Whether you've been aware of it or not, "Star Wars Rebels" started off strong in October of this year and then never really stopped being awesome. Each episode since then, most of which have been standalone stories, has consistently delivered character-driven fun that feels like classic "Star Wars."
But this week's episode, titled "Empire Day," takes the story of Ezra and the crew of the Ghost in a deeper direction, launching the first part of an arc that dives into one character's backstory.
If you haven't been watching "Star Wars Rebels," now is absolutely the time to start.
Up until this point, the rebels of the Ghost have gone from mission to mission, sabotaging the Empire's plan as they can. There hasn't been much of an over-arching narrative beyond the Inquisitor being alerted to the presence of a Jedi (Kanan) and possibly his Padawan (Ezra).
Beyond that, we haven't really learned much beyond the missions. "Empire Day" changes that by not only exploring the mysteries of Ezra's past, but also advancing the Inquisitors' hunt for surviving Jedi.
The crew plans to disrupt the birthday bash that the Empire is throwing for itself with their standby "Let's blow this thing up" strategy. The problem is that the day also holds personal significance for Ezra, which opens up some of the details of his life before boarding the Ghost.
On top of all of that, "Empire Day" delivers with a huge amount of action, which the series has done so well throughout.
"Star Wars Rebels" is exactly what the franchise needs. It distills what two generations of fans have loved about the property and pushes it all forward in an exciting direction.