"Star Wars: Rebels" Episode 10 – An Inside Man (8.5 out of 10) – Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Directed by Steward Lee; Written by Nicole Dubuc; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, David Oyelowo; Guest Starring Lars Mikkelson, Clancy Brown. Rated TV-Y7, Airs on Disney XD 11/26/16. It is currently available on the Disney XD app.
This review will contain mild spoilers.
Like any good Hitchcock thriller, An Inside Man ratchets up the tension until you're not quite sure you can take it anymore. This episode gives us the ultimate game of cat and mouse between Grand Admiral Thrawn and our rebels on a small scale, before, undoubtedly, giving it to us on a much larger scale later.
The episode revolves around a new weapon the Empire is building. It's top secret and the Rebels decide they need to know what it is. With the help of Ryder Azadi (Clancy Brown's character from previous episodes), they're able to infiltrate the factory. But the factory has been having problems. Ryder's small resistance on Lothal have infiltrated the assembly line and have manufactured Imperial speeders to blow up when they reach max speed. This sort of industrial assembly-line sabotage was a common story during World War II. Prisoners of war pressed into war making service, or even civilians forced into it, would do everything they could to slow the assembly work as a way to subversively fight and keep their lives. It makes sense that the Imperial war machine would also suffer from these setbacks as they press more and more unwilling beings into service.
But with those factory problems comes the attention of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
I wonder if Kanan and Ezra would have decided to infiltrate the factory right then and there if they would have realized that they would be facing off against a vindictive Thrawn who is hellbent on keeping the Imperial secrets and rooting out the rabble rousers.
As I said, the episode plays out very much like a Hitchcockian game. Hitchcock was incredibly adept at putting the pieces on the board and giving the audience more information than either the heroes or the villains had. That way, we're able to sit on the edge of our seats with a better understanding of what can go wrong than the players in the episode do. Every close call the heroes might not realize, every moment the villain edges closer in a way they're not aware of, the audience is holding their breath. This happens over and over again as Thrawn divines the nature of the situation and Kanan and Ezra work to extricate themselves from the bad spot they've been put in.
It certainly evokes Hitchcock's earlier work, like Sabotage or even Secret Agent. As you rewatch the episode, take a look at how the information comes together and how carefully built and ratcheted the tension is. In order to compress it into an episode of this size, you have to have filmmakers of the highest caliber doing some of their best work. I was practically physically ill watching the episode unfold, the tension was that well placed and formed.
The episode then ends in classic Star Wars fashion, with a shootout, a speeder and walker chase, and the good guys getting away by the skin of their teeth, but many things have been revealed.
The title, obviously, refers to a couple of things. First, the factory workers sabotaging the Imperial assembly line, that much is clear. But we're also given the confirmed identity of Fulcrum. It's been the worst-kept secret all season and was exactly who we thought it was. But now it seems as though Thrawn will be setting his sights on discerning the identity of Fulcrum. But the question is this: is this new Fulcrum helping the rebels because they've had a genuine change of heart? Or as part of a larger game to entrap the Ghost crew? Or will they play it as such when Thrawn discovers their identity?
Anything is possible and I can't wait for future episodes to explore it.
As for the top-secret military weapon? I was a little sad that it didn't have anything to do with the Death Star, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for that. But it's still something that could change the tide of the war. And maybe the reason the Rebels of this show aren't seen in Rogue One or A New Hope is because they're busy dealing with this other situation. Or not. But it's fun to think about.
I highly enjoyed this episode, it's been one of the best in a while. For the incredible level of filmmaking, the flawless creation of tension, and one of the most fun final shootouts we've seen in a while, I'm giving this episode an 8.5 out of 10.
Season 3 Scorecard:
- Steps Into Shadow (8 of 10)
- Holocrons of Fate (9 of 10)
- The Antilles Extraction (8 of 10)
- Hera's Heroes (8 of 10)
- The Last Battle (9 of 10)
- Imperial Super Commandos (7.5 of 10)
- Iron Squadron (7.5 of 10)
- The Wynkahthu Job (7.5 of 10)
- An Inside Man (8.5 of 10)
Season Average: 8.11 out of 10
For more in-depth discussions about Star Wars Rebels and all other things Star Wars, be sure to tune into Full of Sith every week.