Season 2 | Episode 20 | “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Aired Mar 23, 2015
Before proceeding, please be aware that this is a spoiler zone. Reading the following will be much more understandable after viewing the content of Star Wars Rebels‘ new episode, “The Mystery of Chopper Base.” Proceed at your own risk.
I find myself in an awkward position as I write this because I had some major issues with this episode, but there were also things that I just loved about it. After some thought and a little fretting (you know me, I worry), I figured I’d get the rant out of the way—and then I could talk about the good stuff. Bad news first and all that.
I hate the spiders.
Not in the generally “creepy crawling OMG giant spider” way, but in the way that they seemed to be completely invincible. I’ve seen Star Destroyers take more damage from a blaster or ship’s guns than those spiders took. What are they made of? Rubber? Do they have little personal shields, like Droideka?
And when did the entire crew of Rebels start shooting like Stormtroopers? Sabine figures out that you can kill them by shooting them in the eyes, but it then becomes almost painfully impossible to even hit them in the eye.
At one point, I watched blaster bolts bounce off their eyes and hit everything around their eyes … but no dead spiders. I’d have to go back and count just to make sure, but I’m fairly sure no more than four spiders were actually killed by being shot with a blaster—and that includes the spiders being hit by the Ghost’s guns.
Guns that can take out a TIE fighter or blow up all kinds of things just bounce off these spiders? How is that possible?
I 100 percent understand that we needed some sort of threat to the base, and a catalyst that pits the team against a bigger foe, but watching Rex stand two feet from a spider and be unable to hit it in the eye or even kick it in the eye when he was right on top of it just feels like a huge stretch—especially when this team have done the impossible (and that makes them mighty) in the past.
Okay, grump over. Let’s get to the good stuff.
First of all, let’s just talk about the animation. There’s so much going on, and all of it made things so much richer. From the light generated by flashlights in a cavern to the play of emotion across characters’ faces, the little things mean a lot. Hera’s little smirk when she says, “You know I know when you’re lying, right?” Then there’s the glow of the lightsabers.
The real treasures in this episode for me, however, are the variety of emotions and thoughts expressed through the animation and the wonderful nuances of the voice cast. I realllllly want to know if little things like Sabine’s shift from face-palm to smile, or Hera putting on a happy face about Kanan leaving, were picked up from the actresses themselves, in the script, or added by the animators.
I’ve said before that this cast has found a rhythm, but there’s not a conversation in this episode that doesn’t feel natural, and the subtext in some of the scenes is just beautiful.
Which leads me to my absolute favorite scene of both the episode and the series to date. (WARNING: IF YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH A GUSH OF FEELINGS, YOU’RE GONNA WANT TO SKIP THIS PART.)
I must have watched the second-to-last scene of this episode 20 times.
A little history: I hopped aboard the Kanan/Hera “ship” the moment I watched the very first short, “The Machine in the Ghost”.
Rebels takes place roughly six years after the events of John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn, so it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that a romantic spark that flared up in the novel would be full blown by the time the series started. This short pointed to that relationship in a pretty undeniable way.
Except … it suddenly disappeared in the series’ first full-length episode, “Spark of Rebellion”—and it stayed pretty much under the radar for most of season one. Those of us who already saw them as a couple found small moments that confirmed our beliefs, but I didn’t see anything that pointed to anything concrete until the last episode of season one. Season two opened it up a little, and we got some more moments that certainly added to the belief … but even then, you could spin it as a totally platonic action if need be.
The moment Sabine face-palms and tells Kanan to “Wake up!” … my heart fluttered, and then there it was.
Did it feel a little retconned? Well, if you believed they were in a relationship from the beginning, then this likely felt like a change of tone. But I’m willing to adjust my head canon, because there’s no doubt that everything about this scene puts the love between these two firmly into the story. I can buy that Kanan was that clueless because, hey, guys can be when it comes to this stuff, and A New Dawn never actually set things in motion. I can buy that Hera kept any emotions about Kanan on lockdown because there was a bigger fight to deal with. But it’s out now. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.
It may have taken two seasons to happen … but it happened, and I couldn’t be happier.
That does it for me. The season finale is next Wednesday, and I hope the Force is with all of us.
The Star Wars Rebels season two finale airs Wednesday, March 30, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney X D.