Thursday, 17 March 2016

Star Wars Rebels 'The Forgotten Droid' 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.

After the Jedi fuelled events of the previous episode it feels a little strange that Star Wars Rebels would go from such faced paced and dramatic storytelling to another character of the week episode.  'The Forgotten Droid' is definitely a slowdown from the episode before, and feels like it was shown out of the correct order.  That being said, the first Chopper centric episode of the series is definitely an enjoyable caper.

With the Rebel fleets carrier ship low on fuel the crew of the Ghost go on a mission to steal a shipment of fuel from the Empire.  When they arrive at their destination Chopper spots a local merchant selling a droid leg that matches one of his, and wants to get it to swap out for his replacement leg.  

Hera tells Chopper that he has to stay with the ship whilst they steal the fuel, but Chopper disobeys orders, steals the leg from the merchant and ends up stranded when the rest of the crew return to the Ghost and leave without him.

From here Chopper stows away aboard an Imperial freighter, where he befriends a downtrodden and badly treated droid, AP-5, who he manages to convince to join up with the Rebellion.

Managing to capture the vessel Chopper and AP-5 find the fleet moments before they jump to a new system where they are hoping to find a safe planet to set up their base.  Using the information from AP-5 they find out that this planet is a trap set by the Empire and find another base instead.

This won't be an episode to everyone's liking.  It's not as bad as the droid centric episodes of Clone Wars, where things were so childish and cutesy and annoying that it made you pray for the end credits,  No, some people will dislike this one because Chopper is the most unlikable member of the Ghost's crew.

Now, I'm not saying that you can't enjoy Chopper or this episode, but as Hera points out, Chopper is self centred and selfish.  Everything that happens to him this week stems from the fact that his desire to have matching legs trumps his desire to keep his friends safe,  

The mission that the rest of the crew go on goes without a hitch, but he was their backup in case it didn't, and that's an incredibly important role that he ignores just to get what he wants.  I'm sure we can all think of at least one time Chopper has flown the Ghost or the Phantom in to save someone at the last minute, now imagine if instead of doing that he was off shopping.  Yeah, that's the level of selfishness we're dealing with here.

Whilst things work out well in the end, the Rebellion gets another ship, they avoid a trap and they have AP-5 join them, that can't really take away from what Chopper did.  If I were a member of the Ghost's crew I'd be finding it hard to trust him going forward.

Despite highlighting just how much of a jerk Chopper can be, the episode does have some great moments.  When the Ugnaught looks over to find the droid leg missing we expect Chopper to be long gone, instead he's standing a few meters away holding the leg staring out into space it's a genuinely funny moment.

AP-5 is also a great addition to the Rebellion.  Through him we find out a little more about Choppers past, that when Hera found him during the Clone Wars and repaired him he was a military droid, and was shot down in a Y-Wing.  

It's nice to find out a little more about Chopper and why he was on Ryloth during the war, and it helps to flesh out his character a little beyond just being a broken droid Hera rebuilt as a child.  It's also very touching when he describes Hera as his friend, and then later extends that friendship to AP-5, especially when Hera says that Chopper doesn't have friends, before being corrected by AP-5.

Whilst having AP-5 around in the future looks like it could lead to a lot of fun, especially with his relationship with Chopper looking to be the angrier and grumpier version of R2 and 3PO, it did take away from the emotion of the moment when AP-5 'died'.  Sabine repairing him in the very next scene meant that the character can stick around, but it took away from the emotion of his sacrifice.

One other great thing about the episode is the return of Ketsu, Sabine's bounty hunter friend from earlier in the season, who has joined the Rebellion fully now.  Her role in this episode may be little more than a cameo, but it helps to build up the Rebellion as something bigger than just the crew of the Ghost and adds more characters for the viewer to care about.  With her, Captain Rex and Ahsoka playing roles in the Rebellion it might not be long before we see more familiar faces from Rebels and Clone Wars have recurring roles.

'The Forgotten Droid' slows the pace of the season after the previous episode and doesn't add much to the overall narrative, but it gives us a better insight into one of the least developed characters on the show.


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