This episode of Star Wars Rebels is my favorite so far, by far!
In “Legends of the Lasat (S2, Ep12),” we finally get some much-needed exposition on Zeb, the too-often-grumpy Lasat warrior and muscle of our intrepid band of rebels. I’ve always been a fan of the hands-on warrior classes (my first 50 D&D characters being dwarven fighters), and earlier in the series we get some hints about why Zeb stands with Kanan and what happened to his home planet of Lasan. There was a lot going on in that episode, but the terrors that are hinted at really planted the seed for a truly moving resolution in this episode. So let us start off with some history about Zeb as we know it, and then move on to why this episode is so damn good.
The Fall of Lasan:
We get our first taste of what happened to the Lasat in Season 1, Episode 2: “Droids in Distress.” With so much happening in this episode, it was almost easy to dismiss the methodical annihilation of Zeb’s people at the hands of the Galactic Empire. We had new characters we were learning to love and old characters (C-3PO, R2-D2, and Senator Bail Organa) to raise our curiosity. But from the look on Zeb’s face when he opens the crate and discovers those T-7 ion disruptors, coupled with the ferocity with which he dispatches the Storm Troopers? You quickly realize how important it is to him to keep these things out of the Empire’s hands.
What’s so special about these disruptors, you ask? Well, for one, they’re capable of short-circuiting entire starships. They’re a lightweight long rifle with a large butt to absorb recoil that fires an ionized plasma bolt, and were originally banned by the senate because of the slow, painfully inhumane death caused when an organic life-form is hit by the bolt. Imagine the burning, boiling sensation caused as each of your atoms are torn apart in turn as their ions are stripped away. This is what happened when the Empire invaded Lasan, systematically wiping out nearly all of the Lasat.
Zeb was there when it happened. In “Droids in Distress,” Agent Kallus challenges Zeb to one-on-one combat with the weapon of the Honor Guard of Lasan, the bo-rifle. Kallus also reveals that he was the officer who gave the order to use the disruptors. After Ezra uses a massive force-push to save Zeb from Kallus’ final blow, the episode wraps up with some newfound loyalty and a new padawan for Kanan. Then we get very little more about Zeb and his history until season 2.
Enter “Legends of the Lasat”:
We open the episode with Ezra and Chopper leading the crew on a “secret mission” to meet with one of Ezra’s contacts — the infamously endearing Hondo Ohnaka. When they arrive at their destination, they see a small squad of Imperials leading some refugees who turn out to be two Lasat. Needless to say, this quickly leads to a fight with Zeb heralding the charge. Now, I won’t do a full recap of the episode. I’ll save that for other writers, even if some of them are the negative-Nelly types.
We do, however, discover that Zeb — or Garazeb Orrelios — was the captain of Lasan’s Honor Guard. Throughout the episode, Zeb wrestles with his perceived failure of his people while simultaneously rejecting the prophetic musings of his own kind, only to come around to their way of thinking in the best way possible. This, my friends, is where the episode gets amazing. As Zeb embraces the spirituality of his people, he discovers he is the key to finding the mythical new home of the Lasat – Lirasan. As Chopper reveals a system map, Zeb converts his bo-rifle to the form the old guard used and through the mysticism so frequently referenced in Star Wars, plots a course past the Outer Rim to the location of Lirasan.
As the crew rocket through hyperspace, a gravity well interferes and they drop out to find an imploded star cluster blocking their path. To make matters worse, the Empire appears behind them creating the proverbial “between a rock and a hard-place” moment. Emboldened by his restored faith, Zeb uses his bo-rifle once again to bolster the Ghost against the extreme gravity of the cluster as they push onward into the maelstrom, leaving Kallus and the Empire behind.
The wide view of the insignificant Ghost versus the beautifully rendered collapsed star cluster against the immense deep-space backdrop is a visual I won’t soon forget. Then comes the score, swelling into a moving and robust orchestral piece driving home the significance of all that is happening. The resolve of Zeb as he guides the ship forward, the look on Kallus’ face as he attempts to pursue and nearly destroys his Imperial Light Cruiser. It all culminates right there and leaves you very nearly breathless.
I came into Star Wars: The Clone Wars late and I’m not sure I ever finished the series, but I definitely liked what I saw. As a result, we have Star Wars Rebels queued to record on the TiVo; and if we continue to get episodes like this, then I will certainly continue to watch to the end. The little adventures are fun, the guest characters have been numerous and wonderfully executed, and the character exposition episodes keep getting better. I’m excited to see what they have in store for Hera and Sabine, and I hope that when those stories come around that they will inspire me enough to write another article about this Outer Rim gang of heroes.
Leave me some comments! Did this episode impress you as it did me? Which is your favorite Rebels episode and why? Will the ground be friends with me?
For your viewing pleasure, I leave you with this BTS video of “Rebels Recon.” Wait until the end and the next episode teaser. Space Whales, man. Space Whales:
While he's not reminiscing fondly over his ill-gotten acorn collection, you can also catch him pretending to know anything at all about audio while trying to produce this train wreck they call a podcast in his "studio," which is nothing more than an multidimensional pocket shimmed between the fabric of space-time. That's where sasquatches live, you know.