– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars Rebels‘ fourth and final season has begun its march towards the end, starting with “Jedi Night” & “Dume,” two episodes offering one helluva return which pushes the Ghost crew to face an uncertain future, setting up some final threads for the show to explore. Serious spoilers ahead, folks. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Let’s jump right into the big one: Despite it seeming to come from millions of parsecs away, the death of Kanan Jarrus aka Caleb Dume still hit with a solid, deep, emotional wallop. As S4 began, the focus on the Hera/Kanan relationship really picked up, which was most fans’ giveaway for Kanan’s fate, and of course after their kiss only a few episodes ago, “Jedi Night” layered it on even more. In some of the best Kanera material since the novel A New Dawn, we got everything from a drugged Hera and Kanan joking around, Kanan finishing her sentences about “really exciting landings,” and the big whopper, Hera professing, “I love you.” This brought a bigger smile to my face than their kiss back in “Kindred,” even if it was the biggest telegraph yet about the impending death, as those three little words mean so much more than a kiss ever could. The other obvious hints about Kanan’s fate included Kanan having a happy air to him all episode, being the most lighthearted he’s been since early episodes of S1, and later he’s talking to Sabine and Ezra like he’s never going to talk to them again. It’s not subtle, nor has it been all season, but at least it prepares you for the moment. Standing atop a fuel canister at the fuel depot (giant red flag right there), about to be picked up by Sabine and Ezra in a troop transport ship, Governor Pryce stomps over with some AT-ATs, and despite the potential repercussions of losing all that fuel, Pryce orders the gunners to fire on the canister. It’s the first time the episode is really without music and it was an excellent, frightening way to use silence, the blaster bolts coursing through the air, rupturing the canister, and throwing everything into chaos. Kanan confronts the explosion head on, without hesitation, keeping it at bay to let his family escape. Of course Hera tries to go to him, but he holds her back, and as he channels the Force through him to save them all, his eyes return in the final moment, letting him see her one last time…which is where I really let loose with the tears. The explosion gets to be too much and Kanan pushes them away as far as he can, the resulting blast consuming his body completely, erasing the Jedi from existence. To have seen Kanan as a young, inquisitive Padawan who has his whole world torn out from under him in the Kanan comic, to finding purpose and the start of a new family in A New Dawn, and then watching him do his best to be a supportive, caring, and nurturing father to his Space Family despite everything that has happened to him up until this point, has been one amazing journey to watch. You will be missed, Kanan Jarrus, Jedi Night, Space Father. And thank you to Freddie Prinze Jr., for bringing the character to life throughout the show, injecting him with a fatherly-vibe, a hint of his tumultuous past, and a positive outlook on their uncertain future.
UPDATE: They, with they meaning Disney/Lucasfilm, aren’t really being subtle about this happening…there’s already a video of Kanan’s death on the Disney XD YouTube Channel. Watch again if you want to cry:
However, I kept hearing Luke’s words from The Last Jedi in my head, “No one’s ever really gone,” over Kanan’s final moments, and that can be taken in several different ways: Part of it is the repercussions of his death. What will it mean for the Rebellion on Lothal? How will his Space Family deal with the grief of his loss? What does the destruction of the fuel depot mean for the Empire’s efforts on the planet? Another part is we will see him again, potentially in the show in some type of spirit form, like say with the Loth-wolves, or we’ll get to see him in other material, fleshing out more of his time wandering before he meets Hera, or how he and Hera come upon Zeb and Sabine, etc. But for now, Kanan’s life as we’ve gotten it through the show, the novel, and the comic is about as full as one could hope for, presenting a deep, nuanced portrayal of what it means to be a Jedi in a time where there are none.
I really liked how this episode did its best to start off so cheery and hopeful, from the upbeat music, beautiful shots of them soaring off into the sunset of Lothal on those rickety old gliders, the humor between Kanan and Hera, and how it played with our expectations that the team always finds a way to come out top in the end. It keeps this up the entire episode, right until it cuts out the music and Pryce orders the fuel pod destroyed, leading to Kanan’s death, but as I mentioned before, there are hints throughout “Jedi Night,” even beyond the expectation his death was bound to happen sometime in this back half of episodes.
Here are a few other things that happened and related bits:
- Drunk Hera, high off the mind probe’s drugs, was absolutely hilarious. Vanessa Marshall seemed to be having a lot of fun with it, though her going dead serious as she finally says she loves Kanan about broke my heart. Marshall really blew this one out of the park!
- Notice how I’ve not mentioned the whole Hera had a brother thing yet? Yeah, I don’t know if that was really necessary, as it easily could’ve been Thrawn goading her about her mother, who, by the way, STILL DOES NOT HAVE A NAME. Just saying. Plus, between how quickly they brush over the brother thing and the fact the show already did the surprise brother thing with Sabine, why go down that well again when you had a much better avenue to pick?
- Tarkin appears briefly, discussing Project Stardust (aka the Death Star) and how he might consider backing it over Thrawn’s TIE Defender despite it being so costly, though mentioning his mind might be changed if Emperor Palpatine supports it. This leads to Thrawn leaving the planet, off to appear in front of Palpatine to make his case. In a weird way, I almost wonder if Kanan wouldn’t have died had Thrawn been around, as he wouldn’t have allowed something so reckless as destroying the fuel depot to happen. And I’m curious if we’ll see Thrawn’s talk with the Emperor in the upcoming novel, Thrawn: Alliances, a sequel to his novel from last year.
- Rukh manages to get the better of Kanan in a fight, causing the Jedi to lose his lightsaber. However, Pryce is seen holding the blade next episode! I wonder what will happen to the blade next, as we know Luke’s saber, which was Anakin’s before him, managed to resurface decades later…
- Loth-cats, Loth-wolves, and now Loth-bats? What’s next, Loth-sloths and Loth-gerbils?
- The white and black logo, with the ashes, was pretty awesome. Wish it didn’t have to happen because of Kanan’s death!
- Dave Filoni spoke with Amy Ratcliffe over at Nerdist about the death of Kanan and it seems Freddie Prinze Jr. has been all for it for quite some time. (A lot of this is covered in the Rebels Recon, by the way.)
- Of course the Rebels Recon is a must-watch after this, as they focus mainly on Kanan’s death and what went into the decision and how they planned it out, including hitting the actors with the news the day of the recording session. Also, “Jedi Night” has its episode guide up already though its trivia gallery doesn’t offer too much, besides proving Loth-bats aren’t a new thing.
Kanan dies protecting his Space Family, setting in motion a series of events which will lead us through these final episodes.
+ Kanan’s Noble End….
+ Hera and Kanan banter and love declaration hit the heart from a different direction at least
+ Potential repercussions of his death
– ….KANAN IS DEAD, OH FORCE WHY. Seriously, Force, why?
– Hera having a brother revelation
Grief is never an easy subject to cover. Most of the on-screen Star Wars we’ve gotten includes various moments of grief after someone’s or even a planet full of someones’ deaths, but the movies never get to focus on the characters dealing with it for very long. Luke takes a quick glance at his burning loved ones and returns to Obi-Wan so he can go off and train, later he’s forced into action to take out TIEs instead of mope over Obi-Wan, and hell, Leia keeps trucking like a tank without a moment of silence for her home planet. But what “DUME” does is instead focus on the Space Family’s grief and attacks it head on, allowing the characters to wallow in the loss of Kanan and learn how to move on from it afterwards. It’s a beautiful thing, even if it gets a little much with Ezra’s parts, and I’m happy the show took this episode to give the characters a chance to deal with such a giant loss, instead of moving onto the next big action sequence/plot development.
Hera is understandably shattered, the love of her life taken from her moments after she professed her love for him, and his loss brings back up old doubts. Why didn’t she tell him sooner? Why didn’t she listen to him, about not starting a war? Is her death his fault? These questions aren’t unprecedented in such a situation and it was heartbreaking to watch but needed to be tackled in order to help Hera move on, while making sure Kanan’s death actually felt it meant something instead of the show pushing past it quickly. When I said Venessa Marshall did a great job in “Jedi Night,” her best performance of the evening came here in “Dume,” while Hera comes to terms with losing her friend, her confidante, her love. Chopper is at her side throughout it all, holding her hand after they get back, and offering some advice on how to honor him as she wallows in the caves; Leading to Hera adding a remembrance of Kanan to her Kalikori, stolen back from Thrawn by Kanan during his rescue, giving him a place amongst her family. And much like how everyone leaned on Hera to get them through the toughest of times, she remembers how Kanan, despite being against the war, still believed it could lead to something better, and she decides to keep doing the same to honor him.
Ezra feels lost again, despite having a full support structure in the rest of the Space Family, but since they too are left reeling, he doesn’t have that safety net for the time being. Not helping matters much, the Loth-wolves seem to get angry with Ezra, chasing him out into the plains, knocking him out cold after waiting to see what he’d do next. When he awakes, he’s confronted by not only the three Loth-wolves we’ve seen all season, but by a big, giant new one with a VERY familiar marking on it’s face who just so happens to go by the name, “Dume.” Which is where the episode’s title comes from. Which is what the white Loth-wolf has been saying all season. And is Kanan’s real name, Caleb Dume. I’ll tackle those implications in a moment. Ezra’s fear over not being able to protect his friends (an old wound), and how hopeless he believes things are due to his support structure currently broken, is an understandable reaction to Kanan’s death. The Loth-wolves don’t think the same way, however, pushing Ezra to action instead of focusing on his fears, something even Kanan taught him back when they confronted the news of Ezra’s real parents’ death back in S2. Ezra reluctantly takes on the mission the Loth-wolves give him, helping the Jedi Temple of Lothal, pointing out the last time they went for knowledge at a Temple it didn’t go so well (aka “Twilight of the Apprentice” and them ‘losing’ Ahsoka). The wolves seem to imply this will make up for the last Temple incursion, but regardless this is an intriguing request and I’m curious to see what exactly is going on with the Temple…and how helping it will help them all.
My only issue with this whole part of the episode was Loth-wolf-Dume isn’t as cryptic as the rest of the Loth-wolves have been. It felt like he spelled things out a little too much, making the whole moment less mystical and more, “Here is your next quest!” This annoyance is minor, especially when we have the big question to unpack: is Loth-wolf-Dume Kanan? Since he doesn’t know how to be a Force Ghost, instead he gets to embody this Force-related creature? Moments after Kanan’s death, I had to wonder if there would be some way we’d see him again, but I did not expect as a Loth-wolf, to be honest. Is this wolf really Kanan, though? As in does he have all of Kanan’s memories? There are a lot questions and I don’t expect we’ll get concrete answers in the end, but I hope I’m wrong. Loth-wolf or not, as the group goes to the Jedi Temple to fix it, could that be where we see Kanan again? It brought forth the Grand Inquisitor, who knighted Kanan, it surely could give us a few more moments with Kanan.
Sabine and Zeb naturally decide retribution, taking from the Empire after what they took from them, is the best course of action and no one tries to stop them. The rest of the rebels, including Jai Kell, Ryder Azadi, and Mart Mattin feel like the fight is over on Lothal, so they feel even retribution is futile. Hera is trying to process Kanan’s death, so she just shrugs and lets them do what they want. As Sabine and Zeb look on at Lothal, they realize something odd: the factories have all shut down. In all the Space Family’s grief, they didn’t realize the fuel depot’s destruction didn’t just end Kanan’s life, it also managed to complete the mission Hera was sent to Lothal with a group of X-wings to accomplish: shut down the TIE-Defender program…for now. Remember how I mentioned Kanan’s death might have potentially huge repercussions? This is one of those and it is huge, potentially (HOPEFULLY) costing Pryce her life because it ends up completely destroying Thrawn’s argument for his project, which helps push even more resources into completing the Death Star aka pushing on the path towards the original trilogy. Before Sabine and Zeb get to share this great news, they have to contend with Rukh, who sniffs them out, played out in a hilarious scene playing on horror tropes a bit as they spy on him in the distance. The battle of Sabine and Zeb versus Rukh was a short, but fun one, especially once Rukh busts out his own personal cloaking device! Sabine’s way of circumventing the cloaking is classic Sabine, as is how she sends him off, beaten and defeated in an embarrassing manor: both involving paint. Zeb almost goes primal on Rukh, but Sabine helps him stop seeing red, reminding him that’s not how they do things, no matter how much they want to get revenge for Kanan’s death. I’m interested to see where Rukh goes from here, if he’ll be out of the picture now or if he’ll follow them into the Temple, potentially bringing him to an end or helping set him on the path towards fulfilling his Legends role of ending Thrawn. Or none of the above, as while he’s been a cool threat, there’s still not much that’s been explored with him to make him interesting beyond his Legends history and/or unique design and character.
UPDATE 3: Want to see Sabine’s special trick for defeating Rukh while he’s got the cloaking shield on? Thanks to the Disney XD YouTube channel, you can:
Here are a few other things:
- UPDATE: Curious what those three hand symbols on the tablet the wolves give to Ezra might connect to? Geek Girl Diva (aka Shana O’Neil) shared on Twitter a great connection, as the hands line up to the hands seen in the Mortis mural in the most recent S4 trailer! And even better, Kate King connected Kanan’s shoulder brace design, which is on the Dume Wolf’s forehead, as a similar look to the tree on Ahch-To in The Last Jedi! Crazy, cool connections!
- UPDATE 2: Speaking of Shana, her interview over at Syfy Wire with Dave Filoni is another big tease of whether Kanan is Dume Wolf or not, but according to Filoni: “What I will say … is that Dume the Wolf can’t exist until Kanan the Jedi is gone. Those two things don’t exist at the same time.” HUH!
- That Zeb and Ezra hug…ugh, the feels!
- Knowing Thrawn might bring Pryce to her end has me rooting for him for once, as she needs to pay for killing Kanan! Her ambition, as I outlined in my Curious Case on her, has finally caught up.
- Wondering who voiced Loth-wolf-Dume? According to the credits, it was…THE FORCE! I’m not even kidding. Looks like they want to keep it under wraps for now, which is fine by me and this was a funny way of doing it.
- The episode guide for “Dume” is up, and the trivia gallery seems to go out of its way to point out how similar the Dume wolf is to Caleb Dume.
By letting the characters process Kanan’s death, the audience is allowed to as well, giving his passing weight and permanence. Only two weeks left…
+ Allowing characters to tackle grief
+ Hera adding Kanan to the Kalikori
+ Thrawn could bring some comeuppance for Pryce!
– Not so mysterious wolf
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season Four: Ep.1/2: “Heroes of Mandalore” Part One / Part Two | Ep. 3/4: “In the Name of the Rebellion” | Ep. 5: “The Occupation” | Ep. 6: “Flight of the Defender” | Ep. 7/8: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers” | Ep. 9: “Rebel Assault” | Ep. 12/13: “Wolves and a Door” & “A World Between Worlds” | Ep. 14/15 Series Finale “A Fool’s Hope” & “Family Reunion – and Farewell”
Season Three: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” | Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 8: “The Wynkahthu Job” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | Ep. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour”
Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 7: “Blood Sisters” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11: “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice”
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy”