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Star Wars Rebels

An Inside Man (Star Wars Rebels - S03E10) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: An Inside Man

Season: Three

Episode: 10

Original Air Date: December 3, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

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

“We must wait and watch.” SPOILERS. 

I was dreading a return to Lothal when it was first teased in the season three trailer. Rebels lingered on Lothal for far too long. Remaining on Lothal for an entire season handcuffed the storytellers and forced the show to have a microscopic scale. It didn’t help that Lothal might be the most bland, dull, and lifeless environment in the Star Wars saga. With all that being said, Ezra and Kanan’s return to Lothal might have saved the season. In a bizarre twist, their return to Lothal gave new life to a stagnant season of Star Wars Rebels. The episode got off to a strong start when Kanan and Ezra met Ryder Azadi (once again voiced by the great Clancy Brown) on Lothal. As usual, they encountered some Imperial forces. What followed was an impressive chase sequence that was more fun than it should have been given that it was fairly brief. The chase sequence didn’t offer anything revolutionary but the capable direction and pacing made it more memorable than some of the generic and routine action scenes we have seen on Rebels in the past. The chase ended when Ryder revealed that the Imperial speeder bikes would malfunction when they hit a certain speed. Ryder had contacts in the Imperial manufacturing plant who had been sabotaging the vehicles that were being produced there. In the Ghost crew’s absence, Ryder had established a small rebel cell on Lothal that included familiar faces like Old Jho and Sumar. For those who may have forgotten, Sumar was an old friend of Ezra’s parents who first appeared in the season one episode “Fighter Flight.” If you don’t remember “Fighter Flight”, then good for you. Ezra explained that he and Kanan were on Lothal to gather intelligence on a new Imperial weapon because the rebels were planning an attack on the Imperial factory on Lothal. I have to say, the Ghost crew joining forces with other rebel cells to attack the Imperial factory on Lothal is a pretty compelling idea. It’s a great way to bring together all of the people that have been recruited by the Ghost crew over the course of the series. More importantly, the attack on Lothal could provide a clear direction for season three. Rebels has felt aimless this season. They’ve introduced compelling ideas like Maul’s connection to Ezra, Thrawn’s hunt for the rebels, and Bendu’s training of Kanan but many of those compelling ideas have been sidelined or shortchanged so we could meet Iron Squadron or go on another adventure with Hondo and Azmorigan. As result, the season on a whole has felt directionless and stagnant so far. Not every episode has to service the larger plot and one off adventures with Hondo can be a lot of fun, but there needs to be a bigger picture. Hopefully the proposed Lothal attack can refocus Rebels.

   

Kanan and Ezra went undercover as engineers in the Imperial factory, but there was a problem. Grand Admiral Thrawn had arrived to investigate the malfunctioning vehicles that had been coming out of the factory. Thrawn forced Sumar to test out the last speeder biker he had produced. When the speeder bike began to overheat, Thrawn increased the speed even more and the speeder bike exploded killing Sumar. Well that escalated quickly! After his last appearance, I voiced my concern that Thrawn’s continued inaction was beginning to become unrealistic. This was the statement I wanted him to make in the Iron Squadron episode. When he forced Sumar to test the speeder biker, I didn’t think the show would go through with it. Rebels isn’t The Clone Wars and it is far more reluctant to kill characters, even a minor one like Sumar. I’m not saying that they need to execute characters every episode. This is still a kid’s show. However, Star Wars Rebels desperately needs to show some consequences. The rebels can’t always escape the Empire unscathed. That creates a false reality devoid of consequences. I’m glad they actually followed through and had Thrawn execute Sumar. It was pretty brutal by Rebels’ standards and it introduced a more ruthless and engaged Thrawn. The execution was handled well, but not perfectly. My main complaint about this episode is that there were a few awkward moments or lines of dialogue that were distracting. A perfect example is Ezra audibly saying Thrawn’s name when he appeared or Kanan obviously using his comlink immediately after Sumar’s execution. I know these are nitpicky complaints, but that just highlights how good this episode was.

   

Thrawn may have been more ruthless this week, but he was still the patient and cerebral foe we’ve come to know. I loved the scene in which he was examining all of the art Sabine had left behind and determined that the Ghost crew would always return to Lothal. Kanan and Ezra managed to steal the plans to Thrawn’s new TIE Fighter, but they were cornered by a squadron of Stormtroopers. They were saved by Agent Kallus who was forced to reveal that he was the new Fulcrum. Yes, Kallus is the new Fulcrum. It wasn’t much of a surprise, but I thought they handled the reveal perfectly. I’m thrilled that they didn’t try to drag out the reveal because it was fairly obvious. I loved all of the reactions from the Ghost crew as well. Kanan and Ezra’s continued mistrust of Kallus was both logical and hilarious. Ezra’s force push to make Kallus’ “defeat” look convincing was the most I’ve ever laughed during an episode of Star Wars Rebels. Kanan’s disappointment that he wasn’t the one to do it was pretty amusing too. I also loved that Chopper immediately liked Kallus even though he hates almost everyone else. That’s the kind of character based humor that I enjoy seeing in Rebels, not the slapstick humor it can often resort to. The humor worked this week because it was genuinely funny and it balanced out the darker elements in this episode like Thrawn’s execution of various factory workers. The final escape scene with Kanan and Ezra avoiding the AT-ATs was a lot of fun. Once again, Steward Lee’s direction really made the scene. The way Kanan and Ezra used the legs of the second AT-AT as cover was a clever way for them to escape without making the Empire look like complete idiots. Kanan and Ezra escaped and transmitted the plans for Thrawn’s new TIE Fighter to the alliance. The new fighter has shields and is based on the old TIE Defender. The final scene made it clear to me that Thrawn knows Kallus is working with the rebels and he intends to use that information to his advantage, which is a very intriguing development. Overall, “An Inside Man” was a great episode of Star Wars Rebels and reinvigorated the show’s stagnant third season.

   

What Worked

  • A more ruthless Thrawn and the execution of Sumar
  • Genuinely funny humor that balanced out the episode’s darker elements
  • The Kallus reveal
  • Impressive action scenes

What Didn’t Work

  • Some awkward dialogue/moments
External Links:
Added: December 8, 2016
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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