This review contains spoilers.
Back at the end of the first season of Star Wars Rebels, I was anxious about the amount of connective tissue the show would end up sharing with Lucasfilm Animation’s previous project: The Clone Wars. Beyond my own personal grievances with the series, it would have done an enormous disservice to Rebels and its cast of characters to suddenly morph the show into The Clone Wars Episode II. And with characters like Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, and Hondo Ohnaka all featuring prominently in the trailer for Season Two, that was a very real fear.
But, of course, those fears wound up being unwarranted. The six-and-a-half seasons of The Clone Wars provided some interesting context for these conflicts, but never became a prerequisite text for Rebels. At their best, these links between the two shows added interesting layers of depth for our core cast of characters to mine and at their worst they were little more than disposable fan service that didn’t dramatically impact the Lothal rebels in any meaningful way.
This week’s episode is thick with fan service (so much so that the standard credits cue is subbed out in favor of The Clone Wars theme), but this time that fan service doesn’t feel quite so disposable. What we have instead is an episode focussed primarily on examining a single member of our main cast – the kind of episode we’ve seen a dozen or so times for characters like Sabine, Ezra, and Zeb – the only difference is that this time the character being explored was literally (in and out of universe) created for The Clone Wars.