Sabine sent undercover to extract Wedge Antilles and Hobbie Klivian from the Imperial equivalent of Top Gun? Yes please I will take a dozen episodes just like this one.
The Antilles Extraction starts with a Rebel relief supply mission getting jumped by an Imperial carrier and blown to bits. Of note here are the first appearance of TIE Interceptors in the show, and did you notice those red stripes on the panel tips? Perhaps the 181st? Oh we can only hope. Back at the Rebel base, the Ghost crew and Rebel command staff are debriefed over the disastrous mission failure and note that they lost six A-wing pilots, and from the sounds of it, pilots are increasingly hard to come by.
Commander Sato mentions that he’s heard from Fulcrum of a small handful of top Imperial pilots needing help defecting from the Empire. Now, Fulcrum is either dead or trapped on Malachor, you say. Well you’re half right. Fulcrum is apparently a shared moniker used by numerous agents throughout the Galaxy helping Rebel cells, a concept created by Ahsoka. That little bit of heartbreak out of the way, Hera says that they are sending Sabine undercover to extract these pilots. Ezra gets angry that it’s Sabine going in and not him, because in his mind he’s the most qualified as he’s gone undercover before. Hera and Sabine shoot Ezra down by pointing out Sabine has actually been enrolled in Imperial academies and that Ezra is too well known now. Unsaid is that Ezra screwed things up so spectacularly two episodes earlier but we’ll gloss over that.
And then Sabine gets sent undercover and the best episode of Rebels ever happens. Listen, I had so much fun watching this I can’t put coherent words together. So I’m stealing Bria’s dot gif review format for the rest of this. To the jump!
Sabine undercover and flying a TIE Fighter? SO COOL.
WEDGE! LOOK EVERYONE IT’S WEDGE!!!
Wedge doesn’t think of you as a designation number, he values you as a human being. A+ Wedge.
But uh oh Wedge’s moral compass gets him in trouble with the simulation instructors.
And who’s this guy that looks like Space!Tom Skerritt? Does that make other instructor dude Space!Michael Ironside?
Wait uh oh Governor Pryce is here with Agent Kallus, fun and games are over.
Aww, Wedge and his moral compass are having serious regrets about this whole flying for a soulless Empire thing.
But it’s okay! Sabine reveals she’s there to break him out! Just need to gather the other pilots and wait for her signal. But who are those other pilots? Well one is named Rake and the other is named Hobbie. Wait. HOBBIE!
Okay everyone Sabine’s got a plan. Just gonna bail out during this training mission. Simple as that. Nothing bad gonna happen. Oh crap Pryce is onto them. Whelp everything’s a disaster now.
And now Pryce is going to torture information out of them and the first thing Wedge does is give up Sabine’s real identity. Nice work Wedge.
But not to fear. Sabine’s got this. Just gotta knock out two stormtroopers and get into one thoroughly badass hand-to-hand fight with Pryce. Holy CRAP that was awesome.
While Hobbie and Wedge are dithering around trying to come up with a plan to save Sabine, she walks in to save them. Four for you Sabine, you go Sabine.
So they break out, and are aided by Agent Kallus!? Has he turned face!?
The plan now? Steal a TIE Bomber and signal for rescue. But can Wedge fly it? Yes. Wedge can fly ANYTHING.
But it’s not over yet! Space!Tom Skerritt doesn’t want them to leave Imperial!Top Gun.
…Wait his name is actually Skerris? I’m on to you, Gary Whitta. I’m on to you.
But Ezra, Kanan, and the Rebels show up to grab them and bring them back to the base. Mission accomplished! Sabine shows introduces them to Commander Sato, and we find out that in yet another universe, Hobbie is still the buttmonkey. Poor Hobbie.
If you’re looking for a more cogent writeup on this episode, you’re going to have to look somewhere else. I unashamedly loved The Antilles Extraction. Sure, it could have benefitted by doing a little more to contextually explain that Skystriker Base is the Imperial equivalent of Top Gun. That would have explained why they went to such lengths to extract a couple pilots. But you know what? That’s nitpicking. Gary Whitta’s writing for this episode was top-notch. The dialog was tight and funny, the characterization of Wedge and Hobbie were straight out of the X-wing novels, and this was one of the best Sabine episodes to date. I’m going to be watching this one over and over.