Last night Star Wars Rebels returned to kick off the final stretch of the show’s run, and as has been the custom this year the show returned with two episodes. The first of those, “Jedi Night,” was certainly the most significant and consequential episode of the show yet, and that’s surely what most people will be discussing.
You can read my review of that episode here, but now we’ll turn our attention to the second episode that aired last night, “DUME.” This picks up right where the previous episode left off, and it shows the Ghost crew dealing with the implications of the events in “Jedi Night.”
Let’s dive in and take a look at “DUME,” but be warned that there are, of course, ***full spoilers ahead***
The Ghost crew arrives back at base reeling from the loss of Kanan. Zeb and Chopper stand to greet them, but it’s soon apparent that something is horribly wrong. Sabine throws her helmet in frustration and anguish, Hera walks off to stare into the sunset, and Ezra meets Zeb and reveals the news, at which Zeb gives Ezra a big hug. Chopper rolls toward Hera and holds her hand as they stare at the sunset.
Governor Pryce, meanwhile, orders a parade to be held for their victory over the rebels, but also as a cover-up for destroying the fuel depot – without which the TIE Defender factory shuts down. Thrawn doesn’t fall for the cover-up, however, and communes with Pryce via hologram (as he’s still on Coruscant) and is pissed. He tells Pryce that even though the Jedi is dead, Pryce unknowingly accomplished the rebels’ mission by destroying the fuel depot and effectively shutting down the TIE Defender project. He angrily tells Pryce that he will deal with her when he returns, and then commands Rukh to be ready for an aggressive rebel retaliation.
That retaliation comes from Sabine and Zeb, who set out to blow something up but in doing so discover that the factory has been shut down. They set an explosive to blow up a speeder, but that leads Rukh to their location. They decide to use their numbers to their advantage and confront the assassin, so they lure him into a trap. Zeb fights Rukh, but Sabine then jumps in to add numbers. Rukh has a trick up his sleeve, though, and cloaks himself, proceeding to beat up Zeb and Sabine since they can’t see him. After a short fight, Sabine manages to trigger a paint bomb that sticks to Rukh and makes him evident, and Zeb beats him up. In a dark moment, Zeb nearly beats Rukh to death before Sabine steps in and says that isn’t the way to win. Instead, she paints Rukh and sends him back to the Empire in embarrassment.
As Zeb and Sabine were doing all of that, Ezra was on his own journey. The wolves appear angry with him and he runs from them, but he’s eventually knocked unconscious and awakes, soon finding a giant wolf who says, “I am Dume.” The wolf shows Ezra that there are secrets in the Jedi Temple that are in danger, and gives him a tablet spelling things out. Ezra takes it back to the rest of the Ghost crew and reveals that he knows what their next mission must be.
(The above image is from “Jedi Night,” but the implications of it will be discussed below as they are pertinent to the events of “DUME”)
The episode was a very fitting follow-up to “Jedi Night,” as this showed the other members of the Ghost crew mourning Kanan’s death. Sabine and Zeb manifest their mourning into anger and want to retaliate against the Empire, and they do – until Sabine comes to her senses and realizes that they can’t stoop too low in doing this. Ezra’s mourning manifests as grief and feelings of hopelessness, as he doesn’t feel strong enough or ready to be without Kanan. “You didn’t prepare me for this,” Ezra says at one point, looking for a sense of direction without his master. Hera takes it the hardest, however, and is wrecked with guilt, blaming herself for Kanan’s death since she was the reason he got involved in the Rebellion in the first place. By the end of the episode, she has added Kanan to her Kalikori as a member of her family to remember him forever. One of the things that this episode does really well is allow our heroes to grieve, and not just off-screen.
Perhaps the best thing the episode did, however, was provide some really tremendous explanations. In “Jedi Night,” Grand Admiral Thrawn is called back to Coruscant in order to meet with Emperor Palpatine (who thinks fondly of Thrawn) to lobby for his TIE Defender project. This was a really cool moment to see Thrawn and Tarkin talking with one another, as well as getting a name drop of Director Krennic and his Stardust project. We know that this is the Death Star, and we can see even in this conversation Tarkin’s dislike for Krennic. This provided a good explanation for Thrawn to leave the Lothal system, however, which meant that Hera’s rescue couldn’t be pinned on the formidable Grand Admiral.
Additionally, in Pryce’s desire to stop the rebels she willingly sacrificed the fuel depot and destroyed it, and she figures that celebrating the defeat of the rebels and of Kanan would cover that fact up. It’s not the first time that Pryce has willingly made a move that has lost resources, and now she’s even lost the aid of Thrawn. He sees right through her charade and is furious over the loss of the fuel. I actually thought that, as Thrawn spoke to Pryce and Rukh began to move, the Grand Admiral would order the assassin to kill Pryce, but that didn’t happen – Thrawn just said he would deal with Pryce when he returned.
We knew that the TIE Defender project didn’t reach widespread production because it’s not seen in the original trilogy, so there needed to be a reasonable and plausible explanation for why that is. I think Rebels found a way to do that. Governor Pryce, in her ambition to kill the rebels, actually destroyed the resources needed for Thrawn’s project. This infuriates the Grand Admiral, but with the reality that plenty of extra resources will now be needed to complete the project, it might effectively put an end to Thrawn’s plans. And, on a side note, while it sounds like Thrawn will return to Lothal before the season is over, his meeting with the Emperor is also a perfect opportunity to have him re-assigned (such as sent into the unknown regions on an exploration).
Lastly, it added greater heroism to Kanan’s sacrifice. In his death, Kanan not only saved his friends but actually helped take down the Empire’s operations on Lothal. We know that Kanan had been shown the way by the wolves and we know that Kanan figured this would be his end… so could he have guided Hera toward the fuel depot intentionally once he realized the initial plan was compromised? Perhaps that’s far-fetched, but either way, Kanan’s death dealt a serious blow to the Empire too – all without giving the rebels the huge victory that story-wise they can’t have until Scarif.
And on top of all of this, we haven’t even discussed the wolf yet… is that Kanan? The wolf says, “I am Dume,” but does he mean that he’s actually Kanan? And is the wolf even helping Ezra or is there some ulterior motive there? We know that the wolves had a specific interest in Caleb Dume, but the intrigue with the wolves wasn’t answered in this episode – rather, there’s even more intrigue now. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Either way, it looks like next week we’ll probably be getting into the mythology of the force, which should be exciting.
My grade: 9.2