“Warhead” is one of those episodes that, after first viewing, some fans might call “filler”. It’s mostly character focused and doesn’t make huge advancements in the season’s overall plot. However, to dismiss this episode as unimportant would be doing it a disservice. While it’s not my favorite episode of the season so far, I really enjoyed spending more time with Zeb and loved his interplay with AP-5 and Chopper.
The plot of the episode is fairly straightforward. The Ghost crew, minus Zeb, leave Chopper base for some exercises. Zeb stays behind to keep watch over the base, and he’s forced to spend time with two droids that drive him bonkers. Meanwhile, the Empire has been sending spy droids to find the rebel bases. One of these droids lands on Atollon, is attacked by the giant spider creatures, and picked up by Zeb, who thinks it’s just an old protocol droid. Once back at the base, the droid impresses AP-5 with his inventory skills and is put to work…and then AP-5 mentions this is a rebel base. Once that revelation happens, the droid morphs into attack mode. Zeb, AP-5, and Chopper are forced to work together to defeat the droid and figure out a way to keep the Empire from finding their base.
Despite the fact that this is a mostly a character focused episode, important things happen that are definitely going to have a payoff later in the season. First, we learn that Thrawn is going to desperate measures to find the Rebels. Although he’s defeated at the end of the episode, he’s narrowed the search down to 94 possible planets and knows that finding Chopper Base is inevitable. I, for one, cannot wait to see Thrawn’s master plan finally take shape.
We also get another appearance of Kallus. He’s passing information to the rebels about the droid program right under Thrawn’s nose. Judging by the last scene of the episode, I can’t help but think that not only is Thrawn narrowing down the locations of the various rebel bases, but also the identity (or identities?) of Fulcrum. (Although I’m not convinced he doesn’t already know Kallus is Fulcrum.) I find myself waiting with bated breath for Kallus to be revealed as a spy. Whenever that happens…well, I don’t feel very confident for Kallus’s future in the Empire.
We learn more about Zeb, but also AP-5 and the rest of the rebel cells. Many viewers, myself included, have wondered where AP-5 has been all season. Especially in the Geonosis episodes, where having a protocol droid would have been very useful to communicate with the surviving Geonosian, Klik Klak. We learn in “Warhead” that AP-5 is in charge of inventory on Chopper Base, so it makes sense that he’s not been in the field. We also see Hera and the rest of the crew going off to run exercises. I’d love to see what these entail! Do they join with other cells? What does the rebel fleet look like at this time? (To no surprise, the Wedge and Hobbie cameos made me very happy. I’m glad they’re involved with Phoenix Squadron and hope they get more screen time in later episodes. Especially episodes involving X-wings.)
This episode was written by Gary Whitta. His humor and character work really shine, and I hope he continues to write additional episodes. “Warhead” wasn’t the best episode of the season, but it was solid, raised a lot of questions for future episodes, and shed much-needed light on some characters who aren’t in the spotlight as much. I can definitely use more of that in Rebels.