Tonight's Star Wars Rebels is a reunion, of sorts. Many key elements of the Rebellion are rapidly aligning with one another, providing plenty of thrills and excitement. There are also some interesting questions brought up, that, while on the surface, feel like a rehash of familiar themes. However, there is so much more going on in “In the Name of the Rebellion” that warrant a closer look. As with previous Star Wars Rebels Talking Points, be sure to watch the episodes before proceeding. Let's get to it!
Familiar, yet Different
It's inescapable that as we get closer to the end of this series, we will find ourselves near the familiar beats of this mythology i.e. Yavin 4, etc. While I certainly won't spoil anything, there are a lot of callbacks in the episodes, to everything from A New Hope to Rogue One. One of the absolute triumphs of Star Wars since the Disney acquisition is the unparalleled fictional synergy in this universe, and these two episodes showcase that feat. I particularly like that “In the Name of the Rebellion”, parts 1 and 2, challenges what we know about this universe, and forces us to recontextualize things. It almost becomes meta, in fact, which leads to the next point …
“It's not whether or not we fight. It's how we choose to fight that matters”
Speaking of recontextualizing things, Saw Gerrera is featured in both episodes and keeps up his penchant for making things much more complicated. In another beautiful scene between master and padawan, Kanan and Ezra discuss the merits of how best to stop the Rebellion. While Ezra knows Hera and Mon Mothma are right, sometimes the quick and easy path offered by Gerrera seems more effective. It's hard to be patient when people you care about are hurting (Lothal, for example).
However, Ezra values life. All life. His empathy and wisdom are what keep him grounded, even as he is soaring through the air with a Mandalorian jetpack. Saw, however, is incapable of seeing that his actions are causing more harm than good. One could argue that he is as dangerous as the Empire he is sworn to destroy. And, while his appearance here (as well as the concepts mentioned above) could feel like a retread, “In the Name of the Rebellion” somehow manages to take Saw and these themes and make them feel fresh.
The Kanan Way
Kanan's lack of physical vision is no longer a detriment. In fact, he seems to see things more clearly than ever, and his calm, hands-off approach is bold and intoxicating. He's cooler than ever if that's possible. His aforementioned conversation with Ezra, his awareness of when to intervene, and when to let Ezra find his own way reinforce the mentor he has become.
His breathtaking flight with Hera, as they try to avoid TIE Destroyers, also shows the trust the two have in one another. He is having a different outward effect on Hera than in the first few seasons, and there are many metaphors here that point towards their relationship. Naturally, the romantic angle is a powerful one, but it also shows that he is becoming the person she has always known him to be. It just took him a bit longer to realize it.
For a very long time, Mon Mothma was a powerful, yet seemingly innocuous character. All we had was a brief, distinguished appearance from Caroline Blakiston in Return of the Jedi as a resource. However, Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, Rogue One, and Star Wars Rebels have added much more depth and gravitas to the character. Genevieve O'Reilly's electric performance in part one of “In the Name of the Rebellion” provides a rare display of Mon Mothma losing her cool, and it's for a very good reason. It's no wonder she is the true leader of the Rebellion, and this showcases it beautifully.Powered by Sidelines