Saw Gerrera gave the crew a moral workout on the Star Wars Rebels mid-season premiere.

‘Star Wars Rebels’ mid-season premiere recap:

In “Ghosts of Geonosis,” the crew of The Ghost is dispatched to Geonosis to seek out Saw Gerrera. The volatile rebel was sent to investigate Imperial workings on the now-desolate planet, but he and his team have seemingly disappeared.

Ezra, Kanan, and Rex (and okay, Chopper too) find Saw (voiced by Forrest Whitaker) in the warren of tunnels beneath the surface of Geonosis. Saw is the only survivor, as his team was wiped out by destroyer droids still controlled by one last Geonosian. Sabine and Zeb are also endangered by the droids as they try to retrieve an abandoned deflector core.

Luckily, Ezra and the crew are able to catch the Geonosian and disable the droids. At first, the rebels agree with Saw that the alien is a threat — and they all toss around the word “bug” in a way that sounds an awful lot like a slur. They demand to know what the Empire has been building, and receive an answer in the form of an offset circle drawn inside a circle.

To Star Wars fans, this seems like an obvious reference to the Death Star. But the Star Wars Rebels mid-season premiere is cagey with the lines between life and death, and the evident answer is not quite so simple.

Saw remains hostile to the Geonosian, clapping binders on his hands as Ezra attempts to communicate with the terrified, distraught creature, whom they call Click-Clack. Saw tears apart Click-Clack’s home, finding an ominous cache of weaponry. But they also discover one of the last surviving queen eggs of the Geonosian species, which Click-Clack is desperate to protect.

The striated egg is the second possible interpretation for Click-Clack’s drawing, a source of life contrasting starkly with the Death Star. But while most of the rebels are moved to help Click-Clack preserve his species, Saw Gerrera violently insists that they take the creature with them for questioning. The rebel ally becomes something rather darker.

“I know some people in this rebellion don’t want to admit it, but we are in a war,” he says. “And war is loss.”

Saw, of course, would know this quite well. “Ghosts of Geonosis” makes a point to mitigate Saw’s extremism — including his torture of Click-Clack and threatening the queen egg — with the painful facts of his life. The death of Saw’s sister Steela at Separatist hands, and the ultimate loss of his planet to the Empire, add context to Saw’s harsh view of the galactic conflict, though they do not excuse it.

“I’m fighting for you and everyone else not to lose what they’ve got, and I won’t apologize for how I do it,” Saw says, to which Ezra replies that he is no better than the Empire.

But speaking of the Empire, there’s nothing like a little imminent doom to bind a team together. A passing Imperial ship investigates the activity on Geonosis, and its young captain salivates when she learns that The Ghost is within her grasp. Faced with the assault, Hera pilots The Ghost down into the tunneled depths of the planet as the crew and Saw fight off the Imperials.

Also, Sabine has a jetpack somehow.

Temporarily safe, the crew allows Click-Clack to lead them to a cavern where they find the canisters of poison gas used to exterminate the Geonosians. The canisters, another marker of death, are stamped with the Imperial logo — a circle within a circle.

Faced with the devastating evidence of what Click-Clack’s people have suffered, Saw relents and frees the creature, along with his precious egg. The Ghost crew try to bring the canisters with them as evidence, but lose them in their escape from the inexperienced Imperial captain, who finds her ship breaking apart just above Geonosis.

Unfortunately, Bail Organa informs the rebels that the Senate will be unconvinced without the physical evidence of genocide on Geonosis. He is hopeful, however, that the images may sway further sympathizers to the burgeoning Rebellion — a subtle highlight of the fact that war against the Empire is still an unpopular notion among the powerful.

As for Saw, he broods on the continuing mystery of the Empire’s construction project above Geonosis. Kanan is confident that they will soon uncover the truth, but Saw can only hope that understanding will not come too late.

And for those who have seen Rogue One, that’s a heavy hope indeed.

Kanan, Hera, and Ezra consider their interaction with Saw, and Kanan notes that they will not always agree with their allies. But Hera, ever the pragmatist, decides that Saw proved he was different from the Empire — and that will have to do.

Well, it will for now, at least.

What did you think of the ‘Star Wars Rebels’ mid-season premiere?

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