Star Wars Rebels returned this week for the second-to-last time, and as we near the end of the series we saw what’s left of the Ghost crew embracing on a mission to the Lothal Jedi Temple, which contains mysteries within.
The first of the two episodes on Monday night dealt with the crew trying to infiltrate the temple, while the second episode explored the secrets of the temple. We’ll take a look at the first episode here, “Wolves and a Door,” but you can find my review of the second episode, “A World Between Worlds,” here.
There are obviously ***full spoilers ahead,*** so don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the episodes yet.
Ezra and the rest of the Ghost Crew resolve that they must act to keep the Empire from unlocking whatever secrets lie within the Lothal Jedi temple, as the wolves had told Ezra in last week’s episode. So they mount the wolves and begin to head toward the temple on the other side of the planet, and the wolves take them through the mysterious force passageway – one in which we hear many voices, including Kanan, Hera, and Ahsoka. When the crew comes to, they’re on the other side of the planet and near the temple. They approach secretly and discover that there’s a significant Imperial presence there excavating, apparently trying to figure out how to gain access to the temple. The team manages to steal the armor from two scout troopers (by playing a recording of Thrawn’s message to them in Zero Hour), and Ezra and Sabine go undercover into the base.
While there, they encounter Minister Hyden (voiced by Malcolm McDowell), who is overseeing the efforts. He is summoned inside for a communication from Coruscant, and Chopper patches the communication through to the Ghost crew – and they discover that the Minister is communicating directly with Emperor Palpatine, who is interested in the secrets of the temple. With the Emperor involved Hera believes the mission to be too dangerous and calls Ezra and Sabine back, but they protest by saying they have to stop the Empire from discovering the secrets. Hera feels the presence of Kanan and reluctantly gives Ezra and Sabine the go-ahead.
The two make their way toward a lighted mural of the Mortis gods, and Sabine realizes the similarities with the art piece the wolves had given Ezra, deducing that the hands are the key. She keeps watch while Ezra uses the force to turn the hand of the Daughter. Meanwhile, Sabine is escorted by other troopers back to command for checking, and the Minister discovers that she’s an impostor – and that there’s another one somewhere in the camp. Ezra, however, had activated the mural, which moves – including the loth-wolves, which walk away and lead Ezra to another part in the wall, making a circle to denote the entrance to the temple. As the Minister and the Imperials spot him, Sabine tells him to go and Ezra dives into the portal, which closes before the Empire can follow.
The first thing to note about this episode is its feel: as others have pointed out, it felt very Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque, from the setting to even the music. The Empire is searching for some mysterious artifact or knowledge, the heroes infiltrate the camp, and the heroine is taken captive and interrogated by the villain. It’s a really cool feel and was well-done.
The Minister, also, is tremendously done. He appears in the second episode as well, but we’ll discuss him in particular here. It’s really cool to see an aspect of the Empire that we really haven’t before: Palpatine’s interest in the force mythology and mystery and his spiritual advisors and ministers involved. That’s presumably who Minister Hyden is, and he’s a very cool and compelling villain who, as we see in the second episode, is interested in art and in working with Sabine to figure out the secrets.
And then, of course, there’s the Mortis mythology that comes back into play here. The Mortis gods were introduced in the Clone Wars but were killed in that arc, but beyond that we do not know much about their history other than that they are force-wielders. It is very interesting that Palpatine knows of the Mortis gods, and that there was information about them in the Jedi Temple archives – was that information from Anakin, Obi-Wan, and/or Ahsoka, or did the Jedi know about them before those events? Either way, it’s interesting that the mural on the temple depicts the three of them, and they’re actually the key to opening (and closing) the portal. It was also cool to see Ezra and Sabine working together undercover, and it was nice to see them both using their strengths: Sabine was the one who figured out the puzzle through her knowledge of artwork, but it was Ezra using the force to actually unlock it.
This episode was really cool and fun by itself, but it’s made even better by the episode that follows it. This is the perfect set-up for the thrilling events that take place in “A World Between Worlds,” and it’s a cool episode by itself too.
My grade: 9.3