Star Wars Rebels: “Warhead” Season 3 Episode 12 Review

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Nothing happened in “Warhead.” Nothing. Several things that have to happen later in the season were re-alluded to, but not really even inched forward. We know Kallus is Fulcrum. We know Thrawn is eventually going to actually fight against the rebels. We know the current base for Phoenix Squadron can’t last. This episode is intent on reminding us of those things without any actual development.

Instead, Zeb has to with a deadly Imperial droid that threatens to derail this section of the Rebellion. With the help of Chopper and AP-5, he succeeds, but leaves Thrawn with just 94 systems to check now that he knows the Rebel base is on one of the planets the droids searched. This new droid doesn’t really have much of a personality, at least not nearly as much as Chopper or AP-5, who walk a very thin line in “Warhead” in terms of being annoying and actually being funny. They succeed a little more than they fail, but not by much.

Even so, Thrawn’s search for the Rebel base doesn’t have to be this monotonous. Remember in Empire Strikes Back, which this episode visually calls back to, when the Imperial probe droids are sent out and one lands on Hoth, leading to a giant battle, still the best of the series mind you, just 20 minutes later? Star Wars doesn’t have to be this slow and methodical. It’s a big space fantasy, things can kind of just happen. Perhaps the 22 episodes per season structure leaves the wells of creativity dry.

The biggest shame, perhaps, is that this episode is more competently put together than last week’s two-parter.  “Warhead” benefits from good direction, smart writing, and short but relatively inventive action sequences. Zeb and the droids trying to trap the titular Warhead makes for a fun scene. But this episode just contributes so little to everything Star Wars Rebels has set out to accomplish in season three. The show derailed a bit this time last year for season two, but we know it eventually picked up. The new trailer indicates that so will season three, but these middle episodes need to be put to better use in the future. Grade: B-

Some Other Notes:

  • Yes, yes, the Warhead is based off of Ralph McQuarrie’s original design of C-3PO, which in and of itself was influenced by the classic robot from Metropolis. It’s cool that this iconic piece of hardware has lived so long and in so many different forms.
  • Is Zeb still treated like a kid, or is he a major Rebel leader now? The show has taken us through this arc before, quite beautifully in last year’s “Legends of Lasat.” We didn’t need to do it again.
  • Did everyone see that trailer though? Obi Wan is coming!

By Matt Dougherty

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