Star Wars Rebels – The Antilles Extraction Review
“I have information that may help you replace your stable of pilots. There are Imperial cadets at the Skystrike Academy who wish to defect to the Rebels.”
Sabine probably remains the least explored member of the Ghost’s crew at this point, so it’s nice to see an episode that has her at the center of it. The Antilles Extraction returns the focus back towards the Rebellion’s efforts to siphon resources from the Empire. The Empire has been eliminating Rebel convoys that are performing supply runs, so, when a Fulcrum agent informs the Rebels that there are imperial cadets who wish to defect, the Rebellion jumps at the opportunity to bolster their waning numbers. This provides Sabine the opportunity to take the spotlight as she infiltrates the facility, and allows for some subtle character growth among some of the other characters. If I have one complaint, it would probably be the fact that, even though she’s in the middle of the operation, Sabine doesn’t really have an arc in this episode. Oddly enough, Ezra has more of a character arc, due to the very fact that he is forced to the sidelines. It feels like there was an opportunity to expand upon Sabine’s character, and The Antilles Extraction never really seized that opportunity.
The clip of the Fulcrum agent informing the Rebels of the potential defectors was used in the trailer for season 3, and I had noted then that the intonation and voice seemed to resemble that of Agent Kallus who was oddly absent from the trailer. It would make sense that Kallus would be questioning his role in the Empire following his interactions with Zeb, and him feeding info to the Rebels seems like a logical progression. Commander Sato confirms that “Fulcrum” is a title used to describe numerous informants in order to keep their identities confidential. Much to Ezra’s frustration, Sabine is chosen to infiltrate the base due to the fact that, once she dyes her hair back to a color that is more in keeping with Imperial regulations, she is less recognizable than Ezra, and because she had previously been an Imperial cadet before joining the Rebels. If there is one element of this episode that I find odd, it is that there are only three pilots that want to defect. It seems like a rather risky operation for comparatively small gains, even if one of the defectors is the eponymous Wedge Antilles. Wedge is, of course, a significant figure in the Star Wars mythology, but it seems that they could have added an extra pilot or two to his group in order to fill it out some.
While Sabine doesn’t get much in terms of character growth, she makes up for it some through sheer badassery. Governor Pryce, who is voiced by veteran voice actor Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, is proving to be a legitimate threat on her own, as she demonstrates that she is not only adept at ferreting out deserters, but is apparently a skilled combatant in her own right. The fight between her and Sabine is a high point for the episode. It allows the viewer to get a better grasp on Pryce’s capabilities, and it allows Sabine get a fight scene of her own. All too often, her fights are shared with the rest of The Ghost’s crew, so it is rewarding to see her taking on a number of enemies all on her own. Ezra’s difficulty to accept the fact that all he can do is wait makes sense for his character, and the lessons he learns regarding patience and trust feel like significant steps forward for him. It is never directly stated that Kallus is the Fulcrum agent, but the similarity between his voice and that of the Fulcrum agent’s and his actions would seem to leave to leave little doubt. It will be interesting to see where his character will go from here, as Thrawn’s inner circle would be a very risky place for an informant to be, given his ability to accurately draw connections between seemingly unrelated events.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- I’ll admit that I didn’t notice that Mary Elizabeth McGlynn was the voice of Governor Pryce until I looked to see who voiced the civilian leader from the opening scene of this episode (She was also voiced by McGlynn, but without the accent so it was more recognizable to me). For those who are unfamiliar with her work, McGlynn is best known for her iconic role as Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. She can also be heard regularly voicing Dr. Maheshwaran, Connie’s mother, on Steven Universe.
- The other pilot who defects is Derek “Hobbie” Klivian, a character who appeared on Hoth in The Empire Strikes back… because even the most minor characters in Star Wars have elaborate backstories.
The Antilles Extraction gives Sabine some attention, while offering a bit of character exploration for Ezra, Kallus, and Pryce. However, the episode is ultimately a relatively straightforward narrative with no real growth for its main lead. As a result, despite a strong foundation, it can feel like a missed opportunity at points.