It’s finally time. We’ve waited over a year for this, the Rebellion has finally mounted their attack to liberate Lothal in the mid-season finale for Star Wars Rebels. Everything from this season has been building to this point. Our whole team is here, but the spotlight is focused on Hera and Kanan.
X-wings make everything better. They are my favorite ship in Star Wars. I nearly lost it seeing them in the season 4 trailer for Rebels earlier this year. The shot of Phoenix Squadron coming out of hyperspace with a mixture of X-wings and Y-wings was simply incredible. I’ve waited for the entire run of the series to see this moment, and the space battle over Lothal did not disappoint. Seeing Hera pilot an X-wing in a battle against a TIE Defender is something I could never have imagined I’d actually get to see outside of a video game or comic book.
The Imperial fleet over Lothal is massive and Phoenix Squadron already knows they cannot beat Thrawn and the Empire in a frontal assault. The dogfights are great, but what really stood out to me is how much the fighter battles felt like A New Hope, especially the non-Special Edition version. The X-wings seemed to move a little slower than we are used to from Rogue One or The Force Awakens. You could go from this episode into A New Hope and have it feel like the same ships.
Thrawn continues to be the brilliant mastermind that we expect him to be, and once again he is undone by the overconfidence of his subordinates. Thrawn’s plans are like clockwork, if all the pieces move appropriately it is perfect, but it falls apart when someone goes off on their own. Here we see that he has no time or pity for those who don’t follow his instructions. He is cold even to the loss of a major Imperial pilot. I was glad to see Rukh back, I was really afraid he was going to be a one and done villain, but it looks like he is sticking around for a while.
The Loth-Wolves are back as well. There is no magic transportation this time, but they are just as enigmatic. They are most definitely showing a connection to Kanan, again only saying the one word “Dume” which he now seems to understand. They convince him to turn away from going after Hera. It’s unclear if they are trying to save him from throwing his life away in a futile rescue attempt or if they want him to be separated from Hera. Personally, I think they may have some sinister motivations here, that they may represent some corruption of the force on Lothal.
This episode is definitely a dark one for our heroes. The assault on Lothal essentially fails, the Rebel ships get shot down before they can make any significant impact, Hera is captured, and the team only barely gets away. It is one heck of a cliffhanger, giving us some answers but not quite everything. There is still much more on Lothal that has yet to reveal itself to us, and that will make the wait for the final half of the season that much worse.