Warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Stealth Strike.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
Kanan and Rex have had an uneasy partnership since they first encountered each other in Star Wars Rebels. It makes sense given the whole Order 66 business. They haven’t been antagonistic towards each other, but they bicker so much that Ezra, at least, looks for every opportunity to get way from them. “Stealth Strike” forced Rex and Kanan to go on a mission and work together in a way they haven’t before—in a way that made each of them trust his life in the other’s hands. Hera arranged it—while pointing out stormtroopers and clone troopers aren’t the same—and it paid off.
I wouldn’t say Kanan and Rex became the best buddies, but Kanan did end up calling Rex his friend. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Dee Bradley Baker played off each other well; the timing of their snappy banter was right on cue. Their mission was a bit of proving themselves to each other. Kanan needled Rex about the fit of the armor and his targeting kills, and Rex downplayed Kanan’s use of a Jedi mind trick. It’s actually like they’re already old friends and just needed a nudge to help realize it.
The rescue of Ezra and Commander Sato and his crew from the Empire gave us a chance to see Rex right where he used to be at home. It was an angle they could have explored more, but we got some hints of what was happening in Rex’s head. He pointed out he and Cody practically developed the security profiles, and he had a moment where he got stand up to the admiral and explain why he was with the Rebels. This episode packed a lot of entertaining action and hand-to-hand combat that provided development for Rex, Kanan, and Ezra, but I hope it pays off in seeing a little more reflection from Rex. He’s a focused soldier, but it seems like every encounter with the Empire should shake him up a little.
Examples of Ezra’s increased skill with a lightsaber have been sprinkled throughout the season, and I liked seeing more of it in action here. It was a nice touch how Kanan wasn’t terribly surprised at Ezra’s status by the time he and Rex arrived. Heck, even Kallus didn’t underestimate Ezra, a.k.a. Jabba the Hutt. Commander Sato, however, remained skeptical until the end. He hasn’t witnessed a ton of Ezra on the job, I guess, but shouldn’t a commander know the strengths of his crew?
Ezra came onto the Ghost with confidence, but he’s developed skill and the ability to exercise better judgment since then. If anything, he was overconfident back then and didn’t consider risks. He made calculated moves while captured by the Empire and made them quickly. He’s become a force to be reckoned with. He needed assistance to escape the Empire’s grasp, but it fits–he’s talented but he’s still a Padawan and still just one person.
Chopper stepped, er rolled, in to save the day again. R2-D2 has done his fair share of bailing our heroes out of sticky situations throughout the Star Wars saga, but Chopper’s number of rescues is getting up there. I am a Chopper advocate. The cantankerous astromech is my favorite. He’s a handy crew member, and I don’t doubt he’s technically capable of doing so much, but boy, he’s jumping in frequently. On one hand, I’m glad to see more of Chopper on screen–especially when he does hilarious things like showing Ezra stunning Rex and Kanan over and over–but it seems like he’s been a bigger player this year and I’m not sure if it’s for the best.
- “I would never be on their side or wear their junk armor.” – Rex
- “Wow. You really do shoot like a stormtrooper.” – Kanan
- “This armor doesn’t protect you from anything.” – Kanan
Did you enjoy “Stealth Strike” and seeing more of Kanan and Rex’s dynamic together? Let me know in the comments or come talk to me on Twitter—I always like talking Star Wars.