Pages

Translate

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

'Forces of Destiny' Season 2 Part 1 Review

After a successful (yet flawed) first season, Forces of Destiny is back with new shorts this month, once again following the heroines of Star Wars. We're reviewing each of the new episodes:

"Newest Recruit"

In Garel City once again, Sabine is paired up with Ketsu Onyo, her old friend and a fellow Mandalorian who was introduced in Season 2 of Rebels. They've been sent to retrieve food for the Rebellion, but Ketsu still isn't sure if she wants to commit to the cause. They wind up in a firefight with stormtroopers and a stray blaster bolt opens a crate, revealing an alien child inside.
Ketsu protects the child and Sabine calls Hera for a quick rescue. Hera fends off the troopers in the Ghost and lets her friends onboard. The child thanks Ketsu and Sabine spray-paints the Alliance symbol on her shoulder pad, officially welcoming her to the Rebellion.

This short once again followed the classic Forces of Destiny strategy of using a cute little alien to humanize its protagonists. It's a tiresome cliché, but at least "Newest Recruit" features more interesting, potentially-lethal action. The Garel City location is also getting a bit tiresome after three consecutive episodes; you'd think that women as smart and resourceful as Jyn, Sabine, and Leia would be conducting their business in different places.
The most valuable part of this episode is its titular character, Ketsu, whose personality and history with the Rebellion is fleshed out. This is the first time Forces of Destiny has given a second thought about the franchise's lesser-known female characters (not to mention one of the few on-screen black women in Star Wars), and it would be great to see more of them in the future.

"Tracker Trouble"

On the way to Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana, the Millennium Falcon abruptly exists hyperspace. They already scanned the ship but Rey hypothesizes that Unkar Plutt may be using a new kind of tracking device. Rey, Chewbacca, Finn, and BB-8 search for the tracker while Han fixes the hyperdrive. Chewie finds the tracker and Finn removes it, only to set off a timer on a rigged explosive.
Chewie and Rey rush to the airlock while Finn warns Han. They eject the bomb and the Falcon jumps to hyperspace, narrowly evading the explosion. Han compliments Rey on her catch, and she remarks that they make a good team.

The only relevance this short bears to The Force Awakens is a deleted scene in which Unkar Plutt shows up at Maz's castle. The plot is predictable and not very interesting to begin with, and suffice it to say, an inanimate bomb is an even less compelling antagonist than interchangeable stormtroopers.
As with Forces of Destiny in general, the main purpose of this episode is to build on characters and their relationships. Seeing this team work together again makes Han's death all the more impactful, and Rey and Chewie's bond over their tech lingo is even significant to The Last Jedi, since the Wookiee accompanied her to Ahch-To and will undoubtedly have more scenes with her.

"Teach You, I Will"

At the Jedi Temple, Anakin is training Ahsoka to fight with two lightsabers. She's having a hard time making use of both blades. Yoda arrives and challenges the Padawan to a practice duel. He easily defeats her twice and encourages her to use her own fighting style.
Using her signature reverse-grip style, Ahsoka blocks Yoda's attacks with both of her lightsabers. He encourages her to continue training with Anakin, but still put her own unique spin on his teachings. 

The addition of Ahsoka's second lightsaber was pretty abrupt in The Clone Wars – it just became an essential part of her character without the audience learning why she of all Jedi got this extra weapon, much less how she learned to use it – so it's great to learn something more about it. It's also a much more important story than "The Padawan Path," which simply showed how she earned one of her Padawan braids.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this short is that it puts the spotlight on different lightsaber forms, which are rarely shown in much detail. Each of Ahsoka's moves is a progression of her character throughout this episode, and it's no coincidence that the final one she uses to block Yoda – crossing her blades behind her back – is the same one she would later use with Darth Vader in Rebels.
"The Starfighter Stunt"

Ahsoka is teaching Padmé combat maneuvers in Naboo N-1 starfighters. With R2-D2 as her copilot, Padmé follows along with Ahsoka until a droid starfighter awakens from underneath an asteroid and opens fire. Ahsoka suggests that they improvise to defeat it. An ion torpedo homes in on Padmé's ship and Ahsoka takes the blast, rendering her unconscious.
Padmé baits the droid and flies into the trail of a comet to hide. She emerges behind it and blasts its wing, sending it tumbling into the trail before it explodes. Ahsoka wakes up in her ship, hardly surprised that Padmé managed to fend for herself, and the two head home.

While Padmé was always shown to be an adequate pilot capable of flying and landing her own ship, she never really got much vehicular action, so this short actually feels like an exciting addition to her character. Not to mention that Ahsoka – whose piloting skills were also underused in The Clone Wars – is acting as Padmé's mentor this time, cementing their relationship as one of the best and most dynamic among the ladies of Star Wars.
It's definitely annoying that Padmé is the only major Star Wars heroine who Forces of Destiny seems to have deemed incapable of leading a short by herself. However, unlike with "The Imposter Inside," this time Padmé is allowed to save the day on her own. This is ultimately her story, not Ahsoka's, and while it may not be as interesting as "Imposter," it is a nice change of pace from the terrestrial setting of most of the previous episodes.

Which of these episodes is your favorite? Who do you hope shows up in future Forces of Destiny shorts? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment