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Star Wars Rebels

The Siege of Lothal (Star Wars Rebels - S02E01-E02) - Television

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: The Siege of Lothal

Season: Two

Episode: 1-2

Original Air Date: June 20, 2015

Runtime: 44 minutes

Enter Darth Vader. SPOILERS. 

Star Wars Rebels returned this Summer with the highly anticipated season premiere, The Siege of Lothal. Some fans were justifiably anxious about introducing Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels, but if the season premiere is any indication the crew behind Rebels know exactly how to handle Vader. Darth Vader should be terrifying, and in this episode he absolutely was. Of course getting James Earl Jones to reprise his iconic role is a huge advantage. Hearing James Earl Jones voice Darth Vader again was an absolutely thrilling experience. The episode opened with the Ghost crew assisting a rebel cell lead by Ahsoka Tano and Commander Sato on a mission to steal Imperial cargo. This was a great way to open the episode because we got a great look at the larger Rebellion after their introduction in the season one finale. It was important for the audience to get a better look at the larger rebellion after its introduction, and I’m glad the Rebels’ crew delivered. I also liked that not every member was on board with joining the rebels. It makes sense that Kanan wouldn’t want to get drawn into a war or take orders from military figures like Commander Sato after what he went through during the Clone Wars. The opening space battle also demonstrated a big leap in the quality of the animation in Rebels, as does the space battle that closes out the episode. After a meeting with Darth Vader, Minister Tua contacted the rebels with the intention of defecting from the Empire. The rebels reluctantly agreed to help her. Unfortunately, their meeting with Tua didn’t go as planned. Tua was killed when her shuttle exploded and the Ghost crew were forced to go on the run. I’ve never liked Minister Tua (design/voice acting/ect.) and she was a very one-dimensional character that went through zero character development so I don’t think her death was as impactful as the writers might have hoped. I’m kind of glad she’s gone. She was just a generic, bumbling Imperial bureaucrat.

   

After Vader ordered every ship that attempts to leave the planet to be shot down, the Ghost crew was forced to try to steal an Imperial shuttle. As they were boarding the shuttle, Kanan stopped when he felt something cold. It was Vader. Vader’s silent entrance was absolutely perfect. I thought the writers handled Vader’s duel with Kanan and Ezra very well, if you can even call it that. As Vader casually fought Kanan and Ezra, it was clear that his goal wasn’t to kill them and yet they were still no match for him. In lesser hands, Vader’s duel with Kanan and Ezra could’ve been totally unbelievable and made Vader look weak but instead we got to see how terrifying and powerful Vader can be. Besides, I could watch the scene were Vader lifted the two toppled walkers over his head all day. I have one small nitpick though. I’m sure Mandalorian armor is much stronger than Stormtrooper armor, but Sabine still got shot in the head. Come on. It seemed unnecessary to include that just for her to only get a bruise on her head. Getting back to Vader, I loved how brutal he was in this episode. Ordering Tarkintown to be burned to the ground? That’s the Vader we know and love. After barely escaping their encounter with Vader, the Ghost crew contacted Lando to help smuggle them off planet. I was pleasantly surprised to see Lando again. It’s always great to hear Bill Dee Williams and Lando fits in so well with the Ghost crew. His interactions with Hera are always great and Kanan and Ezra’s hatred of Lando is probably the series’ best recurring joke. Oh and Lando’s droid was…interesting.

   

With Lando’s help, the crew successfully made it back to the rebel fleet. When they arrived, Chopper (who didn’t have a chance to be annoying this time) discovered a tracking device Vader had placed on their ship. Just then, Vader arrived in his TIE Fighter. Alone. Vader then took out an entire squadron of A-wing fighters by himself. I was so happy we got to see how good of a pilot Vader really is, which is something we got to see a little bit of in the movies. Ahsoka and Kanan reached out through the Force and connected with Vader. “The apprentice lives” Vader said. That’s right, Vader knows Ahsoka is still alive and helping the Rebels. When she connected with Vader through the Force, Ahsoka had a look of horror on her face and passed out. Later in the episode, she tells Ezra that she doesn’t know who Vader is but I have feeling she know exactly who he is. I haven’t talked about Ahsoka much because, besides her big moment with Vader, she wasn’t given much to do. I know this is just the season premiere, but Ahsoka still felt underused. The rebels managed to escape Vader’s grasp thanks to some quick thinking on Hera’s part and the incompetence of one Imperial Officer. Ahsoka warned the Ghost crew that Vader will be coming for them. One of the best scenes in the jam-packed premiere was the final scene. Vader informed the Emperor that the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker lives and is in league with the rebels. The Emperor, voiced perfectly by Sam Witwer, told Vader to be patient and ordered him to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt down these rebels. I also wanted to bring something that has been bothering but wasn’t really a problem with the episode itself. The crew of the Ghost are becoming the least interesting part of the show, for me anyway. With Vader, Ahsoka, the larger Rebellion, and soon Captain Rex joining the show, I can’t help but feel much more interested in their stories than those of the Ghost crew. Obviously it’s unfair to compare the Ghost crew to characters like Vader but it is a problem when your show’s main characters are the least interesting part of it. Hopefully the writing for the Ghost crew gets a little more consistent and some of them get some much needed character development (I’m looking at you Sabine). The Siege of Lothal was a great way to kick off season two of Star Wars Rebels. Darth Vader was handled perfectly, and impeccably voiced by the returning James Earl Jones. For me, Rebels got off to kind of a rough start but the season one finale and this episode demonstrate that Star Wars Rebels is definitely heading in the right direction and is capable of greatness. Season two will resume sometime in the fall. See you then, Star Wars Rebels fans!

What Worked

  • Return of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
  • Legitimately terrifying Darth Vader
  • The big Ahsoka/Vader moment 
  • Vader’s talk with the Emperor
  • Better look at the larger Rebellion

What Didn’t Work

  • It’s still early on, but Ahsoka felt underused
  • Ghost crew becoming the least interesting part of the show
External Links:
Added: July 24, 2015
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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