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Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Ep. 10: ‘Jedi Night’

Spoilers ahead for this episode!!

We last left Star Wars Rebels with Hera captured after an ill-advised assault upon Imperial Forces on Lothal. In this episode, Kanan gives his life for the woman he loves.

When they released the synopsis of the eleventh episode of this season, saying that the ghost team was reeling from a loss of some kind, I assumed Kanan would die. Frankly, most people assumed he would die. The only deal breaker I’d have with the show is if they murder Sabine Wren. I don’t think it would be worth continuing without her…sorry Hera, I love you too. (But Star Wars: Forces of Destiny revealed a while ago that Hera Syndulla survives the Battle of Endor, so unless the last episode does an unnecessary and cruel flash forward, I’m reasonably sure about Hera’s survival.)

One last meditation.

They decide to fly in on gliders rather than a shuttle. Ezra uses deus ex Force powers to determine the exact location (literally within meteres) of Hera’s imprisonment. She’s in Governor Pryce’s office.

Kanan makes a point of putting Ezra in charge of the rescue operation, much to Ezra’s surprise. Kanan claims he’s too emotionally invested to be objective about it. Because he loves Hera, he’s afraid he’ll miss something and that mistake will be their end.

He then goes and cuts his hair in the only way badass cartoon/anime characters know how.

Mulan, Zuko, Iroh, and Korra approve this message.

Meanwhile, Hera is being tortured by Governor Pryce, who admits it’s just for the fun of it. The interrogation hasn’t actually started yet. Pryce needs to die.

Jedi have never been more Samurai than in this scene.

Grand Admiral Thrawn walks in and has with him Hera’s Kalikori. A Kalikori is an object of extreme value to Hera’s people. It represents the history of her family. Thrawn wants to understand it. He’s been making guesses based on what he knows of her past, and concludes that one of the pieces on it represents a younger brother who died young. Hera basically tells him to go to hell. This is an interesting tidbit of knowledge. I hope it comes up later.

Thrawn never ceases to creep me the hell out.

It’s a great scene. If we needed a reminder of why Thrawn is the best Imperial since (or perhaps exceeding) Darth Vader, this scene reminds us.

Also, the death of Hera’s brother offers insight into her issues with the path her father took after the Clone Wars.

Thrawn walks away, leaving Pryce to continue hurting everyone’s space mom.

Some World-Building

In his office aboard his star destroyer, Thrawn is contacted by Governor Tarkin. He says that funding for Thrawns TIE Defender proect is in jepordy, citing Director Krennic’s project. Tarkin says that The Emperor is rapidly becoming more interested in ‘Stardust’ than the TIE Defender, and if Thrawn wants to secure his project’s future, he’ll need to appeal to the Emperor in person.

Thrawn immediately jumps to Coruscant. I love how dismissive Tarkin is of Stardust, A.K.A. the Death Star. It really adds a layer of banal evil to his moment in Rogue One when he steals the credit right to Krennic’s face.

Meanwhile, the glider extraction plan is going well. Sabine, Ezra, and Kanan land a few levels above where Hera is being detained. Before they part ways, Kanan takes a moment to perch on the edge of the landing platform and address his kids. (I’m calling it what it is.)

“May the Force be with you” and then he drops out of sight to secure (basically his wife) Hera while the kids secure an exit vehicle.

The interrogation takes a turn when Pryce decides to use the mind probe droid. The one that Princess Leia once upon a time was able to fight off (thanks to her unknowing connection to the Force). It’s basically an injection of truth serum with a side of intoxication.

Normally, this would be a problem, but Pryce is required to leave the room since Thrawn’s assassin Rukh smells something afoot. Before she leaves, she asks Hera where the rebels are, and we see from Hera’s perspective, Kanan climbing around outside the window. Her responds, “Kanan’s here.” Pryce turns and sees nothing, and assumes she pushed Hera a bit too far, assuming the drugs are making her hallucinate.

She leaves two storm troopers in the room with Hera, who doesn’t hesitate to get honest with them, “I’m gonna be honest with you. You two are in terrible trouble.”

Kanan’s lightsaber cuts through the floor and around the first trooper, dropping him out of the room (which is a total overhang over a death fall) and to his demise. The second storm trooper is unceremoniously Force-thrown through the window to his death.

One Last Escape Together

Kanan realises immediately that Hera’s been drugged. Hera is an adorable drunk, and Vanessa Marshall plays her beautifully in this episode. Really a stand out performance. She has something she needs to tell Kanan, but she keeps on getting distracted. Because of the drug, she’s like a cat with a laser pointer. And while we all want her to say it, it’s hilarious how not Hera she’s being right now. It just adds to the tragedy of the episode.

The rest of the episode is simple, plot-wise. They climb to the gliders, are shot down near the fuel depot and are forced to climb the gargantuan fuel pod to be extracted by Sabine and Ezra who have commandeered a shuttle and dispatched their unwanted company.

I wanted so much more…

Just as they are about to escape, Hera beats the drug, and confesses to Kanan that she’s in love with him. They kiss. Pryce shoots the fuel pod. And like his master before him, Kanan dies to ensure the survival of the only family he knows.

Pushing them away from the inferno with his last breath.

Kanan’s force powers were on point this episode. His ability to hold back such a ferocious combustion reaction was remarkable to watch. Hera’s realization in that moment that he wasn’t coming with them culminated in a heartbreaking shriek of fear and longing, “KANAN!”

I’m gonna be a little haunted by that. Star Wars doesn’t skimp when it comes to death scenes, (usually…I’m looking at you Admiral Ackbar) and this is one for the hall of fame.

I got choked up. I saw his death coming months away. Hell, the introduction of a Jedi when this show started already came with an expiration date, since there were no Jedi other than Yoda and Kenobi (who helped the alliance’s main plot line) at the start of the first film in 1977.

Hera’s scenes with him this episode was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a while, and I’m emotionally compromised we’ll never see them together again.

I can’t remember a scene that’s made me feel so sad from a simple reaction shot like this.

I’m also mad and resentful. Kanan’s death will probably be used for more than anything else to bolster Ezra’s story line (judging by how the show has typically revolved around it’s most boring and overdone walking hero trope).

And that’s a fucking waste. It’s a complete misallocation of emotional content, and character opportunities.

Who wants mysterious wolves and Ezra being an angsty teen coming of age when we could have (in my opinion…don’t hate me please) probably the most potentially powerful Star Wars romance?

This image is burned in my brain.

While I understand much of the fallout of Kanan’s death will be totally focused on how discount Kylo Ren/Anakin Skywalker deals with it, I think part of the horror of Kanan’s death will be Hera’s loss.

She only just told him that she loved him. I mean, it was clear from episode 1, but still. If only they had more time.

In Conclusion

This was a great episode all things considered. It was very much focused on Kanan and Hera, as it should have been. My only problems with the build up to his death, are all the death flags. I counted no less than four, this episode. It would’ve been even more of a gut punch if it came from nowhere. The music was perfect and foreboding the whole time, and it never ceased sounding angelic during the death scene.

The last thing he sees is Hera’s eyes.

Kanan will be missed. By none more than Hera.

I only hope they go forward and put the emotional brunt of the fallout on Hera’s story line, where it should  be.

 

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Nathan Levine

Nathan is from Culver City, California. Follow him on twitter @BellicoseEmpath.

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