Remember how I complained the opening two episodes of Season 2 were a bit weak? Episode 3, entitled “Always Two There Are”, is a return to form.
The episode opens aboard the Ghost and quickly devolves into an argument between Jedi Kanan Jarrus and clone captain Rex. The undertone is clear – they’ve been arguing like that since Rex arrived, and there’s definitely still tension between the two. Kanan may have forgiven the clones, but it’s a work in progress, not an instant fix.
Ezra, tired of being in the crossfire, slips away to join Chopper, Zeb, and Sabine on a mission to retrieve some medical supplies from an abandoned Old Republic medical station. (Side note – I saw some viewers complaining it was ridiculous for the Old Republic/Empire to abandon a perfectly good facility. I live in North Dakota, which is home to plenty of abandoned military installations.)
The facility is mostly shut down, with a near-perfect creepy vibe not out of place in any number of horror movies. And horror is coming – the Rebels crew soon find themselves hunted by not one, but two Inquisitors.
And they thought the Inquisitor from last season was the only one of his kind.
Full marks for mood and setting in this episode – the darkness of the station is a perfect compliment to the new Inquisitors. And as is fitting dark side adepts trained by the Sith, there’s clearly tension between them, with hints that all of the members of their order are jockeying for power in the vacuum left when Kanan offed the Grand Inquisitor in the Season 2 finale.
The limitations of a children’s show did restrain the actions of the Inquisitors. Rebels is pitched at a younger audience than Clone Wars was, and it showed. The “torture” inflicted by the Seventh Sister on hero Ezra was literally an invisible use of the Force, and neither of the Inquisitors actually did anything to Sabine when attempting to use her to get Ezra to talk. (In a more adult setting, I would have fully expected something like limb loss or, at the very least, lightsaber burns.)
The Fifth Brother also picked up the dummy ball at one point in a completely nonsensical way; after besting both Sabine and Zeb, he picked up Sabine and told the Sister’s droids to do whatever they wished with Zeb…minutes after he’d been angry with the Sister for denying him the killing of Ezra. I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t have run Zeb through with a lightsaber just for the fun of it.
Nonsensical survival aside, it gave Zeb a shining moment of character development. For once, the big guy isn’t just the big guy – he expresses doubt and a feeling of inadequacy when he’s measured against the Jedi and the Inquisitors…but ultimately decides to take a chance, set aside his doubts and brawn, and uses his brain to attempt a rescue via deception. Ultimately, I hope they’re sewing the seeds for some real character development for Zeb later in the season, because he’s been very undeveloped thus far.
Ultimately, Zeb’s rescue mission and the escape from the Inquisitors was fairly well-handled, with the Inquisitors showing more raw strength than I would have expected. But the best scene of the show happened upon their return to the Rebel fleet.
Rex and Kanan are still feuding, with Kanan triumphant in a game of dejarik. Rex’s comment, “Looks like you can be disciplined when you set your mind to it,” sparks Kanan’s irritation again, with him observing, “I’m not sure if I like you more or less now.” Clearly, some tension is going to remain for now.
But when the crew tells Kanan that they just escaped a pair of Inquisitors, he can only gape at them. And when they ask him why he didn’t tell them there were more Inquisitors, he has no answer – just stunned silence.
Kanan continues to be the most interesting character on the show (and this coming from someone who, as a rule, isn’t a fan of Jedi), and the episodes ahead look to be more interesting than ever. Killing the Grand Inquisitor in the Season 1 finale wasn’t really a victory, it turns out – it was just kicking over a bees’ hive.
I suspect Season 2 is going to get much, much darker. This was definitely an episode worth watching.