Star Wars Rebels: “Breaking Ranks” Season 1 Episode 5 Review

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Episode five of Rebels already breaks the show’s formula by throwing us into the middle of a plan after the planning has been done.

Even last week’s masterful Rise of the Old Masters stuck to the storytelling methods that Rebels has set up for itself since the pilot. But Breaking Ranks starts with Ezra undercover as a stormtrooper cadet. He’s one of the best of his class, impressing Imperial officers in is trials.

But we’re first clued in on what’s going on when Ezra sticks out his pinky while marching in the hallway as a peculiar colored droid rolls by. Chopper is painted black and still barely fits in on the Imperial base.

Then it’s revealed that Zeb and Sabine are close by for when a quick escape is to be made. Ezra is actually there to get intel on a shipment of the very crystals used to construct lightsabers. Meanwhile, Hera and Kanan wait for the information in the Ghost so they can go attack the transport.

The way all this unfolded for us, the viewer, was really fun as layers of the plan kept getting peeled back. However, Ezra did not account for the fact that he would make friends at the training academy. Turns out one of the fellow cadets is looking for his missing sister. They recruit another by telling him he’ll never see his mother again, and now we have a team of kids infiltrating the Empire for its secrets.

The climax was a lot of fun, interweaving their escape with a small-scale space battle with Hera, Kanan, and a small Imperial fleet. The shot of the Ghost escaping with the explosion of the shipment behind it was so classic Star Wars. Meanwhile, it was clever to have one kid stay behind to find his sister. His final scene with the Inquisitor was really frightening. I’m also glad we’re seeing this new Sith so soon after his first appearance. He definitely gives the show a new sense of urgency.

Breaking Ranks was another solid entry for Rebels, using a different formula to tell a familiar story. It was also great to see every member of the team being put to great use, even Chopper. While Ezra’s new friends were a tad underdeveloped, it hardly seems like their stories are over. This show continues to impress. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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