Star Wars Rebels: ‘Dume’, ‘Wolves at the Door’, and ‘A World Between Worlds’
Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) is alive!! Since she’s my favorite Star Wars character, I was in some distress following the inconclusive finale of Star Wars Rebels‘ second season. If they choose to murder her in the finale next week, I will shit all over this show for such cowardice.
But before I gush about Ahsoka, I’ll talk about other things first. As expected, the death of Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.) has left a hole in the team. The episode ‘Dume’ which started immediately after Kanan’s death was a filler more than anything. With the series coming to a close next week, the filler-esque nature of ‘Dume’ and ‘Wolves at the Door’ bothered me. I’ll speak briefly about the two filler episodes before launching on ‘The World Between Worlds’, which changes the Star Wars mythos drastically.
The aftermath of Kanan’s sacrifice is as depressing as hell. Hera (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) spends the entire episode grieving. Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray) spends the episode being jerked around by Force Wolves. One of which calls itself ‘Dume’. This isn’t Kanan though. Like, it’s not. Since we see Kanan reach out to Hera as a force ghost, I’m going with what Ahsoka posits the wolves are, a representation of Kanan’s will. Eventually, the wolf called Dume gives Ezra a tablet from the Lothal Jedi Temple.
One of the heartfelt moments of the episode is when Ezra gets off the shuttle. Sabine (voiced by Tiya Sircar) pitches her helmet to the side while she fights the sobs rising in her chest. She storms past Zeb (voiced by Steve Blum) who wonders allowed ‘what happened’ with increasing anxiety. Ezra walks up to him and tells him that Kanan is ‘gone.’ Zeb asks for clarification, and Ezra confirms that Kanan is dead. Ezra and Zeb have always had a somewhat antagonistic relationship. It’s gotten better over the seasons but it’s always been there. But the way that Zeb pulls a crying Ezra into a strong embrace was deeply emotional.
While Ezra confers with the wolves, and Hera grieves in Kanan’s meditation area, Zeb and Sabine decide to strike back. But it’s not long before they realize that in killing Kanan, Governor Pryce has destroyed their entire fuel depot; the production of the TIE defender is over, for the moment at least.
A Pyrrhic victory, but a major win for the Rebellion all the same.
The duo decide to set off an IED and kill a couple stormtroopers instead.
Cheeky Political Nuance…I See You.
However, Thrawn (voiced by Lars Mikkelsen) has sent his pawn Rukh to kill the rebels. He was anticipating an act of retaliation from them, specifically from Ezra. For the first time, he seems truly angry as he tells Pryce that he will deal with her upon his return from Coruscant. I’d like to point out that Thrawn has canonically faced much adversity during his ambitious rise in the Empire. He’s not human. I like that in situations like this, he turns to another non-human, Rukh to get things done when the humans (Pryce) screw everything up.
“Immigrants, we get the job done!” comes to mind from Hamilton.
Rukh was not amused by the IED. He tracks Sabine and Zeb down, they fight. Sabine uses paint to void his active camouflage/invisibility cloaking. Before Zeb can literally beat him to death, Sabine intervenes. She says ‘that’s not who we are’.
Merits of Mercy
Really Sabine? You blow up people for fun and call it art. Morally, I suppose she draws the line at murdering an unarmed assailant in this one situation. But seriously, Sabine has an insanely high personal kill count on this show. Killing Rukh would’ve been the smart thing. She turns him into a canvas instead, and sends him unconscious on a speeder bike back to his allies in the Empire. Everybody reconvenes, and Ezra shows them the Tablet, saying they need to go to the Jedi Temple on Lothal.
‘Wolves at the Door’
The Force Wolves, now visible to the non-Force adept, use their Deus Ex Machina powers to transport the Ghost team across the planet in lieu of a spacecraft. The Temple on Lothal is occupied by the Thule Society…okay, it’s not exactly that, but this episode was a little bit Wolfenstein, or Indiana Jones. The Death Troopers were also there to make the parallel even more apparent.
Sabine quickly and correctly observes that this isn’t a military operation.
It’s an archaeological mission. I was half-hoping Doctor Aphra would make an easter egg type appearance, as the resident Star Wars Empire-affiliated (at least before the events of Doctor Aphra #1) archeologist, but I was wrong. Missed opportunity…she’d totally have hit on Sabine.
The team is very surprised when they overhear an Imperial transmission between the Minister (voiced by Malcom McDowell) in charge of the excavation and The Emperor (voiced/played once again by Ian McDiarmid). This is top level stuff, and the expression of total horror/shock on their faces totally sells it.
“Speak friend and Enter”-
The rest of the episode is spent trying to figure out how to open the door. After figuring out the key to solving the door, the tablet Ezra received in the previous episode, Sabine is captured, giving Ezra the time he needs to open the door with the Force. I loved that it was the artist who figured it out. Logic sometimes applies here.
The Mortis Gods (dubbed so by the Emperor) feature prominently in this episode, even if they are only present in art form. The Mortis Arc from Star Wars: The Clone Wars show had a lot of input from George Lucas, for better or worse.
The episode ends with Ezra going through the door and Sabine in the hands of the Empire (for now).
‘A World Between Worlds’
Voices in the Dark
We are immediately assailed by voices from the past, present, and future. Over the course of the episode, Qui Gon Jin, Jyn Erso, Rey, Kylo Ren, Anakin Skywalker, a young General Leia, Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan (Alec Guiness as well), and Yoda were the voices I was able to distinguish after a few viewings. I wish I also heard the Cassandra of the Star Wars universe, and my second favorite character of the franchise: Barriss Offee.
Sabine is rarely given the chance to shine as an artist, which is what she was before the Empire got involved in her life. This pair of episodes lets us see that, since she is able to talk to a self-labeled critic, the Emperor’s Minister. He notes that Thrawn has spoken highly of Sabine’s skill as an artist.
Ezra wanders around ‘beyond the veil’ and comes to a stop before the portal upon which sits a Convor (the one that is always around Ahsoka. The voice that echoes when Ezra stops before the portal is Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matthew Lanter) saying “You never would’ve made it as Obi-Wan’s padawan. But you might just make it as mine.” I’m so here for the weaponized nostalgia.
Ezra asks the convor why she was brought here to this portal. It lights up and through it, Ezra watches the conclusion of the Duel on Malachor between Darth Vader and his apprentice Ahsoka Tano.
We see from Ahsoka’s point of view, as she pushes Ezra away to safety and engages Vader again. They’re evenly matched. The structure that housed the Sith Holocron starts to destroy everything. Ahsoka plunges her lightsabers into the ground, weakening it around Vader’s feet. He’s about to strike at Ahsoka when Ezra reaches out and physically pulls Ahsoka from the timeline into the place between worlds. Ironically, because of the damage Ahsoka did to the floor, Vader falls to safety as the Temple explodes.
Part of me was annoyed that Ezra of all people saved Ahsoka, but then I looked at it from the big picture perspective. Just like in the Mortis Arc, the universe has intervened on Ahsoka’s behalf. The canon of Star Wars changed in order to bring about a scenario that saves Ahsoka’s life. I’m okay with that. But if she dies…I’m gonna have a hard time enjoying anything Star Wars related for a while. If subverting the mythos of the whole franchise is what it takes for Ahsoka to live, I’m totally cool with that.
Sabine calls the three figures in the paintings ‘archetypes’, and they are. Both as pieces of art recurring through the annals of Jedi lore, but more importantly as signifiers of Force Alignment. Since Star Wars deals so heavily in archetypes, I thought it was a decent bit of meta-commentary there by Dave Filoni. Also, I love how the Minister calls her ‘Lady Wren’. She is of noble birth actually. It was a direct callback to Darth Maul calling Ahsoka ‘Lady Tano’ on Malachor, to which this episode is a direct sequel.
Ahsoka is confused as hell, for good reason. But Morai, the convor, hops down onto Ahsoka in affection. Ezra asks what the connection between her and the owl creature is, and Ahsoka responds that Morai saved her life. So, Morai is the embodiment of the Light Side of the force who follows Ahsoka around.
Ahsoka is now the ‘Light’ archetype, as signified by the allegiance of the Daughter’s spirit residing in the owl. The Daughter did bring Ahsoka back to life by literally having her life force put into Ahsoka, bringing the then teenager back from the dead. Resurrection, check. (Arguably two resurrections with this episode, both orchestrated by the Daughter/the Daughter’s will.) Prophet-like animal sidekick, check. Wise beyond her years, representative of the order of knights she used to be a part of? Check. Ahsoka is the type of figure people start religions around. I mean, I’d worship her…
Ahsoka’s parallel to this literal Force Goddess could not have been made more explicit.
Kanan’s Final Lesson, As Taught by Ahsoka Tano
Ezra realizes that with the intervention in time-space, he can possibly bring Kanan back as well. He finds a portal where Kanan dies, but Ahsoka points out to him the very cruel and logical reason why Ezra can’t save his master. Kanan died saving Sabine, Ezra, and (probably, mostly,) Hera Syndulla. If he took Kanan out of that moment, the entire Ghost crew (except Zeb and Chopper) would be dead.
Ahsoka also acknowledges that she cannot save her master either, so in that, they aren’t so different. Ezra sometimes ‘[wishes] [his] life was different’ after watching Kanan die again. After he hears Hera’s keening “Kanan!” again. It’s probably the only moment of the whole show where I actually had a moment where I liked Ezra. Good job, show.
“Treason then…”-Chancellor Palpatine
As it turns out, the Emperor is trying to get into the WBW. He uses a cauldron and literal magic to send blue flames after the two non-Jedi Force users. The Emperor has fire magic now… suck on that haters. Okay, we’ve actually seen this kind of Sith magic being performed, but that was in a vision Yoda had during the final episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The fire chases Ahsoka and Ezra around after Ahsoka uses the force much like Kanan did to beat the fire back.
There’s a brief moment where I was worried Ahsoka would die…again….but they split up instead. Ezra goes back to his time and place on Lothal, and Ahsoka breaks off and heads back to Malachor with her trusty animal sidekick Morai. Ahsoka gets up, and walks towards the triangle temple with the will of the Daughter/Morai in tow. So, she’s stranded on Malachor with Morai…if Maul can tough it out for years, so can she. As a bonus, Morai/Daughter belongs to the species called Convor. Convor comes from Convery: Dave Filoni’s wife’s surname. That such a personally named creature with such positive connotation is the herald and sigil of sorts for Ahsoka Tano is a good omen.
Ezra gets back to the others, and Hera and Zeb have been executing a plan to escape. Sabine’s conversation with the Minister reveals that the Daughter opens the door, and the Son closes it. So Zeb puts Ezra on his shoulders so he can sync with the painting, causing the Temple to basically go into a nuclear mode.
Ezra passes out, and they hijack a mobile drill to escape. The temple becomes a blinding light. When Ezra wakes up, he walks outside to where he and Kanan once stood, looking at the temple. Hera stands there now instead of Kanan. The temple is gone. No trace of its existence remains. All the Imperial forces there are dead. R.I.P. Minister Art Critic.
Hera remarks that ‘Kanan is really gone isn’t he?’ Ezra nods. Hera walks back to the others and the episode ends.
The series finale is next week. While I’m sad it’s over, at least this time Dave Filoni gets to end the show on his own terms. I only want two things…Sabine and Ahsoka to survive this show. That’s it. I trust if that happens, I’ll have an awesome time. If they die…I’m gonna cry and cry and cry.