Star Wars Rebels
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Star Wars Rebels: Kindred

So much of “Kindred” deals with faith. There’s Hera’s faith that the Empire will finally be destroyed and the war end. There’s Kanan’s faith in her and what they can have together. There’s Ezra’s faith in his own intuition and what it tells him about the loth-wolves. There’s even Thrawn’s faith in his assassin and Pryce’s lack of faith in him.

The episode begins with Kanan taking a small moment of peace to meditate. Hera approaches him to let him know that the rest of their team has gone to retrieve the hyperdrive they stole from the TIE Defender. “It’s funny. No matter what happens we always end up back here. On Lothal,” he tells her. Kanan senses that there’s something beyond the missions, beyond it being Ezra’s homeworld that keeps bringing them back. Something deeper. Like he said in the last episode all paths are converging and those paths lead to Lothal.

Meanwhile, Governor Pryce has found the wreckage of the TIE Defender. She notifies Thrawn that the data recorder and hyperdrive are missing. Thrawn correctly guesses that the rebels plan to get the flight recorder to the resistance to analyze it for weaknesses. Knowing that the hyperdrive is too heavy to transport easily, Pryce notes that it’s probably hidden nearby. Thrawn sends an agent, Rukh, to help retrieve the rebels before they get off of Lothal with the stolen data. Rukh should be well known to readers of the Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. Warwick Davis announced at this year’s Star Wars Celebration that he would be voicing Rukh.

In the midst of all the stormtroopers, Ezra, Zeb and Jai work to locate the hyperdrive. Rukh immediately latches onto Zeb’s scent. Ezra and Jai try to hold him off in their stolen stormtrooper armor. Here’s where faith comes up again. Ezra believes that he can talk his way out of any situation. We’ve seen this season how successful he is at this (which isn’t very). After a brief skirmish, Ezra and Jai take off on a speeder with the stormtroopers and Rukh in hot pursuit. An angry Pryce stays behind to locate Zeb and the hyperdrive. Thinking quickly, Zeb grabs the hyperdrive and hijacks her transport.

A high-speed chase ensues through the mountains as Ezra and Jai try to elude the stormtroopers and Rukh. They barely manage to escape but they don’t notice they were hit with a tracker. Rukh radios the rebel location back to the Pryce.

Back at the rebel location, Sabine works to get the ship ready for the hyperdrive. Kanan is worried that the ship is too old and the blockade too strong for Hera to make it. This led to one of my favorite exchanges in the episode. “When are you going to feel you’ve done enough for the rebellion?” he asks her. Her end goal is the destruction of the Empire. She hasn’t thought of a future beyond that. Kanan has thought about that future and he wants her in it. They almost kiss again before Ryder interrupts.

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Sabine installs the hyperdrive but gives it only a 50/50 chance of working. Much to my shipper heart’s delight, just before Hera boards the ship, she finally kisses Kanan. As she boards the ship, she throws a ‘May the Force Be With You’ that might as well have been ‘I love you’ over her shoulder and takes off. Pryce warns Thrawn that she’s coming. Hera maneuvers around TIE fighters and Star Destroyer fire. She heads straight for a construction sphere and manages to make the jump to hyperspace through it because she’s just that good of a pilot.

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Back on the ground, the rebels try to hold off against the Empire with no transport to get away. Ezra sees the loth-wolves again and convinces the group to follow them. “This is good,” Zeb tell Ryder. “When it gets strange like this, it’s a good thing.”

The group follows the wolves deeper into the mountains.They stop at the entrance of a cave. The white wolf looks at Kanan, waiting for him. Then they lead the group deeper into the dark cave as the Empire bombs the mountains. The cave begins to glow and the scene whites out. It refocuses on the wolves as they walk on top of water that glows at their touch. It reminded me of the Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke. The group awakens near the exit of the cave. According to the map, they’ve been transported from the northern hemisphere to the southern one.

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Ezra says the cave reminds him of the Jedi temple on Lothal. The walls tell a story of Jedi coming down from the sky. Kanan believes it’s a message for them. The wolf calls Kanan’s true name again. He recognizes that the wolf has a deep connection to the force and the energy of the planet. He senses that the Empire is doing something more sinister on Lothal.

The episode ends with Hera landing on Yavin and presenting the data recorder to Mon Mothma.

Star Wars Rebels: Crawler Commandeers

After the excitement of “Kindred,” “Crawler Commandeers” is more of a standard Rebels episode. There are no force sensitive wolves, long-awaited romantic relationship resolutions or amazing jumps to hyperspace. It’s all about a heist. Our group has set up camp at the entrance of the cave. Kanan is convinced that not only did Hera make it back to Yavin, she’s going to convince Rebel Command to launch an attack. Sabine is trying and failing to send a signal off planet to Hera. The Empire is blocking everything. She did find a local signal from a mining crawler that has a long range communications array they can use instead.

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On Yavin, General Dodonna, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma analyze the data Hera brought back. It isn’t good. The ship is superior to everything they have and they can’t find a weakness in it. Hera requests to lead an assault on Lothal to stop the ship from being mass produced by destroying the factory. Though there are many obstacles in the way of a successful attack, Rebel Command at least agrees to discuss it albeit without Hera in the room.

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Back on Lothal, Sabine, Ezra, Zeb, and Kanan attack the mining crawler. Everything seems to go easily for them until they find the Captain who then sets off an alarm. When the mining guild calls in to see what happened, everyone volunteers Ezra to imitate the Captain’s voice to let them know everything is fine. It seems to work.

While Sabine stays and tries to boost the power to get a signal out, Kanan and Zeb go to the back of the ship to check out an internal signal. That’s where they find the mining guild’s slaves including Vizago. They aren’t alone. There’s also a massive foreman who immediately knocks out Kanan. Zeb and the foreman get in a knock-down drag-out fight that Kanan is mostly useless for.

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Back on Yavin, the discussion is still happening. Mon Mothma notifies Hera that they haven’t reached a decision yet partly because they have other problems concerning the Empire to worry about. Hera is having none of it. She pushes past Mon Mothma into the room. She interrupts Bail when he tries to tell her it’s a closed-door meeting to give an inspiring speech on now being the time to strike. It feels reminiscent of Jyn Erso’s speech in Rogue One — except this one worked.

On Lothal, stormtroopers make their way to the crawler. Ezra’s imitation wasn’t very good. Our group can’t abandon the crawler for strategic reasons, so they have to find some way to make everything look normal. The stormtroopers board. Vizago plays the captain. They’re convincing enough that the stormtroopers leave. Their new problem is the old captain has escaped the room he was locked in. He cut off power to the transmitter and plans to sabotage the main reactor core. They send a reluctant Ezra through the ventilation shafts to find the captain who did manage to shut down the reactors. Ezra goes to turn them back on when he is attacked by the captain. After a brief fight, the captain trips over Ezra’s lightsaber and falls into a furnace.

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Back in the control center, Sabine beams the signal to Rebel Command. Hera immediately responds and lets them know that Rebel Command has authorized the attack. They should get ready to coordinate the ground assault while Hera will bring in the ships.

“Kindred” is the stronger of the two episodes of Star Wars Rebels, starting off strong and both answering and bringing up new questions. While not as full of as many moving pieces, “Crawler Commandeer” has set for much-anticipated battle. We get a chance to focus on our team working as a well oiled machine.