Galactic Hunter Video Theater Presents: Star Wars Rebels - Call to Action

By Adam Pawlus — Monday, February 9, 2015

A special guest is here! Tonight's episode of Star Wars Rebels is "Call to Action" gives us real stakes, real consequences, another guest star, and the feeling that something is going to happen beyond returning to the status quo for once. In other words, it's a good one!


The core crew is here as are many recurring members of the Empire, all sharing the screen at the same time. It's feeling more and more like Star Wars. Read on for more!



The story - the crew of the Ghost are plotting to take control of a transmission tower after ex-Senator and Empire loyalist Gall Trayvis. It's time to start their own podcasts and find out if they're alone or not.


As it turns out, they're not - Grand Moff Tarkin shows up to take care of things in one of the greatest fake-outs on the show. The Imperial March plays as a shuttle approaches Lothal in shots cribbed straight-up from Return of the Jedi. When the ship lands and the passenger turns out to be someone other than Darth Vader, it's a little bit of a letdown. Still, it's fun - at this point the cameos by returning favorites do wonders in buying the show cred and giving us something to latch on to other than "impatient Jedi" and "limited anguish."

Our pal Grand Moff Tarkin shows up to let everybody know they're a big disappointment, and then Taskmaster Grint and Commandant Aresko are swiftly informed that their services are no longer required. I didn't see this coming, and it did a great job distracting me from other big things that would happen this week.

What's funny is that the Inquisitor isn't really treated particularly harshly - he serves as an enforcer, despite screwing up as much as the rest of the class. Clearly he's teacher's pet and a stand-in for our other favorite red lightsaber wielder who was unavailable to appear in this episode. While I would normally decry the use of Darth Vader as a shortcut, trotting him out here to do Tarkin's dirty work would have done wonders in setting up their releationship in the original Star Wars. How Vader went from Palpatine's #2 in Revenge of the Sith to a demotion as middle-management to seemingly the Empire's public face after the Death Star is destroyed is surely a story worth expanding on, and we know he had to have some sort of relationship with Tarkin beyond what we saw in The Clone Wars. Plus it would be nice to see Darth Vader show up just to stare down the Inquisitor as something of a pretender. Still, we get a bunch of eye-rolls and sneers, which makes Tarkin all the more fun and the Inquisitor's being treated surprisingly nicely a bit confusing.


We get to see all the Empire's heavies together, joined for a single mission: kill the Jedi. What's interesting is how the Empire points out how they're generally not trying to kill too many people, and how their only real flaw is their disorganization. Communication with other Rebel cells would give them strength, so Tarkin's trap - unlock the gates of a transmission tower as bait to capture them - is typical genre villain arrogance. We know they're going to get out a message, but the episode drops enough hints as we go that such a mission will have consequences. Also lots of awesome shoot-out battles, chases, and numerous changes of scenery.


There's a lot of tension in this episode, and much of it comes from the familiar faces and a nearly immediate execution of the famous rule by fear. Our favorite liver-spotted old executive tells us stories of how he's good at winning wars, working with Jedi, and in shades of the Dominion from Deep Space Nine tells us that the Jedi are all dead. The character's appearance adds a lot of gravity to the situation, although in all sincerity he was never very hands-on as a threat in the original Star Wars. He barks at Vader, and Darth Vader tended to do the dirty work. Here, we see him in the same room when things go down and that actually does more to up his credibility as a villain in the movies. Well played, Rebels show runners.


The scenery this week is fantastic, with different angles and lighting on familiar sets giving them a lot more life. I'm still feeling restrained hanging around Lothal most of the time - seriously, the Empire can't catch these guys when they park in open grass fields? - but at least they keep it looking interesting. The musical cues are mostly very familiar, but that's par for the course. The textures are unquestionably Star Wars, so you're getting pretty straight-up stuff here.


Ending an episode with a loss for the heroes is always a good move for this kind of thing. We know - or we think - that after the Empire captures Kanan, this will have to be addressed soon. How long will they keep him apart? Most shows don't have the cajones to keep this sort of thing going for long - Deep Space Nine had an arc where they lost the station, but the story played out over about 7 episodes. When main characters get captured, usually it's a week - two at the most. So I expect he'll be free and running around in no time, but if the writers keep him behind bars for a few weeks I will be very, very impressed.

Takeaway from this week:
Grand Moff Tarkin is wearing General Veers' clamp-on armor, like we saw on the 2006 action figure! Love it.
Any probe droid cameo is a good one. Granted, maybe it's time to remix the foley on that one.
Other than Tarkin, we got to see a lot of the Empire's nifty transport ships.

Next time: "Rebel Resolve," after a short break for Toy Fair apparently. (Thank goodness, I need the break.) See you in fourteen!