It all comes down to the season finale. The story is simple, but how it affects the characters, not to mention how it changes the status quo of this series, is not. This finale is just about perfect. It has the kind of Star Wars action we want to see: space battles, corridor shootouts, and lightsaber duels, all assembled together with great skill. This episode is relentless: perhaps never before has more action been crammed in such a short run-time. Yet this episode is not merely a flashy cinematic for some new video game. There is a lot of great character moments and some huge revelations that make this a powerful story. There is a moment near the end that is similar to – and has almost as much significance as – Luke’s need to (momentarily) go to the Dark Side and let the anger flow so that he could beat his father in the climactic duel in Return of the Jedi. Yes, this episode has such a moment, and it’s not just ripping off Jedi or paying lip service to it; the moment, and the payoff from it, is earned.
This is one of those episodes that cannot be properly discussed without divulging some spoilers. Spoilers were included freely in many of the reviews for this season, but here, the spoilers are the kind that literally change the scope of the series.
So stop here unless, well, you just don’t care.
The crew of the Ghost manage to steal an Imperial Transport. They also bring along the TIE fighter that Ezra and Zeb stole in Fighter flight and had toward Mustafar to retrieve Kanan from the heart of one of many Star Destroyers orbiting that world. The TIE fighter that the rebels use doesn’t quite “blend in” (which leads to one of the funniest moments of the series when the stormtroopers on the Star Destroyer see it) but it was good enough for their plan to stun the entire crew and the ships’ computers with something along the lines of an EM Pulse originating from the TIE fighter. A race through halls ensues as the crew try to find Kanan, while Chopper, still on the stolen transport, makes contact with Fulcrum and then seemingly abandons the mission. When Ezra finds Kanan, they are intercepted by the Inquisitor on one of those catwalks that leads to a bottomless well, because of the unwritten mandate that the best lightsaber battles in Star Wars must take place in such a setting (based on the size of the transport ship in comparison to the Destroyer, it almost seems that there would be no room on board for such a deep chasm, but, alas, it’s still the best place to have a lightsaber duel, right?)
What’s so great about this duel is that it is so well-choreographed, and each and every thrust and parry reflect the emotional states of the characters, and Ezra’s unique lightsaber adds bit of variate to a three-way fight that is similar to the great duel in The Phantom Menace. When Kanan believes that Ezra has perished, he realizes that he no longer has any need to fear for the youth’s safety. Thus, Kanan is subsequently able to put the fear aside and use his full abilities; he is able to defeat the Inquisitor. (how he counters the abilities of the Inquisitor’s unique saber is a highlight of the episode.)
Ezra, of course, did not perish in the fray, and he and Kanan escape in the Inquisitor’s TIE while the other rebels use the stolen TIE. Their escape from the system, however, seems futile: the transport is gone, and their are hundreds of fighters swooping in after them. Each of the action scenes in this episode tops the one before it, and this space battle is fantastic. How are they going to make it out of this?
In what ranks as the most rousing moment of the series so far, a fleet of rather large starships appears from hyperspace, including the Ghost, the stolen transport, a few blockade runners, and some others. The message from “Call to Action” has gone out, and the various rebel cells, normally kept separate for their own protection, have teamed up to answer the call. It turns out that Ezra’s dedication to his Jedi teacher has sparked a sense of hope in the new rebellion.
The finale also reveals who Fulcrum actually is, but that won’t be revealed in this review. It’s all over the internet anyway. Suffice to say, it’s a character in Star Wars that a lot of fans were curious about.
The bad news for the rebels is that this successful raid has forced Tarkin to take matters to heart, and he brings his closest aid to Lothal to help quench the rebellion. That aid happens to be a certain Sith Lord named Darth Vader.
With that, the season ends, in an episode that certainly measures up. The only flaw: I guess Zeb had to be there, but he really didn’t do anything save for cracking wise. Not every story can service every character.
This finale has a mandate: it’s telling even the most cynical “this show is only for kids, and they didn’t have Star Wars cartoons when the original trilogy was being produced” Star Wars fans that they could pump their fists with excitement with this show.
My rating: 5/5