Billy Dee Williams returns to the Star Wars Universe in Rebel’s most fun and most delightful episode yet. When it comes to how I review shows, I give “equal” weight to episodes that are both dramatically significant and wildly enjoyable; while “Idiot’s Array” does very little to move the show or the characters forward, it has fun with its story, which is something more critics should appreciate. It’s easy to forget that before the ultra-consuming entity of the Star Wars franchise, A New Hope was a just a straight-forward, high-falutin’ space adventure. When Star Wars remembers this, we can at least be treated to a fun time.
Ever since Lando Calrissian’s charms (and betrayal, and eventual redemption) graced the screens, Williams has returned to the character time and time again in the MANY incarnations of the characters, mostly in the various parodies out there on TV and the web. Props to the man for being a good sport about the typecasting, but it does start to diminish his character’s role in the franchise. The second you heard he’d be in the episode, you probably expected “Idiot’s Array” to be lighter and more frivolous–and you’d be right (heck, just look at the title). Still, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad episode, if mainly because the plot moves quickly, the action is focused, and, most importantly, Hera is amazing.
Hera is quickly becoming the standout of this show. She’s stoic, smart, and quite the badass, and her ability to remain call and in control even when shit hits the fan is awesome. Sure, it looked like Calrissian was easily manipulating the crew for his own selfish purposes, but Hera was on point and knew exactly what the guy was up to. The only reason she even tolerated it was because she felt the endgame–receiving credits, food, and/or fuel–was worth it. There’s not a doubt in my mind she wouldn’t have “accidentally” ejected Calrissian if she didn’t think there was a benefit to all this.
“Idiot’s Array” is a typical “con-man” episode, in which Lando smooth-talks his way into getting people to do what he wants. He gets away with it because he has the leverage–winning Chopper in a game of sabacc (which is totally real, because of course it is)–and it leads to an elaborate mission involving smuggling a puffer-pig. The puffer-pig antics might cause some people to roll their eyes, but I liked it. For one, instead of the character themselves screwing things up, it was an outside force, as goofy as it was. Secondly, everyone on the Ghost ship was acting more like an out-of-sync crew instead of a dysfunctional family, which works so much better since we can see them act (and act out) individually. Sabine gets the short stick here, but of course Zeb would release the puffer-pig just to spite Lando, Ezra would get stupid jealous over Lando seemingly hitting on a girl half his age, and Kanan, the awkward ”leader,” would get flustered and flummoxed, knocking him off his game.
Only Hera maintains her composure. She takes out Azmorigan with a tray, guides Kanan as he attempts to escape the Empire ships, calls out all of Lando’s nonsense (complete with a punch in his stomach), and totally trash-talks Azmorigan during their second confrontation. Kanan may be the leader, but Lando rightfully recognizes Hera as the captain, and in between the comic, silly moments, we get to see a woman with her head together and her total command of almost every situation. “Idiot’s Array” may not be on everyone’s list of their favorites, but for a looser, easy-going episode, it could have been worse. Also, did I mention how awesome Hera is?
- I suppose there’s something to discuss about Azmorigan referring to Hera as property, but the epsiode doesn’t get into it, so I won’t here.
- Speaking of which, upon re-watch, it becomes clear how Lando “plays” Hera and Kanan during the trade with Azmorigan. When Azmorigan asks if Lando has the goods, he eyes Hera uncomfortably while answering. Plus, his whole “escape pod if a meteor hits” thing. The show will pull out some pretty clever visuals moments when it wants to.
- Many of you were right in the comments last week–Ezra’s lightsaber does double as a blaster of some sort. Even Kanan is jealous.
- THIS WEEK IN EMPIRE EVILNESS: The blockade, which has become Star Wars’ favorite military formation. I’m not even sure how they can even fight wars, what with all the blockades people in this universe have to maintain.
- This episode also tried to showcase Chopper’s importance to the crew. HA! Nice try. The guy was trying to move explosive fuel during a fire fight. The best sleeper agents maintain their cover until 1) they’re blown or 2) they’re activated. He’s definitely a Empire plant.