The third season of Star Wars: Rebels ends with some strong episodes, though the third-from-last episode outshone the finale. Let’s take a closer look!
Having established a secret base on Atollon, the Ghost crew, now led by a more powerful Ezra, strengthens the rebel fleet by acquiring new resources and recruits eager to stand against the Empire. However, the Imperial efforts to eliminate the rebellion are now being led by the coldly analytical Grand Admiral Thrawn, whose strategic, tactical and cultural insights make him a threat unlike any they have faced before.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
The most innocent looking man in the Galaxy!
Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) – Started off as the classic young boy who turns into a man by his experiences, but is now closer to the Jedi-trained leader he was always going to achieve, though still has his moments of immaturity.
Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) – A padawan at the time of the Clone Wars, Kanan is now teaching Ezra while also helping with his old friend Hera’s Rebel cell. Being blinded by Darth Maul in the last season hasn’t slowed him down a bit!
Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) – Fearless leader of her own Rebel cell, she is now seeing the Alliance come together at long last.
Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) – A member of the Mandalorian race, she recently left the crew to help restore order to her people and prepare them for the civil war / war against the Empire that is to come.
Zeb Orrelios (Steven Blum) – Slow-witted but strong, Zeb is among the last of his race. He has a short temper, but means well…
Chopper – Comic foil droid, because you can’t have a Star Wars show without one…
Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) – Cold, calculating and extremely smart in battle tactics, Thrawn is a serious threat to the slowly-emerging Rebel Alliance…
Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) – Once the Imperial officer tasked with stopping Hera and her crew, Kallus has slowly had a change of heart and is now a Rebel spy within the Imperial Empire, using the name “Fulcrum”. Kallus is unaware that Thrawn has already figured out his identity!
“It’s time we ended this Maul! .. I mean, seriously, bugger off!”
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Episode 20, Twin Suns, is great. It finally (and I mean FINALLY) ends the whole Darth Maul thing that started in the Clone Wars, and does it in a brilliant way. Ezra meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it’s Obi-Wan who tells him to leave. Kenobi and Maul square off, and in a similar manor to how Qui-Gon Jin was killed by Maul all those years ago, Obi-Wan strikes him down in a single blow, changing his stance to different from his mentor to do it. Maul and Obi-Wan even share a brief moment of understanding before the former’s death. It was all done so well. Top stuff.
Episode 18, Secret Cargo, is also good, and plays a major role. The crew pick up Senator Mon Mothma, who is on the run after recently speaking out against the Emperor in the Senate. It actually tells the story of how Mon Mothma became the head of the Alliance: she simply spoke out in public against the Empire and then at the end of this episode gave out the call for all Rebel cells to unite in an Alliance, taking advantage of her newly won fame. Now I know why this woman with no backstory (in the films) is in charge of the Alliance. It was a satisfying episode.
“Follow me and I promise… Good things. As often as possible”
The two-part finale was good, don’t get me wrong, but compare it to the Season 2 finale and you’ll see how it didn’t quite measure up. Still, Agent Kallus, a character so plain and one-dimensional at the start becoming a really likable “hero” (for lack of a better term) and nearly getting killed by the Empire as he made his escape into Rebel care was great! Such a turn around for the character. Commander Sato’s death hit home after he’d been such a strong, if not a little one-note himself, character on the Rebel side. Bendu (voiced by Tom Baker himself!) even has a bit more character development beyond his mysterious “I’m not the light side or the dark, I’m the bit in the middle” line he kept spouting (while always being more light, until this episode anyway…) Throw in the fact that Thrawn actually did outsmart the Rebels and cause them quite a large loss and the fact it ends with them setting up a new base on Yavin IV, and it’s a satisfying final episode, it’s just that Twin Suns before it, and last season’s finale, kind of overshadowed it.
“Of course I haven’t betrayed the Empire! My name is Kallus for God’s sake! How can I not be evil!?”
Episode 19, “Double Agent Droid”, is harmless filler. It’s your classic Clone Wars / Rebels comedic episode before more heavy stuff. AP-5, very much Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in its depressed and sarcastic-ness, steal the episode with some funny lines. It’s a middle-of-the-road episode, but one you can easily skip if you’re doing a binge watch.
During the two part finale, Ezra goes back to the Mandalorians and recruits Sabine to help. This is fine, but she only left in Episode 16, it feels like a waste here, especially when you factor in that the next season is the finale. Sabine and a bunch of Boba Fetts arriving to help in one of the last episodes would have made a lot more sense that going back to her so shortly after we left her.
A strong end to a strong season, even if Twin Suns overshadows the finale. Rebels once again shows that animation shouldn’t stand in the way of people enjoying good stories!
Episode 20 “Twin Suns”:
Episode 18 “Secret Cargo” and 21/22 “Zero Hour”:
Episode 19 “Double Agent Droid”: