Friday, 26 February 2016

Star Wars Rebels 'The Honorable Ones' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

The first thing that I noticed about this episode, and something that got me very excited when it happened, was the fact that the episode opens with the crew of the Ghost travelling to Geonosis to investigate the Empire building a huge mystery project.  Yep, the episode dipped into Death Stat territory!

Unluckily, or possibly luckily, whatever the Empire was working on has since left Geonosis.  Disney have said that Rebels will be tying into the new films, but most people assumed that they meant the new trilogy only.  Is this episode laying some extra ground work for the upcoming Rogue One film, which is all about stealing the Death Star pans?  It could be, after all, once the crew of the Ghost file their report on the mission the Rebels are still going to be looking for whatever the Empire built.

Whilst the episode begins with this little dip into the larger lore of the Star Wars universe the main bulk of the episode is much smaller and personal, as after infiltrating an Imperial station Zeb and Agent Kallus end up in an escape pod that crashes into Geonosis' frozen moon.

Kallus is injured and the two enemies are forced to work together for survival as they wait to see whose allies will arrive first.  Initially I was surprised to find that the episode would focus on Zeb just a few weeks after he got the spotlight in 'Legend of the Lasat', but it wasn't so much about Zeb as it was Kallus.  

After so long of Kallus being an adversary it was a pleasant surprise to see the show spend the time to explore a little of the background of one of their main antagonists, and to show that he isn't the two-dimensional villain that we were led to believe.  

Despite previously bragging that he was responsible for the destruction of Lasan we find out that Kallus' role was not as grand as he wanted the Rebels to believe, and that he was just another soldier following orders as the people above him executed the destruction of a world.  We also find out that Kallus didn't take his bo-rifle as a trophy of war, but it was gifted to him by a defeated Lasat as part of their warrior traditions.  Kallus is also given a little humanity as he tells Zeb a story of how his entire squad were wiped out and killed by a single Lasat mercenary and how he was almost killed in the process.  

It's nice of the show to give us this back story for one of the villains, and make them into a character you can kind of understand and feel sorry for.  He's not just an enemy combatant, he's seen the horrors of war and is as much a victim of the Empire as anyone else.  Which is a point that's driven home when Kallus finally makes it back to the Empire, and despite being around his people, finds himself alone.  He sees admiral Constantine, but isn't even given a second glance despite being injured.  

Kallus and Zeb both find their expectations of their enemies subverted in this episode, and Kallus has some of his core beliefs shaken by what he goes through with Zeb.  I hope that this plays out into the future, that it has lasting effects.  I'd really like to see Kallus begin to question his allegiance more and possibly become an informant for the Rebellion, or even turn on the Empire fully.

'The Honorable Ones' uses the sci-fi trope of being stranded with an enemy, but does it with great effect.  There is a reason it's such a heavily used storyline in television, because it's a great one to explore characters and their motivations.  

Whether or not he events of this episode change Kallus in any lasting way it was definitely enjoyable to be able to see him as more than just a villain for once.


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