TV REVIEW: ‘Star Wars Rebels’ – ‘Zero Hour’

Admiral Thrawn delivers his big assault on the rebel base in what is a terrific wrap to season three of "Star Wars Rebels."

| March 28, 2017

Spoiler Warning: The following review contains spoilers for “Zero Hour” and for previous episodes of “Star Wars Rebels.”

Image courtesy of Disney XD

In tradition with the finales being hour long events, “Zero Hour” brings all the stops for Thrawn’s big invasion of Phoenix Squadron’s base. The episode begins with the Rebels preparing for their attack on Lothal, which they have been gearing up for during the entire season. Since Thrawn learned of Agent Kallus being a leak for the Rebels, he uses that to his advantage by baiting Kallus into sending a warning to the Rebels. This allows Thrawn to take the trajectory of the message and compare it with General Dodonna’s fleets path and determine the location of the Rebel base on Atollon. He then takes Kallus into custody and finally begins his attack on the Rebel cell.

The first wave of the attack begins with a large space battle, similar in style to the ones in “Rogue One” and “Return of the Jedi” but on just a bit smaller scale. The Rebels attempt a jump into hyperspace to escape, but Thrawn’s fleet uses a gravity well to stop them, keeping the Rebels at bay for the time being. This brings up an act of desperation by the Rebels, Commander Sato evacuates his carrier and drives it straight into one of the main Star Destroyers housing a gravity well. This allows Ezra and Chopper to escape the blockade in the brief window of time and get help from one of the other Rebel cells. Commander Sato is not one of my favorite characters, yet his sacrifice was still a touching moment and a reminder of the lengths the Rebels will go to in their fight against the Empire. The Rebels then retreat back to the planet’s surface and try to buy time on the ground while Ezra finds help. After Mon Mothma is unable to send help, Ezra is able to get the help of Sabine and some of Clan Wren who help to take down the last gravity well, giving the Rebels the opportunity to escape.

Image courtesy of Disney XD

The action is plentiful this episode, from a classic space battle to a ground assault on the Rebel base, personally lead by Grand Admiral Thrawn. The mystical Force being Bendu is really the highlight of the episode as he forms a violent storm around himself in order to rid the war of his planet. Bendu has been an interesting character this season; he stands in the middle of the Force and ends up unleashing his wrath on both the Rebels and the Imperial forces. This is the one thing Thrawn did not count on in his attack, hindering him from capturing any of the Rebels, despite dealing a massive blow to their forces. Part of Bendu’s appeal is not only his appearance but his powerful voice as well, delivered by the very talented Tom Baker.

Once again this episode is filled with connections to the rest of the “Star Wars”  universe just like its predecessors. Those with a good ear might have heard the K-1-0 signal given when Hera orders the evacuation, the same signal given at the evacuation of Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Thrawn is escorted by Imperial Death Troopers who were first seen in “Rogue One” escorting Director Krennic and at the Battle of Scarif. These troopers are the best of the best and it’s now clear that they are only assigned to high ranking officials in the Imperial cog machine. Bendu also states that he serves the will of the Force, which could also be taken as the Whills, an ancient order of the Force that is discussed greatly in the final arc of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” You might also recognize the name from “Rogue One,” where Chirrut and Baze are said to be Guardians of the Whills during their time on the planet Jedha.

Image courtesy of Disney XD

This season finale wraps up all of this seasons story lines in a nice package. We get some final closure on Ezra and Kanan’s struggle in their master and apprentice relationship, as well as Kanan’s arc with Bendu. Agent Kallus’ redemption arc has come to a close as he gets his chance at joining the Rebellion and leaving behind the Empire for good. Thrawn has been the biggest piece of this season and I can’t wait for his likely return in season four. The writers have done a great job at progressing the Rebellion’s growth without taking away anything from Thrawn as a villain, keeping him in line with his character from the Timothy Zahn novels, which are no longer canon. Also contributing to Thrawn is Lars Mikkelsen who gives an excellent performance and brings out his cold and calculated nature. We hear AP-5 mention Yavin at the end of the episode, giving a big tease as to where we’re heading for season four. “Star Wars Rebels” is set to return later this year in the fall.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

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  1. Brief correction: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” never mentioned the Whills by name. Some fans have theorized that the Force Priestesses shown in the final episodes might have some connection to the Whills, but that is merely conjecture.