Fair warning: Fighter Flight has yet to air on DisneyXD so there are SPOILERS ahead!!!
Episode 3 – Fighter Flight – The Rebels find their stride
Over three episodes of Star Wars Rebels, the show has already established a strong set of central characters who are extremely likeable, and quite funny. Two of the standouts among the crew of the Ghost are main protagonist Ezra Bridger, and the crew’s muscle, Zeb Orrelios. So it’s no wonder an episode which teams them together in an old fashioned adventure is the best episode of the young series to date. Episodes like this show off the heart of Star Wars Rebels; our heroes.
The episode does start off a little weak with the crew seeming to suffer from a bout of cabin fever. Zeb and Ezra are at each others throats and Chopper appears to take great pleasure in egging the cabin mates on. The jokes are a little stale, and the humor comes across a little forced, like something you would see on standard DisneyXD fare.
However, when Captain Hera Syndulla orders Ezra and Zeb off the ship to pick up supplies in the sleepy town of Kothal the story really takes off. Hera makes one final request of the pair; bring her back at least on Meiloorun fruit when they return. Ezra and Zeb arrive in town and discover that finding a Meiloorun fruit is going to be a fairly tall order, and soon they begin to suspect that Hera only asked them to get the fruit to get them off the ship for a while. While strolling through the market Ezra runs into someone from his past, a local farmer named Sumar. The farmer knew Ezra and his parents, instantly giving us a connection with the old man. Soon and Imperial commander arrives on the scene and we learn that the Empire is pressuring Sumar to sell his farm. We also learn this same commander happens to be in possession of the only crate of Meilooruns in town… our adventure begins.
After a failed attempt at stealing the fruit, Ezra and Zeb escape in an exciting sequence which sends them racing through the streets of the town. Through a stroke of luck Zeb manages to steal a TIE fighter and rescues Ezra, who once again finds himself scrambling across rooftops trying to escape Stormtroopers.
The two fly out of town with the stolen fighter but are diverted when Ezra notices billowing smoke coming from Sumar’s homestead. The Imperials have come to collect on the poor farmer’s property, and arrest both he and his family. They are shuttled away as prisoners on an Imperial Troop Transport.
Zeb and Ezra pursue the dastardly Imperials in an incredibly staged chase scene involving the stolen TIE and three Transports. Zeb lowers Ezra onto one of the speeding vehicles, and using the Force, Ezra is able to move the mechanism which releases the prisoners. The rest of the scene is a lighthearted adventurous battle reminiscent of Indiana Jones on the top of an old World War I tank in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
After an exciting finale our two heroes return to the ship delivering Captain Hera one Meiloorun fruit. But more importantly, Ezra and Zeb have developed a bond and are now friends.
Zeb & Ezra – Taylor Gray (Ezra) and Steven Blum (Zeb) have created two extremely likeable characters, and have infused them both with an infectious energy and sharp wit. Listening to their performances you get the impression the two actors genuinely like each other off screen. Zeb always seems armed with a pithy retort to Ezra’s sarcastic wit. However, as funny and charming as the two characters are there’s still a great deal of depth there.
Stormtroopers – Exit Keystone Cops; enter Imperial Stormtroopers. This episode found a great balance between the menace of the Troopers while still allowing for some fun at their expense. In one brief instance a Stormtrooper actually seems pretty good with his aim firing away a handhold Zeb was using and sending him plummeting to the ground. But our heroes still get the upper hand, and there is one great moment toward the end of the episode when a Trooper whose been engaged in a duel with Ezra notices he’s carry a Meiloorum and asks in astonishment, “You did all this for fruit?!?!” It’s a great moment.
Music – Finally the “Wall of Williams” is gone, and Kevin Kiner is aloud to explore the universe with some wonderful themes while still allowing for some familiar Williams motifs from time to time. Kiner provides some great music for the major chases in the episode, and finally we get to hear Kiner’s wonderful “Rebels Theme” fully explored in one of the episode’s more climactic moments. Hopefully this trend will continue.
I really don’t have that many criticisms about the episode. Sure, some of the humor in the episode’s introduction is a little silly, but the episode is so fun and filled with spirit that I quickly forgot some of the wince inducing moments. My only concern about the show is how quickly Ezra is growing in his abilities with the Force. He just seems to be a little too powerful this early into his journey as a young Padawan. But, who knows, maybe we will discover he is some kind of Force savant, and is just a natural. I’m more than willing to hold my judgement in this case.
Overview: Fighter Flight is a light-hearted, adventurous little romp, and just goes to show that not every episode of Rebels needs to have some large scale conflict, or have enormous stakes in the battle between Rebels and Empire. Sometimes you just need to step back and give the audience a chance to breath, and allow our heroes to grow.
8 of 10
May the Force Be With You