WARNING SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the episode yet
Yesterday night was the season 2 premiere of Star Wars Rebels with the special episode ‘The Siege of Lothal’, it is like ‘Spark Of Rebellion’ two episodes put together. Season 1 was mostly about introducing the characters to the audience and getting to know what the situation was, season 2 takes things to another level, we really get into the action.
So the premiere to this second season is pretty much fantastic, it gets darker, the fight gets bigger, the stakes are now higher. I want to first focus on the best part of the episode – Ahsoka Tano! In the season 1 finale it was revealed that she was Fulcrum and it got the entire fandom excited, the last time we saw her was in Star Wars The Clone Wars after she left the Jedi Order (we saw her in the lost missions too but it was a vision) so seeing her as Fulcrum was pretty much awesome! Now in season 2, she is with the rebels, she acts as the wise figure of the group, the adviser. The best scene of the episode is without any doubt “The Apprentice Lives”. It is the moment when Vader realizes Ahsoka is alive and Ahsoka that Anakin is alive and has fallen into the darkside. A powerful scene! The connection is made while they are in space, Ahsoka aboard the Ghost and Vader aboard his Advanced Tie starfighter. It is important to notice that Vader says the apprentice not Ahsoka, not snips, but the apprentice and later he reveals it to the Emperor and he says the padawan of Anakin Skywalker, it really shows, Vader’s hate for Ahsoka and also the fact that at this time Anakin has truly disappeared for Vader unlike in ROTJ where Vader begins to have regrets. Here Vader is driven by hate and the dark side. We really see how much powerful the connection between Anakin and Ahsoka was powerful as when Ahsoka makes a connection with Vader, she passes out, there was really a strong bond between them and the bond is broken, he was her master, he trained her and it is because of his training that she is where she is now. I think this is really a hard moment for Ahsoka and we see that she is sad but also thoughtful and maybe a little bit of fear that Anakin is now a Sith Lord, when she wakes up, Ezra and Kanan asks her if she knows who is this Sith Lord and she says know but we can clearly see in her eyes that she knows and it makes her sad. This was really a big episode for Ahsoka because of this scene and Ashley Eckstein delivered a fantastic performance as usual, she is really a talented voice-actress. Thus it poses the question, will we have a Vader vs. Ahsoka lightsaber fight and if yes when?
I mentioned at the beginning that the fight gets bigger and it gets. The Ghost crew are now fighting along side the Phoenix Squadron a rebel cell that have three Blockade Runners and a Pelta-Frigate with a squadron of A-Wings! It is good to see that they re-use ships from Star Wars The Clone Wars in Rebels, indeed the Pelta-Frigate was first seen in The Clone Wars, they were the Medical Frigates that the Republic used. The episode even opens with the Ghost and the Phoenix Squadron working together on a mission to steal containers from the Empire. We are here introduced to Commander Sato, the chief of this rebel cell. It changes a lot, it is a much more militarized place than what we got with the Ghost in season 1. This is what leads to some conflicts between Hera and Kanan throughout the episode. Hera is for the Rebellion while Kanan is not so much for it, he prefers their old way to steal from the Empire and gives to the people in need. Kanan has been through Order 66 and it pretty much hurt him a lot and this is what makes him being not happy about going into a bigger and more militarized fight. Kanan forgets that they have an Empire in front of them and this Empire needs to be stopped because if they do not try to stop it, they will be destroyed. It is interesting to explore this “conflict” between Hera and Kanan. Great performance of Vanessa Marshall and Freddie Prinze Junior, they are as great as they were in season 1.
We have an interesting development with Maketh Tua, she switches sides or at least tries before getting killed. She saw in season 1 that when you fail the Empire, you die. With this episode, she gets pretty much threatens by the fact that Tarkin wants to see her about her failure. This is where we see that her loyalty to the imperial cause has limits, she contacts the rebels in order to get help and accepts to give them secrets from the Empire and to tell them the real reason of the Empire’s presence on Lothal. This actually brings a new mystery – there is a specific reason why the Empire is on Lothal. This mystery may get resolved later this season or in the next seasons, I don’t know. Before Maketh tells our heroes these secrets she is killed by the Empire and our heroes send into a trap. This was an interesting development to see that in the ranks of the Empire, not everyone is willing to sacrifice their lives for it and there are limits to the loyalty to the Emperor for some people.
The next point I want to deal with is Sabine Wren. She got a pretty much nice time on screen getting to fight more stormtroopers and getting to do more tricks, with Hera she is my favorite character of the Ghost crew so her getting more time on screen is good. During the fight against Vader, her armor got in troubles and her armor is a plot armor, indeed she is not even wounded! I think they should have got her wounded (not killed of course!), it would have had a more realistic impact because anyone who gets shot and has an armor is obviously wounded but her is just the armor that is “wounded” not herself. That is the only point I had to complain about Sabine’s in this episode. Though her armor getting “wounded” will lead her to get a new armor that we will see in the first regular episode of season 2 starting this Fall ‘The Lost Commanders’. And her new armor is pretty much awesome, new colors even better than the last one!
One thing to mention also is Lando Calrissian, he is back in hologram and he has a funny scene with Hera and Kanan, it is always a pleasure to hear Billy Dee Williams’ voicing Lando!
Now to finish with my review, I want to focus on the big villain of this season. The arrival of Darth Vader marks the beginning of a lot of troubles for the Ghost crew. Vader is the most iconic villain in the history of cinema, he is ruthless and this is the Vader we know that we see in ‘The Siege of Lothal’. In the middle of the episode, he has a fight with Kanan and Ezra and both of them can hardly resist, we can see how much it is an easy fight for Vader and not even two AT-DP falling on him can stop him, it really poses the threat that he is. He is also the one ordering the burning of Tarkintown, a village of refugees, it really says Vader is here and this means you are in danger and you do not want to mess with him! Though there is one complain I have about what they did with Vader at the end of the episode he comes with his starfighter and destroys the command ship plus almost everyone in the Phoenix Squadron, this part was overdone. During the clone wars, Anakin was the best pilot in the galaxy and now that he is Vader he has kept his piloting skills but there are limits to things and this was too overdone. The other thing is Kanan and Ezra feel the cold when they feel Vader, this is not really good, the fear, the anger yes that is something that they should feel, but feeling the cold, in ANH,ESB,ROTJ none of the characters ever felt the cold at the approach of Darth Vader so these two elements are pretty much the only problems of Vader in the episode.
For the next episode, Star Wars Rebels comes back this Fall with its regular episodes, until then I propose a Star Wars The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels rewatch!
To sum up, ‘The Siege of Lothal’ was an amazing opening to season 2 and sets up the stakes for this season, this is so far the best episode of the series!
My grade for this episode 9.5/10.