STAR WARS REBELS Review – “The Future of the Force”

5 thoughts on “STAR WARS REBELS Review – “The Future of the Force””

  1. First, let me preface this by saying I don’t watch Rebels aside form a handful of 1-2 minute clips of interest on YouTube (mostly involving Ahsoka’s return to the show). The short teaser videos and character profiles released prior to the show’s first episode convinced me the cast of characters and plot probably wouldn’t appeal to me, and that turned out to be the case. I stil follow buzz on social media to see what people talk about and think about various episodes. That’s how I came across your review.

    When Ahsoka appeared at the end of season one, part of me was disappointed that she didn’t stay in hiding for the entirety of this era, yet I remained hopeful that her return as a supposedly recurring character working behind the scenes would help show us more about the larger rebellion as whole. Instead, she’s shown doing stuff with the Ghost Crew and not working with other cells in conjunction with, or under the direction of, Bail Organa. I was under the impression this show was supposed to be about events leading up to the formation and organization of the larger rebellion, but it seems that premise has been largely ignored. Back on track, Ahsoka and Vader crossing paths in the next episode after she returns was a big mistake in my opinion. I would have preferred to have seen a cat and mouse game where the Imperials try to learn more about the mysterious “Fulcrum” persona only to come up largely empty until Ahsoka is unknowingly caught/detected helping the rebellion. That could have set the stage for a season-ending arc where Vader and inquisitors target the ghost crew in an attempt to draw Fulcrum to them, thus giving us the possibility that Ahsoka and Vader will meet and learn each others’ identities. The could even have them meeting in the finale and save the duel for the season 3 premiere. now that would be one heck of a cliffhanger!

    You’re not the only one who feels that season two has largely been “empty Clone Wars fan service” (as you put it). I feel that Dave Filoni has chosen to pander to Clone Wars fans this season due to both low viewership in season one and fans’ never-ending comments on social media demanding either more Clone Wars episodes or answers regarding certain characters and their fates. Don’t get me wrong, I think certain Clone Wars characters *could* have a role in the show and the original premise of organizing a rebellion against the Empire. My perception, though, is that Clone Wars characters have been introduced haphazardly with no rhyme or reason, and the show’s overall premise has suffered from it. I could have actually taken more interest in season two had Ahsoka and the other Clone Wars characters been used to advance the plot instead of as ratings boosters. Also, the more Clone Wars characters that appear, the less time there is to develop the ghost crew or overall rebellion given that Rebels has largely been written as single episodes and not the occasional multi-episode arcs we saw in Clone Wars when a particular mission or battle was significant or long enough that it needed more than just 22 minutes of airtime to tell its story without being rushed or incomplete.

    You’re right that a large number of fans that loved Clone Wars are showering these episodes with–as you call it–“rapturous praise.” Me, I would have preferred more of a balance. Yes, some Clone Wars characters would likely still be around in the Rebels era. Some may be pro-Empire; others may be pro-Rebellion; and some may even be neutral or willing to support both side as rogues or profit-motiviated beings. But no, throwing nearly every popular Clone Wars character into the show so far this season has done little to show how the larger rebellion takes shape.

    With news that Rebels will see a third season, I can only hope Dave Filoni and his writing staff keep this in mind even if many of the coming episodes are already completed. Don’t make the mistake of having Rebels end or be canceled before it adequately ties into both the coming Rogue One movie and the original Star Wars movie (A New Hope). Less fluff and more character and plot development, please.

    1. It’s frustrating because, like you said, there’s a way to reintroduce these characters in a meaningful, organic way, but outside of Ahsoka’s role in “The Siege of Lothal” I think the Lucasfilm team has pretty badly mishandled both sets of characters so far this season. I’m hoping they find their footing soon because this is getting really frustrating and tiresome.

  2. I’m so glad to find someone who watches, but doesn’t particularly like what they are doing with these episodes of Rebels. It took 15 minutes to find anyone who wasn’t gushing praise for the wonder of them, like they were being paid by the producers. The thing I want to comment about most, which no one is ever talking about, is the moronic fails that these characters continually make in almost every episode which just lead to more episodes repeating the same battles. I’m amazed if they ever do anything moderately intelligent. They could do so much more with the characters & universe & time period they have to pull from & they could make the characters get smarter instead of more recklessly stupid & lucky as they progress. In this one, the list of errors is so long but for fun, I’ll try to hit most of the major ones in order.

    The grandmother waits 20 seconds of watching these scary villains walk in before trying to run & open the door. Frozen by fear or poor writing? It’s already starting out as I expected.

    Zeb gets the baby from the droid, but rather than running, like this is a life & death struggle, back to where he should go, he has a long conversation & then walks casually away waiting, as if he knows, the droid is about to fly through the air in flames & then does he run? No, he saunters slowly waiting for them to see him so they can chase him. It takes him from 8:08 until 8:56 to decide he should hurry away with the baby. It’s things like these that I can’t stand! Write smart characters in a life & death struggles who may make mistakes, but not like imbeciles almost every show. If he had run, like he should have, they could have just shown them sensing the baby anyway.

    Which lead me to ask, why can the inquisitors sense them sometimes (14:11) & others they have to run around blindly & wait to hear the baby cry? They couldn’t sense the baby leaving with the droid to find it or after it left the mother but later they can? And why can the good guys rarely sense anything when it would be helpful?

    Why did they destroy the droid though? If they had seen it before to know it had the baby, they would have not lost it the first time, as it’s not like it is very fast, & since thus they could not have seen it, they would not have known to do anything to it, but they are looking in the basket as if they saw it in there before & couldn’t catch a super slow droid or force pull it to a halt. More ridiculousness I’m supposed to swallow while applauding & begging for more.

    And how about that crying ugly baby? Zeb tells Ezra not to get it crying & their lives are at stake if it does, so Ezra promptly does just that & we have to deal with the results for such a painfully long time. Would it be better for it to die than to have a hand put over its mouth to save its life by keeping it quiet? Couldn’t they say Ithorian babies can’t breath if you do that or something so it doesn’t just look stupid.

    Remember that Ezra knew the droid was outside the place & warned Kanan & pulled him back so it doesn’t see him. Why don’t they just shoot it like Zeb did you ask? Simple, they need it for later. So, now Ezra comes outside & forgets about it to the point not only not to look for it, but to stop & start talking to himself & the baby about where they actually live. Something like this is exactly what I was expecting, always one step behind.

    So then, the inquisitors are chasing Kanan & Zeb in the air & Kanan continues firing back at 5th Brother on top, as if he could ever hit him, but then finally after 16 seconds realizes he should shoot the speeder instead & bring it down. After they get knocked out of the sky, they actually wait 7 seconds before running away from their pursuers so they can stop to make unwitty banter (16:48-16:58). Seriously?

    Then, as they are approching the Phantom, the inquisitors force push Zeb, then Kanan just stops & turns to watch him fall for about 3 seconds, so why didn’t they just push him down or pull his saber from him during this long useless pause where Kanan forgets this is a life & death battle?

    Assuming it is true that the inquisitors little helpers may want to capture Ahsoka, as others are saying, but not Kanan, here’s my ultimate question. In the midst of a battle where they are presumably trying to kill Kanan, he force floats him into the air & then sister jumps through the air with saber in hand but pulls it backwards & then kicks him to the wall rather than running him through. I know they wouldn’t do it or show it, but why set up a moment where they could at all & act like they then would just hit him while he is helpless? It is idiotic.

    Ezra then pulls his lite saber menacingly & acts like he’s going to stare them into submission while holding this baby & is promptly force thrown. Could he not have put the baby down & helped fight? If he feared they would force pull it to them, why didn’t they do that while he was holding it barely with one hand anyway? Couldn’t he have at least tried to force push or pull one of them to help while waiting holding the baby watching Kanan fight? Why didn’t he cut the door open while he waited? It could be fixed later.

    And why didn’t the door open for so long after they all knocked & if there is a reason why not, why did that reason change just so it could open for Ahsoka to come out for effect? And are you telling me that in a futuristic age that they don’t have automatic entry for their aircraft (fingerprint, voice recognition, a remote even) but somehow we do now?

    Ahsoka then appears & is fighting with 7th sister, while brother casually walks along rather than double team her (18:20), then Ezra says get up we got to get moving rather than Zeb take the baby & the 3 of them put an end to them for good. But then what would they write about?

    Then, before they manage to decide not to do that, Ahsoka force pushes brother to right beside Kanan, unconscious it appears (18:26). Does he do anything? Of course not! He does not try to kill him & though I understand why, they wouldn’t do this & the Jedi way & all, it is logical to not just have to keep having to fight the same characters over & over & everyone they kill in the meantime is then your fault. Yet, as the very least, why not kick him in the face or Ezra shoot him, or take him prisoner or something? You see, there are no Republic trials now to lose them on the way to (wink wink Clone Wars), so they aren’t allowed to defeat any enemy they don’t kill & they can’t really kill any, unless they fall to their deaths by accident as with the Inquisitor. So, they can do nothing. Worst is Kanan then says, “What about Ashoka?” and Ezra says “She’s doing fine.” Brilliant! Then on the ship, Kanan has the nerve to say, “We gotta go back for her!” as if now he wants to help her odds.

    Then, she gets 7th sister’s lite saber & turns it off, (wow, hush goes through the crowd, amazing), then she just throws it away, why not keep it or use your own saber to destroy it? Presumably, these sabers don’t grow on trees even in the dark side (a la Clone wars with Ventress). No, just throw it down as if that is final, so she can just get it back. And BTW, just when we were glad to finally stop seeing the spinning sabers from Clone Wars, now we have to see them again, though they are completely & totally flawed in design as the centers are unprotectable & one knock against it while turning & it would go back toward its wielder & cut them to bits, but I digress.

    So, 19:17, she’s down & unconscious & he’s down & unconscious, what do you do? Say “You are beaten” dramatically & falsely. She isn’t going to run her through, so why even aim it at her? Are you going to try to force her surrender? How do you force both their surrenders exactly unless the threat of death is involved & if it is not, it is all for nothing. Explain the logic of this to me. The only logic is, we need both these villains for future episodes but we need Ahsoka to kick butt (sort of) so all the fanboys & fangirls can cheer & gush in blog after blog. O.K., you can’t kill, her, can you do nothing to her? The good guys could never win with these parameters. Why couldn’t they introduce villians who are defeated logically & often, being then replaced by others? Why not try that Star Wars cartoon writers?

    So, what does Ahsoka do? She just stands there for literally 21 seconds until she has to jump out of the way for the saber coming spinning at her. Maybe, I don’t know, she should have destroyed it, YA THINK? Plus, if sister here can turn her saber on & move it where she wants, why not fight that way with it floating & perhaps even another in your hand? If it’s so easy to control that way, why not? You know how many times in Star Wars they have gotten their sabers back from others, but never have they turned them on while in those people’s hands or pockets or just had the saber attack them in the air. But again, the bad guys are always more powerful & skilled at such things.

    Then she jumps for the ship & the storm troopers wait the proverbial 3-4 seconds before shooting at her (19:57-20:01) & all is well while they are gushing over the most hideous CGI babies I’ve ever seen & recap & explain in true Rebels fashion why they wanted the babies for those who haven’t watched the sister episode in the Clone Wars. It all fits perfectly together & I’m so glad my intelligence can be continually assaulted by their idiocy & luck in even surviving. They would be dead in the first hour if the rules of logic actually worked in the Rebels’ universe.

    I understand you now, as writing this made me so very tired & I could not do it for every episode. This time I just needed to vent for the first time as it has been building up since the first episode; and it was cathartic. Well, until the Rebels choose unwisely again, “May the Farce be with you”.

    P.S. I know they did many, many stupid things like this in Clone Wars as well like the way they always let Greivous escape & never struck at him when he was down (even warning him once about the self destruct which would have unknowingly defeated him). However, when a new series comes along, you just hope for less of these logic gaps. I guess I’ll keep hoping.

    1. I’m not sure if you read anything by Film Crit Hulk who writes occasionally for Birth.Movies.Death., but there’s a great (and lengthy) essay of his that covers some of the concerns you have. (http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2012/10/30/film-crit-hulk-smash-hulk-vs.-plot-holes-and-movie-logic)

      The short version is that film (and, by extension, television) are an artifice and have to cheat the rules of our reality in order to establish and maintain the mechanics of the story. When engaging with these kind of stories, they can only work if you are willing to embrace that unreality and realize that these things will never and can never make 100% real-world logical sense. The problem with a lot of the flaws you’re poking out is if these were to be corrected, there just plain and simple wouldn’t be a story, and that obviously defeats the purpose.

      The greater issue – and the issue that I think exacerbates the problems you are having with the show – is that this season character motivations and the larger story arc of the season have been thinly sketched at best and unconvincing and narratively unearned at worst. Movies (and TV) are very much a magic trick, and the skill of the magician is a huge factor in how successfully you’re able to buy into the unreality of the experience. Going in to a magic show, you’re aware that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax, but a good magician can engage you to the point where you ignore that rational side of your brain and get caught up in the fantasy. In this season of REBELS, the story and characters have been rendered unengaging, and so there’s nothing to distract you from the silliness of the whole thing. The show isn’t singing the way it was in it’s first season and that’s been incredibly frustrating for me. I know these guys can get it right, so I’m finding it harder and harder to wait for them to find their footing.

      1. I truly expected that response, but honestly, better writing & situations do not negate the show. I understand what you mean about the necessity of having a show (like the need of keeping enemies alive), but there are other ways to do that. It makes me feel that perhaps you think I’m supposed to check my brain at the door rather than expect writers to put theirs in high gear to avoid all these gaps of logic.

        All the fixes would negate nothing & require only slight changes, as follows in short: Grandmother runs at first but they stop the door before she can get through. Villains see the droid before the baby disappears & then later recognize him on the street. Zeb runs at first but they sense the baby & give chase. It is stated one must totally concentrate to sense others which are strong in the force & they keep that rule. Ezra actually listens & doesn’t wake the baby, but they sense it anyway by concentrating & surprise light saber in floor. Ezra remembers the droid & looks everywhere but doesn’t see it & it was hiding atop the building listening. They shoot at the speeder which swerved but they hit it & then when they are knocked down, they run immediately & make a joke while running. Kanan doesn’t look away from the battle when Zeb is thrown down. As they float Kanan in the air, sister tries to run him through but Ezra steps up with the baby & deflects her saber (solves next one too). Show or explain later is that the door malfunctioned & they were trying to open it when Ahsoka opened it with the force. Brother is thrown far away from them so they don’t see he is vulnerable or as I suggested before, all three of them fight sister/brother until Kanan & Ezra see the troops coming & flee while Ahsoka says go without me & continues to fight. Then, after Ahsoka gets sister’s saber, she destroys it, but then Brother awakens & throws his at her, she jumps, troops come, she must flee, troopers shoot at her immediately but miss, then they can end with slightly less ugly babies giggling & I, at least, would rejoice. It’s not inconceivable or undoable in my opinion. Make smart villains & smarter heroes who make mistakes but not ones my 10 year old daughter wouldn’t make. Just sayin.

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