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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S1E01 "Droids in Distress"

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Bail Organa: The simplest gesture of kindness can fill a galaxy with hope.
Kanan: Isn't that... a Jedi saying?

Short on money, the crew takes a job from the Broken Horn crime syndicate to hijack an Imperial weapons shipment. The job, however, hits Zeb personally when he finds out that shipment consists of T-7 ion disruptors, handheld rifles capable of taking down starships that were used to decimate his homeworld of Lasan. Successfully hijacking the shipment, the crew draws the attention of Agent Kallus and ends up picking up a couple of familiar faces along the way.


  • Action Prologue: The Ghost pulling a Hyperspeed Escape from a Star Destroyer.
  • Berserk Button: Zeb doesn't like T-7s or people who aren't Lasat Honor Guards owning bo-rifles.
  • BFG: The MacGuffin of this episode is a shipment of these extremely lethal weapons.
  • Big "NO!": Ezra lets fly with one just as Kallus is about to finish off Zeb. And then Kallus gets a faceful of Force.
  • Blunt "Yes": When Ezra gets the team into the hangar:
    Ezra: Was there ever any doubt?
    Sabine and Zeb: Yes.
  • The Cameo: Bail Organa makes an appearance in the last minutes of the episode, on board the Tantive IV.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Empire used horrible weapons against Zeb's people, wiping almost all of them out. He's understandably angsty about that.
  • Dramatic Irony: A mild example: During the shuttle trip, C-3PO tells R2-D2, after a scuffle with Chopper, that he could stand to learn some manners from Chopper. Which tells you that Threepio doesn't actually know Chop at all.
  • The Dreaded: Zeb's reaction upon seeing the T-7 Ion Disruptors falls under here.
  • Facepalm: Minister Tua, when C-3PO takes offence at being called an astromech.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Sabine claims that she is a student at the local Imperial Academy when offering to help with the translation. A couple of episodes later we find out this is a half-truth; she was a student at the Imperial Military Academy on Mandalore before joining up with the Ghost's crew.
    • In the novelization, the fight scene between Kallus and Zeb takes place from a third person perspective of the former's line of thought during the confrontation. While the lack of information can be chalked up to the novelization's author simply not knowing what would happen in his character arc, Kallus never reminisces about specific details about the massacre on Lasan, especially jarring since he claims to have led it. Before he taunts Zeb with the knowledge that he's the one who ordered the use of disruptors, the passage even says that Kallus was trying to look for a way to send Zeb into a mindless rage, further questioning Kallus' credibility in his claim.
    • We're gonna see a lot more stuff happening on Garel in the next season.
  • Glasses Pull: The pilot droid pulls a Horatio Caine when Minister Tua protests C-3PO and R2-D2 being banished from the passenger area along with Chopper.
    "Sorry, ma'am, but these are... [puts visor on] Imperial regulations."
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: On Garel, Zeb grabs the first two stormtroopers who approach the hovercart being pushed by Ezra and throws them at the other troopers, knocking most of them down.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Artoo and Threepio continue their trend of appearing in nearly all Star Wars media.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Played with. Humans go down in one hit from the bo-rifle's shock staff, but it takes three hits for Kallus to stop Zeb. Even so, Zeb assures the others he'll be fine. Then again, he is an alien. Chopper was also clearly enjoying himself playing the part of an ornery astromech causing a scene, going to town with his zapper.
  • Heroic BSoD: Zeb, when he realizes the shipment is T-7 ion disruptors, the same weapons that were used to massacre his people. Then later, when he loses to Kallus in a bo-rifle fight.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Ezra is confused as to what just happened after he spontaneously Force-throws Agent Kallus.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: One could say that the only major thing this episode does is introduce a rivalry between Kallus and Zeb due to shared backstories, but it is all but said that the crew meeting Senator Organa through Artoo and Threepio (who were sent by Organa to prevent the T-7s from falling into Imperial hands) is what leads to them joining the greater Rebellion.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Ghost crew aren't being arms dealers. They're more like arms "redistributors".
  • I Shall Taunt You: Zeb has the upper hand in the bo-rifle fight until Kallus reveals that he was the one responsible for the massacre on Lasan. Zeb gets angry and starts swinging more wildly, allowing Kallus to get in more hits and ultimately win.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Zeb viciously fights Kallus when the latter reveals he ordered the genocide of Lasan.
  • Jerkass Fa├žade: Chopper spends most of the episode playing one as part of the plan. He shocks Ezra and Kanan in order to make a scene and get all the droids sent to the back of the passenger transport, then picks a fight with R2 later on as a distraction. Not, mind you, that it's very different from his usual behaviour.
  • Last of His Kind: Zeb is revealed to be one of the few Lasats to survive the Imperial genocide.
  • Mythology Gag: The first and last scenes are visual callbacks to the movies.
    • The opening scene shows the Ghost fleeing from TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer in much the same way as the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back.
    • A RX-pilot droid from the original Star Tours ride drives the shuttle, with Paul Reubens reprising the role. The designation of the shuttle is also the same as the Star Tours vehicle, in the original attraction.
    • The final scene shows Bail Organa kneeling before R2-D2 in the same pose Princess Leia does just before her capture in A New Hope.
    • In terms of Legends mythology, the designs for the T-7 disruptors are based on the disruptor rifles from Star Wars: Galaxies.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • C-3PO calls Kallus expecting a rescue. This screws up the deal with Vizago and gets him shot at.
    • Hera commands Chopper to stall the Imperials when they start heading to Hangar 7 after going to 17. This only succeeds in alerting Minister Tua that she's been played, and she orders her troops to get to the hangar as fast as possible. As a result, the rebels are busted. If Chopper had done nothing, they ultimately would have had more than enough time to load the disruptors and launch the ship without being caught in the act.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Zeb when he sees the T-7 disruptors, as they bring back bad memories of what happened to his people.
    • Ezra once Minister Tua catches them:
      Ezra: We're busted...
    • C-3PO when it sinks in that he and R2-D2 have essentially been captured by the Ghost crew.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mostly subverted. Per usual, Threepio is kept on a need-to-know basis while Artoo is entrusted with the mission intel. This backfires with 3PO giving away the Ghost's location, but this is far better than him inadvertently outing Bail as a Rebel.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The Ghost crew is trying to steal the disruptors so that they can be sold to Vizago, but R2-D2 and C-3PO are actually accompanying Minister Tua to prevent the disruptors from falling into Imperial hands. The droids get captured without the Ghost crew knowing their real mission.
  • Shown Their Work: The bottom of C-3PO's right leg is silver instead of gold, just as it was in A New Hope.
  • Tactful Translation: Chopper beeps out something that's probably rude. Hera translates this as the ship being ready to go to hyperspace. Lampshaded by Zeb, who understands that Chopper's mannerisms don't match Hera's translation.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Kallus ordered weapons designed to be used against starships to be used against enemy infantry and civilian insurgents. The result was a massacre.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Agent Kallus challenges Zeb to a bo-rifle duel, which Zeb accepts.
    Kallus: You, Lasat! FACE ME!
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After losing the shipment (well, half of it, the other half was used as explosives), the crew finally get paid by Bail Organa for returning the droids. It may have been one heck of a bone at that, as it probably initiated our heroes' contact with the greater rebel movement.
  • Translation with an Agenda: Sabine, translating between Minister Tua and Amda Wabo, deliberately mistranslates the docking bay where Wabo's shipment is being held from 7 to 17 so the Ghost crew has more time to steal them.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The heroes board a shuttle as random passengers, where their plan is for Chopper to stage a fight with Ezra to isolate Minister Tua to fish information about the weapons out of her. Needless to say, a lot of fans thought the fight between Chopper and Ezra was real because it's not something atypical for Chopper.
  • Wham Line: Several from Kallus's confrontation with Zeb, where it turns out this minor officer made Zeb's species go nearly extinct.
    Zeb: Only the Honor Guard of Lasan may carry a bo-rifle!
    Kallus: I know! I removed it from a guardsman myself! [...] I was there when Lasan fell! I know why you fear those disruptors; I gave the order to use them!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The disruptors Vizago made off with weren't followed up on for the rest of the series.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The team has no problem killing Stormtroopers but bail before Kallus ends up a casualty because it's too early in the season for The Dragon to be defeated.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The story more or less plays out like an episode of Droids.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Just the second episode (counting the premiere as one) features two major characters from the films.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The term isn't used, but it's made clear that that's exactly what happened to the Lasat people. To the point that there are none remaining on their homeworld.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Ezra pretends he has Jabba the Hutt as an important relative.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The droids mission to destroy the disrupters is interrupted by our heroes stealing them to be sold on the black market. They adapt by following them onto the Ghost, then C-3PO makes a distress call bringing the Imperials down on them, interrupting the arms deal and forcing the Ghost crew to blow up the disrupters (at R2-D2's suggestion) as an Improvised Weapon. As a bonus, R2-D2 also brings data on these potential recruits to the wider rebellion to Senator Organa.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Kallus' bo-rifle has yellow electricity, as opposed to Zeb's bo-rifle which is purple.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Hera chews out "Garazeb Orrelios" for leaving Ezra behind.