I’m back! Jeez, it’s been a while, huh? I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide . . . no wait, that’s the wrong franchise. I’m back because the second half of Star Wars: Rebels‘ final season has also returned with a whopper of a two-parter.
But before we dive into the two episodes below, I must stress a SPOILER WARNING.
No, seriously, turn back now before I ruin the episode for you.
Gone? Good. Let’s break this down.
1. A Sacrifice
So, Kanan’s dead. Now, I’m trying my best not to be flippant about this death because, objectively, it was handled incredibly well over the course of two episodes with some nicely done (if a bit heavyhanded) foreshadowing that lead into a culmination of Kanan and Hera’s will they/won’t they teasing over the past three and a half seasons before pulling the rug out of from under the Ghost crew. Having the entirety of “DUME” be dedicated to the crew’s mourning of Kanan allowed for some breathing room and really let the gravity of the moment play out.
This is for real. He’s really dead. He’s not coming back, at least not in that form. We do get to see what I am imagining is Kanan’s form as Loth-wolf after becoming one with the Force. It’s an interesting notion because it’s been established that retaining a full conscious presence in the Force after death is something Yoda and Obi-Wan trained on after contacting Qui-Gon. Kanan never had that training, but he did have a very powerful, spiritual connection that could have taken the form of reincarnation. I’m excited to see how the next two episodes explore the nature of the Loth-wolves.
2. Hera’s Torture
And I mean this in more ways than one. When I was noting things down for what I’d talk about while watching the episode, I wanted to touch on how real the show made the torture of Hera look. It was pretty dark for a show on Disney XD, one that never quite attained the realness of latter-season Clone Wars. But the way it presented Pryce’s almost gleeful use of electro-shock and mind probe droids, caring more about the pain she was inflicting on Hera than the answers she could get from her, was pretty horrific. It was way darker than I was expecting this show to go, but I guess it did have to set up the stakes for Hera’s rescue.
Like I said, I was going to just talk about that . . . then Kanan died right after Hera finally professed her love for him. And she spent the entirety of “DUME” in a grief-stricken stupor. It was Hera unlike we’d ever seen her. She’s usually so together, the guiding force of the crew and the Rebels at large, but here was lost without the balancing force of Kanan. Like a compass that had lost true north.
One thing I hope is that this isn’t Hera for the rest of the season. I know the show will give her the time to work through, but I hope we get to see her use her grief to take the fight back to the Empire.
3. Wolves Of Lothal
The more we see of these Loth-wolves, the wilder the mythology surrounding them gets. Each time we’ve seen them, the boundaries of what it is physically real and what is a manifestation of the Force (as if those things are even mutually exclusive) becomes blurrier and blurrier to the point where I feel like Lothal might as well be revealed as a Force-sensitive planet like Tython of Legends continuity.
What fascinated me here is how they seem to push Ezra. They’re not there to comfort him or guide him, but to push him past his pain and fear and loneliness in the wake of Kanan’s death. These two episodes are about pain and the grief that is left afterwards. The wolves seem to exist as the catalyst for Ezra to push past his grief and not let it consume him. At least, that’s how I’m reading it.
4. Moments Of Grief
Y’all noticed that I’m talking about pain and grief a lot? Yeah. Dave Filoni owes me $10 for putting me through this.Continued below
While Hera and Ezra get their own moments to express their mourning, the third part of “DUME” focuses on how Zeb and Sabine unite to express their grief by striking back at the Empire. Attempting to finish what was started way back in “Rebel Assault,” they work through their pain and anger with a fight with Rukh that was one of the better, more original fights of the show so far and really showcased what makes Rukh so unique and deadly.
It’s interesting to see how the crew handles their grief differently and how, for the most part, it divides them. Hera and Chopper have their moments, Ezra has his and Zeb and Sabine have theirs. These are moments where the crew is at their weakest and most divided, but come together when they realise that Kanan’s sacrifice won them the victory they set out for in the first place.
5. Truth Of The Jedi Temple
There’s something about Lothal we have yet to learn, I feel it. Specifically, something about Lothal’s Jedi Temple and the planet’s connection to the Force. There’s something going on here that dates back to when Kanan and Ezra first discovered the Temple back in Season One and I just can’t quite put my finger on what. Both time that Temple was explored, Yoda connected with them, even with Ahsoka. There’s a power rife in that Temple that, apparently, is hiding a deeper truth and I am beside myself waiting to find out what it is.