Star Wars Rebels: “Relics of the Old Republic” Season 2 Episode 3 Review

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Now this…this was the return Rex deserved.

Last week’s season premiere was a fine way to reintegrate us with Captain Rex, even if the episode as a whole lacked drive or stakes. It’s a shame Disney XD didn’t air this far superior entry with it. “Relics of the Old Republic” was an episode for everyone who loved Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Is that a problem? It could become one if Rebels starts to rely on it, but for now, I’m just going to revel in the sheer joy this episode brought me.

Picking up from the premiere’s cliffhanger, the Empire has in fact tracked down the clones’ run down AT-TE. Agent Kallus sends down three AT-ATs for a ground assault. In a fun callback, the score started to reflect that of the Battle of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back. The episode did a great job making us see just how much of a powerhouse these walkers are, which lead to a very smart way to deal with them.

Enveloped by a storm, the AT-ATs inch closer to our heroes even though they can’t see them. This might be the best example of Rebels‘ ability to build suspense, as Ezra and the others sat quietly listening to the walkers surround them. Having Rex trust Kanan to see through the storm perfectly delivered some tense narrow escapes, not to mention the warmness that Rex believing in the Jedi after all this time brought on. There was also the great moment where Ezra shot the AT-AT in its weak spot while he couldn’t see, which was a creative callback to how Luke destroyed the Death Star in A New Hope.

Upon escaping the storm, but not the Empire, the rebels prepare to make their getaway and the clones prepare for one last battle. Rex, Gregor, and Wolfe put on their helmets and head straight for the walkers. Ezra isn’t having it though, and convinces Kanan to go back and help them. “Just like the old days,” a smiling Rex says as he witnesses two Jedi land atop the enemy vehicle and cut into it. This gives Rex a chance to take out the remaining one. Everyone’s a hero under insurmountable odds and they all get to go back to the rebel fleet.

We see the crew of the Ghost meet up with Ahsoka. Dave Filoni makes us wait, but then boy does he deliver. Rex emerges through the team. The look on Ahsoka’s face brought a tear to my eye. These old war buddies embrace after who knows how long. It is a very, very good day to be a Clone Wars fan. But beyond that, this episode created tension better than just about any before it. The climax was well worth it as well. It was everything the premiere wasn’t. If Rebels can keep this up, we’re in for one hell of a season. Grade: A

Some Other Notes:

  • Rex mentions serving a brave Jedi master. How much does he know of Darth Vader? I’m dying to find out.
  • Even the moments with Hera and Chopper aboard the Ghost sitting right under a Star Destroyer was incredibly tense. Brilliant pacing throughout this whole episode!
  • I hadn’t realized how important a part of the Star Wars canon Clone Wars became for me until this episode. Rex’s line when the Jedi started attacking the AT-AT with their lightsabers hit me with nostalgia more than any of the callbacks to the movies did. And my eyes were pretty misty upon his reunion with Ahsoka. To be a fly on the wall for the next few conversations they’re going to have…
  • Has this new inquisitor abandoned Agent Kallus, or will he show up as normal in an upcoming episode?
  • It’s been a big week for us Star Wars fans. So, just for good measure:

By Matt Dougherty

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