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Star Wars Rebels

Empire Day (Star Wars Rebels - S01E06) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Empire Day

Season: One

Episode: 6

Original Air Date: November 17, 2014

Runtime: 22 minutes

The crew of the Ghost try to rescue on imperial deserter on Empire Day while Ezra deals with his past. SPOILERS.

One of my biggest complaints about Star Wars Rebels is that the writers seem to be rushing some of the stories in order to make sure everything is back to normal at the end of each episode. Thankfully “Empire Day” didn’t have that problem and as a result it probably had the best pacing of any episode so far. Not every story can be wrapped up in twenty-two minutes. The episode began with Kanan trying to teach Ezra about making a connection with other creatures. Something is clearly upsetting Ezra and he admits that Empire Day is never a good day for him. Kanan and Ezra notice that TIE fighters are heading towards Old Jho’s Cantina and they go to investigate. I loved the design of the cantina and I hope it becomes a recurring location. It was clearly influenced by the Mos Eisley cantina but there were a few Clone Wars easter eggs as well. There was an old Clone Trooper helmet behind the bar and the crumb bomber Republic Gunship from Star Wars: The Clone Wars served as a sign for the cantina. The TIE pilots were looking for a rodian named Tseebo.  One of the TIE pilots angrily informs Old Jho that according to the law the Imperial Holonet News must be on at all times. The Holonet News brings up one of the most interesting aspects of this episode, the Empire’s use of propaganda. Like all oppressive regimes, propaganda seems to be a huge part of the Empire’s public policy. The news report states that today is fifteenth annual Empire Day which celebrates the anniversary of “the galaxy’s salvation” when Emperor Palpatine ended the Clone Wars and founded the Empire. I like the idea that Empire has established a holiday that celebrates the founding of the Empire and I’m glad we got to see some great examples of the Empire’s use of propaganda throughout this episode. Ezra’s opts out of the next mission because Empire Day has brought back some bad memories.

   

Ezra returns to the abandoned tower that he was living in during the series premiere. Ezra recalls a conversation he had with his parents and we get to hear their voices for the first time. Ezra’s dad was voiced by Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Dee Bradley Baker who voiced all of the clone troopers in that series. Ezra quickly realizes where Tseebo, who was apparently a family friend, is hiding. Back at the Empire day parade, the Imperials continued to search for Tseebo and the crew of the Ghost arrived. I have to really commend Kevin Kiner’s score for this episode. The upbeat version of the Imperial March that he developed to be used by the Empire during the Empire Day parade was perfect. Although I enjoyed the scenes set at the Empire Day parade, it once again exposed the show’s limited budget. The crowd was basically made up of the same four of five character models. During the parade, the Empire introduced the brand new Advanced TIE Fighter. Sabine and Zeb distracted the crowd with fireworks while Kanan planted explosives on this new TIE Fighter. After planting the explosives, Kanan was noticed by a Stormtrooper but he and Ezra convinced the Stormtrooper that they were just a couple over patriotic citizens. The rebels’ attack at the parade brings up an interesting question though. Would our heroes be considered terrorists by the average citizen? The Empire has clearly done terrible things and some citizens like Old Jho clearly resent Imperial rule but the shrieks of horror heard from the crowd when the Advanced TIE Pilot exploded at the parade show that the actions of our heroes can frighten some citizens instead of inspiring them.

   

As the crew of the Ghost makes their escape, both the Inquisitor and Agents Kallus arrive on the scene. On the run from the Imperial forces, Ezra says he knows a place where they can hide. Ezra takes Kanan and Sabine back to his now abandoned childhood home and it turns out this is where Tseebo has been hiding. Tseebo has had cybernetic circuits implanted in his head by the Empire in order to limit personality and improve productivity. We learn that Ezra’s parents spoke out against the Empire and were taken away on Empire Day eight years ago, which is also Ezra’s birthday. Ezra was born the day the Empire was established. Learning that Ezra’s parents were taken away for speaking out against the Empire is an interesting addition to Ezra’s backstory. The cybernetics in Tseebo’s head contain information that is very important to the Empire including designs of new Imperial ships, troop movements and tactics, and what is apparently a five year plan for Lothal and every other world in the outer rim. Tseebo is obviously a very important part of this episode but he is more of a plot device than an actual character at this point. Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine steal an ITT and plow through an Imperial blockade. Kallus moved to intercept them but the episode MVP might be the speeder bike driver that was actually good at his job. He outsmarted Ezra and actually held his own in a fight with Kanan. That guy needs a promotion and I hope we see more competent Imperial soldiers like him the future.  Our heroes were able to board the Ghost but the Inquisitor and a squadron of TIE fighters are close behind. The episode ends on cliffhanger as the Tseebo tells Ezra he knows what happened to his parents. “Empire Day” was the best episode of Star Wars Rebels since “Rise of the Old Masters” and it perfectly set up Rebels’ winter finale, “Gathering Forces.”

What Worked

  • The Empire’s use of propaganda
  • The writers didn’t rush and try to wrap up this story in 22 minutes
  • Old Jho’s Cantina
  • The mystery surrounding Ezra’s parents
  • Episode MVP: The speeder bike driver that was actually good at his job

What Didn’t Work

  • Tseebo is more of a plot device than a character at this point
External Links:
Added: November 24, 2014
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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