Howdy doodly, readerinos! No, I’m not calling you a rhino, that was just a badly thought out intro. Anyhoo: this is not a full review but a closer look at a few of the cooler bits. As always, episode SPOILERS as well as minor Rogue One SPOILERS from here on out.
Welcome back, everyone! Did you have a good break? I’d love to hear about it but first I have to write about, you know, Star Wars Rebels – specifically these new episodes, Ghosts of Geonosis Pts. 1 and 2 (because I’m thoughtful that way). TBH I’d rather tell you about my presents but the admin here are cruel and expect us word monkeys to adhere to something called ‘standards’. I’m not really sure what that means, but hey ho.
All Hail Sabine
Oh Sabine. I have always known that you were a pretty phenomenal character, but you haven’t had many chances to shine. What’s more, I think the writers and showrunners have realised this, too. This is becoming a bit of a problem – but for a different reason than the ones I’ve provided previously. You see, reader whose name I don’t know but shall hereto call Dame Dudy Dench* (in keeping with the tautogrammic title of … t’episode?), in the latter half of this series Sabine will have to prove herself worthy to lead a group or groups of Mandalorians. She’ll no doubt prove herself to them in the episode(s) but it helps if we, the viewers, are in her corner to cheer her on. And it helps if we have reason to believe that she’s up to the job to begin with – and not just rely on her being a beloved main character on the show. Unfortunately, though she’s always demonstrated herself to be highly competent, we need something out-standing, something more recent and more concrete in our minds for when the time comes.
*Obligatory: Howdy, Dudy!
For a good example of what I mean, let’s look at a different show. Head’s up: SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES. In Game of Thrones, Jon Snow – he of the plethora internet memes about knowing nothing and the exhausted image searches thanks to his stint in that Pompeii movie – was in the running to be leader of the Night’s Watch, the organisation to which he was allied. Non-GoT watchers, basically they’re self-aggrandised border patrol officers.
It was entirely obvious that he would win the election to become leader of the Night’s Watch. Seriously, I was watching it with a non-watcher friend and when Jon came on screen she asked me if he was the leader of the Watch. Upon my answer of ‘no’, she said to ‘give it a series or two’. It’s that obvious – and that was in the first series. Unfortunately, Jon hadn’t really had much of a chance to display his leadership abilities. And so the writers inserted a few missions that would enable Jon to demonstrate his ability to lead his men before he inevitably won. Et voila! Instant cred in the eyes of the viewer. It’s a great trick; it worked with Jon and it worked with Sabine (for my money, anyway).
Also, it was just really, really cool.
First and foremost, this was sold as the Saw Gerrera episode. But secondary to that, at least from my perspective, it was billed as the ‘episode where they sort of learn about the Death Star but not really because they can’t learn it just yet so it’s mainly just a cool nod to the movies and the viewers’. It was a long working title. They should have just called it ‘space bears’ or something.
But that’s basically what it was – and that’s the great thing about this series. It has an impressive versatility: it can be a story about Jedi and the heroes of the Rebellion, or it could be a story about the grunts of the thing, doing the hard work and struggling, sometimes failing but also succeeding. Indeed, it so often that that it reminds me of one of my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes:
If you trust in yourself, and believe in your dreams, and follow your star … you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.
Inspiring stuff. But it’s true; Rebels is so often the story of the regular people putting in the effort and hard work and succeeding (and yes, sometimes failing because the universe doesn’t owe you anything, no matter how hard you try). And it can be more than that: it can be the bombastic action movie or it can be an exploration of the nature of the Force. It can be a story ripped straight out from the X-Wing novels, or even from the Wraith Squadron novels. Or it could be that one episode of Buffy that centred around Xander being generally useless but still saving the day. And yes, it can just be a cool nod to the movies and the viewers.
But here’s the truly impressive bit: it included the cool movie character and had a Death Star related plot – and it pretty much ignored it. That takes guts and gall and I applaud the writers for doing it. They could have easily devoted the whole thing to the Death Star, and they could have just set up Saw’s Rogue One-related backstory, re Jyn Erso and Saw’s band of misfits as seen in the latest movie. Instead the show used nearly every scene of his as a means of expounding on the idea of how far is too far when your enemy is truly evil. Of the ends justifying the means in pursuit of a noble goal and not pursuing your own vengeance, despite years of hatred for those who took your family away from you. Not just that, but of learning to see your enemy as being fully formed sapient beings who have their own wants and desires and fears, and recognising that they themselves are capable (and I use the term very loosely) of being the victims too.
Towards the end of the episode, our Spectres said something fairly innocuous – but something that threw me for a loop. They wanted to take the poison cannisters away and present them to the Imperial Senate as evidence of the evils of … the Empire. I do not understand this at all. Not just that they wanted to show the Empire themselves that they’re evil but that they thought that was a reasonable thing to do. Surely, if you’ve formed a rebellion, it’s an implicit admission that you don’t believe that your goals can be achieved through diplomatic means? Furthermore, that said diplomatic arena is either in part or entirely useless? Am I missing something completely obvious? They know one or two senators so they, the Spectres, are aware that at least a portion of the Imperial Senate are aware of the evil-doings of the Empire, so it can’t be a case of ‘oh hey, I’m sure they’re cool but they just don’t know how bad the Empire is. Once we show them they can sort things out toot-sweet!’ And even if that was the case, did they really think the bad part of the Empire, the bit that loves telling the populace what to do and what to think would be entirely okay with the Geonosian genocide becoming common knowledge to either the people or the senate? I’m struggling to grasp this.
Not that what we got was any better: as things stand, this is merely an anecdotal story and has as much weight as the listener is willing to give it. Those who are sceptical or hostile to the Empire will lap it up, whereas those are either indifferent or pro-Empire will scoff and dismiss it as lies from a dishonest news source. I’d usually back that type of assertion up with a real-world assumption, but somehow I can’t really recall any recent examples.
Now, about those presents … who wants to play A Game of Homes?
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