Star Wars Rebels: Rebel Resolve Review
In the penultimate episode of Star Wars Rebels season 1, Ezra is determined to find his master and free him from the Empire!
After the dead silence at the end of the last episode, “Rebel Resolve” begins with ominous music and an action scene. As always, the story flows from one episode to the next very well. After Kanan’s capture last week, fans are eager to find out more about his fate, and “Rebel Resolve” gives us glimpses while really being about something completely different: Fulcrum, Ezra, and how the finale might parallel the pilot.
The anonymous, androgynous Fulcrum tells Hera not to prioritize rescuing Kanan, but Ezra hatches a plan anyway. Putting Hera in a position where she can’t tell the team why she wants to hold off on saving Kanan gets right to the core of her characterization. It must have been a challenge for her, her loyalty to her team warring with her natural secrecy. Fulcrum thinks that maintaining hope for the Rebellion as a whole is more important than rescuing a single person. That is a very Jedi mindset, but partially for that reason, I don’t think it’s a very Ahsoka one. Maybe Bail would think like that, but his characterization is more uncertain. Although this episode gives us the most complete look so far at the Rebel sympathizer, Fulcrum’s identity is a puzzle for another episode.
Another intriguing thing about this episode is the mention of Mustafar. It doesn’t seem quite as significant to the plot as the identity of Fulcrum, but almost. What does it mean that Mustafar is where Jedi go to die, or to confess? Did the lava planet mean something to Obi-Wan and Anakin before they fought? If the planet has a history, Rebels may have made Revenge of the Sith even more tragic. If the finale takes place on Mustafar, it will parallel one of Lucas’ original ideas for Star Wars, in which Luke’s final confrontation with the Emperor took place on the Imperial capital, Had Abbadon, surrounded by a lake of lava. The design for that throne room was later used for Mustafar. Anakin and Obi-Wan certainly confessed enough on Mustafar: love, hatred, loyalty, pity.
But enough speculation. There are some great small moments in this episode too, mostly involving the otherwise rather dull smuggler Vizago: like Zare, he thinks the Jedi are a joke. Later, Ezra’s assumption about Devaronian pacts leads to a hilariously awkward pat on the head.
Zeb is shocked by the Empire’s willingness to destroy their own comm tower. Of all the dark things in Star Wars, that one was particularly frightening because it was self-inflicted.
“Rebel Resolve” is really about the choice between saving one person and saving many, and about leaving people behind. Zeb puts himself in danger when he rescues Chopper, who refuses to leave the data port that might lead them closer to Kanan. Hera has to choose not to rescue Kanan, and Fulcrum does the same. This all echoes the mini-movie that started the series, where Zeb’s decision to leave Ezra behind was a crucial point. Just like the team decided to rescue Ezra, they decide to rescue Kanan as well – Hera included.
The opening action scene looks a bit like the rooftop runs we’ve seen before, but Hera has some cool moves in this episode, rolling the Phantom to let Chopper board, then immediately diving into Lothal’s atmosphere. The space flights were one thing that didn’t match my high expectations for Rebels, but this one really made for some tense, exciting action.
Ultimately, “Rebel Resolve” will be best judged as a a penultimate episode, as a part of a whole. Naturally, it moves things forward toward the finale without having a complete identity of its own.