"Star Wars: Rebels" Episode 14 – Warhead (8 out of 10) – Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, David Oyelowo; Guest Starring Stephen Stanton and Lars Mikkelson. Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 1/14/17. It is currently available on the Disney XD app.
This review will contain mild spoilers.
The latest episode of Rebels, "Warhead," gives us a focus on Zeb, a character who hasn't had much of the spotlight since the wonderful season two episode "The Honorable Ones." With the growing importance of Pheonix Squad as a central figure in the Rebellion, so too do the responsibilities of those of the Ghost Crew. Zeb is Hera's security officer and is tasked with keeping watch over Chopper Base while Hera and the rest of the team head out on a mission.
This episode incorporates a bit of The Empire Strikes Back here, where Thrawn has droids launched out into the galaxy, looking for signs of Rebel Bases. One of these droids impacts on the surface of the planet Chopper Base is located on and things go downhill from there. These aren't passive reconnaissance droids, the way the Arakyd Viper Probots that we saw in Empire were, these robots are lethal. Disguised as an early McQuarrie protocol droid design (in turn, based on Fritz Lang's Metropolis), these droids are designed to infiltrate, report, and, if necessary, blow everything to kingdom come.
Unfortunately for Zeb, he takes this droid in, thinking it could be of help on Chopper base.
The episode takes cues from Empire, but also works in moments from Predator, but is able to remain lighthearted. This episode is funny, mainly because you're slapping your forehead at how bad of an idea all of this is. And then you're laughing with glee when things come together and Zeb and the droids are able to turn the tables on the Imperials.
The droid itself is very cool, both in its protocol form and in its killer form. But my favorite was when it was in its countdown Predator mode.
The thing I loved most about this episode was the ending. The entire enterprise is the unseen hand of Thrawn, but when we see him, and he's lost an entire Star Destroyer, he's happy about it. He's one step closer to disassembling the entire rebel alliance and they don't even know it. He promised that they would be the architects of their own destruction and I'm really starting to believe him.
More importantly, though, is the dangerous game Agent Kallus is playing. Thrawn is playing the rebels like a musical instrument, is it any stretch to think that he is already on to Agent Kallus turning sympathizer? As much as everyone is eager to see the faceoff between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, I think the eventual face off between Agent Kallus and Grand Admiral Thrawn is going to be equally explosive and exciting. I can't wait to get there.
Aside from that, this episode has some great lighting and animation effects. The cast of this episode mostly consisted of droids, but they all are imbued with so much personality, not just in their vocal performance, but in their physical performance, that it's stunning work. Next time you watch the episode, pay attention to the body language of each of the droids, how they tilt their heads or motion with their hands, or even how their gait matches their attitude. Rebels is truly home to some of the best animators in the business.
Chopper is an even more interesting case on this score. Look at how expressive the droid is, even when he's not motioning with his arms and servos.
"Warhead" was satisfying and brings us incrementally closer to the inevitable finale. I'm giving it an 8 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)
- Visions and Voices (9.5 of 10)
- Ghosts of Geonosis (8 of 10)
- Warhead (8 of 10)
Season Average: 8.1 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.