“Fighter Flight” has a simple story and plot. It’s basically Ezra and Zeb’s fun adventure trying to liberate some rare imported fruits from the Empire. Yes, it’s kind of dumb – pretty much the whole episode is marked by slapstick and silly antics. And I’m totally okay with that. While this might have been a little over-the-top, this wasn’t the stupid, unfunny antics of the prequels – it was actually fun and entertaining.
The story also does (as every episode has done so far) stray into darker territory as we see the Empire forcefully evicting a farmer and his wife from their home. They annihilate their house and take the farmers into custody. The aftermath reminded me of Owen and Beru’s burning homestead, and even though the farmers in this case live to tell the story, it was somewhat chilling nonetheless.
The characters continue to be a joy to watch, and I generally like the direction that things are going with their relationships. This whole episode focused on Ezra and Zeb warming up to one another, and the big brother/little brother relationship they’re developing with one another. There’s also a little bit of development with Ezra and Sabine. We got to see a little more of Ezra hitting on Sabine – something that’s somewhat cliche, but actually pretty funny to watch. We also learn that Ezra is somewhat well-connected on Lothal. He knows people. In this case, the previously-mentioned farmers were friends of Ezra’s parents – something that encourages him to come to their aid.
The best character moments in the episode come from Ezra’s ever-increasing sensitivity to the Force. Even in the midst of silly, slapstick humor, everything gets really serious when Ezra starts using the Force. Clearly, the folks at Lucasfilm have been listening to the fans, who constantly complain about the de-mystification of the Force. In Rebels, the Force is full of mystery and wonder, and even the most simple use of the Force can steal the scene.
We didn’t see much of Kanan and Hera in this episode, but what I did see just makes me want to see these characters together more. They obviously have a thing going on, but we’ve only gotten some vague hints. I’d like to see their relationship explored.
Artistic Style and Music
The art direction took a step backwards from the rich, beautiful environments of “Droids in Distress.” Everything was pretty orange and bland in this episode. The music, too, was a little standard-fare with the exception of a few exciting moments where John William’s music pops up. Overall, things still look really good, but I know now that the series is capable of MUCH more.
The animation in this episode was extremely good – the best yet, probably. The characters move in such a natural, fluid way – something that I never realized was a problem with “The Clone Wars,” which is stiff and wooden by comparison.
Materials, too, have been standing out to me more and more in this show. We’re finally seeing reflective materials. In “The Clone Wars” pretty much everything was flat and dull. In “Rebels,” the metal and glass actually have a sheen and reflective that adds a whole new level of depth to the visuals.
For you Hayao Miyazaki fans out there, we have a very clear reference to “Castle in the Sky” in this episode. Zeb rescues Ezra off the top of a troop transport in exactly the same way Pazu rescues Sheeta off the fortress in “Castle in the Sky.” Seriously – almost shot-for-shot.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, this was a very enjoyable and fun episode, but probably the weakest of the series so far. Considering just how strong the episodes have been, however, even the worst episode is still really, really good.