REVIEW Star Wars: Rebels “Breaking Ranks”

Ezra goes undercover as a stormtrooper cadet.

Ezra goes undercover as a stormtrooper cadet.

“Breaking Ranks” shows us our first look into the training of a stormtrooper. Ezra has gone undercover to steal a data chip that contains the coordinates of an Imperial freighter. Supposedly, the Imperials are shipping a massive kyber crystal – the same crystals found in lightsabers. While the core of the episode’s conflict revolves around Ezra’s adventure trying to stay secret and dodge suspicion, I was more interested in the backstory of the kyber crystal. In the final “unreleased” arc of the Clone Wars, we’re introduced to the idea of a massive lightsaber crystal to make a super-weapon. Knowing that the next big thing for the Imperials is the Death Star, maybe they’re setting something up for later with these crystals?

Overall, we were treated to a very entertaining episode. However, it was a little detatched plot-wise. Things kind of just… happened, and I was left with the feeling that the episode was mainly just setting things up and giving us a look at a previously-unseen aspect of the Star Wars universe. The episode ended with an ambiguous “we’ll-probably-see-this-character-later” vibe, and didn’t really give us anything new as far as characterization or story. Though if there’s a bigger picture in mind, I won’t fault the episode too much for that.

Artistic Style

The stark grey hallways is highly reminiscent of the original Star Wars film.

The stark grey hallways is highly reminiscent of the original Star Wars film.

This episode was almost entirely devoid of the lush environments of previous episodes. The episode almost entirely takes place in an Imperial facility, so it’s just grey hallways and white lights. The upside to this is that it’s just dripping with retro-Star Wars goodness. The environment really felt like something we’d see in the original films. The original Star Wars film was very monochromatic, so seeing environments like this really evokes that feeling.

Technical Aspects

I almost want to stop writing about the technical aspects of the show. It’s always good. The only difference is that sometimes, it’s REALLY good. This episode was not one of those really good episodes. I’ll call it good. The animation was on-par with the rest of the series, but we had some throwaway cadet characters that seemed a lot less expressive and more awkward-looking than the main-cast characters.

Final Thoughts

It was really fun to see a new aspect of the Star Wars world. We’ve seen stormtroopers, but we’ve never seen their training process. This episode gave us a very interesting look into how the Empire “starts ’em young” so-to-speak. Even if the episode didn’t give us much plot or character development, it gave us a new, exciting look into a previously unseen aspect of Star Wars.