Monday, May 27, 2024

The Rebellion Grows and The Rebel Droids Shine

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Wow, Fandomentals! Long time, no see! Since we missed last week’s review we are including a mini-review of that episode before we get into the meat of this week’s. These last 2 additions to the season delivered some solid plot and even a little character development. The writers seem to be on a roll, delivering consistently good episodes week after week. Considering what is coming up in the next episode, we hope that this trend continues.

Last Week on “Secret Cargo”

Senator Mon Mothma, sick of funding the Rebellion behind the scenes, the way Bail Organa does, tells Palps to get fucked, packs her shit, and flees the Galactic capital to join with her forces in the Outer Rim. Thrawn, Pryce, and Konstantin, eager to claim such a prominent prize, pursue her but are outwitted by Hera and Gold Leader Jon Vander. This episode does away with any “science” pretense that Star Wars had, using protons and nebulae to create explosions in space. That aside, the episode is very solid. This is the first time we have seen a major political figure directly oppose Palpatine in any way. It really drives home the fact that the Rebel Alliance is a functional matriarchy: between Mon Mothma as the political head and Leia Organa as the military head, girls run more than just the world; they run the galaxy. We also get to see Thrawn’s terrifying new TIE fighter in action, but it is fortunately destroyed, thus explaining why it was not guarding the Emperor’s favorite pet project, the Death Star. And at long last we see the fabled Dantooine, mentioned once by Leia in A New Hope and extensively developed in the Legends continuity, we can only hope that once Thrawn destroys Atollon we will get to see what the surface of Dantooine looks like.

Episode Rating: 7 – Satisfying: Fantastic! Entertaining! I would be willing to watch it again. It isn’t perfect, but it hits an emotional or thematic sweet spot that leaves you glad you spent time on it.

“Double Agent Droid” Episode Summary

Wedge Antilles, Chopper, and AP-5 go to the most originally named planet of Star Wars: Killin. They are there to steal information from the Imperial Data Bank. However, Thrawn has instructed his Imperial Listeners to be on the lookout for AP-5 and Chopper; while most Imperials overlook any droid and dismiss that it might be a threat, no detail is too small for Thrawn. Rather than reveal the droids, the Listeners hack into Chopper in an attempt to discover the secret base of operations. AP-5 is immediately suspicious of Chopper’s new, more Imperial behavior and uncharacteristic helpfulness, but his warnings go unheeded until Chopper tries to blow the whole crew into space. Treachery revealed, the rebels and AP-5 work together to regain control of the ship and Hera creates a counter hack to kill all the Imperial Listeners. (Zach is all: ? ? ? ? [Though Cameron would’ve been fine with them being recurring.]) Their secret remains safe for now.

Imperial IT

The Imperial Listeners, Who we’ll refer to as Imperial IT are fascinating as villains for the show. They given up a large degree of their autonomy to hook themselves up into the Imperial Internet, and become something of a concept from a Sci-Fi dystopia. They hack Chopper and use him as a puppet to spy on the crew. This sets up a scenario where the crew has to somehow figure out that not only has Chopper been taken over, but how to defeat him when he’s taken control of the ship’s computers(This is why passwords are important, kids.). It gives the writers the opportunity to add suspense and play around with the situation.

It’s a very creative step for “Double Agent Droid”. In lieu of the usual Pew Pew Pew space battle, we instead have an episode focused on intrigue and acting. We watch as Controller, head IT dude, takes control of Chopper and how he manipulates the crew. It’s a very interesting PoV switch and sells the idea of hacking and sabotage the episode showcases.

Controller was a well written mix of smarmy and efficient. Dedicated to odds and numbers, this dude is guilelessly cruel and logical. He violates Chopper and turns him into a puppet. He’s very smarmy, but he never goes over the top, and remains calm. Another misstep would be to make him too nerdy and inept, yet he instead maintained his smarts and emotional manipulation of the crew. The results are excellent. Head IT Bro is an effective villain. It’s almost a shame he died so soon, I actually would’ve like more hacking episodes, ship against ship.

Don’t Make Hera Mad

For what little time she was on, Hera stole the show. The moment she comprehends what the Empire has done to Chopper, she gets angry. Hera is scary when she is angry. All of her tactical brilliance is focused. She makes a Techno Babble counter hack against Imperial IT that hacks their ships and for some reason blows them up (don’t question it).


AP-5 is one of “Double Agent Droids” highlights. He is egotistical and stubborn. Yet he is very committed to himself and his beliefs, even whenever others doubt him, because he, by his nature, is very observant. Even better, he uses his observations and notices stuff that’s off, like Chopper being actually supportive. He is right.

Unfortunately he is so right while also being so lovably egotistical. Every chance he gets he lords himself as the leader and how he’s the only competent one. A belief built upon his ability to analyze. Ironically undermining himself. He’ll even lord himself over other Imperial droids for being so rigid and structured, but fails to reflect on himself and how he comes across as a drone to others.

AP-5’s Musical moment is the most absurdly wonderful piece of Star Wars outside of the Christmas special. The Droid sings to himself where he rejoices in his solitude while he dances around with a bunch of fluorescent pink space creatures. It’s the oddest moment in the show up to date, and I found myself laughing at the absurdity. Egotistical but observant, this silly droid was one of the highlights of the show. AP-5 seems to have tapped into the fatalistic humor of this generation of Star Wars fans perfectly.

The Star Wars Droids

Something that Gretchen mentioned in her thoughts on The Phantom Menace was the treatment of droids in the galaxy far, far away. To quote:

“They’re very much depicted as being sentient: they joke around, they have emotions, they have snark. At the same time, we’re not supposed to care when they’re destroyed in droves or just shut down … Especially the way Anakin programs C-3PO to call him ‘master’ and then casually abandons him on Tatooine.”

That point seems to be especially driven home in this episode.

Cameron and Zach have differing opinions on Chopper. While Cameron believes Chopper is a bit of evil, lovable, and irritable cat on the Ghost, Zach been waiting for a character to kick him since he was introduced. That said, it is undeniable that he is a being with free will. C1-10P is abrasive, often lazy, and always does what he wants when he wants to. When the Imperial Intelligence shows up, it is a startling reminder that the droids are actually … well, droids. They are computers, and computers can be hacked. Unlike most instances of Fantasy Mind Control, however, Chopper is never afforded a chance for a “battle in the center of the mind.” His code is simply overridden by the Imperials and it is up to others to fix things.

That said, stealing Chopper’s autonomy is not treated as that big a deal. Hera does it all the time, since she wipes his memory of Atollon’s coordinates every time they jump through hyperspace. (Though the case could be made that it is too dangerous for him to keep these cordinates, as he is hacked, and they still preserve his personality, it is still very invasive.) In The Clone Wars it was a major plot point that Anakin never wiped R2’s memory. I think it is an unintentional example of moral ambiguity among the good guys. Even though the Rebels treat their droids far better than the Imperials, they still treat the droids as machines.

Closing Thoughts

Episode Rating: 7 – Satisfying: Fantastic! Entertaining! I would be willing to watch it again. It isn’t perfect, but it hits an emotional or thematic sweet spot that leaves you glad you spent time on it.

Next Week: The Grudge Match of the Galaxy / Maul’s Gon’ Settle His Beef / All with a Huge Dash of…

Images Courtesy of Disney

[starbox id=“Cameron,Zach”]

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