Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Antilles Extraction is Fanservice done Well

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This episode of Star Wars is brought to you by fanservice and good writing. Both Zach and Nick enjoyed this episode, and are happy to review it for your pleasure. First Zach gives you his case.

Zach’s Thoughts

I was supremely pleased with this week’s episode. Something I was really hoping for in Season 2 was a better look at how the Empire works. We got a bit of it in Season 1 when Ezra went undercover as a cadet in the Stormtrooper Corps, but Season 2 especially left me cold. There was a ton of mystery around the Inquisitors and it seemed like it was leading somewhere, but in the end none of it bore fruit. Even the episode with Kallus and Zeb stranded on one of the Geonosian moons was devoid of actual Imperial information. Now we finally get a glimpse into the Imperial training system and boy was it good.


Sabine = Sabae

It might not have seemed like it in my previous reviews of Seasons 1 and 2, but Sabine is one of my favorite characters. She is an artist, like me, although her paintings tend to be a little more explosive than mine. She is also very well educated, something that none of the other Rebels can boast when you think about it. The Imperial Academy seems like a hybrid of a College-Preparatory school and a college itself, and the knowledge Sabine gleaned from it has been indispensable as the show has progressed. The Empire seems keen on indoctrinating its subjects at a young age, and based on the relatively low rate of dropouts it would appear that they are very good at it. It makes Sabine’s escape from the Imperial mindset that much more commendable.


It was also good to see Sabine in an Imperial setting. With her bright colors and warm personality it was a bit difficult to imagine her in the austere blacks and grays of the Empire. That said, in this episode she showed just how Imperial she can be. She seamlessly integrates herself into the cadets and when her rescue mission came apart she prioritizes the mission over her own safety. After all, what is more useful: a single demolitions expert or an entire ship? We also get to see a glimpse of what caused her to flee the Empire.

All good fascist governments need to pass themselves off as a legitimate government that cares for its citizens, and Imperial protocol seems to do just that. However, the men in command order Sabine and Wedge to ignore protocol in favor of annihilating the defenseless ship in the training exercise. It is also refreshing to hear an Imperial’s view on the rebels as well.

Arihnda Pryce: The Bad*ss We Deserve

One of the episodes most shocking figures.
One of the episodes most shocking figures.

It is a good thing Governor Pryce was off doing…whatever as the rebels were finding their footing in Season 1. Minister Maketh Tua was a good woman who was trapped in a bad government, and her dealings with the rebels were limited. She never actively sought them out until Grand Moff Tarkin arrived and started applying pressure, and even then her efforts were very civic: checkpoints and curfews. Arihnda Pryce is brutal and cunning. When there is even a whiff of treason at Skystrike Academy she shows up and the gloves are off.

When she arrives, it turns out that the defectors have been smart enough to cover their tracks, so Pryce arranges an opportunity for escape too good to resist. And it works beautifully: she has all the TIE fighter’s wings rigged to blow off and just waits for the rebels to make their move. Having them out on exercises also means that there are plenty of fighters in the area to fight whatever rebels might show up.

This also shows the depths of her cruelty. It is easy to forget, but all the cadets at the Skystrike Academy are children. When Pryce springs the trap she coolly whacks one to send a message to the other two. Then, when she brings them back for questioning, she is willing to torture them for information.

And this is at an Academy; these kids have families waiting for them, they are not just street urchins that the Empire picked up and pressed into service. Pryce is fully willing to bear the consequences of torturing and killing children. She is also willing to beat the stuffing out of them in a fist-fight, but thankfully Sabine manages to escape. It seems that Pryce, Thrawn, and Tarkin are becoming the Terrible Trio of the Empire, and I cannot wait to see more of them.

The Bigger Picture

Because Disney is stingy going in a new direction with Rebels, we do not get to see much politics or grand battles to remind us that everything that happens within the show is taking place against the backdrop of a much larger conflict. Small insurrections like the ones Phoenix Squadron leads are happening all over the Galaxy all the time.

It seems like they are constantly outmatched by the Empire, as shown at the beginning of the episode. The rebels are constantly undermanned and outgunned, and no battles like the ones of the Clone Wars have yet taken place. Indeed, the only major pitched battle we see in the original trilogy is the Battle of Endor. Every other time it is either the rebels fleeing or using a strike team.

Still, the Empire is willing to go to great lengths to defeat the rebels, and it begs the question as to why. The answer is something Tarkin said in Season 1: Unity and Hope are all the rebels need to start a domino effect. The teacher in Skystrike Academy points out a reality that the rebels are dangerous and willing to do whatever they need to make a victory, even converting a junky cargo-vessel into a combat-worthy warship. The Empire is bleeding from a thousand cuts while Tarkin, Pryce, and Thrawn are desperately trying to staunch the bleeding. It is as Leia says: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

She knew what she was talking about.

It also serves to highlight the need of the Death Star. These rebels are always able to hide and regroup to start the fight again. As long as the rebels have somewhere to go the fight will always continue. Having a weapon capable of annihilating an entire planet allows the Empire to hold the entire Galaxy hostage, and any thought of rebellion will die before it begins. The plan is perfect.

Rating: 9, Squee-Worthy. When you are excited about everything here and what it could be and can’t wait to see more. Leaves the viewer with a spring in their step and a song in their heart.

Favorite Quote (Same as Nick):

Wedge: What’s the plan?

Sabine: I’ll tell you when I think of one.

Wedge: Are you serious

Sabine *smirking*: Welcome to the rebellion.

Nick’s Thoughts

This episodes was surprisingly lax in its fanservice. It was more about Sabine infiltrating a training station in the clouds to retrieve some pilots. There not much, except for one thing, that stands out this episode. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t too good. Although it did develop one character.

Nick Digresses on Kallus


Something I love is a good redemption arc. I like seeing people move past bad actions and grow. It’s great for creating interest in a character and showcasing how people change over time. And what’s interesting is that maybe this is happening for Kallus.

Of all characters, Kallus has the most opaque future. This episodes ties into an earlier season 2 episode, . In that won Zeb and Kallus had to tolerate each other on an ice planet alone (like some fanfic scenarios I’ve seen.) They ended the episode on better terms and Kallus maybe questioning the empire. They weren’t good terms, but tolerable terms. It was like the Katara Zuko crystal cave scene in season 2 of avatar.

So in these episode he saves Sabine and the recruits so he can be even with Zeb. So Kallus, who was an unambiguously bad guy of season 1, is getting some depth. The question is, will he have a full on redemption arc? I don’t know. My crackpot is he’s one of the Rebel Alliance’s secret allies, one of their fulcrums is you will.

Wedge Antilles and Fanservice

Wedge Antilles was a secondary character in the original Star Wars trilogy. He was the Poe Dameron of the alliance. He didn’t do much but pilot, however, he is somewhat popular in the Star Wars fandom. And this episode is aiming for that sweet sexy fanservice.

Surprisingly it’s not too much. Wedge doesn’t take over the episode, and the episode is better for it. As Zach talked about, the episode shows us how the empire indoctrinates. It was very balanced, competent fanservice.


Other Small Things

This episode had some cool tidbits. The finale was greatly executed, with a twist I wasn’t able to predict. Kanan and Ezra had some fun bantering. It was good at showing us the Rebel’s growing problems. I don’t have any major issues with it, nor am I floored by anything. At this point am out of things to talk about. So it’s rating to me is 6, Good

Rating: 6, Very watchable and with enough honey-potting it can be considered great. Leaves the viewer with a smile and a desire to see more.

Favorite Quote (Same as Zach):

Wedge: What’s the plan?

Sabine: I’ll tell you when I think of one.

Wedge: Are you serious

Sabine *smirking*: Welcome to the rebellion.

Next Week

Hera Chills Out with Thrawn.


All images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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