With just a few episodes remaining in the final season of Star Wars Rebels, the show returned with the most significant episode yet on Monday night.
The first of two episodes, “Jedi Night,” raised the stakes and left the Ghost crew with massive consequences, which will certainly reverberate throughout the remainder of the show’s run. For the review of the second episode of the night, “DUME,” head here; for now, though, we’ll focus on “Jedi Night.”
There are of course ***massive spoilers ahead*** if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so be warned. With that said, let’s dive in to the most significant and consequential episode of Star Wars Rebels yet.
Picking up where “Rebel Assault” left off, Hera is being held captive by the Empire and Kanan is preparing to go after her. He tells Ezra that the young Jedi will have to lead this mission because Kanan’s feelings for Hera could cloud his judgment, and Ezra comes up with a plan that he, Sabine, and Kanan will glide into the city on gliders meant to look like Loth-bats. Kanan, meanwhile, gives himself a haircut – in many ways a return to the look of his youth, when he was Caleb Dume.
Hera is being
interrogated tortured by Governor Pryce in the Imperial Complex when Grand Admiral Thrawn arrives. Studying Hera’s Kalikori, Thrawn deduces that the Twi’lek had a brother who died when quite young. After this, Pryce resumes torturing the captive. Thrawn, however, is called back to Coruscant to meet with Emperor Palpatine after communicating with Grand Moff Tarking about Director Krennic’s Stardust project putting Thrawn’s TIE Defender project at risk. Thrawn, therefore, must travel to Coruscant to meet with and persuade Palpatine about the TIE Defender. That leaves Pryce in charge on Lothal, and as she steps away for a moment to meet with Rukh, Kanan arrives. Hera is still loopy after being interrogated by an Imperial interrogation droid, but Kanan enters the office and makes quick work of the stormtroopers and the droid, saving Hera and presenting her with her recovered Kalikori.
The two set off climbing back up the building where they are supposed to meet Ezra and Sabine, who are disguised as Imperial pilots and are supposed to be finding a ship. Kanan and Hera are pursued by Rukh, however, who confronts Kanan – and in the process, Kanan loses his lightsaber as Rukh knocks off the building. Kanan force pushes the assasain away, but Deathtroopers arrive and open fire. Hera pulls Kanan’s blaster and fires back, and as Kanan takes over that role, Hera preps the glider for flight. Kanan and Hera glide through the city and land in the fuel depot, but the Empire knows that’s where they’re headed. Sabine, piloting an Imperial transport, finds this out and makes her move, firing upon the other transports as Ezra deflects fire with his lightsaber.
At the fuel depot, as Kanan and Hera are waiting atop the main fuel cylinder to be picked up, Hera remembers what she was going to say: that she loves Kanan. They share an emotional embrace as it’s finally made explicit what has been clear all along: they’re in love. Ezra and Sabine arrive to break up the romance and rescue them, but at the same time Pryce and the Empire arrives with AT-ATs, which fire upon the fuel cell. Kanan wastes no time, running to the front of the cylinder and using the force to push the explosion back from hitting the transport. Hera runs after him, but Kanan uses his other hand to push her back to the ship. At the last moment, the color returns to his eyes and Kanan turns and pushes the ship away as the explosion rocks the fuel cells, killing Kanan in a heroic sacrifice as the others escape.
For the first time, the Ghost crew is rocked with the loss of one of their own, and not just one of their own but Kanan Jarrus, who always seemed to be the steadying force they looked to for guidance. Throughout the series we’ve really seen his growth as a character, and this episode epitomized it and was perhaps the best Kanan-centered episode of the series. The young Jedi who left the order after seeing his master killed in Order 66 reluctantly returned to the ways of the Jedi as Kanan Jarrus, and he’s grown significantly as a Jedi since then. He trained an apprentice, dealt with the loss of his eyesight, and fought against the Empire. But all along, it was really about Hera and those he loved, and so when Hera is taken captive, there’s really no other option for him but to go and save her. He knows that he’ll probably die doing it. The wolves showed him what he needed to do; as he sits meditating at the beginning of the episode he hears a line of Ezra’s from the future after Kanan died; and his interaction with Ezra and Sabine had all the hints of Kanan knowing what was coming. But before he went to save Hera, Kanan cut his hair and truly came full circle: it was a return to Caleb Dume. The boy who had seen his master sacrifice herself for him was about to do the same for those he loved.
Everything about Kanan’s storyline in this episode (which was the main theme of the episode) was near-perfect. He handed the reigns to let Ezra make the plan, a passing of the torch in many ways. He kicked butt as he invaded the Imperial offices to rescue Hera, and as he did so the show made perfect use of the Star Wars theme. He reunites with Hera, and in a touching moment reveals that he had also rescued her beloved Kalikori. He fights off Rukh (even without his lightsaber) and then blasts a couple of Deathtroopers. He finally gets his moment with Hera, with the love between them finally stated, and they kiss and embrace. And, in his most heroic moment, Kanan holds back the explosion to save the others. As he does so, in his final moment, the color returns to his eyes and he can see Hera again. It was a perfect ending for Caleb Dume, and it was beautifully orchestrated throughout the episode.
If not the best episode of Star Wars Rebels (it’s hard to beat Twilight of the Apprentice), this certainly was the most significant episode of Rebels. But rather than feeling forced, it felt incredibly well-done and a fitting send off to one of our heroes. Dave Filoni and his team at Lucasfilm animation seem to do some of the very best Star Wars storytelling out there.
My grade: 10.0