Fighter Flight is a pretty self-contained bottle episode. That in and of itself is pretty unremarkable. What is remarkable, however, is that it was a bottle episode that was thoroughly entertaining and fun. If this is what Rebels is going to do with even episodes that may not have the biggest bearing on the overarching story, we’re in for a great ride.
On the surface, this does sound like a rather ho-hum episode. Zeb and Ezra’s frequent fights and arguments finally earn Hera’s ire, they get kicked off the ship to go run some errands, and then get into assorted and wacky misadventures. Somewhere along the way they steal a TIE fighter, much to Kanan and Hera’s displeasure*. Eventually that leads them to using the TIE fighter to attack a convoy that arrested some Lothal citizens for refusing to give up farmland to the Empire. Ezra and Zeb become closer friends and everyone lives happily ever after (until the next episode).
*By the way, they are totally Space Married. They refer to the rest of the crew as kids, they’re constantly making eyes at each other. Space. Married.
That’s a summary that really doesn’t inspire a whole lot of enthusiasm, but to write an episode like this off is to miss out on some of the most fun you’ve had with Star Wars in ages. Once the witty and sharp dialogue is added on top of the plot, the episode lifts itself from standard bottle fare to legitimately fun television. Perhaps one of the best things about this episode is that it remembers that Star Wars is supposed to be funny from time to time. Several moments had both myself and Nanci laughing out loud (and I’m going to need someone to make me a text tone of Chopper going “whomp whomp” at Ezra’s expense).
My one complaint is that I’m still waiting for more of Sabine and Hera. Sabine in particular has been rather underutilized and underdeveloped through the introductory film and first two episodes. It’s not necessarily that we don’t know much about her (we don’t), but she just hasn’t been on screen that much. Zeb, Kanan, and Ezra have dominated the screen time thus far and next week’s episode looks to be focused heavily on the latter two again.
Character usage ratio aside, Rebels continues to impress by capturing the tone and feel of the Original Trilogy. If the throwaway episodes like Fighter Flight manage to pack in this much fun and amusement, the series is definitely moving the right direction.