Now that Ezra (Taylor Gray) has a lightsaber (it’s also a blaster because it’s that cool), he has to learn how to use it. The latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Vision of Hope,” opens with Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) putting Ezra through training similar to what we saw Obi-Wan Kenobi do with Luke Skywalker aboard the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope. Ahh, memories. Ezra’s less focused than Luke though because he’s excited about seeing the next transmission from Senator Gall Trayvis (Brent Spiner). That’s when things start to go downhill.
Ezra has his first vision, and it’s about Trayvis being on Lothal and in danger. We all know visions seen with the Force are rarely black and white, but Ezra is too eager. He doesn’t listen to Kanan’s warnings. It’s interesting to watch Ezra try to balance being a well-behaved Padawan who follows his master’s guidance with just being excited. Could you imagine being a kid with Force powers? I can’t contemplate how hard it would be to focus as an adult, let alone as a teenager.
Once Trayvis reveals he’s headed to Lothal in a painfully obvious coded message, Ezra’s convinced his vision was the real deal. Trayvis mentioned Ezra’s parents in the vision so you can’t blame Ezra for being overeager. He desperately wants to get word of them. Even though the stench of a trap is in the air, the team of rebels moves into the not so secret location.
This is the perfect moment to stop and applaud Chopper. He disposes of a droid blocking the sewer pipe the rebels plan to use, and he’s nothing short of hilarious. Chopper is overflowing with personality (mostly sass) and even though he does communicate a fair amount vocally, his posture and arms say so much. I’m still upset with Zeb (Steve Blum) for putting Chopper on the table during a game of sabacc in “Idiot’s Array.”
Back to Trayvis, was anyone surprised to learn he was working for the Empire? Remember that he led the rebels astray in “Rise of the Old Masters” with the transmission stating Luminara Unduli was still alive. He’s been on my list since then, and I’m surprised the Luminara incident didn’t come up before the crew of the Ghost moved out. Things went so smoothly once they arrived to the old senate building they should have all been incredibly suspicious – more so than they were.
But like Hera (Vanessa Marshall) pointed out at the end of the episode, they were hoping to encounter an ally. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for Trayvis to show his true colors. Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) and stormtroopers show up in force. Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and Zeb provide enough of a distraction so the rest of the crew can handle the stormtroopers but back-up arrives. It’s as though the Empire was waiting for them. Hera gets the truth with a Die Hard moment John McClane would be proud of.
In fact, Hera won this episode. She not only punched Trayvis out in a very satisfying moment of triumph, she figured him out and didn’t hesitate to act despite the fact that she didn’t want it to be true. Of all the rebels, she’s probably the one who most realizes they’re not alone in their fight against the Empire simply because she communicates with Fulcrum. She knows there’s a bigger network. However, you can tell even she wants to connect with other rebels. It can’t have been easy for her to face the reality of Trayvis being a traitor.
The other way in which she rocked? Hera doesn’t give up hope. The final scene between her and Ezra was killer. She has hope that things will get better and continues to believe they will. It would have been all too easy to despair after learning about Trayvis and all the rebels he’s likely put in prison or worse. Not Hera though. She sees the big picture.
It’s beginning to look like Kallus sees the bigger picture too, and that’s not good news for the crew of the Ghost. He’s realized the key to catching the Jedi the Inquisitor so desperately wants is by going after the whole group of rebels. On one hand, it makes me feel concerned for them. On the other hand, I enjoy seeing an Imperial officer written on this level. Kallus is anything but a weak opponent.
We’ve seen the rebels work together time and time again, but something about their teamwork and interactions felt especially natural tonight. They’ve become more and more like a family over the course of the season, and you can see how much they trust each other. It’s particularly cool to see how Ezra has really thrown himself in. Related: him and Sabine’s flirting – that’s how Ezra would interpret it – was adorable.
Another aspect of tonight’s episode that was standout was the animation. The facial expressions were so realistic that I paused the episode a couple of times to take a closer look. Hera’s look of disappointment and disapproval when Trayvis came clean comes to mind as does Kallus’s curled lip/scowl when the rebels escaped.
What are your thoughts on “Vision of Hope?” Share them in the comments.