TWG contributor Elisa and I return to share our thoughts and impressions about the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Path of the Jedi”. Throughout the review, we mention significant episodes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. For more information about those episodes, visit the StarWars.com episode guides, starting with the Young Jedi arc (“The Gathering“, “A Test of Strength“, “Bound for Rescue“, and “A Necessary Bond“) followed by the Yoda arc (“The Lost One“, “Voices“, “Destiny“, and “Sacrifice“).
General Thoughts About the Plot
EA: The long awaited continuation of Star Wars Rebels picks up where “Gathering Forces” left off. “Path of the Jedi” may not answer all the questions we had going into it, but it makes up for what it lacks with new questions to speculate on while also giving us just enough to feel as if we learned something. Along with Ezra being tested against his own fears inside of a Jedi Temple, we get to “see” Yoda again, and we’re given a cryptic peek into Kanan’s past. And even though I have never had a problem with it, people who haven’t liked Ezra’s slingshot can surely rejoice! This episode was fun, had a gripping plot, great pacing, and successfully hit me right in the feels.
JM: Following the events in “Gathering Forces”, Kanan and Ezra found that they both had a delicate situation in their hands, one in which Kanan once again questioned his own abilities as a master. In “Path of the Jedi”, Ezra underwent a challenging test, where he had to prove whether he was capable of being a Jedi or not. Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, will appreciate the continuity of events and practices originally established in both the Young Jedi and Yoda arcs, the common thread in them being Yoda. The episode beautifully and successfully portrayed a simultaneous growth between Ezra and Kanan, and more specifically, Ezra coming to terms with his fears and taking his Jedi training to the next level. Lastly, it was particularly exciting to see Yoda play a part in Ezra’s test, since he was also present during the Young Jedi arc and naturally oversaw the training of the next generation of Jedi.
General Thoughts About the Characters
EA: Kanan is still impatient, and it’s something I don’t mind seeing. He’s not perfect, and as he says later on in the episode when speaking to Yoda, it’s not Ezra he’s worried about; it’s himself and his ability to teach what Ezra needs because of who he is. The conversation raised many more questions about what has happened in Kanan’s past. For those who have read the Star Wars Rebels prequel novel, A New Dawn, we’re given a view as to how Kanan was before he met Hera, yet we still don’t know a lot about him. We’re given a wireframe, and as the series progresses, we’re able to fill in a bit more about him. Still, there are massive gaps for fans to ponder on.
I wondered in the episode “Gathering Forces” if Kanan himself had slipped to the dark side once. Or possibly even worse, depending on how one takes his dialogue when he goes to help Ezra up off the ground after he’d sent the massive Fyrnock after the Inquisitor. I personally found the “I know” Kanan said in response to Ezra’s comment about feeling cold to be very telling at that time, and with his latest conversation with Yoda, my mind immediately went back to that moment.
For all the questions Yoda does ask, I am glad Kanan was able to take something good away from his conversation with Yoda. It seems that even from afar the tiny Master always knows what to say.
JM: Kanan comes across as the most realistic character compared to the others. It’s human nature to question one’s decisions and abilities and to pretend that things are okay when they are, in fact, not. In “Rise of the Old Masters”, we saw him question his ability to teach, and by the end of the episode, he came to terms with himself and promised Ezra that he would do rather than try. After Ezra had his “dangerous Force connection”, however, he fell back into the previous mindset that he’s not capable–that he’s inadequate. The journey to the temple is something that not only became Ezra’s learning experience, but a “continuing education” course for Kanan as well. The doubt he had in himself resonated with me and that vulnerability definitely sets him apart from the others more so than Ezra.
Upon speaking to Yoda, the animators beautifully captured his expression of genuine shock. Through the conversation, he regained his confidence and made another promise to do right by Ezra, since his past as a wayward Jedi continued to be a burden on his shoulders. The question remains: how far did Kanan stray? Did he also have a brush with a dangerous Force connection? Whatever had happened in his past, he learned to let go of that and he summarized it perfectly to Ezra when he said that everything in the temple (including the personal doubts he left behind) belonged in the past.
Finally, when Ezra began the construction of his lightsaber, Kanan mentioned that he had collected a few pieces over the years. It’s curious exactly how he came by those pieces and the Jedi holocron, for that matter, and whether we’ll see him acquire any of those items in the upcoming comic book series that explores the events after the Clone Wars from his perspective.
EA: This episode is full of nightmares for poor Ezra, and I’m not even sure where to begin. Let’s start off with me saying that I love the steady progression he’s had with his Force abilities. Besides tapping into the dark side which was a big no-no, I feel that Ezra is growing at an acceptable pace. I also appreciate how swift he was with trying to remind himself that what he was seeing was all an illusion, even if he was confused about what was and wasn’t real at the time.
Up to this point in the series, we’ve had hints as to what Ezra’s fears are and we see them personified in this episode. And it’s as heartbreaking, as one would come to expect. Despite what he’d seen up to that point, Ezra still has the ability to gather his courage and stand strong against the illusion of the Inquisitor, who has done the most “killing” of main characters that we’ve seen just shy of Vader and the clones troopers.
Something I’ve noticed and liked is how this series has already shown with Ezra how easy it is to use the Force for the wrong reasons. When being questioned by Yoda as to why he wants to be a Jedi, Ezra quickly gets to the point where he says the words any established fan of the series would recognize–he wants to be powerful to protect everyone. That, along with Yoda commenting on how there is much anger and fear inside of him, would make it impossible to not think of Anakin. I also like how things are not clear cut with Ezra and even more so than Kanan. Ezra is a wildcard. He may have said the right things at the end of Yoda’s questioning, and his heart may be in the right place when he talks about being powerful, but this episode doesn’t leave us knowing that Ezra will become an all-powerful and awesome Jedi. What we are left with is knowing that he has a difficult path ahead of him, and that he may become one. And given who is writing this series, that level of openness is a little distressing.
JM: Ezra is an impressive 15-year-old because, even though he experienced a dangerous connection with the Force, he continued to move forward and wasn’t fazed by what happened. His eagerness to learn and become a Jedi is reminiscent of Luke during his own training, but unlike Luke, he harbored much anger towards the Empire. And even though that anger, if unchecked, can lead him down a different path, he ultimately showed that his passion to protect others overpowered his vengeance.
At first, Kanan told him that everything was different when he was younger, but Ezra’s journey wasn’t so different from what we saw in the Young Jedi arc. It may not have taken place on Ilum, but Ezra faced a similar challenge and was rewarded in a similar manner. His genuine lack of Jedi knowledge (“What’s a kyber crystal?”) was both endearing and very telling, since Kanan obviously neglected to share that detail about the kyber crystal shipment from “Breaking Ranks”, an episode where Ezra risked his life to get information to stop the shipment from happening.
I am curious about what he was up to prior to meeting up with Kanan. He stated that he was with Sabine, but the impression left behind was that he was doing something somewhere else. It may be nothing or it may be something, but it’ll be interesting to see if whatever he was doing will appear later on throughout the remaining episodes.
Upon revealing his lightsaber, it was brought to my attention that some would have preferred the construction of it to take place from one episode to the next in order to show how he put it together and see any difficulties he may have had along the way. We previously saw the construction process in the Young Jedi arc, but we haven’t seen it for a main character. Luke put the final touches on his lightsaber in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi, but it wasn’t included as part of the film and not many are familiar with the instance. I do agree, that it would have been a great opportunity to see that part of his growth in detail, but it didn’t hinder the overall beauty of the moment in which he finally revealed what he had been working on.
EA: It was awesome hearing Yoda, and I especially love that they actually brought Frank Oz in to do his voice. It totally fits with the feel of the series and it’s yet another wonderful nod towards the original trilogy.
I ultimately enjoyed how they ended up using Yoda this episode. Surely, they’d want him in the series at least once, and if this is it, then I say they used him well. I can’t imagine another Jedi character who is anymore the embodiment of wisdom than what Yoda is, especially considering how he’s been portrayed since the original movies. I do like how Yoda introduced himself and presented himself as a guide to Ezra, and how he merely asked him questions. It was also interesting seeing the floating lights, a representation that we last saw Qui-Gon using in the Yoda arc of season 6 of The Clone Wars.
JM: Out of the few appearances we’ve had from classic characters, Yoda’s presence tops as my favorite. It was a necessary scene because, in the past, we’ve seen Yoda teach younglings and he guided the small group of Jedi in the Young Jedi arc. He’s connected to that tradition and it would have been a shame to exclude him from Ezra’s growth. Additionally, he was given the gift to preserve his identity after death, and thereby, preserve the Jedi Order. His training with the gift on Dagobah over the years allowed him to connect with Kanan and Ezra, thus beginning his task to preserve the ways of the Jedi. What’s even more interesting about Yoda’s appearance is the fact that he appeared in the same way Qui-Gon Jinn appeared to him during the Yoda arc, but Yoda is several steps further with his training, since he is still alive and managed to commune with two different people on a distant planet. Yoda is the common thread in the Star Wars saga, and through him, we see the mythology and the mysticism behind the story continue.
EA: I adore Hera and Kanan’s relationship and just how much confidence she has in his abilities. There clearly is no doubt in her mind that he can do what he needs to do when it comes to teaching Ezra. The little conversations they have had here and there about Ezra and without ever speaking about him or the Force specifically are so telling of their relationship together.
I also love how Hera clearly knows things and understands how serious the situation is when it comes to what happened on the asteroid with Ezra. Far too often a character, typically female, will have to ask the male character to let her in on what’s going on or will question that they don’t understand what the big deal is when something goes wrong. That doesn’t happen with Hera. She trusts Kanan implicitly because he clearly has spoken to her about things we’ve yet to be let in on and she’s there to be the voice of reason and support that he needs.
Even if what Ezra saw wasn’t real, what we do see of Hera, Sabine, and Zeb on the Ghost does deserve mention. Zeb is happy at the idea that he can have his cabin back all to himself. Hera will miss Ezra if he doesn’t come back, but only because he had skills they could use. Sabine calls him a little kid and pities him. I like that Sabine, the character Ezra seems to like the most while having not actually having had much screen time with her, says the most personal things about Ezra. I feel the crushing blow of such words would be all the more hard hitting coming from the young Mando.
Though all of that is quickly forgotten once the lighting turns red and we are greeted to what is one of the more disturbing and probably most disturbing scenes this series has had so far. The little detail of Hera’s shadow on the wall reacting to being attacked was also a nice touch. For me though, it has to Sabine’s “Ezra, wait, help us!” followed by her scream and everyone else’s that definitely caught my attention.
JM: Hera continued to be Kanan’s support and voice of reason and her understanding of the situation solidifies her as Kanan’s foundation. She also clearly hasn’t told Ezra about his parents, but now I wonder if she’s even told Kanan. If she hasn’t, it reinforces the fact that even though they’re close, they still hold secrets. Chopper also showed some support for Ezra, since he donated a power cell for his lightsaber. Up until this point in time, we’ve seen him as a thorn on Ezra’s side, but it was great to finally see some care from the cantankerous droid. Zeb held true to his original comment about Jedi and how it was an “old religion”. He didn’t seem to grasp the length of time and ingenuity behind constructing a lightsaber and seemed slightly confused by Ezra’s design, whereas Sabine showed some enthusiasm for her crew mate and what she was able to contribute.
As for the scene in which they were an extension of Ezra’s vision, both dark and serious, the scene was well executed in terms of showing violence without having to show it. The comments were all rooted in Ezra’s fear, but it’s great to see that that didn’t appear to hurt his relationship with any of them in the final moments of the episode.
Lastly, the Inquisitor was another favorite aspect of this episode because he posed such an imminent threat, and even though he appeared in the form of a vision, the intensity of what was happening to Ezra made him appear as if he was real. Touching Ezra’s chin was the last attempt to make Ezra fail and succumb to his fears, but Ezra proved to be stronger.
EA: Ezra screaming when he saw the skeletons of the Jedi Masters. The way Kanan crosses his arms and waits for Ezra to stop while the temple is closing around them had me laughing so much I had to pause.
JM: When the Inquisitor grabbed Ezra’s face, making him think that he was actually real and not an illusion. Jason Isaacs delivered my favorite line in the episode when he said, “But I assure you, I am not.”
EA: Though we got a lot from this episode, I feel disappointed that we never heard anything more from Hera about Ezra’s parents. She was already prevented from bringing it up during “Gathering Forces” when Kanan told her that they had to talk, which made me hope that it would be touched upon this episode. By the sounds of it next episode isn’t going to leave itself open for such a revelation, but I’m going to hope anyway.
I have no qualms with the final minutes of the episode being dedicated to Ezra revealing his newly built weapon, though I am a little disappointed and would have liked being able to see him working on it, even a little bit.
JM: Lothal is the main location for the series, but it would have been great to see Ezra and Kanan go to a Jedi Temple on another planet. I know Lothal is tied to Ezra, but an outpost on another nearby planet would have given the show a bit more diversity and opened it up to the fact that there is a vast galaxy out there.
EA: For as dark as this episode got, it was a lot of fun, and it continues to show the progression of the series only getting better with each episode. It added much to Kanan and Ezra’s stories, and it feels like a jumping off point where anything could possibly happen, especially with how open ended it was for both of them. This episode also fulfilled my need for more lightsaber fights. They’re just so well done and such a pleasure to watch; I really cannot get enough of them. And this may be far too early to even comment on, but I’m going to do it anyway. I really can’t wait to see Ezra eventually use his brand new lightsaber against the Inquisitor in a real fight because that’s surely going to happen at some point, no matter how short, right?
JM: The series, without a doubt, gets better and stronger. It manages to touch on dark themes without losing the important messages and the innocence it originally established, and this is most certainly a result of the writers having worked on Star Wars: the Clone Wars. This particular episode was written by Charles Murray, who previously worked on the final Ahsoka arc, and directed by Dave Filoni. As a result, more than any other episode, “Path of the Jedi” felt more like an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as a connection to the original trilogy rather than it being one or the other. It was the bridge between the two. It’s great to see Ezra with his own personal lightsaber. My hope is that he continues using his slingshot as an additional defense rather than letting it go completely. Overall, the episode was simply phenomenal and it would not have held the same powerful impact as it did without the preceding Yoda and Young Jedi arcs.