Warning: contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode, “Vision of Hope.”
With “Vision of Hope,” I’ve come to understand something about Star Wars Rebels: it’s difficult to evaluate an individual episode without really considering its piece as a part of the whole. This was something that wasn’t evident to me early on and caused me a lot of frustration. But now, after a couple of binge watches of all the episodes released to date, I’m realizing just how important all of them are in telling an over-arching story.
I think coming into this, I was looking at the Clone Wars model of Star Wars animation, where there were smaller, unconnected story arcs done in more of an anthology format. That was the wrong way to take Rebels, and I should have been more open-minded. With this series, I think Dave Filoni and crew are following a template that more closely resembles another animated program that Filoni worked on: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In that show, each episode was merely a piece of a larger puzzle (though it wasn’t always evident until later), and they were building towards something. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Star Wars Rebels is doing the same thing, and I think the only real difference between its method and ATLA is that ATLA did a better job of clearly stating that it was a serialized, long form narrative up front (and also Airbender was traditional, 2D animation, allowing them to have a larger scope that Rebels is sorely lacking).
All of that said, “Vision of Hope” does a pretty decent job of paying off existing storylines while setting the stage for what is to come.
In the episode, Ezra is training with his lightsaber when he has a vision of the Ghost crew being involved with Senator in Exile, Gall Trayvis. The team soon decodes a hidden message in the senator’s latest freedom broadcast and realize he wants to meet with them. Ezra contacts Zare Leonis and learns of an Imperial operation taking place at their meeting place with Trayvis. Our heroes decide it is a trap and set out to rescue the senator. However, during their escape Trayvis reveals he’s actually an Imperial mole, rooting out insurgents and getting them put under Imperial surveillance so the Empire can snuff them out before they become a real threat. Hera punches Trayvis in the face, and disheartened, the rebels escape to fight another day.
The big thing going on in “Vision of Hope” is tying up the Trayvis storyline and showing just how alone our heroes really are. I’m guessing most people figured out that Trayvis worked for the Empire (or at the very least was being manipulated by them) after his intel on Luminara Unduli didn’t pan out in the episode “Rise of the Old Masters,” so his betrayal didn’t really pack as much punch as it could have had he been more of a valuable asset earlier on in the season. Still, I think kids who have been following along since the beginning wouldn’t have seen it coming, so I have to remember that it was probably more for them than for adults.
The rest of the episode has some decent action, and it was nice to see Agent Kallus make a return appearance. I really enjoyed his callback to “Spark of Rebellion” when he called Ezra “Padawan Jabba,” but I’m a little confused as to how Kallus knew Kanan’s name. I’m guessing when I go back to rewatch previous episodes, I’ll catch something I missed.
Otherwise, the episode did a pretty good job of putting the rebels in a position where they have no one to trust. It reminds me of the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If they want others to rise up against the tyranny of the Empire, they can no longer expect someone else to inspire people for them. Should a rebellion rise on Lothal, the crew of the Ghost is going to have to do it themselves.