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“Double Agent Droid” ‘Star Wars Rebels’ S03E017 Review

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“Double Agent Droid”… This episode was… weird. I’m not sure what I think about it. I don’t think it was particularly bad. I really liked the idea of it and the main story was great, but within the episode there were just some odd thematic choices, and some strange references that really felt out of place in a serious Star Wars show.

The Story

The story begins with our second favorite droid duo going on a mission together. Chopper and AP-5 are accompanied by Wedge Antilles, who is flying them to an Imperial base on Killun in order to steal clearance codes for a planned attack on the Imperials on Lothal. During the flight we have the first weird narrative choice when AP-5 tells Chopper, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Chopper replies in his usual Binary, but we know he’s saying “No you can’t,” which leads to an exchange directly parodying the song “Anything You Can Do”, from Annie Get Your Gun, a real life Broadway musical. An odd homage to be sure.

The problems with the mission begin as soon as they land at on Killun and they have to go through a scanner. Chopper is immediately flagged as a possible Rebel spy, which brings him to the attention of the controller on the ship above base who recognizes him as the astromech referenced in a memo from Admiral Thrawn. Apparently Thrawn has been keeping tabs on Chopper, and sent out a description to the other Imperials. With that knowledge, the controller now wants to use Chopper to find the location of the Phoenix Squadron’s base.

While AP-5 downloads the clearance codes, Chopper tries to access the network terminal. The controller seizes the opportunity to take control of Chopper and tries to access the location of Phoenix Squadron’s base. Thankfully Hera has had the foresight to wipe his memory, but the controller is not giving up. When AP-5 returns he finds Chopper almost unresponsive, but seems to pay no attention. He brags of his success, waving the disk of codes in front of Chopper. The controller, still in control, sees the disk and decides that if he can’t download the information, he’ll just remotely control Chopper all the way back to the base.

Back on the ship, Chopper has become strangely polite. Wedge seems happy with the change, but AP-5 is not having it. He becomes paranoid, and tries to tell Wedge that he believes Chopper has been compromised. Wedge doesn’t listen, so when they get back to the Ghost, he tries to convince the crew instead. They dismiss him at first, until Hera catches Chopper at a terminal, claiming to have had files wiped on Killun. When Hera goes to informs the rest of the crew, the controller uses Chopper to drop the ship out of hyperspace and tell them there’s a malfunction in the engine room.

The entire crew goes to investigate, and when they do, he traps them in the bay and tries to eject them into space. The attempt is unsuccessful, but they are still trapped, and Chopper is installing a data spike that will decode the coordinates to the base. The only chance to stop the download is to have AP-5 go outside to override the hatch controls using an access port on the hull. He heads out, but the Controller spots him, and flies Chopper outside to shoot him off the ship. He unlocks the controls just as Chopper shoves him off into space. By the time Chopper gets back inside, the crew is waiting for him and Zeb stuns him with a bo-rifle.

The crisis now averted, Hera reverses Chopper’s feed on the control ship, sending back far more data than they expected. One of the officers on the ship reports that the fuel cells have been compromised, and the controller orders them to cut off the feed, but it’s too late. The data banks overload and with the compromised fuel cells, the whole ship explodes. The Ghost crew celebrates their victory, but when they go to thank him, he’s nowhere to be found.

Out in space, AP-5 is floating alone, and seems to be enjoying the solitude. As he drifts, a flock of baby neebray surround him, and he begins singing happily to himself. Suddenly, to his consternation, the Ghost appears and scoops him up, frightening off all the baby neebray. Inside Chopper tries to apologize, but AP-5 takes this as a sign that he is still compromised. Chopper angrily tries to hit him, but hits Wedge instead, who declares that from now on he flies solo.

Review

Like I said, this was a weird episode. I already mentioned the “Anything You Can Do” exchange, but that was only the first strange thing, and wasn’t even the only song in the episode. AP-5 actually started singing at the end at the episode, which was just odd. I did like the scene, the comedic timing with AP-5 floating into the ship and hitting with a CLANG was was very funny and I loved the adorable baby neebrays, but the singing just seemed so out of place.

The controller was another weird choice, because he seems to be as close to a stereotypical nerd character as Star Wars has ever gotten. I know a lot of people get offended when anyone makes fun of “Nerds,” but that’s not why I had a problem with it. The character just felt completely out of place in a Star Wars story.

Part of the problem could have been that I just didn’t like his voice. He sounded like a young version of Al, from Al’s Toy Barn in Toy Story 2. His voice just sounded annoying and grating to me. I discovered later that he was voiced by Josh Gad, AKA Olaf the snowman from Frozen, which could have subconsciously contributed to my dislike of the character. (I’m not really the biggest Olaf fan.)

I also found the controller’s defeat to be a bit of a deus ex machina. I’m not really sure how that would work in real life. I get that the compromised fuel cells caused the explosion, but would sending back too much data really cause enough issues with a ship that it could eventually explode? I suppose it might be possible, but, like I said, it seemed to come out of nowhere.

The other weird choice was the “Refresher” scene. I did find it interesting to learn that there is a Star Wars universe specific term for the bathroom, which, as far as I know has never been used before. However, the whole scene was just awkward and like every other scene I’ve mentioned here, just felt completely out of place in a Star Wars story.

Despite my complaints, I did not hate this episode. I’ve really grown to like AP-5, so I really enjoyed many of his scenes when he wasn’t being awkward. I loved seeing the baby Neebrays, they were so cute and I want one for a pet. I liked that Wedge made a return appearance and I loved Hera in this episode. The story was a really clever idea. I’ve never considered the possibility that a droid could be taken over like that, but I loved that they explored that here.

Final Thoughts

So in the end this wasn’t the greatest episode, especially considering the long string of great episodes we’ve had, but it was nowhere near the worst. Hopefully the last episodes of the season will be back up to the high standards that most of season three has set.

What did you think of this episode? Did you have as many reservations as I did, or did you enjoy the uncharacteristic silliness?

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Jonathan North

Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his YouTube channel, where he reviews all manner things, including (almost) every version ever of Alice in Wonderland. His favorites are the 1999 version starring Tina Majorino, and of course, the 1951 Disney version. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, @jonjnorth.