TV Review: Star Wars Rebels – “A Princess on Lothal”

A Princess on Lothal
Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my review of the previous episode of Star Wars Rebels here.
Princess Leia is probably the most obvious cameo Star Wars Rebels could have, and yet before this episode was announced I hadn’t even considered it a possibility. It’s probably because she’s such a major character that I didn’t think they’d go for it, but in any case it made for a very pleasant surprise.
The episode itself was pretty good, though it was a bit too much of a one-off for an episode featuring Leia. Maybe this was just a standalone episode to act as her introduction, and she’ll return in the future to play a role more relevant to the overarching story?
In any case, her appearance led to a lot of fun moments as well as plenty of insight as to her pre-A New Hope role in the galaxy. Her interactions with the Imperials were pretty great, as she acted like she was on their side while still managing to undermine them at every opportunity. The witty, snappy, and sarcastic princess we’ve come to know and love was definitely present in this episode. But her caring and heroic side was also on display with her acting as an inspiration to the Ghost crew, and helping Ezra deal with his grief in a touching scene. That being said, their interaction was also a bit strange, since they don’t know each other at all. It was a nice moment but not entirely earned.
I also liked how the show explained the Alderaanians helping the rebels without implicating themselves, providing them with ships and supplies under the guise of theft. It’s enough to fool the lower-ranking members of the Empire, but I’m sure that kind of stuff wouldn’t fly by someone like Tarkin unnoticed—which makes sense since he did end up blowing up the whole planet in A New Hope.
The action in the episode was fun to watch as well, especially the climactic scene in which Kanan, in full stormtrooper garb, lit his lightsaber and took out an AT-AT on singlehandedly.
The episode wasn’t without its faults though. I mentioned earlier that the scene between Leia and Ezra felt unearned, and that’s actually symptomatic of a larger problem in this episode. Yet again the show found itself trying to tell a story too big for a twenty-minute episode, and the result was some shaky pacing and a fair share of underdeveloped elements. On one hand there was the main plot, which was unfolding pretty organically, and on the other there was the character stuff with Ezra. There wasn’t enough time to do both proper justice, so we ended up with some scenes that worked really well, and others that didn’t land as hard. I can’t really explain it, but the episode felt more like a light snack than a wholesome meal. Still a good enjoyable episode though.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

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