Star Wars Rebels: “In the Name of the Rebellion” Season 4 Episode 2 Review

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Despite the intention being that “In the Name of the Rebellion” is a double episode, the two halves wildly differ in quality. The first part acts as a more traditional season premiere after last week’s Mandalorian opener, with the crew reminding us just how much of a family they’ve become and going on a fairly routine, though thoroughly enjoyable mission. The second part feels like the spiritual successor to last year’s “Ghosts of Geonosis,” which formally introduced the Ghost to Saw Gerrera while on his quest to uncover the Empire’s super weapon, which we obviously know to be the Death Star.

The first half of the episode introduces a number of interesting concepts for Ezra to chew on, which I imagine he will throughout this final season. As Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera play two sides of the same coin (one more Xavier, the other more Magneto, if you will), the purpose of the Rebellion comes into question. Just what are Mon Mothma’s errands doing against the Empire? Ezra appears to learn by the end of the episode that Saw’s point of view borders on insane (even though he’s actually right) and that he belongs with the more level-headed side of the Rebellion. I did love, however, the direct confrontation between the two Rebel leaders. It almost feels like the type of context Rogue One was missing in its inclusion of Saw (it also is worth noting, welcome to Yavin 4, fans!).

Following, we get a much-needed Ghost reunion as they fly to an Imperial planet to tamper with its new communications relay, rather than destroying it like Saw and Ezra would prefer to. The set piece that follows is gorgeous, with Ezra and Sabine first dropping in among the royal blue sky and then using the tiling dish to fend off Stormtroopers. On the Ghost, meanwhile, Hera must trust Kanan as he navigates her through some thick fog to lose a TIE Defender. This sequence was as thrilling as it was emotional, using their relationship to ease us out of a wonderfully built tense situation.

But then it ends up being Saw who rescues Ezra and Sabine, also forcing them to join him on a mission to intercept some Imperial cargo. With Hera and Kanan ditched, the three find two things about the ship: a group of prisoners, who explain their familiar role to Galen Erso from Rogue One, and a giant kyber crystal, which we know will be used for the Death Star’s planet-obliterating canon. This is where “In the Name of the Rebellion” feels a little too close to “Ghosts of Geonosis.” Both episodes tease the reveal of the Death Star to the Rebellion, but both also don’t seal the deal, though this one gets quite a bit closer. Considering we know exactly how the Rebellion discovers the Death Star from Rogue One, it’s confusing why we’re witnessing Saw so willed to prove its existence here. Does Rebels intend to push the Rebellion toward acknowledging this super weapon? That’s a fair thing to do, but getting Saw involved and having him not even realize, it feels like kind of a waste. Then again, as this final season plays out, an episode like this could be among the most relevant the show ever does, in terms of just plot.

So what’s next? Mandalore has a new leader. Saw is closer to figuring out the Empire’s ultimate weapon. But what’s next for Ezra? What’s next for Sabine? For Kanan? For Hera? Zeb? This is where season four has gotten off on something of a wrong foot. Though nothing in these first two super-sized episodes is bad exactly, well, we’ve only got 12 22-minute episodes left. Where are these characters going? It’ll naturally take the full 12 to answer that, but right now we have little sense aside from Ezra and Hera, the former thanks to some idea poached in this episode, and the latter simply because her name is heard on a loudspeaker in Rogue One. These have been solid episodes starting the season, this one slightly better than last week’s for its phenomenal first half. But Rebels could stand to let us in a bit to where it’s going. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty


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