Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels or don't want to know what happened, turn away now. Or, y'know, go watch and come back so we can talk about it.
Don't mess with Hera Syndulla's droid. She'll getcha!
They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone, but who knew it would apply to a droid? I'm betting no one thought they'd miss all of Chopper's quirks until he became a dutiful droid, but that's exactly what happened in this episode. Okay, except for Wedge. But he gets a pass because he doesn't know Chopper well enough to understand the difference.
I'm not a television writer, but I have to imagine that one of the biggest challenges is how to work basic story questions into an episode without it looking like you're doing that or without a lot of pointless exposition. In this case, the basic need is this: Thrawn needs to narrow down the search for the Rebel base.
Last we saw, Thrawn had 94 planets to choose from. You can even figure he likely has a better general idea because he knows something got changed on his map thanks to Kallus. That said, knowing exactly which planet is missing is another thing entirely. We also know there's a confrontation coming soon, which means he needs to figure out the location fairly soon.
So, how do you do that?
This is a wild guess, but I'm thinking Thrawn's going to discover whatever data was recovered from Chopper before Hera blew that Imperial Information Office ship to flaming bits. After all, Hera thinks she destroyed the ship and got the spike out in time. Who knows? Maybe she did, but I'm thinking there's enough information to give Thrawn the location when he factors in everything else he knows.
The fact that we can get all of that story set up while having a droid caper, a heist, a possession and a couple near-death experiences (not to mention droid-on-droid violence and a little singing) is a bonus. Not to mention you get things like AP-5 chasing Wedge into the refresher while he's trying to pee. I'm not sure if there's ever been a scene in a refresher before (maybe in Clone Wars, I honestly can't remember), but I'm 99.9% sure we've never heard a fly zip, not to mention actual attempted (well, completed but that was off-screen) usage before. Yes, I know, it's a strange thing to notice, but "firsts" in Star Wars are always interesting and Star Wars Rebels has had more than its share.
That's not to say the episode wasn't totally fine all on its own. I thought it was a lot of fun. Not only am I happy to watch AP-5 and Chopper bicker, but Stephen Stanton is so great as AP. It goes without saying that Chopper's amazing. Of course, I said it but whatever, I do what I want. Those two doing the "anything you can do" patter is seriously entertaining.
It was also interesting to see more about the Imperial Information Office and more characters wearing the AJ6 cyborg construct aka the headgear worn by Lobot in the original trilogy and Tseebo earlier in the series.The Empire's willingness to strip their people of personality to gain productivity makes for a rather creepy trio of characters. I especially enjoyed The Controller (voiced by Josh Gad) because I love bad guys I can actively dislike and enjoy disliking. It makes me feel less guilty about being glad they got blown up (I'm a terrible person).
Other things that made this episode great:
• AP-5 singing in space.
• Chopper waving blasters around (never not fun).
• The little space critters. Someone, please make a plush.
• Chopper poking his head down to spy on the rest of the crew. Totally reminded me of Ceiling Cat.
What I'm definitely intrigued by is what's coming up in the last three episodes. Next week's "Twin Suns" sure looks like the Maul/Obi-Wan showdown we've been waiting for since the beginning of the season –– and the two-part season finale "Zero Hour," which airs March 25, is looking like it's going to be amazing. If you want details, you can find the episode descriptions here, but I'll bet you've got a pretty good guess as to what's coming.
Now that we know we'll be getting a Season 4, I'm even more curious to see how the rest of this season plays out. We're getting closer to the events of Rogue One and we know the base on Dantooine should be established soon, but how that'll all play out will depend on how things wrap up this month.
To quote Leia, "It's not over yet."
I want to know what you liked best about the episode and if you think my theories have merit. Talk to me, people. I need moral support to make it through the week. May the Force be with you.
Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD.