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Star Wars: Rebels And The Obligatory Force Cave Episode

Marshall Lemon | 6 Jan 2015 13:00
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With Kanan waiting by the door, Ezra descends into the Temple alone and almost immediately stars experiencing Force visions. But instead of the dreamlike ambience from Empire Strikes Back, "Path of the Jedi" is significantly less subtle. Ezra is chased across chambers by the Inquisitor, occasionally encountering the Ghost's crew only to see them struck down. The metaphor is pretty clear: Ezra feels like he's letting everyone down and will ultimately be left alone thanks to the Empire. As a moral of the story, that's fine, but the execution falls a little flat and drags out too long to have a substantial impact.

The sequence concludes when Ezra decides to let the Inquisitor catch and "kill" him, ending the vision (for some reason). Then a new voice emerges to guide Ezra to the middle of the Temple. And in case "Path of the Jedi" is the first Star Wars anything you've ever watched, the same voice stars speaking to Kanan to confirm that Yoda himself is using the Force to see who's exploring the Temple. But that's not the only detail Kanan reveals while chatting with Yoda. While details are light, it sounds like Kanan never passed this test, and may have gone through a dark side period of his own. We should expect that little issue to come up again later this season.

It's here that Yoda's usual obtuse conversational style is used to great effect when he asks Ezra why he hopes to be a Jedi. Without leading the response, Ezra's answer quickly appears darker than expected: That he wants power to defeat the Empire after what they did do his family. It's a great little twist that we usually wouldn't have seen until Ezra started killing younglings or something, suggesting that he's further along that dark side than we thought.

Sadly, it almost immediately undercuts that moment and backtracks when Yoda suggests Ezra actually wants vengeance. Ezra denies it, explaining that after seeing what the Ghost's crew can do for the innocent civilians of Lothal, he wants to use Jedi abilities to do of the same. Way to go for the bait and switch, Rebels. But apparently it's enough to satisfy Yoda who gives Ezra a reward: His very own lightsaber crystal.

Which brings us to one of my favorite points of the episode: If the Jedi Order has collapsed and force use is heavily monitored, where exactly do apprentices get the parts to make sleek custom lightsabers? In Ezra's case, they don't; he needs to use whatever spare parts are lying around the Ghost, with a few donations from the crew. The end result is a clunky piece of hardware that looks like someone cobbled together a lightsaber and a blaster pistol (and its not clear if the blaster is functional). But you know what? That custom appearance gives it a unique charm no amount of extra lightsaber blades can achieve. Plus this likely means Ezra can finally ditch that energy slingshot that's been almost useless in most combat engagements. Well done, Rebels. Well done.

Bottom Line: "Path of the Jedi" is the obligatory force cave episode where Ezra faces his inner fears. That part of the episode falls flat, but everything on the sidelines somehow makes up for it. Everything from Ezra's custom-built lightsaber to the darker implications of Jedi training offer lots of food for thought, and make this mid-season premiere a pleasant return to Rebels.

Recommendation: It's not perfect, but still resolves Ezra's dark side subplot before getting too stale, and has several nice touches to make Rebels a distinct entity within Star Wars. If you've enjoyed the show so far, this is worth a watch.

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