Star Wars Rebels: “The Lost Commanders” Season 2 Premiere Review

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There was a lot of mythology at play in Rebels‘ second season premiere, as well as an extended Jaws homage. Ultimately, the former worked very much in the episode’s favor as we enter a new era where Rebels is very much connected to The Clone Wars.

After last summer’s mini-movie event The Siege of Lothal, this early version of the Rebel Alliance is in need of a base of operations. Ahsoka, at a loss for ideas, has someone in mind for the crew of the Ghost to track down. That someone turns out to be none other than Captain Rex, the main clone hero from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He’s accompanied by Wolfe and Gregor, two other clone characters form Dave Filoni’s first foray into this universe.

“The Lost Commanders” does a lot of titillating once Kanan, Ezra, and the others meet the clones. Rex references a battle he fought with Ahsoka that likely took place after she left the Jedi Order but before the fall of the Republic. Then he shies away from mentioning when he last saw her. There’s also a ton of Order 66 questions. But very little is answered here. Instead, the episode largely deals with Kanan’s inability to trust people part of the army that wiped out his own kind. His own master even. Say what you will about the prequels, but Order 66 is one of the most powerful plot points in the entire saga. As for how it relates to Rebels, it’s fascinating to see how the show is making the connection between that event and where we start in A New Hope. Like Clone Wars before it, Rebels is mining the prequels for rich drama that only further validates their existence and, in many ways, improves them.

But despite this, there is an unfortunate portion of this premiere devoted to an overlong Jaws homage. While it was amusing at first to hear Rebels‘ score switch gears from Star Wars to Steven Spielberg’s classic film, the sequence just went on way too long and essentially became the climax of the episode. Sure, there was the Imperial probe droid skirmish, but even that felt like an afterthought. It really does damage to what should be a momentous episode. It also definitely makes Rex’s return lack the emotional gut punch that Ahsoka’s had (even if that is partly due to the fact that we knew Rex was coming).

Still, “The Lost Commanders” did a fine job re-acclimating us with this great hero of the Old Republic. With the Empire now aware of their whereabouts, perhaps this will just end up feeling like the first half of an episode, with next week’s bringing us the clones’ true return to form. Grade: B

 

Some Other Thoughts From the Outer Rim: 

  • “There are questions, questions that need answering,” Ahsoka says in her best Gandalf impression.
  • Rex, Wolfe, and Gregor supposedly removed their chips before Order 66 even occurred. Does this mean Rex went on after Fives’ death and continued to investigate just what his purpose was in the Clone Wars? But Rex also makes it sound like they fought for the Empire for a bit. How many years will it be before Disney lets Dave Filoni continue telling Clone Wars stories?
  • Ahsoka implying to Kanan that she has full trust in Rex warms my heart. After Order 66, that crucial familial relationship between Jedi and clone developed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars still exists at least somewhere.
  • Rex and Ahsoka fought alongside at the liberation of Mandalore. Last we saw Mandalore, Bo-Katan was asking Obi-Wan to send Republic troops to save the planet after Darth Maul’s siege. Did this battle occur right when Order 66 was happening? So. Many. Questions.
  • So, what does Rex know of Lord Vader?

By Matt Dougherty

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