Forces of Destiny Episode VII: The Stranger (Review)

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Jyn Erso’s first Forces of Destiny episode sees her somewhat set out of time, a day or place unclear in her years of drifting before, one would presume, her roughshod rescue from the Empire’s clutches by Cassian and K-2S0 in Rogue One. This haziness of placing complements a gentler pace, and gives gravitas to Jyn’s identity as a sympathetic stranger.

This might be the episode with the most down time action-wise so far, even including Leia’s unfortunate filler episode. Still, an almost wordless performance from Felicity Jones – a break away from her mouthy misanthropy in Rogue One – makes the smaller actions this series wanted to celebrate somehow more commanding of the short’s allotted time. Again, somehow, I found myself on the edge of tears when the future rebel rescues and returns a tooka cat who is everything in the world to its owner. Maybe because I know what it’s like to lose a pet who has brought you comfort and hope. Already, though she would have denied it, she’s restoring hope to all those, like herself, feeling it torn away one piece at a time.

Jyn’s launching line, “I suggest you pick on someone your own size,” is hardly an inspired threat when working with such a minimal script. It takes on dignity, however, when you consider her younger years. Divided from family, abandoned by allies and soon to be taken prisoner by the Stormtroopers whose regimented cruelty she wants to remedy where she can; this is certainly the small soul on the cusp of becoming the herald for the Death Star’s destruction.

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