Star Wars Rebels: 4.03 & 4.04 In the Name of the Rebellion Parts 1 & 2
In the Name of the Rebellion is another two-parter; this one tied to Rogue One. Forrest Whitaker returns to reprise his role as Saw Gerrera, the resistance fighter who has somewhat controversial methods and feelings about the war. The machinations of war become the central talking point across both episodes, tackling the same issues the movie did and asking important questions like, how far is too far?, does the end justify the means?, how far should the rebels go in their desperate attempt to fight a nightmarish enemy?
Part one starts with the team arriving on Yavin 4 (it’s a shame more time wasn’t spent on this planet, given its importance). Hera’s squadron avoiding a deadly crash-landing after a fight with Empire fighters. Emerging from the wreckage she greets the remaining ghost crew, each referring to themselves as “family”, a nice touch given it’s the first time they’re all together so far this season.
Throughout both episodes I found it amazing quite how much history and character are included, between Saw, Mon Mothma, Rex, Bail Organa, Death Troopers, Yavin 4 and Kyber crystals; these episodes feature plenty of detail from the movie and TV eras. In the Name of the Rebellion simply puts everything into perspective and shows quite how large this universe is.
Enter Mon Mothma and the core of both episodes. A droid arrives displaying a hologram of Saw, who mocks Mon’s unwillingness to do what’s necessary to defeat the Empire, her response outlining his extremism and their refusal to stoop to the same level of violence and behavior portrayed by him. This illustrates each perspective, while showing that regardless who you agree with, both sides want the same eventual outcome. For the remainder of the two-parter this provides something to think about, as the lines are intriguingly blurred between good and evil.
Jumping straight into the next mission with little time for reunion, Ezra, Sabine and Chopper are tasked with interrupting transmissions from an enemy satellite. To avoid detection, they use jet packs to covertly land on the dish (playing back to Ezra’s incompetence last episode). This scene soon became slapstick, overly long and simply a means for the inevitable disaster of attracting attention. Failing their mission, separated from the Ghost, they must now do what they can to survive. Luckily for them Saw arrives to rescue them, destroying the dish, the exact opposite of what Mon’s rebellion had in mind. On a side note, the scene depicting the Ghost shaking off enemy fighters, excellently portrayed the relationship between Hera and Kanin as they weaved their way in fog using her talents as a pilot and his as a Jedi.
Essentially kidnapped by Saw, Ezra and Sabine’s expertise is required for a mission that not only holds the interest of our heroes, but uses the controversial methods of the extremists. This leads Saw to reveal his outlined philosophy of ‘what is right?’ As much as he sees the Empire as the enemy, he has no morals or ethics; he is simply out for revenge for the death of his world. The emotional struggle seen in Ezra here is excellent, he clearly is unsure of his decision. On one hand his teenager like attitude and rash behavior pull him closer to Saw’s thought process, but his Jedi ways counteract those feelings, I found this thought provoking and interesting to watch.
The mission was to infiltrate an imperial vessel in an attempt to discover a potential secret weapon the Empire is working on. They soon discover a huge Kyber crystal along with several imprisoned engineers that are being forced to weaponize its energy. In an attempt to both rescue the prisoners and remove the crystal from enemy hands, the rebels become victims of Saw’s mindset and rather than remove it he wants to see what the Empire’s working on. This becomes overly complicated, incorporating further political views, with Ezra’s desire to save the prisoners and Saw not caring, saying “there are prisoners everywhere’.
One thing leads to another, the crystal is blown up and each party goes their separate ways, on good terms strangely enough. On a positive note, the humor with the engineers is superb, in particular them complaining about their supposed rescue with such lines as; “Pretend you’re still prisoners.” “We are still prisoners!”, “Just an observation, this is not a very good rescue”, “Think I’ll go back to the container now".
Overall In the Name of the Rebellion had a good moral debate concentrating on the politics of war; showing how even allies with the same agenda can disagree on the methods. Saw’s appearance made a big impact, mainly by giving Ezra something to contemplate, making him question his beliefs and that of the Jedi. In terms of story it would have been nice to get more emphasis on Mon Mothma’s tactical skill, as we never get a chance to see her in action. It could’ve been just as exciting remaining on Yavin 4 showing her abilities as a leader. Heroes of Mandalore definitely had better character development and heavier action sequences, but this set the moral argument and provided more conversation. I commend it on providing no easy answers, instead allowing the audience to make their own mind as to the right path. Regardless, each side was right in the end.