Through Imperial Eyes : Rebels Season 3 Episode 16 Review
Believing the identity of a Fulcrum agent has been compromised, Ezra, Chopper, and AP-5 allow themselves to be captured by Imperial forces. Once in the hands of the Empire, they plan to escape and bring Agent Kallus along. Unfortunately, Grand Admiral Thrawn arrives unannounced and complicates the rescue. Can the Rebels survive another encounter with Thrawn.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn makes another appearance, and he does not disappoint. It has been well established that Thrawn is very perceptive and cunning. To the credit of the writers, this episode does not dwell too long making that point again. Some of Thrawn’s deductions are not fully explained. We see him react to information and then make the right decision. The audience knows how calculating Thrawn is and does not have to be walked step by step through how he arrived at his conclusion.
The time saved not demonstrating Thrawn’s mental prowess is put to good use showing how physically menacing Thrawn can be. We see him in his work out clothes, sparring with assassin droids. Dude is swole, jacked, and yoked. He reminds me of a young Carl Hassler from 1996, only more blue.
Later, Thrawn is under actual attack. He moves cat-like to dodge his opponents attempted blows. When he finally goes on the offensive, he is one bad. . . (“Watch your mouth.” “I’m just talking about Shaft”). These sequences prove he is physically capable of executing whatever plans his devious mind conjures.
The most interesting question regarding Thrawn is whether he notices how the Rebels have changed some of his information. In a previous episode, Thrawn narrowed the scope of his search for the secret Rebel base. He studies the star map after it has been altered by Chopper. He makes no indication, but we have to wonder if he noticed the change. If he did, then he now knows exactly on which planet the base is hidden.
As much as I love Thrawn, the subterfuge of Kallus stands out in this episode. When the Rebels’ plan to extract him runs into trouble, he begins to play other Imperial officers as if they are chess pieces. He has everyone else watching each other while he takes steps to help the Rebels. With everyone else distracted, Kallus is able to plant evidence which could implicate another officer as the spy leaking information to the Rebellion. Even Thrawn has to acknowledge that whoever the spy is, he or she is a formidable adversary.
One thing that helps Kallus is how calm he stays under pressure. Granted, his voice does rise when Ezra first informs him that he might be executed because the Empire may have intercepted his last transmission. Other than that, his actions do not give a clue that he feels nervous or under pressure. While time is of the essence, he walks slower than a tortoise. He then smoothly switches “code cylinders” (Was I the only one who thought those things in Imperial officers’ chest pockets were just pens?) with another officer. This allows him to access information and circumvent security without leaving a trail back to himself.
It is great to see Colonel Yularen. Star Wars is amazing in how it takes something that seems to be throw away line or background image and give it meaning. For instance, a small statement in the crawl to A New Hope was turned into Rogue One. Similarly, in A New Hope, some innocuous man sits around a table with Darth Vader, Governor Tarkin, and other officers on the Death Star. He then is given importance in The Clone Wars and now in Rebels. The story group is so talented, they can take details created to give context to other stories and then make new and interesting stories or characters from these small nuggets.
The animators continue to flush out the art of the different alien races of the Star Wars galaxy. Thrawn’s office is decorated with the artwork of his adversaries. A habit explained in greater detail in the episode, Hera’s Heroes. We see the piece he stole from Hera’s family. We also see art from Sabine, which Thrawn uses to determine the identity of his Rebel prisoner. These pieces add color to the drab surroundings and also contrast the differences between the Empire and the Rebellion.
There is another unidentified piece of art hanging behind Thrawn’s desk. It depicts two dinosaur-like creatures which appear to be moments away from fighting each other. I am curious if this is from Thrawn’s culture or if he has simply appropriated it from another race. Either way, it appears to be projecting the way Thrawn sees himself, as an alpha predator.
Every week, there are little details which just add a sense of realism to the show. This week is no exception. While Ezra is a prisoner of the Empire, he is handed off to stormtroopers. During the exchange, Ezra stares at Kallus with a look which seems to be asking, “How are you going to get me out of this?” At that moment, a stormtrooper smacks Ezra on the back of the head to stop him from eyeing his captor. It’s a great little moment.
What Didn’t Work
There really wasn’t much wrong with the episode. The only thing that gives me pause is Kallus’s confidence in his plan. The person he framed knows Kallus did it. It seems naive to believe that Thrawn will not at least investigate if the arrested officer claims Kallus framed him. However, this is a minor issue.
The episode is good. We see a little more into Thrawn’s abilities and get a different perspective on Kallus. The tension is slowly turning up, and I have an uneasy feeling that by season’s end, Thrawn wil deal a decisive blow to our Rebels
4 Death Stars out of 5.