It has been 14 years since then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine announced the creation of the Galactic Empire. In that time, a lot has happened: the Jedi have essentially vanished, branded as traitors and hunted down by Darth Vader and his minions, while Coruscant has been transformed from an ornate jewel lying at the centre of the galaxy to stark, angular reminder of Imperial might. But even worse times lie ahead for the galaxy…
The crew of the Ghost, it seems, have been receiving intelligence from a contact known only as “Fulcrum”, and Hera and Kanan are aware of a bigger picture than what Sabine and the other members see. Is it a certain superweapon that is under construction?
Like “Fighter Flight”, “Out of Darkness” is a chance to explore the dynamic between two characters, this time Hera and Sabine. (Perhaps not coincidentally, both episodes are the only two thus far to be written by Kevin Hopps.) Unlike “Fighter Flight”, however, this episode moves the larger plot one more step forward. It’s exciting to see the show gradually move from the micro to the macro, placing our heroes in the context of the immediate backstory to Star Wars: A New Hope. When paired with A New Dawn and Tarkin, Rebels gives a very nice glimpse of galactic life in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, as a nascent rebellion slowly transforms into the Rebel Alliance.
I view this first season of Rebels similarly to the first season of Babylon 5: it’s all set-up to be paid off later. This season is about establishing characters, the dynamics between them and the universe they exist within. Anyone not satisfied with the pace thus far needs to persist until late next year, when the second season will no doubt shake things up.
Was this the best episode yet? No, I’d place it between “Fighter Flight” and “Droids in Distress” in terms of quality: not weighty but not disposable, either. It feels a little bit like treading water, though as I say, that’s to be expected from the first season overall. If this were season two or three, it’d be a different matter entirely.
Enjoy these quieter episodes while they last, because things may get crazy sooner than we expect.