmorigan feel like a real threat to the crew of the Ghost, and he usually comes off as an over the top cartoon bad guy. While Hondo's story appears to be done, it appears there are still chapters left in Azmorigan's. The guy clearly holds a grudge against our heroes after their showdown in Season One, and all signs point to another showdown. I just hope that next time, there's a little more substance to it.
"Brothers of the Broken Horn" focuses almost entirely on Ezra, with pretty much the rest of the crew, except Chopper, being sidelined for the majority of the episode. The episode concentrates on Ezra's feeling overwhelmed by his responsibilities as a Jedi/Rebel in training, after getting lectured by both Kanan and Rex at the start of the episode. To Ezra, Hondo represents a different path in life, one more like the one he was on before meeting the Rebels. What's odd about this story, is that it feels out of place. It could have worked much better early in Season One, but at this point, Ezra seems far too committed to the Jedi path to be experiencing such reluctance. Once Ezra entered the Jedi temple on Lothal and communed with Yoda, you wouldn’t think he’d be doubting his path and I doubt Yoda would have granted Ezra his lightsaber crystal if he had this much self doubt.
Ezra’s realization at the end of this episode felt like a lesson we'd already learned before. That's not to say there isn't any reason for Ezra to need some time away to figure things out--just this season, he barely survived confrontations with Darth Vader and two new Inquisitors, not to mention his final meeting with the Grand Inquisitor in the Season One finale. There's plenty of reasons Ezra might be feeling overwhelmed and need to get away. Unfortunately, in this episode he just comes across as a bratty kid who doesn't want to go to (Jedi/soldier) school or clean his room (well, ship in this case).
The other major player in this week's episode was Cikatro Vizago, making his first appearance in Season Two. In Season One, Vizago seemed in many ways to be the Rebels version of Hondo --not good, not bad, only interested in profit--so it was interesting to see the two interact (I loved that both of them hated the "perfectly fair deal" Ezra came up with). Ultimately, the biggest problem with Vizago in this episode is that he called in the favor Ezra owed him from last season. This felt like a waste of an intriguing plot device which could have made for a more interesting episode down the road.
There was also a significant shift in tone this week. I understand the need for lighthearted episodes to break the tension every once in awhile, and we were just coming off a stretch of intense episodes stemming from the end of Season One. But Rebels has been hit and miss with its funny episodes--"Fighter Flight" worked well early last season, but "Idiot's Array" is easily the show's weakest episode. "Brothers of the Broken Horn" falls somewhere in between, mostly because it felt out of place this season. There were some laugh out loud lines this week from Hondo, and Chopper wielding two blasters while racing across the hangar on his middle wheel was spectacular. Hondo was also a far better choice for a guest star to provide some laughs, especially when compared to the way the show grossly mishandled Lando last season.
Ultimately "Brothers of the Broken Horn" falls flat. While it was great to see Hondo again, and there were some great comedic moments, it fails to move any of the larger stories along or teach anything new about the characters. The Ezra plot felt like a non-issue and something that could and should have been dealt with much sooner. In a galaxy full of Inquisitors, ISB agents, bounty hunters, and Sith Lords, a one-off romp with Ezra, Chopper, and Hondo needed to offer more than it did when it comes to character and story arcs.
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This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.
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