Star Wars Rebels: “The Honorable Ones” Season 2 Episode 16 Review

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For a fairly basic, predictable episode, there was actually a lot going on. With the Ghost investigating the possibility that the Empire may be building something massive around Geonosis. Considering we saw a Geonosian holding early blueprints of the Death Star in Attack of the Clones, this can only mean one thing. As a bridge between trilogies, Rebels continues to find success with linking the birth of the Rebellion to events from the prequel era. If this series intends to show us some of the lead-in to this year’s Rogue One, Geonosis seems like a good place to start.

But after this mythologically exciting prologue, we got a pretty standard episode of a hero and a villain stuck in a dire situation working together for a common goal. In season one, Rebels set up two excellent here vs. villain rivalries. The biggest was Kanan vs. the Grand Inquisitor, and we know how that ended. But the second, Zeb vs. Agent Kallus, looks to end a little differently based on “The Honorable Ones.”

Stuck in a frozen cave on one of the moons of Geonosis, the pair talk about the differences and similarities of the Empire and the Rebellion. While there wasn’t much of an investigation of what exactly makes Kallus so loyal to the Empire, his story of the Lasat who brutally murdered his squad one by one after they were captured definitely added depth to his character. Not that this Lasat was part of the official Rebellion, but after that, why would the Empire show mercy on any rebel cell? This story adds a whole lot of context to how the Galactic Civil War escalated so quickly. The Empire has frequently been portrayed as cartoonishly evil on this series, as they were in the original films, so this world building is actually very welcome.

Unfortunately for the rest of the episode, there was a lot of hand-holding through their unlikely friendship. The action scenes were obvious, as was much of the dialogue. But after Zeb and Kallus get picked up by their respective forces, there’s one last scene of interest. Kallus seems to crave the sense of community Zeb has when he returns to his crew. Could Kallus become the Vegeta/Zuko/Asajj Ventress of this series? That would be fascinating to see, though I doubt there will be any payoff anytime soon.

Still, there’s a sense that this episode likely won’t play a large role in season two’s endgame. As we rush toward the finish (only four episodes left!), the sense that Rebels has lost all of its momentum remains throughout this episode. But there was enough world building and general thoughtfulness toward the Star Wars reference to keep this entry afloat where others sank. Grade: B

Some Other Notes:

  • It’s never said exactly what the Empire did to the Geonosians. Not that they were ever kind to our heroes back in the Clone Wars, but there’s an unspeakable evil to wiping out all life on a planet. Knowing the Empire is going to have a flashier way to do it in a few years puts an imposing dread on the universe at large.
  • I hope we don’t get one episode a season for the next couple years where Kallus makes a big leap to the light side like he did here. Dave Filoni and co. did a beautiful job spacing out Ventress’ turn in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I hope to see a similar tactic applied here.
  • It was nice to have Rex back in the mix this week! Even if he only had a few stray lines.
  • Next week looks to finally return to the main conflict of the series. About time.

By Matt Dougherty

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