Episode four of Star Wars Rebels, though nothing extraordinary, was a solid hit that was far from being a bad episode. In ranking the episodes of Star Wars Rebels that I’ve seen so far, at one end of the spectrum is “Best” while at the other end is “My Least Favorite But Still Really Good.” “Fighter Flight” is in the “My Least Favorite” category, but what is that saying, really? It’s saying that I still liked the episode, it just didn’t feature as awesome or explosive of a story as the others that I’ve seen.
In “Fighter Flight,” the first few minutes find Zeb and Ezra fighting like a cat and a dog, with Hera at the end of her patience with both of them. In a desperate attempt to get them to work together (and also to get them off the Ghost for awhile), she sends them into a local Lothal city to get some much-needed supplies, and also to find some rare meiloorun fruit (which, incidentally, doesn’t grow on the rebels’ base planet of Lothal). In the true “trouble always finds me” fashion, what starts as a supply run quickly escalates into a fun-filled adventure, stealing a case of meilooruns and rescuing a farmer and his wife from Imperials, who arrested the farmer couple after destroying their home. Though in the end Zeb and Ezra end up with only one meiloorun and none of their supplies, they gain a new sense of friendship and understanding that is a relief to all the other members of the crew.
As I said earlier, this was a solid episode. Nothing really game-changing occurred; there were no cameos by film characters a la “Droids In Distress,” no revolutionary revelation that shook up a character’s life (like Ezra’s Force sensitivity revelation in “Spark of Rebellion,” which shook up the lives of ALL the rebels as it resulted in him being recruited by Kanan). But it had character development, which made watching it truly worthwhile. Though I don’t think that this will be the end of Zeb and Ezra’s quarrels, I’m fairly certain that through their little adventure together they developed a greater respect and liking for one another. Their new-found closer relationship by the end of the episode also cements the idea that the rebels of the Ghost are a family. And like all families, when someone new is added into the fold it takes time for everyone to get used to each other. That’s why you need episodes like “Fighter Flight,” in which character development and relationships are the primary foci.
Some other thoughts I had about this episode: the humor was spot-on. I especially enjoyed a scene in which Kanan tells Ezra and Zeb that they have to get rid of a TIE fighter that they stole from the Imperials during their adventure, and both characters ask pleadingly, “Do we HAVE to?” Zeb’s ears went down at this particular moment, like a puppy’s, which made the scene all the more sweet and funny to watch. Zeb and Ezra really are the brothers of this crew, equivalent to sons or mischievous nephews to Hera and Kanan. And yet, I doubt that these are the only roles they will fulfill in this little family. When you’re not blood-related, it’s easier to slip into different roles at different times. While Zeb may be a brother to Ezra in this particular episode, he could also fulfill the role of uncle or best friend later on. The same applies to all the other characters, as well.
Speaking of the other characters: another thing that I noticed was that Sabine did not get much screen time or lines to speak in this episode. In fact, she hasn’t had any character development at all since the show started, other than the revelation in “Droids In Distress” that she can speak different languages. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this lack of development, however. For one thing, she’s a Mandalorian, and Mandalorians are bound to be enigmatic, what with their proud, warlike culture and face-concealing helmets. In addition to that, she’s also a teenager, and some teenagers tend to be introverted once they reach the age of fifteen or sixteen. Sabine, especially, in addition to recently going through puberty and growing into an adult, has had what I assume to be a pretty traumatic past with the Empire. Such a character can’t be forced to develop too early; they have to be coaxed into it, likely over the course of numerous installments. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t learn too much more about Sabine until further along in the season.
One last thought: Chopper is a SOLID hit. He’s actually the instigator of Zeb and Ezra’s big fight at the beginning of the episode. This little droid is truly the cat of the family. I don’t think he could really fulfill any other role quite as well.
“Fighter Flight” might be considered a filler episode, and it kind of is. It’s sandwiched between what I considered to be an awesome adventure starring C-3PO and R2-D2, which also featured a cameo by the ever dashing Bail Organa, and power-packed “Rise of the Old Masters” (premiering tonight on Disney XD), an episode that promises to hold astonishing revelations as well as an awesome lightsaber duel between Kanan and the dangerous & dapper Inquisitor. Whether it was meant to be a filler or not, however, it was executed well. It has character development and humor, and furthers the idea that family and friends are going to be a central theme of this new television series. Not only that, but it also gives us some breathing room before we watch what many lucky early viewers consider to be the best and most explosive installment in the series so far. And we’re only five episodes in.