Sunday, March 26, 2017

'Rebels' Season 3 Finale Marks a New Chapter for the Series

Star Wars Rebels capped off its third season yesterday with "Zero Hour," a spectacular two-part episode that saw Grand Admiral Thrawn launch his long-awaited strike against the Rebel Alliance on their secret base on the planet Atollon. Like the incredible Season 2 finale, "Twilight of the Apprentice," "Zero Hour" resulted in a huge loss for the Rebels but still promised that their fight was far from over.
If there was any doubt that Thrawn would be just as great a villain as he is in Timothy Zahn's trilogy of novels, this episode officially squashed it. He spent much of this season patiently, meticulously studying the Ghost crew, and it all paid off. Using his great knowledge of the Rebels' strategies and his own Imperial fleet, Thrawn was able to orchestrate an efficient surprise attack that cost them their base and nearly their lives.
After jamming their communications, blockading the planet, and storming the base, Thrawn – with help from Rogue One's elite Death Troopers, no less – finally had the Rebels right where he wanted them. He was only thwarted by the Bendu, a mysterious Force-neutral being and a recurring character first introduced in the Season 3 premiere. Goaded on by Kanan, Bendu finally showed us his true power as he transformed into a lightning storm, sticking to his neutrality and attacking both the Imperials and the Rebels.
The Rebels used this diversion to escape the planet with help from old friend Sabine and her Mandalorian soldiers, who accepted Ezra's call for help and destroyed the Interdictor cruiser that was blocking them from entering hyperspace. While en route to their new home on Yavin 4, Kanan promised Ezra that this was only a setback for the Rebel Alliance. "There's a future for us. One where we're all free. But it's up to us to make it happen."

Moving to Yavin is the logical direction for the series, bringing it one step closer to Rogue One, in which Hera (now a general) seems to pilot the Ghost alongside the Rebel fleet in the Battle of Scarif. It's promising us that Season 4 will involve not just the Ghost crew and Phoenix Squadron, but the Rebel Alliance that we all know and love (including more guest appearances by Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera, as confirmed in Rebels Recon).
The Ghost alongside the Rebel fleet in Rogue One
Comparing "Zero Hour" and "Twilight of the Apprentice" isn't an easy task. "Twilight" was immensely popular because it promised and delivered on a reunion/duel between Darth Vader and Ahsoka, a hugely emotional moment for both the characters themselves and any Clone Wars fan. It was an episode full of lightsaber duels and ancient Sith lore, and the ending was devastating on every level. 
"Zero Hour" may not have been as polished, but it deserves great respect for using all of the show's original characters and focusing on the central, Rebels-vs-Empire conflict, rather than relying on legacy characters like Vader, Ahsoka, and Maul to indulge the audience. It proved that the show can have a satisfying season finale without straying from its unique, core elements. 
"Zero Hour" was also a better culmination of the season's sub-plots. Aside from Thrawn's grand plan, the episode made use of slow-brewing storylines such as Sabine's reunion with her powerful family, Bendu's position "in the middle" of the Dark and Light Side, and Agent Kallus' shift from nemesis to secret ally of the Ghost crew. (The odds were against Kallus surviving this episode since Thrawn discovered he was a spy, but he still managed to escape and join the Rebels at the last second.)

Fortunately, we don't have long to wait for Season 4 details. The Star Wars Rebels Celebration Orlando panel on April 15 (from 11 AM to 12:30 PM) is promising "exclusive reveals" and a sneak peek at Season 4.
Official Season 4 concept art
What did you think of "Zero Hour"? What hopes do you have for Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment