"Star Wars: Rebels" Episode 17 –Through Imperial Eyes (9 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. Special Guest Star: Lars Mikkelson, Tom Kane; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 2/25/17. It is currently available on the Disney XD app.
This review will contain mild spoilers.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is one step closer to capturing the Rebels of Phoenix Squadron and capturing the Imperial spy in his midst in this latest episode, Through Imperial Eyes. This episode is a taut spy thriller, teaming Ezra and Agent Kallus in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Their opponents are Thrawn and Colonel Yularen (who is voiced once more by Tom Kane.) But who is the cat and who is the mouse?
This episode gave me anxiety in all of the best ways. Watching incredibly smart people move pieces across a Dejarik board is something that I wouldn't have expected in a show that some dismiss as a "kids show." The writing here is top notch and the performances of the cast sell it. It has the feeling of a less frantic The Departed. Kallus is the Leonardo DiCaprio character who thinks he's a step ahead but is secretly terrified that he's not. He's done his best to cover his tracks, but will that be enough?
Every twist and turn in this episode keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. Will they get away? Will they not get away?
I think the larger conundrum here, the idea that they'll be debating in the future over and over again, is whether or not Ezra's effort to extract Kallus that kicks off the episode made things better or worse.
For Kallus, the answer is still up in the air.
This episode was a perfect culmination of the things that we've seen previously, all building up. Thrawn is able to put the pieces together flawlessly because of all of the groundwork he's done, collecting information about Phoenix squadron and poking and prodding at their defenses. He finally has all the information he needs to spring his trap and, by the end of this episode, I think he has the means to lure them.
One thing I loved about this episode was that it finally gave a reason for the rank cylinders that Imperial Officers carry around. It makes sense, and in short order it lets us understand the stakes of the game that's being played when Kallus switches them out for the patsy he's chosen.
I can't talk about how well constructed this episode is. It is a perfect culmination of the things that have been building up prior, but it stands on its own as this wonderful bit of writing. Every situation is carefully constructed so that each member of the game can come away with a different conclusion and for some, those conclusions are the wrong ones and will put them in more danger. The final showdown has so many moving pieces that seeing it come together the way it does made me want to cheer, even if it didn't end the way I hoped it would. Think about how difficult it would have been to take each character and construct their perspective over the course of the episode so that the conlcusion had all of those moving pieces to it? It was a masterwork.
Another thing I loved about this installment was the inclusion of the assassin droids and how their command code referenced one of the most beloved side characters in the original Thrawn stories, the Noghri Rukh. We also got the first canon mention of Thrawn's flagship, The Chimaera. Another bonus for fans who have this esoteric (and possibly meaningless) knowledge.
This episode was an intense spy thriller and I loved every tense moment of it. I'm happy to give it a 9 out of 10. I can't wait to see Thrawn spring his trap in the coming weeks and I hope our Rebels survive the day.
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)
- Trials of the Darksaber (10 of 10)
- Legacy of Mandalore (8 of 10)
- Through Imperial Eyes (9 of 10)
Season Average: 8.36 out of 10
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