Star Wars Rebels: “The Siege of Lothal” Season 2 Premiere Review

Photo Credit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTPyXlk2-n4

Mythology can be a powerful thing, and Star Wars has a lot of it, even in this era where the expanded universe has been mostly kicked aside. “The Siege of Lothal” relies heavily on the mythos that came before it, but also sends Rebels into an exciting new era.

As a season two premiere, it promises big things to come. With season one ending with the show’s best episode in a good but shaky season, Rebels had to come back big. And how do you go big with Star Wars? Darth freaking Vader. Voiced by James Earl Jones himself no less.

More than ever before, Rebels feels like an integral part of the Star Wars mythos. Right from the start, the crew of the Ghost is working alongside the founders of the Rebel Alliance to cripple the Empire as best they can. In doing so, they’ve caught Vader’s attention. With the Inquisitor dead, it’s all Vader and Agent Kallus doing the hunting.

As an Imperial senator prepared to defect, she contacts the rebels to come rescue her in exchange for intel. The job is performed on Lothal and features much of the crew’s usual banter and foolishness. It appears to be business as usual for Rebels, that is, until Ezra and Kanan feel a cold presence. Vader ignites his lightsaber and a duel that resembles the one at the end of Empire Strikes Back transpires. Vader easily outmatches the two Force-users. He’s a hulking force of evil that gives every scene he’s in a grand and terrifying presence. This iconic figure, with the voice that created him, hasn’t lost any of his touch. We haven’t gotten a version of Vader this authentic since 1983.

But the focus is still smartly on the Ghost crew. Ezra gets some great moments in this premiere. When he’s talking about their duty to the Rebel Alliance, he feels more like Hera’s apprentice than Kanan’s. Ezra is getting the best of both of them as he grows, which is proving to be a very rewarding way to do his arc over the series.

The final battle brought in another potential crew member though. Fans rejoiced when Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s former apprentice, returned in the season one finale. The end of “The Siege of Lothal” delivered on that front. As Vader single handedly attacks the rebel fleet, Ahsoka jumps aboard the Ghost. With the cold feeling overwhelming her, Kanan, and Ezra, she and Kanan search for a Force connection. What Ahsoka finds shocks and disturbs her. Meanwhile, Vader now knows his former apprentice is alive. The Ghost escapes, for now, but Vader is more determined than ever to capture this band of rebels, giving Rebels one hell of a jolt.

For a season premiere, “The Siege of Lothal” was pretty much perfect. Darth Vader’s presence was stronger than it’s been in decades, while his connection with Ahsoka certainly hasn’t dissipated. The only problem is that we have to wait until the fall to see more of season two. Given the direction it seems to be taking, Rebels just got real. Grade: A

 

Some Other Notes:

– “The apprentice lives…”

– Vader tells the Emperor that Ahsoka could lead to Obi Wan. The very mention of his name seems to indicate that Ahsoka’s master isn’t the only one she might run into this season. On The Clone Wars, she and Obi Wan had their own very rewarding dynamic, and he could offer her the information she so desperately seeks about what went wrong.

– Ezra trying and failing to do a Jedi mind trick was the comedy highlight of the episode.

– It looks like we’ll be off Lothal for the season. Finally! Season one spent way too much time on just one planet. It’s time to explore more of the Star Wars universe.

 

By Matt Dougherty

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