NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 10:00 PM
Lightsabers and Stormtrooper armor are a cool combination — and make for one awesome episode.
A rebel blockade runner blasts through hyperspace in an effort to locate a missing patrol ship. Padawan Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) has volunteered for the mission, in the hopes that his nascent Force abilities can aid in the search.
Commander Sato (Keone Young) isn’t too impressed with Ezra’s chatter, but the teen senses that they are in danger just as they are pulled out of hyperspace (with an impressive graphical effect). Sato sends the beginnings of a distress signal as a new Imperial vessel engulfs their ship and jams their communications.
On the planet Garel, Captain Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) mulls over Sato’s message and wonders how catching a ship in hyperspace is even possible.
Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), an Imperial Academy dropout/escapee, recalls that the Empire was developing a ship with gravity wells powerful enough to do just that. She suspects that it’s still operating within a small testing zone, so they should be able to find it close to the point of Sato’s transmission.
Hera decides that Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) and Chopper should be the ones to mount the rescue mission, since Rex’s experience in the clone army will allow him to impersonate a Stormtrooper with ease.
“Right, that’s because he IS a Stormtrooper,” snaps Kanan.
Hera makes the distinction between Republic’s Clone Troopers and the Empire’s grunts, prompting Kanan to agree to the mission.
On the Imperial vessel, Ezra assures Sato that he’ll get them out as they are brought before Admiral Brom Titus (Derek Partridge, who almost became the third James Bond).
This new Imperial is typically smug and sports an amazing set of ’70s-style sideburns, harking back to the decade that saw the release of “A New Hope.”
Sato tries to convince Titus that they are members of the “Corporate Alliance,” but the confident admiral knows the truth and asks Ezra who he is.
“Jabba the Hutt,” replies the cocky teen, not for the first time.
However, Titus knows that Ezra has used this alias before and realizes he’s captured a target of Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo).
When the admiral informs Kallus of this, the Imperial Security Bureau agent orders him to place Ezra under triple guard and says he’s on his way.
Kanan and Rex are already bickering as Zeb (Steve Blum) arrives with their stolen Stormtrooper armor, which Rex complains is of a lower quality than his clone armor. They are to infiltrate the Imperial vessel in a stolen shuttle, which Sabine has decorated with an impressive painting of the new duo.
Rex highlights the fact that the gravity technology on this new ship could bring the rebel movement crashing down, but Kanan tells him to focus only on the rescue mission.
They come out of hyperspace right beside the Imperial ship, but Rex quickly proves his usefulness by spouting a series of military codes at the enemy and convincing them to allow the shuttle to dock.
He tells Kanan that he and Commander Cody (the clone who turned on Obi-Wan Kenobi when Order 66 was given in “Revenge of the Sith”) “practically invented” these code protocols. When they land, Kanan uses a Jedi Mind Trick to get them out of the hangar.
“Not bad … I’ve seen better,” says Rex, before Chopper uses a data port to find their allies’ location.
It would appear that Ezra doesn’t need their help, with the teen activating his lightsaber as it hangs from one of his Stormtrooper escorts’ belts. Ezra uses the resulting panic to take out all three and locks them in a cell, just as two more rush around the corner.
The Padawan smoothly hits them both with stun blasts, but realizes that he’s made a mistake when Chopper rolls around behind them. He lifts off the troopers’ helmets to reveal a disoriented Kanan and Rex, then tries to convince his allies that they were hit in a “big firefight.”
Chopper cuts through the teen’s story by projecting a hologram of what really happened.
“You shot us! I can’t believe you shot us,” says a dismayed Kanan.
Rex is more impressed, but coolly says Ezra’s blaster should have been set to kill. Kanan notes that the armor offers no protection, a fact that fans have highlighted since “Star Wars” began. The Empire is all about style over substance — but it is very cool looking.
Ezra suggests that he and Chopper sabotage the ship’s reactor, while Kanan and Rex get Sato and the others. Kanan disagrees, but Rex supports the plan. They bicker again, but an increasingly willful Ezra pushes passed them and heads to the reactor.
When one of Titus’ officers informs him of Ezra’s escape, the admiral orders a lockdown and for Ezra to be eliminated.
“I would hate it if we proved Agent Kallus right,” he says, revealing a rivalry between the two.
As the alarm goes off, Kanan and Rex open fire on a squad of Stormtroopers and ruthlessly cut them down, while Ezra and Chopper opt for a stealthy approach to the reactor.
The droid hacks into the system while Ezra distracts the gunners, who have the same fancy helmets as the Death Star gunners seen in “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi.” Their headgear is designed to protect their eyes from the bright flashes caused by lasers and other high-powered weapons.
The teen smoothly leaps between the levels of the reactor, deflecting blaster bolts with his lightsaber, until the ever-mischievous Chopper shuts off the gravity and sends the combatants spiraling through the air.
When he turns it back on, the gunners fall to their deaths and Ezra barely manages to grab hold of a ledge. Chopper casually rolls away, leaving his Padawan ally unsure as to whether or not he actually sabotaged the reactor.
Kanan rescues the rest of their allies while Rex pins the trio of pursuing Stormtroopers with blaster fire. He even flings his helmet at one, then guns down the stunned trooper. His Jedi ally uses the Force to pull the remaining two into the open, where they are immediately taken out.
When the pursuing enemy force grows, Rex buys them time by going solo as they move towards the hangar. He beats down several troops in hand-to-hand combat before getting stunned.
The clone is brought before Titus, who highlights Rex’s past service and questions why he would fight with the rebels.
“My loyalty is to the Republic, not your Empire,” he replies.
Unfazed, Titus offers him immunity and reinstatement if he gives up his allies. Rex doesn’t even consider the offer, proving that Kanan was wrong to doubt him. The admiral puts an interrogation droid to work and Rex screams in agony as we cut away.
Kanan senses this through the Force and knows he’ll have to save Rex from certain death, despite their team being pinned on both sides by Stormtroopers.
“I’ve gotta get my friend,” he tells his Padawan, rushing off alone with his lightsaber and a blaster in hand.
Sato is alarmed by this, but Ezra reassures him before rushing down the corridor with his own lightsaber and smoothly taking down several troopers.
“C’mon, he’s got this!” yells Sato, clearly having gained new respect for his teen ally.
Kanan arrives at the flight deck as Titus taunts Rex, easily besting the small group of enemies and compelling the admiral to flee. The pair realize that they’ll never make it back to the hangar, so they hop into an escape pod as Kanan orders Ezra to take off.
The rebel blockade runner picks up the pod just as Titus orders that the gravity wells be fired. Looks like it’s the moment of truth for Chopper’s sabotage efforts.
Things are looking grim when the wells pull them out of hyperspace, but the Imperials realize that their support ships are being pulled in too. As they hit the surface of the ship, it ripples and implodes strikingly before the rebels finally make their escape.
In the aftermath of the devastation, Kallus arrives in his shuttle and finds an escape pod carrying Titus.
“Admiral, had some problems with the boy I see,” says the agent, who understands his rival’s frustration all too well.
Back of the rebel ship, Rex ham-fistedly thanks Kanan for the save, prompting the pair to salute respectfully. It’s clear that Kanan has finally left his baggage from the Clone Wars behind and fully accepted Rex as a friend and ally.
Watch “Star Wars Rebels” on Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. on Disney XD.
ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE CLIP HERE.