Zeb tangles with droids as the Thrawn plays Galactic chess in Star Wars Rebels 3×14.

‘Star Wars Rebels’ 3×14 recap:

Star Wars Rebels has a patchy history with its break-taking episodes, but “Warhead” proves to be one of the good ones. What the episode lacks in story, it makes up for in humor and clear movement toward more ominous developments.

In other words, I’m never not down for Zeb and AP-5 banter.

In “Warhead,” Zeb finds himself left behind to guard Chopper Base when the rest of the crew leaves for training maneuvers. His only real companions are Chopper and the delightfully withering AP-5, so Zeb is pretty much miserable.

But the dull day gets a lot more interesting when Zeb finds a strange, harmless-seeming droid that has crashed near the base. Soon after AP-5 reboots the droid, the base receives a message from Fulcrum, a.k.a., Agent Kallus. The droid is an Infiltrator, and if it does not return, the Empire will come looking for it.

So Zeb, AP-5, and Chopper attempt to apprehend the droid, only to find it expanding to twice its size and formidably armed. A violent game of cat-and-mouse ensues, which finally seems to end as Zeb grapples with the Infiltrator (in a manner strongly reminiscent of trying to keep hold of an angry cat) and AP-5 shuts it down.

Day saved!

Oh wait, not.

It turns out that the Infiltrator droid is equipped with a self-destruct proton bomb, set to explode in seconds. Chopper manages to freeze the bomb, but Zeb is left with a dilemma.

They rebels can’t keep the droid, because the Empire will come to retrieve it. They also can’t send it back, as its tamper-proof memory banks are now full of Rebel secrets.

So Zeb goes with a classic Rebel tactic: Sabotage! AP-5 rigs the droid to continue self-destructing when it plugs into an Imperial database. That will not only keep their data safe, but also strike a serious blow against the Empire.

And that is, indeed, what happens. A Star Destroyer is critically damaged when the Infiltrator returns. Kallus, watching from a nearby ship, smiles as he puts the pieces together.

But while the mood on Chopper Base is cheerful in response to Fulcrum’s new report (and new bonds of respect have formed between Zeb and AP-5) all is not entirely well.

Grand Admiral Thrawn summons Kallus, and Kallus notes that Thrawn doesn’t seem unhappy. Thrawn tells Kallus that the sabotaged droid has narrowed his search for the Rebels from the vastness of the galaxy to to a mere 94 planets.

“The rebels have won this battle,” Thrawn says. “But the war will be ours.”

Yeah, that’s not good.

What did you think of the droid-centric events of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ 3×14?

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