Tosche Station Radio #164: The Rebellion Pivot

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, we recap the third season of Star Wars Rebels with Bria!

ALSO!  We have t-shirts now!

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store and Google Play. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Star Wars Rebels: Zero Hour – Liveblog Review

What happens when three Tosche Station staffers get together virtually to watch the Season 3 finale of Rebels? We do a live (written commentary), of course! Did we like it? Did we throw anything at the screen? Did we finally get another Space Married moment? Hit the break to find out!

THIS IS YOUR FIRST AND ONLY SPOILER WARNING.

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Rebels Review: Secret Cargo

rebels logoMon Mothma seems to be everywhere these days: Empire’s End, Rogue One, and now an episode of Rebels. She is the heart of the Rebellion, and her appearance in “Secret Cargo” marks a huge step forward for the burgeoning Rebellion we’ve watched flourish these past seasons.

Rebels seems to finally be getting serious about bringing the story together since Sabine gained the darksaber, and “Secret Cargo” doesn’t stray from the trend. Not only does this episode advance the story of the Rebellion, it also displays the strong bonds between Ezra and Hera, and how much Hera has taught Ezra over the course of the show.

Thrawn, as always, makes a daunting villain. His theme is one of the strongest parts of the score, and it builds an entirely ominous atmosphere around the Admiral as he goes head-to-head with Hera’s smarts. Without such a strong character in Thrawn’s place, this episode—and others—wouldn’t have half as much of the good tension they have. He is almost always one step ahead of the Ghost crew. Even when they win, it never really feels like Thrawn has lost.

Mon Mothma is very Mon Mothma, as she always is. It’s easy to see the woman in this episode become the woman in Rogue One in the not-too-distant future. Her interactions with Hera are an interesting look into both their characters as they’re contrasted against each other. The pilot and the politician, both with the same ideals, but having taken very different paths in life. It’s nice to see two woman have a conversation which says so much about each of them, and about the Rebellion they’ve  both had a hand in creating.

There are some gorgeous shot compositions in this episode, and it’s refreshing to be reminded that the art direction in Rebels can end up with such nice looking episodes. I feel that lately there’s been a lack of good looking scenes in Rebels, but “Secret Cargo” more than makes up for it. This episode is good a reminder that Star Wars can be beautiful, since so many of the other episodes seem to be obsessed with showing us how grey and dull the universe is.

All up, “Secret Cargo” is a good, solid episode that tells the story it wants to tell. It’s quick, filled with spaceship-on-spaceship action and broken up with brief moments of strong characterization. I just wish the side pilots didn’t always feel so disposable.

Holonet Blast #4

Star Wars! Where you think that maybe it’s going to be a light news week and then they throw all the Thrawn at you. Not that we’re complaining.

On Friday, Lucasfilm confirmed that Star Wars Rebels will have a fourth season starting in the fall. We’ll be getting more news about this at Celebration next month at, what I’m assuming, will be a panel on Saturday if they follow the pattern from previous years. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for a S4 premiere screening.

Speaking of Celebration, more guest announcements keep rolling in. First, Peter Mayhew, Daniel Logan, and Ray Park were all added to the list of attending guests. Expect more of these announcements to keep popping up the closer we get to the con. Celebration also announced that there will be plenty for video game fans to geek out about. EA will be in attendance to show off their latest projects. There will also be a Star Wars: The Old Republic Cantina Community event off-site where fans can interact with the developers and designers of the game which actually sounds really neat if you’re a SWTOR fan.

And finally, everything’s coming up Thrawn! We got our first excerpt from the book along with a bunch of interesting tidbits including another character making the leap back from Legends. Del Rey also announced the three editions of the forthcoming Thrawn book. There are more details at the link but essentially, you’ll be able to choose from the standard version, the B&N version with a black cover and exclusive poster, or the Celebration edition with a different cover and special gift. Now you must decide which book you want or just give in and plan to buy all three. Just think of them like Pokemon… gotta catch ’em all!

Rebels Review: Through Imperial Eyes

When I saw the teaser for “Through Imperial Eyes,” featuring the POV shot of Agent Kallus waking up, I was momentarily thrilled. Was Rebels going to do an entire episode from Kallus’ point of view? Would they be so bold?

Then I remembered that (a) this is a kid’s show, and (b) TV shows of any stripe tend not to get experimental until their 6th or 7th seasons and they’re hurting for ideas (see: the one-shot experiment in The X-Files’ 6th season episode “Triangle,” or the live episode in The West Wing’s 7th season). And indeed, the shot in the teaser was the only POV shot in the entire episode.

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Rebels Review: Legacy of Mandalore

Listen. I know that I have a Mandalorian bias and an even stronger Sabine Wren bias but “Legacy of Mandalore’” is an incredibly solid follow up to “Trials of the Darksaber” and it’s a damn shame they were split up by the break. It’s also a damn shame that we won’t be seeing much of Sabine for the foreseeable future while she tries to help clean up Mandalore and help free her people from the Empire’s choke hold.

It’s not a very happy homecoming for Sabine as her clan initially starts shooting at her when the Phantom appears in Clan Wren space. The episode goes pretty much how you’d expect from there including an awesome duel between Sabine and Gar Saxon. It doesn’t matter if the plot is predictable though because this is a continuation of Sabine’s story as she confronts both her past and her family and finds a new way forward. Continue reading

Rebels Review: Warhead

“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.

 

Rebels Review: An Inside Man

rebels logoThis week it’s a return to Lothal, and yet another return to Ezra, kiddo, why are you like this?  All up, An Inside Man is a pretty classic undercover episode with Kanan and Ezra infiltrating an imperial factory on Ezra’s home world with the assistance of Ryder Azadi. Fulcrum has told the Ghost crew there’s a new weapon being developed and it’s up to them to find out more. Unfortunately for Ezra and Kanan, the malfunctions caused by rebel sympathizers at the factory haven’t gone unnoticed, and Thrawn has come to find out why.

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