Episodes Remaining: 4
****** Heavy Spoilers Below ********
Here’s a recurring problem in the Disney-revamped Star Wars: none of the new material has given its characters or its audiences a chance to mourn. Being about war, death is a constant in this series. And yet, we’ve taken some big losses in the past few years, and the story keeps jumping to the next thing. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Admiral Ackbar (who died as a footnote), Amilyn Holdo, Saw Gererra, Ahsoka Tano, and the entire cast of Rogue One. All died, and audiences were just kind of left in shock and the story chugged along.
Star Wars Rebels took the not-exactly-bold step of killing off Kanan Jarrus in this week’s episodes. The story and the nature of the Star Wars universe kind of demanded this happen, particularly since Hera and Kanan finally verbalized their love for each other just before it happened. Kanan shaving off most of his hair was another big clue, perhaps accidentally nodding to the hair-removal rituals of, uh, suicide bombers. (I hope that wasn’t the producers’ intention, but it was my first reaction when Kanan cut his hair.)
There’s not much point in harping on this: Kanan was destined to die the moment he was created as a pre-OT Jedi. (Also, Kanan was one day away from retirement, and Hera finished paying off their new boat.) So, that happened, though at least he went out in a colossal moment of hubris for Governor Pryce, who took out the entire Imperial fuel depot in the process of getting him.
Anyway, “Dume,” the better part of this episode pair, gives the characters an opportunity to grieve without inserting a force-ghost Kanan who says, nevermind, I’m still here even though I’m not. Hera collapses into grief over blaming herself for her own capture, which led to Kanan’s rescue efforts and demise. Sabine and Zeb decide to engage in a revenge mission against the noghri Rukh, leading to the question of whether the Rebellion should engage in eye-for-an-eye tactics. And Ezra runs off into the plains in a panic, leading to…an encounter with those still-undefined lothwolves.
I am going to say that the lothwolf encounter was probably the worst part of the episode, if only because they’ve been so annoyingly nebulous. Sure, the show can’t reveal everything, but with four episodes left, we really need to rapidly move towards closure. And right now, the wolves are a less interesting version of Johnny Cash’s drug-trip coyote from The Simpsons. Are they the ghosts of dead Jedi, or…what? And if we have to encounter giant talking wolves, could they talk with a little more clarity than a few words of broken English? Sigh.
But at least this is all going somewhere. Rebels is making noticeable steps towards wrapping up not just its main cast, but also its ancillary characters–Rukh is now captured, the TIE Defender program appears to be finished, and Pryce might very well be headed towards a Vader-style execution for her colossal charlie-foxtrot. Maybe the final episodes will bring some closure on Thrawn, Ahsoka (we still don’t know if she’s dead, or…what). the Bendu, and Lothal itself.
And of course, Rebels has to wrap up the heart of the show himself, Ezra. We’re still left in the difficult spot of him being a padawan who’s more trained than Luke, but absent in the Original Trilogy era. Let’s see where this ends up, because it needs to be somewhere good.
Rating: Three lothwolves out of five.