TV Reviews: Star Wars Rebels, "The Rise of the Old Masters"

Mama Fisi
Mama Fisi's picture

In this episode, Kanan tries to teach Ezra the ways of the Force, but it quickly becomes clear that not only is Kanan not a very good teacher, but he may not have been all that good of a student, either.  After all, as Yoda said, "there is no 'try.'"

Losing his temper and almost getting Ezra killed during a particularly complicated excercise, Kanan decides to attempt to break a legendary Jedi Master out of an impregnable Imperial fortress in order to foist the lad off on "the best teacher possible."

However, in the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a twap!" and a spooky-looking dude with a double-bladed lighsaber, who looks like a cross between Darths Vader and Maul only more anorexic, captures Kanan and Ezra as they discover that Master Lumina is nothing but a mysteriously resurrected corpse being used as bait to round up the last remaining Jedi.

Working together, master and padewan manage to escape thanks in part to one of Sabine's more earthly "miracles"--a detonation grenade--rejoining Sabine and Zeb in time to catch a lift with the Ghost's landing craft, piloted by Hera, who herself had to dodge a flock of amorous mantabats attracted by the ship's transmitter frequency.

In the end, Kanan realizes that it isn't just Ezra who lacks focus and discipline, and determines to teach the lad, rather than try to teach him.  The two engage in what looks for all the world like a game of ball, but with a Jedi twist--the bat is a lightsaber.

The animation is getting better, or at least they're including more little details that make the movements look more realistic.  The lip-synching is still woefully off, though.  On the plus side, this series expands on the personalities--or at least the human-ness--of the Imperials, mostly in making the Stormtroopers into ordinary guys, not drones in armor.  They still get their butts kicked as the Rebels mow through them every week, but they have human reactions, such as staring at a grenade, then looking at each other in a "That can't be good--" reaction.  And it also shows just what a fighting Jedi can do when not constrained by the laws of real-life gravity--Kanan is a badass fighter with that Force-throw technique.

The series continues to liberally pepper the dialog with quotes from the movies, which feels both like trying to summon the familiar, and fan fiction. It's both amusing and tiresome--I think it'll get even more tiresome as the show goes on.  They have an open field to grow their own crop in, they really don't need to keep plowing over the same ground.

One thought that occurred to me after watching this week's episode, was that Kanan may not have even completed his Jedi training.  If the story is set 14 years after the destruction of the Jedi temple, as is stated in the Wikipedia entry, and Kanan is in his early thirties, then he was probably about Ezra's age when the Jedi were destroyed.  Not exactly a "Jedi Master."  Maybe more like a "Jedi high-school dropout."

Could you imagine taking a Jedi correspondence course?