Saw Gerrera returns in In The Name Of The Rebellion! Welcome ally, or thorn in the side of Mon Mothma and the Rebellion?
Star Wars Rebels returned this week with another two part episode; In The Name Of The Rebellion. After their victory on Mandalore, Kanan, Ezra, Sabine and Chopper rejoin the Rebellion on Yavin IV to prepare for the next mission. Moments after their return, Hera and the remainder of Phoenix Squadron, including Wedge Antilles, arrive after a failed supply run. After a brief reunion, Kallus calls the Ghost crew to a briefing being led by rebel leader Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. Senator Leia Organa has delivered vital info pertaining to a new Imperial outpost in the Jalindi system that greatly expands the Empires communication network. A plan is devised to tap into the network to use it to their advantage. The mission disappoints Ezra, who was hoping to be able to return to his home planet of Lothal to offer assistance to his people.
Upon entering Jalindi’s atmosphere, Sabine, Ezra and Chopper fly out of the Ghost onto the surface of a massive antennae dish in order to tap into the Imperial grid. Their stealth mission is somewhat short lived as an Imperial cruiser looms overhead and lets loose several Stormtroopers and two TIE Defenders to prevent the Ghost from rescuing them. Aid comes to the rebels as Saw Gerrara and Edrio Two-Tubes arrive in a U-Wing and pick up Sabine, Ezra and Chopper. He enlists their help, somewhat without their consent, in tracking down a secret Imperial cargo shipment.
Saw, who has been determined to uncover a rumored Imperial superweapon (the Death Star), is convinced this cargo has something to do with the project. Gerrara and the Rebels arrive on a space station in the Tonnis sector, and at first see no trace of any Imperial activity. Chopper finds a cargo bay that is listed as restricted, and Ezra hears a strange “calling” from the hidden cargo. What is uncovered is a massive Kyber crystal, under the protective care of a squad of fearsome Death Troopers, and an all-out battle, to make sure the Empire is not able to utilize its precious cargo, closes out the final act of In The Name Of The Rebellion.
This action packed pair of episodes delivers on multiple fronts and pulls out all the stops in connecting Rebels to Rogue One. In fact, as the final season of Rebels winds down, it is clear that the series will end just before, if not tying directly into, that film. In The Name Of The Rebellion is the first step down that path.
Guarding the large Kyber is a contingent of Death Troopers who were first seen in Rogue One as Director Orson Krennic’s personal entourage. They are just as deadly here, and they actually have dialogue that can be understood as opposed to the garbled communications heard previously. This is likely to maintain open communication with the Stormtroopers also on the station. Krennic is name dropped in the episode, and it would not be too much of a stretch for him to make a personal appearance before the season is out. As close as In The Name Of The Rebellion is to the events of Rogue One it makes sense for the major players to start rearing their heads. Tarkin and Krennic.
Jedha is also mentioned. Jedha is the world seen in Rogue One that the Empire is strip mining Kyber crystals from right out of the Jedi Temples on the planet. Prisoners on-board the station reported hearing troopers discuss cargo from Jedha, this is where the massive Kyber crystal on the ship originated. It is then that they start putting the pieces together, that the Empire is actively looking to weaponize and harness the power of these crystals to power their deadly machines. A Kyber this large hasn’t been seen since the never aired Crystal Crisis from The Clone Wars. That one never made it into the wrong hands thanks to Anakin and Obi-Wan.
Mon Mothma in Rogue One is aware of the threat of the Death Star, although not knowing its name at the time, and what occurs in these episodes supplying her with that knowledge. In The Name Of The Rebellion could be a bookend to Rogue One with A New Hope on the other side of them. It provides the much needed backstory between she and Saw Gerrera.
Freedom Fighter Or Terrorist?
The tenuous relationship between Mothma and Saw, and Saw with the greater Rebel Alliance, is fleshed out in these episodes. For as much as they may disagree on tactics, there is a deep amount of respect they both have for each other that is felt in their dialogue. They both share the same goal, but their respective ideology is extremely polarized.
It’s their own personal war of morals and ideals.
From a certain point of view, Saw and his more extreme tactics push Mothma to fight harder and take more risks. From that perspective, both of their tactics are mutually beneficial and necessary for the fight ahead. The “extremist” is able to elicit a fiery response from her, revealing the capable fighter beneath the typically calm senator from Chandrila. Saw feels that it is more important to use tactics that work, regardless of not playing by a hypothetical rulebook–or of who may get caught in the crossfire. What Saw doesn’t see is that if you lower your values to defeat your enemy do you risk becoming the very thing your fighting?
Saw’s modus operandi is to do whatever it takes to get the job done and bring the hurt to the Empire. He has faced so much in his life, so much pain and loss, that he has become somewhat numb to the personal plight of others. When he and Ezra and Sabine discover the prisoners being held on the station, he seems to not be at all concerned. His focus is singular, the discovery and take down of the rumored weapon is his one and only mission.
The portrayal of Saw Gerrara was to be an intentional nod and mirror image to Darth Vader. A man broken and driven almost mad by his grief and rage. He is extremely paranoid, but he is also usually right. He was right about the weapon all these years when everyone else dismissed his warnings as the ravings of a fanatic.
Pieces Falling Into Place
The beginning of the episode sees Ezra having a crisis of conscience and potentially sowing the seeds for an eventual desertion from the Rebellion. Delaying the assistance that was promised to Lothal is a serious slight. As he meditates with Kanan under the stars he realizes that taking the high ground may be the wrong choice for him. He admires the fact that Saw and the Partisans get results without worrying about how they will be seen. The Rebels may not be ready for an open war with the Empire. But instead of fighting to win, Ezra is learning the value of fighting just to fight. Ezra is inching ever closer to finding a home with the Partisans, and may have already been seen in Saw’s cadre. In a scene early in Rogue One when the Partisans meet with the recently deserted Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook, a familiar helmet is spotted amongst the fighters. Painted black, it’s a Scout Trooper helmet. And Ezra has been sporting a Scout helmet for a while.
The Death Star, which is the superweapon that will be powered by the Kybers, is just over the horizon. It ominously looms in the background of In The Name Of The Rebellion and Saw is growing ever more desperate in his attempts to stop it.
Rebel cells are starting to come together, but they are still disorganized and have no clear path forward yet. But this is exactly how they are seen in Rogue One. Just on the verge of being prepared for a full scale war with the Empire. With Bail Organa in the Senate, they are still under the impression that there can be a diplomatic resolution with Palpatine.
But as the timeline draws nearer to the Battle of Scarif, it is already clear that there will be no peace.
The next episode Rebels, The Occupation, airs October 30th on Disney XD.