Get ready for more filler. Although the Star Wars Rebels Season 3 midseason trailer teased some great action in upcoming episodes, “Warhead” doesn’t promise to include much of that. It’s an episode centered on Zeb and Chopper, who are stuck on Chopper Base on Atollon.
It’s certainly not the kind of episode we want to see after the two-part “Ghosts of Geonosis,” which was a neat tie-in episode to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It looks like we’ll have to wait awhile to see the Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul fight we were promised.
Here’s a look at all the action in “Warhead.”
An Unwelcome Guest Arrives
The episode opens like an animated version of The Empire Strikes Back, with an Imperial Star Destroyer sending out probe droids. One lands on Atollon, but it surprisingly looks more like a protocol droid than the floating droids we saw in Empire. The droid looks like the old Ralph McQuarrie designs of C-3PO. It spots Chopper Base, but is swarmed by spiders. As we learn later, it’s called an Infiltrator droid.
After the title, Hera orders Wedge and Hobbie to their ships, and Zeb complains to her about being stuck on the base by himself. At least he has Chopper and AP-5 to keep him company. AP-5 thinks the Rebels are making a mistake by leaving Zeb in charge of the base. “I always assumed you were one of a ‘lift heavy things and punch anything in your way’ type. You know, a grunt.” That’s no way to make friends with Zeb, AP-5!
AP-5 decides to spend time on the base running inventory on supplies, which Zeb and Chopper both find boring. He finds AP-5 annoying, and heads to the command center. While there, a trooper tells him about the asteroids hitting the surface, including one that hit nearby and knocked out a perimeter sensor. That provides Zeb with something to do and a reason for Chopper to get away from AP-5.
Zeb heads over to the sensor and plants a new one. Zeb and Chopper find the probe droid under some spiders and Zeb decides to take it back to base.
Back on the Star Destroyer, Kallus learns that the Imperials lost contact with the Infiltrator on Atollon. It was before the droid could send its coordinates, so they have no idea where it is. Kallus tells an officer to wait until the next cycle to see if it responds by then.
Back at the base, Zeb brings the droid to AP-5, who restarts it. Unfortunately, its memory banks are damaged, so he can’t tell them who he is. But immediately, he inventories the entire area, much quicker than AP-5. AP-5 thinks it is a logistics droid who could be his assistant.
After having some fun with the new droid, Zeb is called back to the command center for a message from Fulcrum (remember: Kallus is the current Fulcrum helping Phoenix Squadron). He tells Zeb about the Infiltrators. When deployed, they look like they are armed to the teeth, but can be disguised to look like harmless protocol droids… just like the one that landed on Atollon.
The Droid is Armed to the Teeth
After the break, AP-5 continues to shower the droid with compliments. AP-5 lets it slip that this is a Rebel base, triggering something inside the Infiltrator. Zeb arrives and the droid converts into combat mode, attacking Zeb. Chopper zaps it during the fight and Zeb shoots off the droid’s hand, and it scurries away. “I told you so,” says Chopper.
AP-5 suggests they contact Hera, but Zeb doesn’t want to let her down. They try to track the Infiltrator, but the trail of leaking liquid just leads them to another Astromech destroyed by the Infiltrator. AP-5 notes that the Astromech’s power core is completely gone, showing that the Infiltrator repaired himself. Chopper can’t pick up the Infiltrator’s energy signal, leading AP-5 to believe that the Infiltrator might still be looking for more power.
Zeb comes up with the idea to use Chopper as bait to draw out the Infiltrator, so they can then blast it before it gets a signal to the Empire. However, AP-5 says that would be dangerous, since they are in a spot with high-explosive munitions. It’s not a good idea to go blasting around here. So, Zeb decides he’ll have to just grab the Infiltrator and have AP-5 shut it down.
Zeb’s plan assumes that the Infiltrator hasn’t had time to leave the area, which turns out to be the case. Chopper leads the droid on a chase, and Zeb jumps from a bridge to grab it. But the Infiltrator puts up a fight, which goes on for some time. Eventually, Zeb grabs it, and AP-5 successfully shuts it down while it squirms. Chopper confirms that the Infiltrator never sent any long-range communications, so it hasn’t alerted the Empire of the base.
Still there’s one issue left: the Infiltrator’s ship. Oh and another problem – the Infiltrator is about to explode.
“A Lot’s Happened Today”
After the break, AP-5 notices that they only have 20 seconds until the droid explodes. Chopper freezes it, which temporarily stops the clock. (Not exactly sure how that worked – it’s not like the droid’s clock would run on gears that could be manually stopped. Wouldn’t the clock keep going?) Now, they should have enough time to get the droid away from the base. However, Zeb remembers that Fulcrum said that if the droid never replies to the Empire, they will come looking for it.
Zeb hatches another plan: They could set the droid to explode the second it tries to upload its data at an Imperial base. Then, the droid will be destroyed, along with some others like it. AP-5 agrees that he’ll try. “Sorry for my delayed response. I was just rather stunned by the fact that you had a good idea,” AP-5 says. AP-5 also changed its programming so it returns to being the peaceful protocol droid.
That works and it surprisingly heads back to its ship. Zep, AP-5 and Chopper follow the Infiltrator back to its ship. AP-5 sees that it is trying to contact the Empire, so Zeb knocks out its long-range transmitter. This will force the Infiltrator to go to the Star Destroyer it came from (if it follows its programming).
AP-5 starts second-guessing his work, but Zeb assures him that he has always done his job. “Well, whatever the outcome, you performed admirably captain,” AP-5 tells Zeb.
“A lot’s happened today. Not sure if I can deal with you and me starting to get along on top of everything else,” Zeb replies.
It’s a Good Bet the Empire Knows We’re Here
The Infiltrator did follow its programming, heading back to the Star Destroyer. As the droid powers up, the countdown resumes and the droid explodes, taking the entire Star Destroyer with it. On another Star Destroyer, Kallus asks what happened. He’s told it was a proton warhead detonation. He figures out what happened, and smiles.
Hera and the rest of the Ghost team arrive back at Chopper base, earlier than planned because Zeb called them back just in case. Before Zeb can explain what happened, the Rebels get another call from Fulcrum. Fulcrum confirmed that Zeb’s plan worked! As AP-5 starts to tell the story behind the Fulcrum message, Zeb muffles him.
Back at the Imperial fleet, Kallus explains what happened to Thrawn. He’s surprised that Thrawn isn’t angry. “The Rebels may have protected the location of their base for now, but in doing so, they have narrowed my search,” Thrawn said. He explains to Kallus that he now knows that the Rebels are hiding on one of the 94 planets his Infiltrators landed on.
“The Rebels have won this battle, but the war will be ours.”
What’s Next For the Ghost Crew
“Warhead” was another distraction from more important matters and exists for proving that seasons of Rebels shouldn’t be over 20 episodes long. It looks like we get back on track with “Trials of the Darksaber,” which airs on January 21. The episode will center on Sabine. “To help recruit her people to join the rebels, Sabine reluctantly agrees to learn to wield an ancient Mandalorian weapon but finds the challenge more difficult than expected,” reads the synopsis.
For a look at the previous episode of Rebels, click below: