Star Wars Rebels: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” Season 2 Episode 19 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.dis411.net/2016/03/21/star-wars-rebels-episode-the-mystery-of-chopper-base-airs-on-disney-xd-march-23-2016/

Season two of Star Wars Rebels has been a lot of things. Frustrating, occasionally brilliant, partially Clone Wars season seven, sometimes Rebels season two, meandering, and emotional all come to mind. Yet here we are, almost at the end, and we get an episode that feels like it’s working both for itself and the future. “The Mystery of Chopper Base” has the Rebellion starting to form a serious union on their first planetary base. That’s exciting in and of itself, but the episode also builds some serious tension for the crew of the Ghost, who just may be assembled as we know them for the last time.

But first and foremost, this episode was a really fun monster story. It felt very Clone Wars in a way, with the exploration of a new world and how the heroes have to learn to adapt to its nature. Rex even gets captured by a bunch of giant spider things (the design was fantastically disgusting) and two Jedi lead the way, cutting down the creatures as they go. I can think of a lot of episodes of Clone Wars, especially in those first couple seasons, that follow a similar formula.

The situation, and the galaxy as a whole, have changed a whole lot since then, however. That’s another weight “The Mystery of Chopper Base” carries. Unlike these types of episodes from Clone Wars, where Anakin, Obi Wan, Ahsoka, and Rex had the Republic army backing them, this was just a small band of rebels, reminding us how precious each of their lives. That tension flows with Hera’s cold demeanor toward Kanan. The Rebellion’s numbers are limited, can they really afford to lose Ahsoka and the two Jedi? Can Hera? For such a fun little monster movie of an episode, the overarching tone was definitely somber. The crew of the Ghost didn’t split up much while fighting the spiders. Even when Hera says they have to start working without the Jedi to Zeb and Sabine, Kanan and Ezra come soaring in to save them right at the last minute. The crew of the Ghost is a single team, each player important in their own way. Season one showed that better than season two has, but this episode showed their strength as that team better than most episodes before it.

But for what purpose? If you weren’t already nervous going into next week’s finale, you should be now. Star Wars has done this in the past. Even at age 14, I knew going into the theater for Revenge of the Sith that I was in store for a gut-punch. The feeling appeared again in Clone Wars, when it was so clear that Ahsoka’s time as a Jedi was coming to an end. And then again when Fives discovered the secret of Order 66 a little too early. Not all Star Wars stories succeed in emotionally preparing you for the darkness to come. Frankly, this season could have used a few more episodes like this one simply to secure that sense of dread. But in pulling off the actual deed, Star Wars never shies away (except of course when Anakin hauntingly ignites his lightsaber at the younglings).

Still, the final moments of “The Mystery of Chopper Base” are downright haunting. Kanan and Hera’s goodbye was gorgeously animated, like Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Temple for the last time. Then there was Ahsoka telling Ezra how unpredictable the Force can be as the “Imperial March” slowly started playing over the credits. This episode was scary and fun, but the heaviness in the background made it great. Whatever happens next week, it isn’t going to be good. Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • Sabine got a lot of time to shine this week. She looked worried when Hera said the Jedi may not be coming back. The writers have said that this is the last episode we see Hera, Sabine, and Zeb in this season, so whatever developments are in store will have to wait for season three.
  • The design of the spiders was seriously great. They were horrific and just alien enough.
  • Could Ezra really turn to the Dark Side? What a ballsy move that would be for a Disney XD show. What would a season three look like with Ezra training to become an Inquisitor or something of the sort?
  • Ahsoka’s presence has been so comforting this season, but when she peered over Ezra looking at the sky, I felt legitimately scared. Including iconic character from the films, Ahsoka still stands as one of the best Star Wars characters ever created. That journey could end next week. Actually, Disney XD released a promo that’ll give any Clone Wars fans all of the feels. Watch with a tissue box.

By Matt Dougherty

 

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