"Through Imperial Eyes" gives us a better look at Imperial life and shines the spotlight on an underrated character from the series.
Spoiler Warning: The following review contains spoilers for “Through Imperial Eyes” and for previous episodes of “Star Wars Rebels” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
Right from the start, “Through Imperial Eyes” had me wary for the safety of our characters and captivated by the slyness of Grand Admiral Thrawn. The episode begins with a quite literal interpretation of its title with a first-person POV with Agent Kallus in his bunk room, waking up to the iconic Imperial alarm. Agent Kallus is the primary focus of the episode, which is great to finally have the spotlight shined on the double agent working as Agent Fulcrum for the rebels. Kallus goes to interrogate a newly captured bounty hunter, only to be revealed as Ezra, who was sent to rescue Kallus after finding out with the Ghost crew that Kallus was at risk of being discovered by Thrawn. The timing is perfect, as Thrawn is now beginning to conduct his investigation into the rebel informant in his ranks along with the help of Colonel Yularen, someone who fans of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” will recognize instantly thanks to his iconic voice done by Tom Kane.
The episode is spent trying to get Kallus out, but in the end he stays behind after covering his tracks and putting the blame on Lieutenant Lyste so that he can continue to serve as an informant for the rebellion. Little known to him and the Ghost crew, Thrawn is able to see through his story and pick out the truth, thanks to a helmet left behind by Ezra, which he keeps quiet in order to use Kallus for his own advantage in future episodes. The episode does a great job at giving us more insight into the life of an Imperial, something not often explored in the films as a whole. We also get more banter between the sarcastic AP-5 and mischievous chopper, which is always welcome and does well at bringing that classic humor you’d expect from “Star Wars.”
While the episode puts a lot of focus on story, it also delivers on the action side of things as well. We learn that not only is Thrawn a brilliant military tactician, but can also handle himself in a fight after he takes out a pair of Imperial Sentry Droids used to distract him in a point of the episode. As a man who spends his time studying art and other cultures in the galaxy, it’s not too big of a shock that he also spends his time practicing a form of martial arts, which we will no doubt see come into play again later this season.
As mentioned previously, Wullf Yularen returned to the animated scene to help Thrawn track down the double agent in their midst, and we also learn he taught Kallus as a cadet in the academy. Colonel Yularen first appeared at the table of Imperials as a background character in “A New Hope” and was given much more attention many years later in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” During the Clone Wars he served as the fleet commander for Anakin Skywalker, whom he went on many missions with, which makes me wonder if he knows the real identity of Darth Vader. It’s an interesting case for Yularen, as he was a hero for the Republic and now he serves for the despised Empire. Something else interesting in the episode, in Thrawn’s office he holds many artifacts and works of art which we get good looks at in the episode. One of these is a painting of the planet Lothal done by Ralph McQuarrie, the man who did most of the concept art for the original trilogy. We also see the clone helmet of what is presumably Commander Gree, who served under Jedi Master Luminara and Master Yoda for the 41st and was later seen decapitated by Yoda on Kashyyyk when Order 66 was executed in Episode III. Usually things like this are not put in by Dave Filoni and his crew on accident, so hopefully we learn more about the helmet’s significance in the future. Also in the episode we learned that the pen shaped objects that Imperial officers keep in their chest pocket named code cylinders function as clearance.
Overall, this has been another stellar episode for the season and it does a great job at showing off the drama between the higher-ups in the Empire. It’s been great to see Agent Kallus grow as a character during the course of this show and be at the point he is now, though his position may be a bit worrisome currently. It’s always fun to see Grand Admiral Thrawn bust some rebels and we now know he can do it in combat as well. The voice work was great this episode as well, Lars Mikkelsen continues to deliver a terrifying character in Thrawn and it was great to hear Tom Kane and his iconic voice return as Colonel Yularen. If you want to catch next week’s episode for yourself, check out “Star Wars Rebels” when it airs next Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD.