In “Fighter Flight,” Zeb and Ezra are bickering on board the Ghost, and so Hera sends them to town to get supplies and give the rest of the crew a little peace and quiet. On their shopping list are meiloorun fruit, which don’t grow on Lothal and are hard to come by (Hera wants to make sure they’re gone awhile). Ezra finds some meilooruns in Imperial possession, and when he gets in trouble trying to steal them, Zeb hijacks a TIE Fighter to try and rescue him. Meanwhile, Mr. Sumar, who knew Ezra in the past, has his farm taken from him by the Empire and is placed under arrest with other farmers. It’s up to Ezra and Zeb to get past their differences and use the TIE to help out the farmers of Lothal and free them from Imperial captivity.
I’ve heard a lot of people call this episode a filler episode, and I suppose in some ways it is. It doesn’t seem like it’s advancing the larger, overarching narrative — it’s not a “mythology” episode. But what I like about “Fighter Flight” was the world building it does by showing — not telling — the brutality of the Empire. So far on Rebels, we’ve seen Imperial officers pick on street vendors and enslave Wookiees. Here we get to see them forcibly remove citizens from their homes, going so far as to blast the farm to get them to cooperate. I loved that in the premiere movie “Spark of Rebellion,” we heard about such actions, but now we’re seeing it. Getting to experience it firsthand added more emotional weight to the stories, and now I feel myself empathizing a bit more with the people of Lothal. I’m hoping that as the series advances, we get to see Imperial brutality escalate until the only thing that makes sense is a rebellion.
Apart from that, this was a completely character-driven episode. Ezra, Zeb, and even Chopper (man, I love that little jerk) are fleshed out even more than they already have been, and at this point, I’m beginning to feel like those three are old friends rather than just characters off of a cartoon show. I’m hoping that we soon get more into the characters of Kanan, Hera, and Sabine, as right now, they’re still broad outlines from a viewer standpoint.
On the technical side of things, the pacing was good and the music was great. The animation is about on par with what you’d expect from this series thus far, but I’ve got to agree with Jason: the reusing of the same five or six digital extras is starting to make Lothal feel pretty small. It reminds me of the early Clone Wars episodes in that way, and I’m hoping that sometime soon the animation team gets the resources to put in a much broader population.
All in all, it might not be the episode everyone was wanting it to be (I have a feeling that’s next week’s “Rise of the Old Masters”), but it’s far from a bad episode and does a pretty decent job of sketching out the world that this group of heroes is starting off in.