This episode picks up and processes what happened in the Jedi Night episode on many levels. A beautifully written episode that sets up great excitement for the next upcoming episodes. The review is full of spoilers from the start!
The episodes starts with depicting the return of Hera, Ezra and Sabine after the mission to rescue Hera. What follows contains some of the most emotional shots and moments of the series so far. Sabine’s visceral response, Hera’s isolation in grief and Ezra picking up on his relationship with Zeb for consolation. Kanan’s death has cut a deep wound in the confidence and community of our ghost-crew friends. Yet by showing this return the episode splendidly sets up what this episode really is all about: Return.
It turns out that for our 4 friends, or 5 including Chopper, there really is no collective return to normality. Hera needs process not just the loss of a friend, but the loss of the love of her life on whom she perhaps depended more than she thought. She needs to find her way of doing so. Similarly for Ezra the loss of his mentor, teacher and Master leaves him aimless and confused and afraid. A scent of fear that is quickly picked up by the Loth Wolves. Finally Zeb and Sabine seek in their way to confront their grief with action and vengeance. In this episode we follow all of them on their path to processing and finding a path forward.
Sabine & Zeb
Sabine and Zeb initially set out to disrupt the Empire’s festive parade that is organised by Governor Price to masque the fact that she has caused real damage in her obsession with killing Kanan and preventing Hera’s rescue. But as the two scout out what is going on in Lothal City they also see the devastation caused by the fuel-depot blast as well as the fact that it has led to a shut down of the TIE-defender facilities. Thrawn has heard that news as well and before he sends out Rukh to track down and kill the remaining rebels, he makes unequivocally clear to Price that her time is up.
Sabine and Zeb trick Rukh, who has picked up on Zeb’s scent, into a trap. But just before Zeb actually beats Rukh to death Sabine stops him saying ‘this is not how they do this’. Instead they turn Rukh into a work of Sabine’s Art and send him back on a self-propelled speeder into town. No doubt expecting Thrawn to get the message. That and their re-evaluation of Kanan’s sacrifice gives them a renewed spirit to carry on.
Hera mourns not just the loss of what she had, but perhaps even more so the loss of what could have been and even what she might think should have been. Chopper shows his best side here, not only by asking the painful but necessary questions that make Hera express the guilt she feels, yet shouldn’t feel. But also by suggesting a way to start the healing. These are tender moments between Hera and her droid and they make both much more complete characters: changed characters for sure, but for the better.
Hera’s story here is personal and intimate. For the first time in the series we really see her thrown back unto herself, leaving aside all duty and responsibility for once. That is good. It is done in a way which also works extremely well in the short time of one episode too. When she comes out of it her grief isn’t over, but it has a place within her family history. And she is ready to face a future without Kanan by her side physically.
Ezra is truly lost. The Wolves of Lothal show that they are harsh masters in teaching Ezra that lesson. From a state of grief Ezra tumbles into a state of peril and threat. But it expresses perfectly what his most immediate feelings are. Less those of grief and mourning and more those of confusion and fear. The wolves chase him across the planes until he collapses in exhaustion.
In the night Ezra wakes up from his sleep and sees himself surround by the same wolves yet now their apparent leader is present as well. One we did not see so far. And it is that wolf which carries the name ‘Dume’. This is all the more striking because the things Ezra says in this part of this episode, are all things Kanan heard in his meditation at the start of the previous episode. It suggests that there is yet more to Kanan’s death than we know.
The wolves make Ezra realize that there is no point discussing or lamenting: it is now up to him. Ezra speaks out a fascinating insight in this part, he says “it all started to change after that” while he is referring to his visit of the Sith Temple on Korriban in the Season 2 finale. In many ways Kanan’s death in the previous episode resembles or rhymes with Ahsoka’s death in that season finale.
Ezra no longer has Kanan to guide him but he still has allies and … in fact … he has a few furry allies more. The Jedi Temple on Lothal holds a secret the Empire wants: and Ezra has a mission.
The episode wraps up beautifully with our four friends and Chopper returning from their separate journeys to re-unite. Each bring new determination and new hope and Ezra also brings a new aim. I can’t wait to see the next episodes of this series.