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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S1E03 "Rise of the Old Masters"

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Kanan: Do or do not; there is no try.
Ezra: What does that even mean? How can I do something if I don't try to do it?!
Kanan: I—Actually, that one always confused me too, but Master Yoda sure used to say it a lot.
(later)
Kanan: Ezra. I'm not gonna try to teach you anymore. If all I do is try, that means I don't truly believe I can succeed. So from now on, I will teach you. Look, I may fail. You may fail. But there is no try.
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Ezra starts his Jedi training in earnest, though Kanan worries he is not a good enough teacher for Ezra since he was only a Padawan when Order 66 was given. As luck would have it, the rebels learn that Jedi Master Luminara Unduli survived the destruction of the Jedi Order and is currently being held by the Empire in the Spire on Stygeon Prime. Embarking on a rescue mission, the rebels soon end up crossing paths with the Inquisitor.


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Tropes in this episode:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Inquisitor is able to determine which Jedi Master that Kanan studied under simply by the fact that Kanan specializes in Form 3 of Soresu, and that he never finished his training. Kanan, naturally, ends up being no match for the Inquisitor.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • HoloNet News tries to blame the rebels for the destruction of the farm in "Fighter Flight" by saying they strafed it with the stolen TIE.
    • According to supplementary material, they also tried to blame the rebels for killing Luminara Unduli.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with Kanan training Ezra, but with Ezra willing to train at the end.
  • Casts No Shadow: The holographic Luminara, if you look closely.
  • Ceiling Smash: Kanan throws the Inquisitor into the ceiling using the Force and holds him there long enough for Ezra to escape.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: The three bombs Sabine brings are all detonated at key moments.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Spire, where Darth Maul was imprisoned, shows up in this episode.
    • Sabine tunes into a HoloNet News broadcast about the stolen TIE fighter from "Fighter Flight".
    • Form 3, Soresu, was the lightsaber style Obi-Wan specialized in. The Inquisitor saying that Kanan favors it to a ridiculous degree and was a poor student are both accurate, given Kanan spends a decent chunk of their duel attacking him. Soresu is a predominantly defensive style, using it offensively like he does shows both that Kanan doesn't understand it very well and doesn't know much else. And he still doesn't get the opening stance right.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Inquisitor so outclasses Kanan, to say nothing of Ezra, that the only thing the rebels can do is run away.
  • Dead All Along: Judging by the condition of her corpse, Luminara's been dead for at least five years. The Empire's been using her remains as bait for Jedi survivors.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Kanan pulls two stormtroopers into a lift, the door closes, and the sound of the stormtroopers being beaten up is heard before the door opens again to reveal them unconscious.
  • Enemy Mine: The tibidees Hera catches on her ship are used to intercept the enemy TIE fighters on the way out.
  • Expy: The Spire seems to be one of the Citadel, another highly fortified prison that was used to contain rogue Jedi. Granted, Stygeon Prime and the Spire would have appeared in The Clone Wars too, had it not gotten cancelled (as noted above, that storyline got adapted into Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir).
  • Face Palm: Kanan's reaction to Ezra's less-than-encouraging progress.
  • Fighting Fingerprint: See Awesomeness by Analysis above.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • The stormtroopers guarding Luminara's cell notes that they never had clearance to actually see the Jedi Master herself.
    • Kanan sensing Luminara in the Force but noting the "cloudedness".
    • The hologram of Luminara in the cell doesn't cast a shadow.
  • Foreshadowing: A few times.
    • The fact that Trayvis' tip turns out to be a trap is not a coincidence. We find out in "Vision of Hope" that Trayvis is actually an Imperial agent.
    • Kanan admits he never really understood Yoda's "Do or do not, there is no try", he's very determined to get another master for Ezra, and the Inquisitor points out that he never finished his training in Soresu Form 3. He was a 14-year-old padawan when Order 66 came down. (Although people who read A New Dawn would already know this.)
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: To mask their presence from the Empire on Stygeon, Hera alters the Phantom's electronic signals ... inconveniently to what is also a mating call for tibidees (flying manta ray-like creatures related to neebrays and mynocks), and they start aggressively rubbing up against the top of the Phantom while it's attached to the cliffside. Hera is disturbed by this to say the least.
  • Hope Spot: The first half of the episode, hinting that Master Luminara is still alive.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Kanan hands Ezra his lightsaber. Ezra then triggers it and nearly impales Kanan through the face. Kanan has him shorten the blade to prevent any repeats.
  • Improvised Training: Chopper and a box of cartons stand in for the remote.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Kanan, when Zeb and Sabine criticize his plan.
    Zeb and Sabine: We know.
  • Indy Ploy: Kanan has to change his plan when the prison's layout doesn't match the schematics they used.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Kanan wants to rescue Luminara so she can teach Ezra properly, but to Ezra it seems like Kanan just wants to get rid of him.
  • Insult Backfire: In a way. When the Inquisitor says that Kanan is unfocused and untrained, Ezra retorts that makes them perfect for each other.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Kanan uses it on the Stormtroopers guarding Luminara's cell.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: After Kanan makes his entry into the Spire by jumping down to the entryway from above, Ezra decides to follow him when he and the rest of the team were supposed to wait until the Phantom descended to let them off. This results in a squad of stormtroopers showing up after he flies face-first into the door, prompting Zeb and Sabine to follow along as well. However, this was only a minor hiccup in the plan.
  • Lured into a Trap: And Luminara was the bait. Even the stormtroopers don't know the truth.
  • Meaningful Echo: Ezra calls Kanan "master" sarcastically after a particularly frustrating training session, and then respectfully when Kanan says he's not going to give up on him.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kanan quotes Yoda at the start while training Ezra; "Do or do not. There is no try." When Ezra asks for clarification, Kanan reluctantly admits he never understood what Yoda meant either.
    • Zeb and Sabine end up channeling Lando: "This plan is getting worse all the time." "Let's hope he doesn't change it again."
    • There is a throwaway line during the HoloNet News broadcast about the "Base-Delta-Zero initiative". This refers to the complete sterilization of a planet's surface via orbital bombardment, assuming it carries the same meaning as it did in the Legends continuity.
    • "It's a trap!"
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Inquisitor activates the lockdown sequence in the prison. The crew exploit this by getting two doors ahead of him, buying themselves some time as he cuts through.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Kanan tears his way through Stormtroopers, but when the Inquisitor shows up he barely manages to keep himself and Ezra alive.
  • No-Sell: The Inquisitor lets Ezra shoot him several times in the chest with his slingshot, just to demonstrate how pointless it is.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Kanan and Ezra see that Luminara has been dead for years, and the Inquisitor steps into the room. It happens again when the Inquisitor activates his spinning blades.
  • Propaganda Machine: Holo-Net News shows up in this episode.
  • Reality Ensues: Kanan never finished his training, so unsurprisingly he shows a lack of skill with a lightsaber and is no match for a much better trained duelist.
  • Reconstruction: Kanan quotes Yoda's "Do or do not" speech and Ezra responds by asking how he could do without trying, echoing the thoughts of many fans, and Kanan admits he didn't get it either. At the end Kanan realizes that trying accepts the inevitability of failure, so he won't try training Ezra; he may fail, but he will act.
  • Railing Kill: Pretty much all the stormtroopers at the Spire's entrance get taken out this way.
  • Running Gag: Characters asking Kanan "Does yours do that?" when they see the Inquisitor's spinning lightsaber.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Alas, poor Luminara . . .
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Luminara was dead the whole time, and the Ghost crew had only fallen into a trap that several other Jedi had fallen into. This then gets subverted: By escaping the Spire with their lives, the Ghost crew not only lives to fight another day, but they spread the truth of Luminara's fate so other surviving Jedi don't fall for the same trap.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Zeb and Ezra's reaction to seeing the Inquisitor's lightsaber in action is to immediately ask Kanan "Does yours do that?"
  • Tempting Fate: Ezra tries to show off by emulating Kanan during the infiltration of the prison and ends up making a racket. Kanan immediately asks him what he's doing, and states that they are lucky now if every stormtrooper in the prison doesn't know they're here. Cue a stormtrooper patrol coming to see what the noise was.
  • There Is No Try: Kanan says this to Ezra, who's trying to perform the Jedi exercises. Seemingly Deconstructed when Ezra says that it makes no sense to do something without trying and Kanan admits that he never understood what Yoda meant by it anyway. At the end, Kanan figures out what it means — if he simply tries to do something without believing that he can, he's guaranteed to fail.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Well, it does if it's a spinning lightsaber thrown by a Force-wielder. Then again, without a user behind it, Kanan easily hits it away.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The Ghost crew discuss the rescue mission while en route. Thanks to their outdated schematics, Ezra going Leeroy Jenkins, the presence of the Inquisitor, and the fact that Luminara was Dead All Along, it's a total bust.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: The Inquisitor pulls this on Ezra and Kanan in Luminara's cell.
    Ezra: What happened to her? I don't understand.
    Inquisitor: [standing behind them] No? It doesn't seem complicated!
  • We Can Rule Together: At one point, the Inquisitor suggests that Ezra could find a better teacher who delves in the dark side of the Force. Ezra quickly shuts him out.
  • Wham Line:
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: You didn't really think that Palpatine would keep a Jedi Master imprisoned, alive and in good health for over a decade after he seized control of the galaxy, did you?


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