Opening the Holocron: Star Wars Rebels Season Three Finale
A Review of “Zero Hour” with minor spoilers throughout – you’ve been warned!
As of press time, 65% of those who answered a very unscientific Twitter poll gave Star Wars Rebels Season Three’s “Zero Hour” (Parts 1 & 2) a “thumbs up” on the old “At the Movies” Scale.
That seems about right.
Much like the season as a whole, there was an unevenness to the two-part finale, which probably moved the viewer in one of three ways:
If they were on the precipice after “Twin Suns” – the controversial penultimate story of Season Three – “Zero Hour” sent them screaming, flying Fett-like over the edge and into the mow of the almighty Sarlac (never to be seen again?).
For others, like me, the positives of all three episodes outweighed the negatives, ended the season on a relative high note and left the viewer wanting more; perhaps even hanging on for dear life, Calrissian style (but probably asking Rebels to “aim a little higher…”).
Still others stay on the fence and will watch Season Four because, “Hey, it’s Star Wars, dammit…”
So what’s the bottom line?
In short, there was more to like here than not, with moments of old-school, signature Star Wars-action that left you wanting more from an episode that was the third-best season finale in the series.
Why third best? Well, from a certain point of view – namely mine – it’s pretty simple: I’ve watched the Season Two and Three finales repeatedly since they first aired. After I hit post on this review, I am fairly certain I’ll never watch these two episodes (in their entirety) ever again.
However, and despite its own flaws (namely Ezra’s script) I will watch “Twin Suns” repeatedly this summer, perhaps with the sound off until the last five minutes.
But that’s a column for another time…
Battles: Lots of them in “Zero Hour”. The conflict in space was especially impressive, and helped with the choreography of the most memorable story-lines in the two-episode arc. The ground battle was decent, if only to see Imperial Walkers marching on the Chopper Base; very happy to see the Rebels leave Atollon, Bendu (?) and the spiders behind.
The Return of Sabine: I don’t care how she got there – choppy dialogue or not (her mom is annoying) – but “The Artist” came back to the family and the episodes were better for her appearance (and her effectively using the tools of the Mandalorian trade). Bonus: Her “little thrusters” line was had me lol’ing.
Commander Sato’s Decision: It was impressive, even refreshing, to see the series let go of a semi-major character in a way that felt truly appropriate. Sato’s exit was the most rebellious move witnessed by fans since Admiral Radus called up a Hammerhead Corvette.
An Emotional Center: “Come home love,” said Hera to Kanan, and everyone swooned. Any fan over 7-years-old knows that Rebel’s “mom” and “dad” are an actual couple, who, er, are a couple. It’s just nice to hear some concrete evidence of their affection and care for one another. Also evident – even with the monotone (paraphrasing my boss, Jason Ward) – was an attempt to create a bit more emotional maturity in Ezra, who again admitted how important Kanan was in his world, and displayed a certain amount of humility while reviewing everyone’s place in the Rebellion.
Allusions to Rogue One & Star Wars Episode IV, VI: As mentioned above, the space battle had a certain old school quality, which helped it line up nicely in Star Wars canon. I loved seeing so many Rebel ships of the line in orbit; A-wing and Y-wing fighters squaring off against Star Destroyers and TIE fighters – it was just cool, as was the mention of Yavin. And, as always, the Ghost continues to astonish me by filling in nicely for the Falcon in scenes that were highly reminiscent of Return of the Jedi. I never thought I would become attached to another freighter, but damn was it neat to see it above Starbucks, uh, I mean Scarif.
Kallus: He has the “heart of a Rebel”, thinks that’s a compliment, and it’s nice to see him stick around. What will his role be in Season 4? Who knows? But other than Chopper and Hera, we’re not really guaranteed to see any main characters survive until Rogue One. Right?
No more Atollon: Never liked it. Never will. The spiders creeped me out, and it will always bother me that they never went looking for the poor A-wing pilot who got carried off by the spider creatures in one of the first scenes on the planet’s surface. Come to think of it, there’s not a heck of a lot of time paid to any other casualties on… Ah, skip it.
Thrawn: Honestly, and I know I am inviting criticism from the EU crowd, but Mr. Blue is/was/remains over-hyped. I can hear people now, “You just don’t get how smart/complex/good-looking he is…” No, I don’t. Obviously, nobody can fill Vader’s boots (apparently not even Vader, given some of the critiques I’ve read about Star Wars Season Two and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) But man-oh-man has this been a slow burn. Doesn’t Kanan actually say, “Oh he’s finally decided to kill us…”? In the end, Bendu’s prediction about Grand Admiral Visine about made me happy (and it was the only thing that Bendu did that made me happy). But I would have been happier to see Thrawn just strategize a way to go away this season. There, I said it. Send hate to @jmbishopjr on Twitter.
Bendu: Take a step back. Did any of that make sense? Kristian Harloff of Collider Jedi Council made a good point in his own episode review on YouTube, saying that seeing Kanan take down a walker with a lightsaber might be pushing it. Agreed, but you could explain it away with just a little bit of faith and reasoning. But nobody is going to tell me that Bendu should display greater power than the Emperor or Vader or, for the love of Zuvio, Yoda. That cloud business was like a Lord of the Rings crossover or something. Someone on Rebels Recon (which I enjoy) mentioned Ghostbusters as an inspiration. Ghostbusters? Maybe I am just thick, or a Star Wars snob, but I just don’t get that Sauron turn by The Bendu. And no, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of him, either.
Ezra’s Spacesuit: Yeah, yeah. I get it. I was sitting in the theater in 1977 and it’s an allusion to the old movie serials blah, blah, blah. And yes, I know they wore similar space garb throughout both animated series. But let’s be clear. It’s Star Wars we’re watching now – not Buck Rogers. Not Flash Gordon. Give Ezra a TIE fighter pilot helmet (with oxygen system) or something, so he doesn’t look like a Buzz Lightyear knockoff.
They left us like this: Seriously. We’ve got a pretty long wait until we see anything besides a trailer for anything Star Wars. And for those of us who aren’t going to Celebration: Ugh. All I can say, is “Thank goodness Netflix kept The Clone Wars.”
Speaking of which, look for me to “Open the Holocron” and finish Season One of The Clone Wars soon.