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Star Wars Rebels

The Forgotten Droid (Star Wars Rebels - S02E19) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: The Forgotten Droid

Season: Two

Episode: 19

Original Air Date: March 16, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

This was space whales bad. SPOILERS. 

So how do you follow up the cliffhanger from “Shroud of Darkness?” With a totally unrelated, Chopper centric episode of course. Not only was this a filler episode with a weak central story, but it was a poorly timed episode as well. “Shroud of Darkness” laid the groundwork for this final stretch of the season, or at least it appeared that way. “Shroud of Darkness” dealt with major themes and characters like Ahsoka, Darth Vader, and Ezra’s growing connection to the dark side. In contrast, “The Forgotten Droid” was more concerned with the only occasionally tolerable Chopper and slapstick humor. Remember how Yoda told Ezra to find Malachor? I guess we should just ignore that for now. This is the type of episode you stick in the middle of the season with the space whales. This was a terrible time to devote an entire episode to Chopper’s insufferable antics.

   

Once again, the rebels need to steal fuel from an Imperial outpost. I feel like that’s been the set up for several episodes. Did anyone else find it odd that Sabine’s friend Ketsu was just suddenly part of the rebellion? The last time we saw her, Ketsu still seemed reluctant to help the rebellion. Her presence in this episode came out of nowhere and was an odd storytelling decision in an episode plagued by them. As soon as the Ghost crew arrived at the Imperial outpost, Chopper became obsessed with an astromech leg a local vendor was selling. Hera told him to stay with the ship, but because he’s Chopper he left the ship and stole the leg. While Chopper was busy stealing the leg, the Ghost crew escaped with the fuel and left him behind. Chopper boarded an Imperial cargo ship to avoid a group Stormtroopers chasing him. While there wasn’t much I liked about this episode, I did like the design of the Imperial cargo ship. Once aboard the cargo ship, we were introduced to AP-5. AP-5 was an Imperial inventory droid with a voice that was clearly inspired by Alan Rickman (Rest in Peace). AP-5 discovered Chopper during his inventory inspection. After a brief chase, the two bonded over their shared service during the Clone Wars. AP-5 was a military analyst for the Republic and served during the Ryloth campaign, as did Chopper. Chopper’s Y-Wing was shot down over Ryloth and he was rescued by Hera. While it was nice to learn more about Chopper, don’t mistake this for character development. It was character summary. Rebels has struggled to develop the Ghost crew and when we get an episode focused on one of its members, they often replace character development with character summary. I thought this episode was far more effective in developing AP-5 as a character though. AP-5 was a top military analyst and navigator for the Republic, but his master was killed during the war and he was downgraded to an inventory droid when the Empire took control. What if AP-5’s master was a Jedi who was killed during Order 66? AP-5’s position speaks to how dehumanizing the Empire can be, even for a droid. Although, AP-5’s imperial commander was a comically ineffective and dismissive caricature. Rebels often deals with intriguing ideas, but can be heavy-handed in their execution.

   

AP-5 resisted his restraining bolt and decided not to report Chopper to his commander. Nonetheless, the Imperial commander arrived but was taken down by Chopper in a frustratingly slapstick and cartoonish fashion. Then Chopper proceeded to draw all of the Stormtroopers into the cargo hold and jettisoned them into space. Between the Imperial commander and the Stormtroopers, the Empire was a laughable threat in this episode. Even for Rebels. The Ghost returned to the rebel fleet without Chopper, but were able to refuel the carrier. Chopper convinced AP-5 to join the rebels by calling him his friend. The rebels planned to jump to the Yost system and establish a base there, but AP-5 warned them that it was now surrounded by an Imperial fleet. While I’m sure Chopper chasing the Imperial commander around and beating him with the extra leg got some laughs, it just made me roll my eyes. AP-5 transmitted the location of a safe system to the rebels but was shot by the Imperial commander in the process. AP-5 telling Chopper that he wouldn’t forget his new friend as he shut down was a powerful moment that was unfortunately undercut by the very next scene. AP-5 was repaired by Sabine with the extra leg Chopper stole. AP-5 survived, and that’s fine, but the scene was directed in such a way that it implied AP-5 was making some big sacrifice. Once again, there are no consequences for the Rebels (and now AP-5). Other than Chopper giving up his new leg, and while I understand what they were going for, that “sacrifice” just fell flat for me. It certainly appears that AP-5 will be joining the team. Admittedly, AP-5 is already a big improvement over Chopper but adding another member to the Ghost crew is concerning since they are ALL still underdeveloped. Also, I hope AP-5 and Chopper’s interactions are better than they were in this episode. Half of AP-5’s dialogue was repeating what Chopper said. It felt like the old “What’s that Lassie? Timmy fell down a well?” trope, which hasn’t been a problem for C-3PO and R2-D2. I know Chopper has his fans, but I’m not one of them so I’m not surprised I didn’t enjoy this episode. What surprised me was the placement of this episode. It was a complete departure in both tone and story from the previous episode, which appeared to be setting up the remainder of the season.

What Worked

  • AP-5 already more likable than Chopper

What Didn’t Work

  • Oddly timed, filler episode
  • Chopper
  • Character summary, not character development
  • AP-5’s sacrifice undercut and rendered pointless
  • Portrayal of the Empire (even for Rebels)
External Links:
Added: March 24, 2016
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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