• Maybe time works differently in the Star Wars universe because it feels like it was just yesterday that we were flipping over the calendar from 2022 to 2023. We were so young and naive. We didn't know a Hollywood strike would bring production of all our most anticipated projects to a grinding halt, and we hadn't yet learned to never trust a movie announcement from Lucasfilm, or that Mando S3 would land with such a thud. But here we are, a year later, looking ahead at another year of Star Wars. We are still waiting for the next movie in the franchise, while some of the best animated content is about to come to an end with the final season of 'The Bad Batch'. Plus, some intriguing new live action shows are just around the corner in 'The Acolyte' and 'Skeleton Crew', though we still don't know much about either one. It's a tumultuous time, so to kick things off on the right foot, Julian and Rachel take a moment to enjoy their Star Wars themed Christmas gifts before diving back into the nitty gritty.

  • There it is folks. The big finale for Dave Filoni's first full season of live action Star Wars. Though it was a little bumpy at times, most can probably agree that 'Ahsoka' brought it in the parts that matter most. Characters and emotional through-lines were strong, the plot satisfying, the action thrilling, and most importantly they were able to stick the landing. Sure, there's still plenty of unanswered mysteries, and with no clear understanding of how the story will continue (we have yet to hear of an announcement for a season 2) all fans can do right now is unpack the story so far. And in that regard, you're in luck, because that's exactly what Julian and Rachel are here to do. The pair of hosts do a scene-by-scene dissection of the entire episode, look back at the season as a whole, and do their best to predict where things might go from here (which turned out to be surprisingly hard to do).

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  • It never ceases to surprise me how quickly 8-episode seasons of TV fly by. Here we are, already at the penultimate episode of the season (everyone's favourite TV related word, maybe only next to "titular"). With only the season finale left to rap things up, there's some anxiety amongst the fandom that there won't be enough time in only one episode to provide a satisfying finish to what has largely been a very successful season of TV. Both in terms of quality of storytelling but also fan reception. Time will tell how 'Ahsoka' will tie off it's loose ends, but with a "Heir to the Empire" movie on the horizon, it may not need to neatly wrap everything up. In terms of 'Part Seven' itself, it does the necessary job of moving all the pieces into place for a big finish next week while also providing some exciting action set pieces framed with strategy sessions with Thrawn. It had this tick-tack-toe feeling to it, as Thrawn, commanding his forces remotely, faced off and was forced to adapt as Ahsoka and our heroes responded to his moves. It made for a interesting dynamic that filled most of the episode. Oh, and we got a fun cameo as we checked back in with Hera and the New Republic. Next week is the big finale. We all hope it's got a long runtime as it has quite a bit to do, and as Thrawn said this week, the season lost the only thing it couldn't afford to lose, time.

  • As the title implies, we're finally in another galaxy. The "enemy" has arrived on Peridea and with it we get the resplendent return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and his first appearance in live action. Like an old shoe, Thrawn slips right into the narrative like he's always been there (Most impressive!). We also get our first real look at another character that's been teased since the first episode, but unfortunately the emotions of that scene don't really hold a candle to the effectively bombastic entrance of the blue man. This episode, by it's nature, does a lot of work tying up loose ends, and squashing fan theories, leaving only a small handful of mysteries left to be revealed. The most intriguing of which being whatever it is that Baylon is after. His character continues to be one of, if not the most compelling on the show so far, and with Ahsoka set to make her appearance on Peridea next week, I expect things will heat up even further.

  • After the final moments of last week's episode, many fans were left to wonder about the fate of the titular character, now that she found herself back within the "world between worlds". Dave Filoni stepping back into the director's role (as well as the special theatrical screenings), signaled that we may be in store for something BIG. "Part Five: Shadow Warrior" did not disappoint as it reunites Ahsoka with her former Master (who also happens to be dead, but who's counting), Anakin Skywalker, as he attempts to complete her training while she stares down death's door. Fortunately, it's more than just a nostalgia play, as the action is largely motivated by character, allowing for a satisfying "rebirth" of Ahsoka as she faces her demons. Unfortunately however, the back half of the episode lacks much of that early momentum. Although it does neatly setup the final 3 episodes, which remain a mystery, as we've still yet to see the big bad, Thrawn. Things should really heat up next week as we take out first steps into a new Star Wars galaxy (presumably).

  • Despite being only a few minutes longer than last week's episode, "Part Four" of 'Ahsoka' manages to feel much grander and expansive. It not only packs a heavy action punch, with plenty of lightsabers, it also manages to expand on a lot of the most interesting character dynamics and plot points as well. Character through action is always appreciated and this episode brings that in spades. That's without even mentioning the bold and surprising turns that Dave Filoni is able to pull off here, leaving the heroes in a very tricky spot heading into episode 5, which by all accounts is supposed to be banger. There's plenty of chatter online about where this episode sits in terms of the pantheon of "The best Star Wars TV", which means it certainly holds it's own against the some of best Star Wars installments we've ever seen. Join Julian and Rachel as they break it all down, scene by scene, and make your own assessment.

  • With Julian out in the woods (literally), dialing in remotely with Rachel, and dealing with some technical difficulties (and a few bears), it's a low-tech episode this week. The pair discuss Part 3 of 'Ahsoka', which despite it's surprisingly short runtime, still manages to pickup on the "will she - won't she" story thread with Sabine and the Force. It also features an exciting dog-fighting sequence, which are always very welcome in a Star Wars story. Unfortunately, it doesn't have time for much else, relegating Hera's appearance to a single short scene (which at least had a few surprises of it's own). Next week, we're back in the studio and with it the return of a more "normal" production quality.

  • After only a short 4-months since ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3, Small Screen Star Wars returns with more reviews and breakdowns. After having to (fairly) bow out of covering the season finale of Mando, Rachel returns to the podcast chair, alongside Julian, to unpack the two-part series premiere of ‘Ahsoka’. With these episodes coming in at nearly two full hours combined, there’s a lot of lore, character and details to sift through, so buckle up for a comprehensive exploration of every action-packed moment in this overstuffed exploration of the latest Star Wars story! (which just so happens to basically be a semi-sequel to ‘Rebels’)

  • 'The Mandalorian' brought it's third season to close with a climactic battle for Mandalor, capping off a rocky eight episodes that have left some fans disappointed after what was such a stellar conclusion to season two. "The Return" ties up many of the loose ends from this season and the action set-pieces alone are worth the price of admission (more jetpack heavy battle sequences please) but taking a step back, we're left with a feeling of emptiness, as we may have a worse understanding of our lead characters psyches than we did coming into the season. With so much to do in the finale, and only 39-minutes to do it in, there just isn't any time left to hear what anyone thinks about the major events that just took place. It's plot in absence of character, and it's a real shame. It's not that the show is now bad, it's just that it certainly took a step back this season in pacing, plotting, character development and probably even musically with the absence of Ludwig. The hope being that it can learn from it's mistakes and course-correct going into season four. Julian recaps all of it, beat-by-beat, all by himself, as Rachel has had her baby (Congrats!) and as such was not able to join, for obvious and very much appropriate reasons. We'll be back with more Small Screen Star Wars very soon, but before that we'll be taking a short break. Make sure to check out the main feed for 'The Tower of Babble Podcast' in the meantime to stay up to date with all things nerdy. May the Force be with you!

  • As this season closes in on it's finale next week, there have been a lot of questions about this season's direction, or lack there of. Including on this very show. This penultimate episode for season 3 does a lot to answer those questions and it does so with tons of style. There's plenty of exciting action set pieces this week to sink your teeth into, which are satisfying in there own way, but it's the focus on driving the plot forward, the interesting world building, and the some deeper exploration of key characters like Bo Katan, that take this episode to the next level. That being said, it's not perfect, with a few pacing issues and the odd inclusion of another giant monster that feels ham-fisted. Overall though, the return of one of the shows best villains does a lot of heavy lifting, and certainly sets the stakes quite high for next week's finale.

    Programming Note: Rachel may not be available to record next week due to having a baby. We'll update the Discord and Twitter with news on this as we know more. Thank you for your understanding. 

  • Most people seem to agree that season 3 of 'The Mandalorian' seems to be a bit lost in the woods. Despite strong episodes, like last week's "Pirates", overall the larger plot seems to be a bit directionless at times. It's a cloud that is hanging over the show and seems to be casting a primarily negative shadow on it's reception this year. This week's episode unfortunately continues that trend, but it also continues the trend of having extremely entertaining side missions, with the inspiration-de-jour being a 'CSI' or 'Law and Order' style procedural/neo-noir detective caper. With cameo's a plenty from well known actors, an extremely jovial escapade to a new outer rim planet that is actually wealthy for once, and plenty of Clone Wars era callbacks, it's hard not to be entertained. Thankfully, the final moments of the episode tie us back into the larger plot (in a pretty clunky way if we're being honest), and setup the last 2 episodes of the season. Which are complete mysteries at this point. Plus, Rachel and Julian discuss the three new Star Wars movie projects announced at 'Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023', and dive into the brand new 'Ahsoka' trailer.

  • Just as Din seemed to be fairly aimless since his bath in the living waters, so to did the show itself. Wandering from plot point to plot point with no regard for pacing or sense of direction. That largely changed this week as Din is recruited to rescue Nevarro at the behest of an unlikely ally, all with the possibility of using the opportunity to create a new home for his cohorts. The threat of pirates brought many dangling plot threads together and helped establish a new purpose for our heroes, with the mystery of a reemerging threat lingering in darkness. That's without even mentioning some absolutely stellar action sequences realized with top tier visual effects, adding a much needed sense of quality to the whole affair that has felt oddly absent as of late. Oh, and don't forget about our boy Zeb!

  • It's a rare thing to get a season finale that hits as hard as this two-part season 2 capper of 'The Bad Batch'. Lucasfilm Animation was firing on all cylinders for much of this season, with gorgeous animation, top tier performances, and scoring from Kevin Kiner that is as good as anything you'd get in a feature film. Yet somehow they took it to another level with "The Summit", and then somehow found yet another gear for the heart-wrenching "Plan 99". For which it's episode title alone now carries more emotional weight than probably any scene from 'The Rise of Skywalker'. For our money, Star Wars doesn't get much better than this folks. There probably isn't much more to be said about how great these episodes were but Julian and Rachel dedicate the entirety of this nearly 2.5 hour podcast to Clone Force 99 and it's well deserved. Look for coverage of Mando later this week, because since when "have we ever followed orders".

  • A big reveal accompanied by a nice surprise are the highlights of this week's episode of 'The Mandalorian', that otherwise felt mostly inconsequential. Not quite a bottle episode (but close), we spend much of the relatively short runtime with the Mandalorian covert as they attempt to rescue a child from what is essentially a dragon. Meanwhile, over on 'The Bad Batch' we are treated to one of the best episodes of the entire series. Table setting for a finale has never been this exciting or engaging. Between prison breaks, escape attempts, and political intrigue, there isn't much more you can ask for from this show. Superb!

    Note: the audio in the first 10 minutes of the podcast is less than optimal after having to do some recovery to get it back. The remainder of the episode is back to the usual high audio standard we strive for.

    Note 2: the review/recap of this week's episode of 'The Bad Batch' had to be cut short. The plan is to pick up where we left off next week as a lead into the coverage of the season finale. The logistics of next week's podcasts are still up in the air but rest assured both shows will be covered in one way or another.

  • After a massive bombshell at the end of last week's episode of 'The Mandalorian', we take a sharp left turn into a completely different part of the galaxy and largely leave the Mythosaur thread to dangle... for now. The shift to concentrate on Dr. Pershing and his attempt to reintegrate into a post-war society, though surprising, was actually chalk-full of deep world building and does the leg work to set up a fascinating mystery. The Mando bookends featuring some stellar dog-fighting, and a surprisingly quick resolution to the whole "redemption" arch, were appreciated for their ability to keep the central story moving forward. On 'The Bad Batch' front, the season put the pause on things as it took our heroes on a short vacation that reminded us of what was actually at stake. It was slower, but intentionally so, and took the time to let us just "live" with the characters for a moment. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take nearly as long to unbox this episode compared to Mando.

  • Coming out of a lackluster premiere, 'The Mandalorian' steps things up in a big way with "The Mines of Mandalore". They waste no time in getting to the meat of the larger story, with a much better mix of lore to chew on with very exciting action (did someone say slice and dice?). Meanwhile on 'The Bad Batch' side, Lucasfilm animation outdoes themselves yet again with another top tier episode of Star Wars animation (unfortunately it's another one without the show's titular characters). In "The Outpost" we catch up with Crosshair as he's sent on what appears to be one of the few remaining military missions left for the Clones now that they're being retired. It's full of moody character work that culminates in what feels like something long overdue. What a time to be a Star Wars fan when we get two stories of this caliber released on the same day. This double-feature experience will continue for the next 4 weeks, so buckle up!

  • The big brains at Disney have decided that for the next 4 weeks, Wednesdays will be Star Wars double-header day, with episodes of season 3 of "The Mandalorian" premiering alongside the ongoing season 2 of "The Bad Batch". It certainly makes for a very fun double-feature for Star Wars fans, but also makes covering those shows on the podcast slightly more complicated. As such, Julian and Rachel will be reviewing both series simultaneously. So look for more 2-part episodes of "Small Screen Star Wars" over the next few weeks. The episodes themselves lacked much of any connecting through-lines (except the inclusion of large space monsters). Mando kicks off with a reset episodes that brings some fun adventure, and The Batch is seemingly back on track with an "Alien" inspired episode that starts the process of looping the main cast back into the wider story.

  • With no ship, and no help from Cid, The Batch are all but stranded. But wait! Omega has a plan! They'll track their stolen ship by zeroing in on their defective power droid, Gonky. This takes the crew to a mining facility that has their own problems. Namely, a tale as old as time, in that the workers are being abused by a greedy boss. Fortunately, with the help of the thief who originally stole their ship, they're able to kill two birds with one stone - retrieve their ship, and solve the labor problem. This wraps up what appears to be a two-part arch (maybe there's a third next week?) that leaned heavily into character work, with sprinkles of interesting action in this second half. That all being said, the show seems to be lacking in stakes, making it feel a little weightless. Hopefully that changes soon as we are well into the back half of the season now.

  • It's back to our regular scheduled programming this week with another "mission of the week". Or at least so we thought. "The Crossing" starts off in a very unassuming way but as things go from bad to worse on a this gold rush era, western themed mystery planet, it becomes evident that this episode has a little more going on under the surface (ahem, pun not intended). In what can be described as a "bottle episode" the creative team at Lucasfilm animation chose to forgo the larger plot and instead concentrate on some character work, specifically Omega struggling with change and loss after Echo's departure, as well as Tech's inability to relate to her. It's a welcome change from the less-than-complex one-off episodes we've seen this season, even if it does still feel light compared to the highs of the the two-part episodes last week.

  • This season of 'The Bad Batch' has been a real rollercoaster. The highs of "The Solitary Clone" to the lows of episodes like "Faster". This week, the show once again elevated itself with a 2-episode drop that feels like a spiritual sequel to the great 'The Clone Wars' episode "Clone Conspiracy". In fact, the first part of this 2-part story arch, aptly named "The Clone Conspiracy", doesn't even feature our titular characters. These 2 episodes also felt like a great companion piece to last year's 'Andor' as we focus again on political intrigue and dangerous secrets. The tension is palpable and the presence of returning characters feel natural in this given situation. But the biggest revelation is that we finally have a clear understanding of the fate of the clones. There's still plenty to explore in this show, but after these 2 episodes, it has easily justified its status as must-watch Star Wars.