Star Wars Rebels is back. Yay! And we’re getting a full 22-episode season this time. Double yay! Season 2 returned on Wednesday with “The Lost Commanders,” an episode that brought a moment fans have been anticipating since seeing a trailer at Celebration Anaheim last April: the return of clone troopers. Ahsoka sent the Ghost crew to search for Captain Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor and to enlist their assistance in locating a safe base hidden from the Empire. Given Kanan’s past with the clones and the pesky Order 66 business, you can imagine the potential for problems.
The rebels find the clones essentially retired and fishing—they even have an RV of sorts. Their new lifestyle is charming as heck, and the amount of detail put into their modified tank/walker is impressive. Take a minute to go back and watch how the vehicle moves and how well the design functios. With the important mode of transportation talk aside, let’s discuss the clones. The fate of Captain Rex was one of the biggest question marks post-Clone Wars so it’s goose bump-inducing to see he’s still alive and well. The moments where he references the great Jedi he worked with? That squeezed my heart. It’s interesting to see how they’ve changed and how very different their personalities remain. Wolffe is gruff and not so trusting, Gregor has a few screws loose, and Rex—well, Rex seems much the same as he was.
There’s just so much to like about the introduction of the clones. Aside from being happy to see characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I’m pleased to see how their presence affects Kanan and Ezra. It hit on many fronts. You have Ezra reminding the clones what’s worth fighting for, you have Rex mentoring Ezra (he basically becomes Ezra’s cool uncle), and you have the turmoil the mere introduction of the clones brings to Kanan. Ezra has no idea about Order 66. Kanan has baggage from the event that’s difficult to imagine—he watched men he trusted murder his master in front of his eyes and only barely escaped with his life. Kanan talking to Ezra about the painful ordeal was one of the best scenes of the series and my favorite performance from Freddie Prinze Jr. so far. The scene packed a harder punch if you’ve been reading the comic Kanan: The Last Padawan.
The heart to heart also gave Rex the chance to explain that he didn’t betray his Jedi. He, Wolffe, and Gregor removed their chips—presumably because of Fives (the clone who discovered the chips in The Clone Wars). Things Rex mentioned also lead to bigger questions. He talked about being betrayed by the Jedi and being decommissioned by the Empire. If he and his compatriots didn’t execute Order 66, why would the Empire keep them around? The Empire isn’t compassionate. I would imagine they considered the clones as disposable as battle droids. But Rex also mentioned there were bases he hadn’t told the Empire about, implying he’s worked with the Empire. Wolffe’s attitude also hints at a former connection. I’m curious to learn more about what they’ve been doing and the Empire’s motivation for allowing them to live.
While there was plenty of meaty, heavy material in the episode, it also got a little silly too. The hunting aspects of the story ran long; going after the big sandworm-like monster did show how well the clones could work alongside the rebels and how much the rebels function like a well-oiled machine, but it was distracting. It broke up the primary plot rather than complementing it, if that makes sense. The humor in those parts might not have worked so well, but the bits in the Ghost between Hera and Chopper were on point. Sure, I have strong feelings about Chopper and his sassy arms, but everything about their interactions hilarious.
What I really liked is how much events in this episode set up the season. For example, Ahsoka issues a mission and leaves to look into Darth Vader. She’s having the Ghost crew tackle the day-to-day business while she goes off to handle the bigger picture. For fans who thought otherwise, this establishes right away how she won’t be around all the time. We also see how differently Ezra and Kanan are handling their new way of life. Ezra is less hesitant–he’s eager and tossing out inspirational quotes–while Kanan is more guarded. It’s a contrast that’s bound to mean interesting developments for their relationship moving forward.
- “We all have a choice.” – Captain Rex
- “The war left its scars on all of us.” – Captain Rex
What did you think of “The Lost Commanders?” Are you happy to see Captain Rex and the other clones back in the picture? Do you think there was too much creature hunting? Let me know in the comments.