With “The Antilles Extraction” Star Wars has made filler in-canon. Like, ew.
I kid. This may have been a filler episode, but it was a fun one. We finally got another Sabine episode, Governor Price is the animated butt-kicking Cate Blanchet I never knew I wanted…and sure, we got to see Wedge Antilles.
The story goes that the Rebels need pilots, and they just happen to know there are Imperial cadets that want to defect. Problem is, Ezra’s already both infiltrated an Imperial training base and been exposed as one of the Rebels’s Jedi. Since he’s too recognizable, Sabine steps in. The Empire doesn’t necessarily know her as a Rebel and she knows the ins and outs of Imperial training—she was once a cadet after all—so the mission is hers for the taking.
Obviously, things go wrong.
Sabine find defectors Wedge, Rake, and Hobby. They try to make a break for it during a training exercise, but the exercise is a trap, in true Admiral Akbar fashion. The Empire—here, Governor Price accompanied by Agent Kallus, in more of a supporting role— suspects there are defectors, and has launched their cadets into space with rigged TIE fighters that break apart when the would-be Rebels (with Sabine) try to escape. The breakout involves a surprising fight scene between Sabine and Price (which was awesome; I wasn’t expecting that from one of our newest Imperial baddie), and even a last minute rescue from Ezra, who spent the episode have trust issues.
All of this is relatively cool, but ultimately lazy. First, the whole episode roughly echoes Ezra’s own infiltration episode, “Breaking Ranks:” Rebel goes behind enemy lines, ekes her way through a close shave or two, gets out having made some new allies along the way. Sabine herself solidifies how much of a redux it is with a nifty little reference. It even has a good old Deus Ex Machina when Ezra swoops out of the sky.
The episode was a diversion, sure, but it ultimately felt like a distraction from the better, more interesting stories presented in episodes one and two of the season. Both “Steps Into Shadow” and “The Holocrons of Fate” set up a thrilling and dangerous series of adventures. “The Antilles Extraction” could have continued any of those, but didn’t. It felt isolated from them, making no mention at all of the epic Force craziness that happened previously, or bothering to tie in Thrawn at all, though Price is an indirect connection to a character who was the major selling point in the new season. I’m hoping this episode will be substantive to the season in ways any of us have yet to see. Until then, I’ll look forward to next week, and hope it’s better.
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments, and tweet me!