"Star Wars: Rebels" Episode 19 – Double Agent Droid (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; Special Guest stars: Josh Gad; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 3/11/17. It is currently available on the Disney XD app.
This review will contain mild spoilers.
This latest episode of Star Wars Rebels is part spy comedy, part thriller, and all Chopper.
AP-5 and Chopper are given a delicate assignment to steal a set of Imperial codes. Since AP-5 is an Imperial Droid and Chopper has a new paint job (though I wonder who gave it to him since Sabine is out of the picture), they're the likely candidates to be sent on the mission. Unfortunately, Phoenix Squadron has no idea that Chopper has been compromised.
The Imperial Security Bureau has identified Chop for who he really is and decide they can use him to infiltrate Phoenix Squadron. As the artificially enhanced ISB officer in command of the mission we have Josh Gad. Gad is probably best known for his role as Olaf in Frozen. Star Wars fans might also recognize his voice from those videos tormenting Daisy Ridley, trying to get information about The Last Jedi from the set of Kenneth Branagh's remake of Murder on the Orient Express.
After a quick job of reprogramming Chopper, AP-5 notices that something is wrong and tries to warn everyone. Unfortunately, AP-5 is the droid who called wolf, constantly calling Chopper's character into question over the course of the show. But this time it was real. Chopper was being controlled by the Imperials and they were using him to find out the location of the secret rebel base.
For me, this episode was a lot of fun. I think the idea of a ship full of ISB agents with artificial intelligence monitoring the galaxy and checking for security threats is fantastic and true to the world of Star Wars, and I think the level of slicing they did was pretty impressive and fit well.
The tension of the episode was tightly woven. I was worried constantly that the ISB agents would complete their goal and that Hera and the crew wouldn't catch on to Chopper's double-agent status in time. And that situation made for a lot of great comedy.
What I had a harder time with was the story device Hera used to "reverse the polarity" against the the ISB agents, using Chopper as a conduit. This is a very Star Trek like conceit. "We have a problem. We need to use what is at our disposal to solve the problem. We can use science to blow up the enemy!" It's a very tried and true technique and the reason it works so well in Star Trek is that the final result is always a plausible impossibility. Having Hera shoot some energy through Chopper and completely blow up an ISB ship remotely strains credulity.
It opens up a lot of questions about the capability of transmitting kill orders to ships via remote and makes me wonder why the Rebel Alliance (or the Imperials for that matter) didn't research ways of remote detonating ships. It seems like it would be ripe for sabotage attempts.
Ultimately, I realized that that point of the story was to make Hera seem like a total badass. This is what happens when you mess with Hera's droid. So while I thought the method of the explosion was silly and didn't quite fit in Star Wars, it was an incredibly perfect moment for Hera. And in a franchise where the rule is that the speed of hyperspace is the speed of the story, it's hard for me to argue with such a thing.
Aside from that minor quibble, this episode was a lot of fun. It's showing how the Empire is closing in and is causing a severe case of anxiety as we build closer to the climactic showdown that this season is certain to end with. For me, this episode comes in at an 8 of 10 for the tension, the comedy between AP-5 and Chopper, Josh Gad's entry into the Star Wars universe, and that cool moment with Hera, even though it didn't make any damn sense.
But next time we take a break from the galactic conflict and focus on the spiritual, as Darth Maul returns.
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)
- Secret Cargo (8 of 10)
- Double Agent Droid (8 of 10)
Season Average: 8.32 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.