Star Wars Rebels: “Crawler Commanders” Season 4 Episode 6 Review

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“Crawler Commanders” is undoubtedly the least consequential episode of season four thus far. Following the generally great “Kindred,” that ultimately makes it a bit of a disappointment. Yet, I have to admit, this episode really wound up charming me. This certainly isn’t the best showcase of Star Wars Rebels‘ talents, but it is a reminder that these characters are capable of inspiring a fun, lively entry.

The plot here is simple. The rebels discover a Mining Guild vehicle that’s essentially scorching all Lothal’s surface. Sabine spots a way for them to get in contact with Hera on top of the ship, leading them to try and take the ship from the singular driver (Seth Green). Comparatively to the rest of the season, and even the series at large, this is a pretty low-stakes episode, but the writers recognize that, and inject it with a more cheerful tone than the eery quiet of “Kindred” or fast tension of “Heroes of Mandalore.”

Ezra gets the great comedic moment of imitating the commander to his crew, so as not to cause a stir. Zeb, meanwhile, gets a fun extended Raiders of the Lost Ark homage while fighting a Trandoshan crew member aboard the crawler, with the score and action beats of their fighting mirroring when Indy fights the big build guy in front of the plane. Then there’s Vizago being held captive on the vehicle as a slave, giving him some nice worthwhile moments of levity. If there’s one moment that takes it too far, it’s Ezra’s awkward, dark quip after the commander slips and gets incinerated by his own ship. It’s actually dark enough that I thought it might be evidence of Ezra swaying toward the Dark Side, the first we’ve really seen since Saw Gerrera had him questioning the Rebellion’s tactics. But there’s not really enough present on the show this season to get that idea from anywhere else.

But back on Yavin 4, more sinister things are at play. As Hera implores that the Rebellion go to Lothal and take out the TIE Defender factory, Mon Mothma expresses some of the first legitimate signs that the Death Star is fully operational. Hera wins the argument, however, storming into the briefing to prove just how convincing and effective a leader she has become. That promotion to general might be happening sooner than we think.

So now next week it looks like we’ll be getting an attempt to liberate Lothal that, based on what season four has been setting up so far, almost has to fail. It should be pointed out that with “Crawler Commanders,” the final season is already halfway done. It feels like it’s just getting started, even with next week’s episode being the last until 2018. So as charming as this episode is in spots, it doesn’t do much to advance the plot of a season is almost devoid of overarching plot right now. The question is becoming, with just eight episodes left—and who knows how many of those will be pushed together for two-parters—if not now, when will the season’s story really kick in? Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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