Whew, just marathoned season 3 (except for the finale of course), and I’m sure everyone’s dying to hear what I think.
(light spoilers follow)
The Bendu: Excellent addition to the show. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Ep 8 or 9, considering where they seem to be taking the Jedi philosophy.
The Holocrons: Leaning even more heavily into the idea that the Sith and Jedi are two halves of a complete philosophy, I really appreciate this.
Maul: On the other hand, I still don’t know why we’re dealing with this guy. Color me entirely unimpressed, and yes, I include Twin Suns in this evaluation.
Thrawn: His voice is so subdued that it’s oddly grating, but I appreciate his addition since it brings some competence to an otherwise incompetent Empire. He feels wasted in most of the episodes, however, only really coming into his own in ‘Through Imperial Eyes’.
The Tactical Droid: I really liked the idea behind this character, but the execution left something to be desired. It felt too inconsequential. Nevertheless, this episode is head and shoulders above most Season 2 episodes.
Sabine (and Mandalorians in general): It’s difficult to make a warrior culture interesting, so I wouldn’t mind if I never heard about Mandalorians ever again.
Iron Squadron: A clever idea for a weapon. Won’t somebody think of the children?! Because I can’t summon the effort to care.
Fulcrum: I found myself enjoying this character immensely, a marked difference from earlier.
Ghosts of Geonosis: Saw’s character arc felt forced, clearly in an attempt to turn him into the man we see in Rogue One. Other than that, it was a fine two-parter. The circle within a circle was also a clever bait-and-switch.
Hondo: Oh how I despise thee. It’s a shame, since the show could really use some interesting non-military characters, but do they all have to be caricatures?
AP-5: ‘Double Agent Droid’ is probably my favorite episode so far. It is a perfect blend of humor and adventure, marred only slightly by the willful stupidity of the Ghost crew and the episode being several shots too long. AP-5’s spacewalk is hands-down my favorite sequence in this show. He also happens to be my favorite character of this show. If Rebels only focused on this droid duo, I’d be happy.
Twin Suns: After all the hype, this episode wound up being merely serviceable. If you take away the nostalgia surrounding the elements of the '77 film, you are left with an episode that twiddles its thumbs instead of providing a fulfilling confrontation between Maul and Ezra. In fact, Ezra seems almost perfunctory to the proceedings. I did appreciate the brevity of the final fight, however.
In summary: Despite all my criticism, I quite liked a lot about this season. It is more even in tone than previous seasons, with fewer obvious filler episodes. The lack of inquisitors is a marked improvement, and the replacement of Vader with Thrawn allows for more strategy and less lightsaber shenanigans, another improvement. In short, more good characters, less bad characters, and shaping up to be a better season than the first two.