It’s that time of the year again. That time where, just after a great couple of episodes building up to the season finale and just before that amazing finale we’ve been teased with hits, Star Wars: Rebels pumps the brakes for a droid episode. While this episode isn’t quite as heinous as ‘The Forgotten Droid’, it is a bit of a momentum killer.
Still, there’s some cool stuff to be found within so let’s check out our Five Thoughts on Star Wars: Rebels‘ “Double Agent Droid”.
1. Wedge Is Back!
One of the things I’m so surprised at this season is how the first few episodes dedicated a lot of time to recruit new pilots for Phoenix Squadron only for them to barely turn up. This is, I think, the first time we’ve really seen Wedge since ‘The Antilles Extraction’ and it’s the chaperone the droids on a mission.
I had really hoped that this season’s earlier episodes focusing on recruiting new Rebels would allow later episodes to explore new perspectives, but I didn’t think that would mean dropping them into an otherwise pretty standard droid episode. I was hoping, at some point, for the show to use Wedge or Hobie or the Iron Squadron kids to explore life as a Rebel on Chopper Base without the Ghost Crew, but I guess this will do.
2. Exploring Imperial Surveillance
The one aspect of this episode that I was really interested in was the Imperial Listening Ship. This is something that was seeded as far back as Tseebo in Season One, the idea that Imperial agents are being used as living surveillance monitors through the use of cybernetic enhancements. This adds yet another layer of fascist oversight that makes the Empire feel a credible and real threat to Galactic life instead of just cardboard bad guys.
I only wish we’d seen a little bit more of them or that their plan had actual consequences for the Ghost crew. Having them pilot Chopper remotely meant that the Rebels never confronted the Listening Ship and having Hera blow them up meant that them taking over Chopper proved fruitless. Perhaps if the Empire had learned of Chopper Base from the Listening Ship then the Rebels would have learned not to use Chopper’s disguise as frequently as would have to evolve new tactics?
3. Using Chopper Against Them
This was actually an interesting idea for the droid episode, especially in how it used Chopper and how it focused on AP-5. Chopper’s always been a complete dick to the rest of the cast and has never really had much room for development (he’s a droid, I know, but still) yet this episode allowed us to see just how deadly Chopper could be against the Empire if he wasn’t such a dick. It also allowed us to see how the Rebels treat AP-5 like garbage, I’m assuming because they’re prejudiced against his Imperial background.
I kid, but one of the things that frustrated me is that despite the fact that Chopper is a complete ass and he and AP-5 do nothing but bicker and compromise missions they’re on, this episode put them right back where they were because “It wouldn’t be the same without them” and those are the kind of episodes that frustrate me because it goes a long way to end up where it began.
4. I Take It Back, I Want Wedge To Go Away
Oh, this is one of those episodes. I’m going to pick on something I frequently mention both here and Supergirl: character communication and wilful negligence. Nothing frustrates me as an audience member more than when something is clearly wrong and a character is trying to communicate as such and another character just won’t listen. This happened frequently in this episode as AP-5 tried to clearly communicate that something was up with Chopper which was clear from his behaviour and now only did Wedge not listen, but neither did Ezra, Zeb or Hera initially.
Look, I get it. It’s a plot contrivance. It’s a way of making the story happen. But as an audience member, I cannot buy into the idea that someone would react to someone they know showing up with an entirely different personality and someone saying “Hey, isn’t that weird” and that person’s reaction being “Nah, it’s fine.” Nothing frustrates me more in fiction than lazy writing as a crutch and this show has leaned on that crutch a lot this season.Continued below
5. Star Wars Went A Bit Douglas Adams At The End There
Uh, what was that? I know that Rebels being an animated show allows the showrunners to bend the rules of what is considered Star Wars and go a bit weird and a bit comedic at times, but this came entirely out of left field. I was almost expecting some kind of downer ending: that the Ghost crew, in their inattentiveness, just left AP-5 to float in the endless vacuum of space to slowly run out of batteries as penance for not listening to him.
But that’s why I don’t work on a kid’s show.
Instead, Rebels goes a bit Hitchhiker’s as AP-5 gets a wee musical number surrounded by space fish (?) before being scooped up by the Ghost and going on to live life like no one learned their lesson about communication. There was a point in Rebels Recon this week where Dave Filoni mentioned how half the audience will call this episode filler and I’m definitely in that camp. If this episode had any kind of lasting consequence (maybe the Empire did find Chopper base? Or AP-5 got really damaged? Or Wedge got reprimanded) instead of just a “Oh, we’ll know next time” that filler episode feeling wouldn’t be so prevalent.
At least we’ve got next week to look forward to.