Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rebels Review: "The Call"

By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars Rebels took a week off from the conflict with the Empire as the creatures of Star Wars took center stage the series’ latest offering, "The Call".  The episode focused on Ezra's growing connection to living creatures and introduced the Mining Guild to the series.

Usually I'm not a fan of Rebels episodes (or Clone Wars episodes for that matter) where the main focus is  on creature attacks.  Too often, they serve only as a distraction from intriguing character interaction, as seen in Season One's "Out of Darkness" and Season Two's "The Lost Commanders".  However, this week was different and a welcome break from some of the heavier subject matter of the last few weeks (Ezra learning of his parents’ death, Hera's near death experience at the hands of Fen Rau, Zeb being reunited with his people).

What really worked with this episode was its subversion of our expectations about  giant space creatures in the Star Wars universe.  Ever since The Empire Strikes Back they have always been cast in the role of the enemy.  This was the first time our heroes worked in unison with them, rather than fighting against them.  It was a nice touch to have Hera almost serving as a voice for the audience, by immediately assuming the Purrgil were a threat.  As a pilot she would have similar experiences and expectations about these sorts of creatures as we the audience.  The banter between Kanan and Hera over this issue was also a nice touch.  It also gave us another chance to explore Ezra's Force connection to nature, since that connection gave the Rebels the answer to the problem of saving the Purgill and “acquiring” the fuel they needed.

It was also interesting to see the Mining Guild as the threat in this episode, rather than simply the Empire.  Though the Mining Guild was first mentioned in The Empire Strikes Back, Rebels Recon linked them with Techno Union, Banking Clan, Corporate Alliance, and the other corporations that made up the Separatist Council during the Clone Wars.  This episode  gave us some indirect insight into what happened to these corporate entities following the Clone Wars.  We see that the Mining Guild is still a separate entity in name, but their use of TIE fighters suggests that they are very much under the Emperor's control.

Earlier this season, we saw Commander Sato try to pass the Rebels off to the Empire as members of the Corporate Alliance.  This would suggest, again, that while the Corporate Alliance remains separate in name, it is under the Emperor's control.  In Season Six of The Clone Wars we saw Palpatine manipulate the Banking Clan leadership so that the banks were placed under his direct control.  It seems safe to assume that Palpatine worked similar schemes on the other Separatist leaders during the Clone Wars so that by the time the Republic fell and the Empire rose they all remained separate entities, yet under his control.

Finally, the concept of the Purgill being able to travel through Hyperspace is an interesting one, though it doesn't seem like something that will be explored further. I appreciate that it was left somewhat vague about how much these creatures inspired modern-light speed travels.  Explaining hyperspace has never been something that felt necessary to the Star Wars mythology.  That being said, I like the idea that the origins of light-speed travel were found in nature and, in the same way as a lightsaber is powered by a kyber crystal, there is a connection between technology and the natural world.

Overall, "The Call" was a welcome detour from the main story of the fight against the Empire.  Challenging our assumptions about creature episodes made for some interesting exploration into the history of the Star Wars galaxy.  It also gave us a chance to revisit Ezra's Force connection with nature and offered some great moments of banter between Kanan and Hera.

Score: 8/10

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25

Check out my reviews of the rest Season Two here. 

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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