WARNING : IT WOULD BE REALLY WEIRD IF YOU READ THIS BEFORE WATCHING THESE EPISODES OF STAR WARS REBELS … BUT DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM YET. SPOILERS LAY AHEAD…..
Let’s just put it right out in the open. These two episodes of Star Wars Rebels are some of the best stuff the show has ever done. No, no young Master Codebreaker is not in it. And no, it doesn’t feature a two hour tribute to Admiral Raddus’ face. It does however somehow manage to take almost all the awkward stuff that has plagued season four so far and perform a Jedi mind trick on us and made it all suddenly kinda awesome. I’m still not sure who the bootleg Anakin kid is that’s hanging out on Lothal is or why I should care about Clancy Brown’s space Santa character but dammit who cares right now. This is some mighty fine Star Wars action and I wanna talk about it.
The action starts as everyone is getting ready to go rescue Hera. Kanan tells Ezra he should lead this mission and Sabine and Zeb put together some hang gliders so they can sneak into the Imperial base. Kanan decides to go full Legend of Billie Jean at this moment and use a knife to cut his hair. After debuting his new punk samurai new wave look, they head out to Governor Irina “Pryce” Spalko’s torture pad where she’s trying to get Hera to tell her where that Rebel hidden base is. After rescuing her, Spalko Pryce has the bright idea of stopping them by blowing up the fuel that’s pretty much bankrolling Thawn’s crazy TIE Fighter project. The whole thing goes boom and Kanan has one final act of true Jedi selflessness as he saves his friends from the fiery explosion but not himself.
Kanan’s death is definitely the major moment of these two episodes and it is done absolutely perfectly. We all knew the dude was probably doomed from day one but his actions during this whole episode justify him basically meditating through the rest of the season. Just like us, the guy knew this moment was coming and he would finally prove, mostly to himself that he was a Jedi Knight. It’s an instant classic moment for Star Wars animation with breathtaking visuals and a score by Kevin Kiner that is a reminder that he’s a strong candidate to eventually score some Star Wars cinema.
That moment ripples through the next episode as everyone does their best to move on in whatever way they can. Sabine and Zeb go off to try and stick one to the Empire, Hera and Chopper mourn and Ezra gets lost (again) and talks to a giant wolf who may or may not be the spirit of Kanan. Eventually the huge wolf tells Ezra that he’s gotta go back to the Jedi Temple on Lothal and with that promise of some wacky Force stuff to come, we are left hanging until next week.
Is the reason this episode is able to soar when so many before have floundered simply because it actually handles actual consequences and real growth for the characters? Something this show has gravely struggled with in the past? As DJ would say, “maybe..?” However, even before Kanan’s massive final moment, we are given a simple sense of fun and some easy breezy Star Wars magic that has eluded the show so many times before. Even the effortless scene of the rebels flying around on homemade gliders made this sometimes grumpy Rebels viewer smile.
This is Star Wars Rebels firing at maximum firepower, finally making giant talking wolves interesting, giving hope for actually Ezra doing something and hopefully, HOPEFULLY slapping my wrist for ever doubting Dave Filoni. Bravo Rebels and I can’t wait to see where the next few episodes go.
Final grade :A