“An Inside Man” was the episode we have been waiting for. Especially after the two last fillers, but also from the long-term perspective. Cards have been revealed, the game is on. One can be confident that after this one, we are heading towards big mid-season epicness.
The episode starts with return to Lothal, which, by itself, is a nice touch. The local resistance, including familiar old faces, are trying to do their best to undermine the Empire’s increasing effort to turn itself into a war machine. On top of that, it seems like the Empire is starting a new big project. While Kanan, Ezra and Chopper are trying to retrieve this information, it just so happens that Thrawn appears, and trouble starts. Unexpected – or should I say long-expected – allies have to step in, and a whole new can of worms is opened.
I don’t personally have any special sympathies for Lothal, but the heroes do and I am sure many fans feel the nostalgia of coming back to where it all started. And there is a reason for it, too – as Thrawn himself observes in this episode, the Rebels are territorial animals.
Speaking of Thrawn, this was finally the episode where he commanded respect and fear in the more specific sense, and made me fear for the safety of the characters I like, especially the Rebels’ newest ally. Until now, Thrawn had mostly been operating behind the scenes. Now, we could see him directly in action, or at least as close to action as a commander of his rank gets.
If I had said while watching the previous two episodes that this is a show for kids, after all; then when watching An Inside Man, I had to say again that this is not a show for kids. Having the kind old Mr. Sumar, whose life Ezra saved few seasons back, just blow up while sitting on a speeder bike as a means of execution is fairly brutal (however, as it has been pointed out to me, it was actually fair sentence – he had been doing the same to Imperial soldiers! Actually, that kind of approach felt very Thrawn-like to me, because it is “just”, at least according to rules of war, even though it was ruthless).
As for the “Inside Man” himself. I am not going to pretend that this is any spoiler, because the revelation of Fulcrum’s identity has been long in the making. Still, I think the show did well in not telling us everything at once. What I liked the most was the fact that the one person who seemed to immediately welcome the turncoat into the fold was Chopper, of all. I am very much looking forward to the reaction of other Rebels when they meet their new contact face to face – we already got a foretaste of this at the end of this episode. On a more serious note, Thrawn’s reaction to the whole incident was chilling. The Grand Admiral is smart, and you can just see how smart; and the worst thing now is that I am sure he knows, and the poor “inside man” knows he knows, and Thrawn probably knows he knows… So what is going to be worse: the moment when Thrawn exposes the double agent, or imagining what kind of false information he might feed him or manipulate him to do something terrible at some pivotal moment when the whole Rebellion comes crashing down?
It is going to be an interesting story.