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Star Wars Rebels

Double Agent Droid (Star Wars Rebels - S03E19) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Double Agent Droid

Season: Three

Episode: 19

Original Air Date: March 11, 2017

Runtime: 22 minutes

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

“I’m in a world all my own.” SPOILERS. 

When this episode began, I certainly didn’t think it would end with AP-5 singing while floating through space. Star Wars Rebels had been on something of a hot streak, but we knew it couldn’t last forever. Rebels followed the impressive and impactful episode “Secret Cargo” with a disappointing yet strange filler story focused on AP-5 and Chopper. The “filler story” complaint is an easy one to make, so I want to clarify what I mean when I bring it up. Simply, a filler story is a story that doesn’t push the series’ overall narrative forward. It fills the time. There is nothing inherently wrong with filler episodes. They let you explore weird and obscure areas of the galaxy and tell different kinds of stories. Sometimes, it is nice to take a break from the main storyline. However, these stories still need to add something of value. Some of Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ best episodes (Trespass, Lightsaber Lost, Bounty Hunters, etc.) could be viewed as filler stories in the sense that they were detached from the series’ central storylines. Those episodes all justified why they were being told though and did something unique and interesting with their small corner of the galaxy far, far away. Episodes of Rebels that I describe as filler fail to do anything other than fill the twenty-two runtime. Episodes like the “The Call”, “Iron Squadron”, and now “Double Agent Droid” are as inessential as Star Wars storytelling can get. They don’t push the narrative forward, reveal something interesting about the galaxy, or develop the characters. They don’t even tell a particularly fun story in a galaxy far, far away. With that being said, I have to commend the crew behind this episode for at least trying to do something different. The kindest description I could think of for the Iron Squadron episode is offensively bland, but “Double Agent Droid” doesn’t have that problem. Things like AP-5 bursting into song may not always work, but at least they were trying to push the boundaries and do something new.

   

Hera dispatched Wedge, Chopper, and AP-5 to go undercover and retrieve Imperial codes from an isolated Imperial outpost. An Imperial surveillance ship operated by the Controller (voiced by Frozen’s Josh Gad) identified Chopper as a rebel spy when he entered the Imperial outpost. Finally! Someone in the Empire saw through Chopper’s disguise. It has bothered me for three seasons that no one noticed that an outdated astromech just happened to show up whenever the Ghost crew is around. We have never seen another droid like Chopper, so it’s not like he would be hard to identify. Finally recognizing Chopper and the lack of humanity caused by the cybernetic implants gave me hope that the Controller would be an interesting new villain, but in the end he was a disappointing addition. They really didn’t do anything interesting with the Controller or his surveillance crew. It felt like a missed opportunity. From a design standpoint, the Controller’s glasses felt out of place and too real world if that makes sense. The Controller took over Chopper when he tried to access the Imperial network in hopes of using Chopper to discover the location of the rebel base. The contentious relationship between AP-5 and Chopper was at the heart of this episode. AP-5 realized that something was wrong with Chopper because he was being agreeable for a change. I have never been a big fan of Chopper but I like AP-5 a lot. However, their relationship doesn’t work. When paired together, AP-5 and Chopper become nothing more than a discount and more quarrelsome version R2-D2 and C-3PO. Their constant bickering is often annoying instead of entertaining. For this episode to work, you had to buy into the central relationship between AP-5 and Chopper. I did not. The other central character in this episode was Wedge Antilles. I have never been a Wedge fanatic, but I can’t stand his portrayal in Star Wars Rebels. Wedge doesn’t need to be an infallible ace pilot, but making him incompetent and downright obnoxious is very disappointing. In addition, I still think he seems too young considering we are only a year or two away from A New Hope. The way Wedge immediately discounted AP-5’s perfectly reasonable concerns about Chopper once again portrayed Wedge as naïve and/or incompetent. In addition to AP-5 singing, I never thought an episode of Rebels would feature Wedge Antilles using a urinal.

   

Once Wedge and the droids returned to the Ghost, AP-5 tried to warn everyone but they wouldn’t listen. Hera eventually realized that something was wrong with Chopper and wanted to run a diagnostic. Chopper then took control of the ship and locked everyone in the engine room. Having AP-5 say it isn’t a good idea to have everyone go to the engine room to look for Chopper doesn’t excuse lazy writing. Pointing out that your characters are acting like idiots to service the plot doesn’t make it okay. Also, why didn’t Ezra use the force or his Lightsaber to get out of the engine room? That plot hole could have been easily avoided since there was no reason Ezra needed to be in this episode. The Controller began to use Chopper to download the information from the Ghost’s navigation system. AP-5 went outside of the ship and pulled a lever that freed the others, but he was knocked off of the ship by Chopper. The rest of the crew stopped Chopper and the download. Hera then used Chopper to create a power surge that destroyed the Controller’s ship. Yeah, it didn’t make sense. At all. Meanwhile, AP-5 was happily drifting through space alone and even burst into song. This won’t be a popular opinion, but I didn’t completely hate that moment. They tried something different and I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. However, I do think it was dangerously close to self-parody and the Star Wars Holiday Special. In the end, characters bursting into song doesn’t fit the Star Wars universe. With these reviews, I try to only discuss Star Wars but sometimes a comparison to another film or television show can be helpful. The same week this episode aired, the FX series Legion featured the main character singing a creepy and haunting rendition of “Rainbow Connection.” It worked because it fit the world and style of that show and there was actual meaning behind it. In contrast, AP-5 singing felt out of place and was played for laughs. I admire the ambition, but I don’t think it worked.

   

What Worked

  • They at least tried to do something different
  • Someone finally saw through Chopper’s disguise

What Didn’t Work

  • The AP-5 and Chopper relationship
  • Wedge Antilles
  • Disappointing villains/Filler story
  • Hera destroying the Imperial ship
External Links:
Added: March 22, 2017
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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