***This review of Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Season Two contains spoilers.***
You can watch Forces of Destiny now on Disney YouTube.
This is the second part of the review for season two of Star Wars Forces of Destiny. You'll find part one here. Highlights in these four episodes include Leia meeting Maz Kanata for the first time, Mark Hamill returning as Luke Skywalker, and Porgs!
Let's get to it!
It's back to the time before Star Wars: The Force Awakens as we catch up with the Jakku scavenger we've come to know as Rey (Daisy Ridley). While scavenging for parts in a fallen Star Destroyer, Rey comes upon Teedo, the same alien who tried to make off with BB-8 so he could sell him for parts.
The first thing Rey notices is how unstable the destroyer has become. She proceeds to find what she came for, so she can get out of there quickly. She finds a decent stash of the parts she needs, then spies another more valuable piece still locked into place. She tries to pry it free, to no avail. In fact, the effort makes the destroyer creak and moan in a way that can't be good.
As she turns to go, she finds Teedo blocking her path. He's been following her, no doubt because she's better at scavenging than he is. Not wanting to fight, Rey hands over the parts she found. Not satisfied with receiving what he didn't earn, Teedo wants more. He spots the valuable part and ignores Rey's warnings of danger.
As he yanks the piece free, the whole structure begins to rattle and fall apart. Rey turns to flee, but then realizes Teedo has been knocked out. Somewhat reluctantly, Rey tosses the small alien over shoulder and carries him to safety. You'd think he'd be grateful to have his life, but he's not. He still claims the bag full of parts for himself, till Rey calls him out on it. He turns it over to her, but not without tossing a small tantrum. Rey hops on her speeder and leaves him in her dust. For real.
Greed gets you nowhere. Neither does claiming someone else's work for yourself. Teedo tries to get away with both, and it nearly costs him his life. He's lucky Rey is compassionate. She's no pushover, though. She saved his life, but also left him empty-handed. Rey holds true to what's right. We've seen that in previous Forces of Destiny shorts, and we've seen it in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I'd say that's a good trait for a Jedi.
Wow! We get quite a crew in “Bounty Hunted!” Leia (Shelby Young), R2-D2, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), and her boyfriend, Chewbacca join forces in an episode that answers a big question from Return of the Jedi. Where did Leia get that Boushh gear? It's not likely the bounty hunter just turned it over.
Han Solo is currently a wall decoration in Jabba's Palace on Tatooine. His friends are planning to rescue him, but there are many parts that need to come together, such as a disguise for Leia so he can infiltrate the Palace without raising suspicion. A trip to Ord Mantell to visit Han's old friend, Maz Kanata, is on the agenda.
Leia approaches a few big, burly characters, asking if either one is Maz. They part ways to reveal the petite Maz, who is thrilled at seeing Chewie. After they share a Wookiee hug, it's time to get to business. Maz has heard of Leia from Han, and she immediately surmises that Han's in some sort of trouble. Maz is intrigued by the notion he's been frozen in carbonite, but Leia expects more action. The unflappable Maz tells Leia to be patient and the solution will present itself.
It does indeed, in a flurry of blaster bolts. The solution has arrived! Maz tells Leia she'll need a disguise to rescue Han, and a bounty hunter would be perfect. Leia, Chewie, and Artoo know they have to capture Boushh, so they engage and take the bounty hunter down. The armor is the perfect fit for Leia, and even comes with a handy thermal detonator. Maz tells Chewie to tell Han, Leia is a keeper. Well, we all knew that already!
It's clear from The Force Awakens that Maz and Han go way back, but how far back we don't know exactly. Now we know their relationship goes as far back as the events of the original trilogy. Chewie knows Maz can be trusted, and it's really cool to see she was an integral part of getting Han rescued from Jabba's clutches. Even though some might not take these shorts very seriously, they often contain details that help round out the films. Sometimes small things can be important, so they should be taken as such. The same can be said of how people perceive Maz Kanata. Leia says she's not what she expected. Maz says she never is. Big things come in small packages.
Now we come to the longest short of this season so far. There's good reason for that, as “The Path Ahead” features Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Yep, you read that right! Mark Hamill has joined Forces of Destiny to voice the character he made legend, from A New Hope to The Last Jedi.
In this episode, we catch up with Luke on Dagobah during his Jedi training under Master Yoda (Tom Kane). Yoda and R2-D2 are observing Luke as he's up in the trees, finding a pathway through with the use of the Force. Luke becomes distracted and falls at his master's feet. The only thing for Yoda to do is to go with his pupil. Initially Luke is thrilled he'll be able to follow his master through the trees, and observe his concentration as he uses the Force to guide him.
Yoda will be accompanying Luke — but snug in a backpack strapped to his pupil's back. (I can be a backpack while you run…) If Luke doesn't concentrate, both of them will fall.
High up in a tree, Luke questions which way to go, as Yoda tells him his mind and body must move together on whichever path is chosen. All is good for a time, till Luke is distracted and the two begin to tumble to the ground. Luke is able to stop their fall, but he also think it's time to stop for the day. Yoda won't have it, telling Luke to close his eyes and feel the Force and his surroundings — breathe, just breathe — and run!
This time, Luke trusts the Force, sees where he needs to go without the benefit of sight. His path is clear.
It's a lesson Obi-Wan tried to teach Luke on board the Millennium Falcon, and again in the Death Star trench. When Luke sees through the Force, he meets with success. Using his own senses, he meets with defeat. In this episode, the lesson finally takes hold and Luke understands.
Again, here's an episode of Forces of Destiny showing us a detail from a film we know backwards and forward. Knowing how Yoda came to be in a backpack strapped to Luke isn't necessary, but it helps to enrich the story. Also, seeing a lesson click in Luke's mind, something we know he's struggled with in the past, is meaningful. It makes the relationship between these two characters just a little bit deeper. Yoda was always able to break through to Luke, from these early lessons amidst the green trees of Dagobah, to a final lesson at a burning tree on Ahch-to many years later.
Speaking of Ahch-to… Porgs!
In the final episode (and the shortest short) of this round of Forces of Destiny, “Porg Problems,” Rey (Daisy Ridley) meets the avian creatures native to Ahch-to, the Porgs.
Rey is busy testing her Force abilities by lifting rocks — a skill that'll come in handy later — so she doesn't notice a curious little Porg checking out the lightsaber in her pack. Could this be one of the two who were investigating the saber after Luke tossed it away? Anyway, the little stinker ignites the lightsaber, alerting Rey to the murder of Porgs that has gathered while she was concentrating on the rocks. The Porgs run away, and the curious little one snatches the lightsaber. Rey gives chase, past the Falcon as Chewie and R2-D2 look on quizzically, and all the way to a cliff overlooking the ocean.
The Porgs take flight and make for the water. Rey manages to use the Force on the lightsaber thief and hold him in mid-air, then slowly guiding the little guy back to her. When he's close enough she retrieves the lightsaber. She lets him go, and he starts to toddle away. Perhaps he realizes she could have hurt him, but chose not to, because he turns back to her. Rey is amused by the little creature, and amazed by herself and her use of a Force ability she didn't know she had. She tells the little Porg he's welcome to help with her training any time. When his friends gather around, she welcomes all of them to help.
Makes one wonder if these Porgs are the ones who eventually take up residence on the Falcon?
Someone once said, “Small help is better than no help.” A Porg helped Rey tap into an aspect of her powers, albeit inadvertently. She was having trouble lifting those rocks, but had no trouble grabbing a Porg, holding him in mid-air, and bringing him back to her. She didn't overthink it — she just did it. She used her instincts and trusted in the Force, and she was able to tap into her abilities. Thanks to a curious little thief.
Did you have a favorite episode from this season? I'd say mine were “The Path Ahead” for Mark Hamill's return as Luke, and “Porg Problems” because I simply can't resist Porgs. Feel free to comment below on which episodes you enjoyed the most, even if from the previous season.
You can find part one of my look at the second season of Star Wars Forces of Destiny here.
My reviews from season one can be found under the “Star Wars Animation” section found under the “Star Wars News & Info” tab.
Be sure to tune in to the Disney Channel on March 25 to catch the prime time presentation of Forces of Destiny!
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