Season Two, Episode Fourteen — “The Call”
By Jason Gibner. Giving this episode a somewhat regal and mysterious sounding name like “The Call” is classy of Star Wars Rebels, but in all honesty it should have just been called “Space Whales”.
Years from now, when someone is watching Rebels on Netflix or something, and they’re asked how far into the series they’ve come, someone somewhere will say, “well, I just finished the space whales episode.” Hopefully this will elicit a smile or two from some of you, as you’ll find this here space whales episode is a pretty enjoyable ride. Yeah, maybe it’s still kind of a filler episode, and yeah, maybe it riffs a little bit on Star Trek IV, but hey. Why not. Whales in space are just straight up weird, wild and awesome, be they in Trek or Star Wars. “The Call” is not likely to make you run out of the house to get a Ezra chest tattoo or anything, but it’s just fine; a nice return for this weird little sci-fi/sci-fantasy story with its fingers deeply entrenched in the otherness of the Force.
I had actually forgotten that Ezra’s whole personal level of expertise with the Force was his connection to nature and animals until recently when a friend reminded me. For a while I started to think Ezra’s Force abilities were limited to him using his still-goofy blaster lightsaber, flipping his hair out of his eyes and generally moping around the Ghost. “The Call” does its job nicely, as it reestablishes the prospect that maybe Ezra has a little bit of a journey going on, and just maybe it could be interesting.
WHAT WORKED: Ezra is finally starting to get back on the Padawan track, and the show gets back to focusing on actual Force users using The Force (I’m looking at you, Zeb, and your Ashla-using, Kyber crystal bo-staff thing). This episode played to me like an issue of the glorious Marvel Star Wars comics from the late Seventies and early Eighties. They couldn’t really do anything major to the characters, and a lot of the rules of the Star Wars galaxy hadn’t been formed yet, so a lot of issues would be like Luke Skywalker literally learning about the force by using it to trust the little Hoojibs or something. Here Ezra deepens his connection to the living Force by communicating with the giant Purrgils. If you try to explain it to someone why you liked it, chances are they will stare at you and walk away, but it just works in a wild goofball Star Wars magic kind of way.
WHAT DIDN’T: Boy, I guess Hera really, really doesn’t like the Purgills. For real, she REALLY doesn’t like them. Sure, she has the whole awkward speech about how a giant space whale killed some of her friends (or something), but seriously, all Hera does in this episode is sit in her chair and make a stink face talking about how the Purgills are literally the worst thing she has ever seen ever. Her attack of the complaints is slightly annoying and ultimately pointless, as it does nothing to serve the story. As it happens so often in Rebels, the episode’s secondary story gets buried in the usual rushed 22 minutes, and here the whole plot (concerning the team stealing fuel from the mining guild base thing) just gets totally lost. At a certain point all anyone seems to be thinking about is SPACE WHALES.
“Okay, we’re low on fuel, surrounded by asteroids, and caught in a swarm of Purgill. How has the situation improved exactly?” – Hera.
“Hey, for what it’s worth, I’ve got a good feeling about this.” – Ezra.
Yushyn: “Surrender thieves! You are at my mercy!” Kanan : “I can’t believe we’re going to lose to this guy.”
“The only thing I hear is my brain freezing!” – Zeb.
Ezra : “Uh, something’s upsetting it...” Zeb : “Maybe it’s Hera!”
Ezra : “Wow, these creatures are amazing! Who would want to shoot them?” Kanan : “Hera, if you give her a chance.”
Kanan: “It’s not the strangest thing we’ve ever done…” Hera: “Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel better.”
Kanan, looking at his helmet with a Sabine drawn Loth-Cat on the front: “What!? You said you just wanted to look at it!” Sabine : “I did look at it. And it looked bad.”
BEST MOMENT: Ezra unconscious, riding on Purrgil, asking for help from the creature, suddenly using the Force to make a mental connection with it, causing all the space whales to come roaring up out the gas clouds to smash right through some TIE Fighters. Right after that you have a shots of lightsaber wielding Ezra riding a King Purrgil like a champion. I’m saying right now that it could be Ezra’s coolest moment in the whole series so far.
EPISODE’S MVP: It’s gotta be the Space Whales, man, all the way. These bizarre creatures are just what the show needed right now. The fact that Rebels went through with the concept that the Purgill might have invented hyperspace travel takes “The Call” on a one-ticket ride on the Star Wars crazy train. Hera, I officially do not agree with you. The Purgill are some cool dudes.
– I knew the Mining Guild boss Yushyn looked awesome as soon as I saw him. Turns out the Rebels recycling program is in full effect, as he is based on an old unused Ralph McQuarrie design for an Empire Strikes Back bounty hunter.
– Speaking of the Mining Guild, good to actually see what the heck they’re actually about after their brief mention in Empire. Also makes me wonder if the Banking Clan or Techno Union survived after the Imperial ascension. Let’s all hope and pray every night that Wat Tambor is coming soon to Rebels. Maybe the Season Finale is a cliffhanger where the crew of the Ghost have to find a map to Wat Tambor. I can dream.
– Anyone hear the well-used Wilhelm Scream this week?
– Just when you think the Purgill are super chill they straight-up eat Yushyn! They eat him! Their coolness level just went up another 25 points.
– Those modified Mining Guild TIEs were insane looking and almost made me do the splits.
– This and last week’s episode really show how far Rebels has come with the variety of its visuals. This was again another balls-out gorgeous episode. The colors, environments, and character movements seem to almost get better and better with every episode.
8 out of 10
Next: “Homecoming”, soon.
Before: “Legends of the Lasat”, here.