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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S3E04 "The Last Battle"

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On a salvage mission led by Captain Rex, the Ghost crew is captured by a battalion of old battle droids led by super tactical droid General Kalani, determined to fight "one last battle" to end the Clone Wars.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Anti-Mutiny: Kalani refused to implement the shutdown command sent out after Order 66, deeming it a Republic trick since it would be illogical to surrender when the Separatists would likely have won the war.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Even after 17+ years of decay, droids are still more accurate shots than Stormtroopers, and Rex takes a few shots that are absorbed by his armour.
    Rex: Generation 1 armour always holds up.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: As the only one not around to experience the Clone Wars firsthand, Ezra is the one who spots the major elephant in the room:
    Ezra: I never really thought about it, I never really asked. I know the Jedi were wiped out, the clones were decommissioned, and the droid army was just shut down. The Clone War ended, but why? If none of you won, who did?
    Zeb: The Empire.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Contrary to the above, Ezra already knows the answer to the question he was asking.
    Ezra: That's right, Zeb. How did you know?
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: Zeb finishes off Ezra's Armour-Piercing Question by saying "the Empire", not because he was answering it, but because they're currently landing on the planet.
  • Badass in Distress: Rex, Kanan, Ezra, and Zeb are captured by Kalani. Once Kalani lays out his plan to "win" the Clone Wars, Zeb is kept as a hostage for the others to rescue.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • Prequel Trilogy/Clone Wars-era battle droids against Original Trilogy Stormtroopers and AT-AT Walkers. Unfortunately, the droids have seen far better days and are severely lacking in equipment, having only a handful of droidekas as their heavy support with no tanks or artillery. They also lack their characteristic numbers this time around.
    • An old Separatist shuttle is used to replace the Phantom.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Phantom was destroyed in "Steps Into Shadow". A Separatist Sheathipede-class transport shuttle is used to replace it, which is christened the Phantom II in its honor.
    • The leader of the holdout is General Kalani, last seen in the Onderon arc of The Clone Wars. At the end of the arc, he was reassigned to Agamar, where this episode happens to take place.
    • Rex mentions there were a few "exceptions" of clones that manage to live outside of the structure and occupation of their programming as soldiers. He's possibly referring to Cut Lawquane from "The Deserter".
    • Rex suggests telling Ezra about the Battle of Geonosis.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • As we all know, the Clone Army fought against the Droid Army during the Clone Wars.
    • The squad that fires at Kanan and Ezra so that they can reflect it at the proton bombs is called D-Squad, the same name as Colonel Gascon's squad of astromechs in one of the arcs of The Clone Wars.
    • Kallus once again compliments his superior, Pryce, and is also shut down, like with Vader back in "The Siege of Lothal".
    • When Rex appears to briefly suffer PTSD upon awakening among Separatist droids, he thinks Kanan's voice calling his name is the voice of Cody, Obi-Wan's clone marshall commander whom Rex worked with on several occasions.
    • Rex mentions he never counted the droids he destroyed, unlike some clones. When he says this, we see a shot of the checkmarks on his helmet. While most clones used something like that to track their kills, Rex was tracking the number of times the helmet saved his life.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The ending shows the Rebels logo in the style of The Clone Wars and blends the themes.
  • Death Seeker: Easy to miss, but Kalani has accepted the possibility of defeat and acknowledges his meager, short-circuiting army, and doesn't even flinch much when Rex fires his blaster, thus implying he was only stretching out a war game just to live out his programming on his own terms — he'd truly rather die fighting a Clone Trooper than rust away forgotten on an abandoned planet.
  • Defiant Captive: Zeb is held hostage by Kalani, but doesn't act like it.
    Zeb: Might as well surrender now.
    Kalani: I am not programmed to comprehend your humor.
    Zeb: I'm not joking.
    Kalani: Ha. Ha. Ha.
  • Dented Iron: In a literal sense with the droids, who are suffering from more than a decade and a half of neglect. Rex acknowledges that he's not doing much better in his old age.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kalani interpreting the shutdown command as a Republic trick, and refusing to surrender or accept that the war is over, calls to mind the various Japanese holdouts who refused to believe that World War II was over, some of whom remained in hiding for even longer than the seventeen years that Kalani did.
  • Dramatic Irony: Ezra poses the Armor-Piercing Question about why the Clone Wars ended and who won, and Zeb replies that the Empire won. That's only half the story, and the audience knows that the whole thing was a grander design by the Sith.
  • Ending Theme: The music played over the end credits, instead of the usual Rebels theme, is a version of The Clone Wars theme.
  • Enemy Mine: The Empire shows up in response to Chopper's distress call, so Ezra convinces Kalani that the Empire is their mutual foe. Kalani justifies his (brief) alliance with the rebels by accepting that the Republic has become the Empire and therefore his enemy, while the rebels, while including a clone trooper among them, are fighting against said Empire and so are his allies. The fact that the Empire guns down his greeter droids without discussion smooths things along.
  • Failsafe Failure: A command designed to shutdown droids fails because the droids can evidently choose to ignore it. Either that, or high enough ranking droids can choose whether or not to implement it on their troops, and Kalani was the only one who suspected anything was wrong.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The Separatist holdout of battle droids, who are still trying to win the war and don't realise it ended almost two decades ago.
  • Forced Prize Fight: Kalani takes the Rebels hostage, and then demands they play out one of his tactical scenarios so he can win the Clone Wars. Zeb is kept as a hostage since his species didn't participate.
  • Foreshadowing: Kalani states the Rebels have a less than 1% chance of overthrowing the Empire. This is the first indication that the Rebels' upcoming assault on the Empire is going to fail terribly. By all counts, he was right.
  • Friendly Enemy: After pulling a stunt against the Empire together, Rex and Kalani start bickering without real malice:
    Kalani: I would never have tried such a desperate strategy.
    Rex: That's why we always won.
    Kalani: Not always.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: To The Clone Wars. Rex even lampshades this by declaring Ezra the man who ended the Clone Wars for good.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Super tactical droids were designed to be highly logical and competent tacticians, able to predict enemy actions and plan accordingly. When the shutdown command was triggered, Kalani assumed it to be a Republic trick and disregarded it, as that was the most logical explanation for why someone would trigger it at that point in the war — and he was dead right.
  • Homage: The entire episode is a love letter to The Clone Wars, symbolically allowing the two armies to end the war the right way by finding the middle ground and recognizing the common threat, and ending with a TCW style logo and theme.
  • Hope Spot: While three shuttles escaped Kalani's base (one with the rebels aboard, one with Kalani aboard and the last filled with droids), the shuttle carrying the droids is shot down.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Even worse than Stormtroopers. Justified. After nearly 20 years of disrepair, the droids' targeting systems are degraded. Kalani admits this and instead has Kanan and Ezra deflect their shots into the proton bombs.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: When Ezra says that it should be easy to defeat the battle droids, they look rather insulted.
  • Internal Reveal: Ezra finally figures out Palpatine's plan for the Clone Wars.
  • Irony: The B1-model battle droids make their first appearance in this episode capturing and incapacitating the group of rebels, despite their Butt-Monkey status during the Clone Wars and being age-worn. Lampshaded by the droids themselves.
    Droid 1: We haven't captured anyone in years!
    Droid 2: We haven't captured anyone ever.
  • It's Personal: For both Kalani and Rex.
  • Keystone Army: The droid army had an embedded shutdown command which was sent out after Order 66. Kalani suspected a Republic trick and prevented it from taking effect.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: When the Stormtroopers start shooting the battle droids, one droid runs away crying "Oh my—" before being crushed by an Imperial walker.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Kalani calculates that the Rebels have a 1% chance at victory based on the battle and refuses to aid them further, taking off on his own.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kanan notes that they're in the "usual mess" when they've been captured by Kalani, lampshading that it's the fourth episode in a row where at least one member of the Ghost crew has been held hostage. In fact, even before things go south, Kanan says "I'm sure everything will go horribly wrong." Carrying over from TCW, Kalani also notes how common the "Jedi Rescue" scenario is and that Jedi tend to split up.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: During the "sword and shield" maneuver, Ezra breaks formation with Kanan and Rex to take out a few droids, leaving Rex unguarded and forcing him to dodge fire.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Ezra finally understands Palpatine's plan for the Clone Wars. Neither side was ever intended to truly win; he just wanted to eliminate the Jedi and take complete control of the newly formed Empire.
  • Living MacGuffin: Zeb is treated as this by Kalani, who makes him the objective of his Final Battle scenario. The rebels' objective is to capture Kalani's command centre and rescue Zeb.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • As part of Kalani's Final Battle scenario, the rebels and the droids wind up fighting each other and the crew destroys a significant number of them. Then the Empire shows up and they have to pull an Enemy Mine with considerably fewer droids.
    • Chopper's distress call ends up summoning the Empire.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The stormtroopers deciding to shoot the greeter droids, who were friendly and had no intention of doing anything but talking, underlines Ezra's point to Kalani that the Empire is their common enemy now.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: When the Rebels make it to the command center and declare victory, Kalani has a droid hold Zeb at gunpoint, as they would fail to rescue Zeb if the droid shot him. Ezra manages to talk Kalani down.
  • Not a Game: Rex reprimands Ezra for not following instructions, telling him the battle isn't a game, but a matter of survival. What makes this ironic is that the whole scenario is set up as a game, but it's one Kalani cheats at (he held Zeb at gunpoint to prevent them from claiming victory), thus proving Rex's point.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As Ezra points out, even though they're enemies, Rex and Kalani are both still trying to fight a war neither side won. At one point, Ezra even remarks that Rex's insistence on ending the war "his way" is "just like the droid's".
  • Percussive Maintenance: When Chopper can't get the Separatist shuttle to start, he gives it a good whack and the power comes on.
  • Playing Both Sides: Discussed. Ezra realises that, since the Clone Wars ended with the Jedi almost extinct, the Clone Army decommissioned, and the droid army shut down, neither side actually won, but somebody else must have — the Empire.
  • Properly Paranoid: Kalani accurately surmised that the shutdown order sent from Mustafar at the end of the Clone Wars was a Republic trick, so he ignored it and didn't relay it to the rest of his droid garrison.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • After evading the Empire, General Kalani and the few droids that went with him go off to parts unknown, having no interest in further aiding the Rebellion.
    • In the Rebels Recon featurette, Gilroy says that he strongly thinks that Kalani will later join the Rebel Alliance after the destruction of the first Death Star — like many people across the galaxy, this first great victory by the rebels will convince him that they stand a plausible chance of winning.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Averted. Stuck on a planet with no way to resupply, the Separatist battle droids have fallen into disrepair. They're surprisingly functional after nearly two decades, but not nearly as effective as they once were.
  • The Remnant: The outpost of droids led by Kalani is believed to be the last surviving piece of the Separatist army.
  • Scenery Gorn: A wrecked Separatist supply ship is the setting for most of the episode.
  • Series Continuity Error: Retroactively, as Kalani claims that the Lasat did not participate in the Clone Wars, yet Jaro Tapal was a Lasat Jedi Master who fought in the Bracca campaign towards the end of the conflict. Presumably Kalani is either unaware of his existence or he's referring to the Lasat as a whole, not a singular Jedi who happened to hail from that species.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: We get to see this side of Rex, from him awakening to being held captive by battle droids surrounding him and believing in a brief daze that he's gone back to the days of the Clone Wars and calling out for Cody when he hears Kanan's voice, to snapping at Ezra for treating the ordeal like a game instead of life and death (which arguably, the rebels treat their situations as a balance between). Rex also slips up and calls Kanan "General". Jedi Knights served as generals in the GAR during the Clone Wars.
  • Special Edition Title: See Creative Closing Credits.
  • Still Fighting the Civil War: Kalani refuses to accept that the Clone Wars are over, and wants to fight one more battle on behalf of the Separatists.
  • Tempting Fate: Inverted. After all their missions together, Kanan tells Hera that he's sure a mission to take inventory at an abandoned station will go horribly wrong somehow. And he's right.
  • Title Drop: As Rex puts it, this is practically the last battle of the Grand Army of the Republic. Once everyone works together, it's recognized as the last battle of the Clone Wars.
  • Wham Line: In the middle of the Final Battle scenario, Ezra tries to joke to defuse the tension and Rex snaps at him, showing that while his chip is long gone his programming is getting the better of him.
    Ezra: I make a pretty good soldier, huh?
    Rex: No. A good soldier follows orders!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rex snaps at Ezra for treating the scenario like a game when Zeb's life is on the line. Ezra later calls out Kalani and Rex for trying to pointlessly continue the Clone Wars when it's clear that both sides were being played by the greater threat, the Empire, and were never meant to win.
  • Who's on First?: Ezra mishears the B1 battle droid catchphrase "Roger Roger" as them reporting to someone named Roger (as in "Roger, Roger.").
  • Worf Had the Flu: Despite successfully fighting their way to Kalani's command centre, Ezra cuts Rex's gloating short by pointing out that the droids were so old and poorly maintained that they malfunctioned. This was demonstrated earlier when a couple of droidekas' shields overheated to the point Rex was able to stun one simply by throwing his helmet at it through its shield.