TWG contributor Elisa and I return to recap, review, and share our thoughts about the season finale of Star Wars Rebels, “Fire Across the Galaxy”. Make sure to visit StarWars.com for the episode guide.
General Thoughts About the Plot
EA: Here we are at our first season finale of Star Wars Rebels and it does not disappoint. People are saved, others die, there are happy reunions, we meet old friends again, and a new threat is added that will surely make season two far different from the first. From start to finish, “Fire Across the Galaxy” is never not on the ball, and with such a strong finish to a season that only grew stronger as it progressed, the bar for what stories will come in season two are high.
JM: Monday night was an emotional roller coaster ride for many Star Wars fans. Breathing and blinking were out of the question during the final episode of the first season of Star Wars Rebels. All you could do was hold your breath as the highly anticipated rescue for Kanan Jarrus unfolded in an action-packed 22-minute finale. “Fire Across the Galaxy” raised the bar once again, proving more than ever that George Lucas left behind a truly remarkable crew to continue his vision. They have surpassed themselves in Star Wars storytelling and animation, leaving this fangirl in a perpetual state of excitement regarding the future of the series. The episode itself was a game changer, revealing the resources and capabilities of the leading rebel cells and replacing one antagonist with another. Most importantly, it brought back an old friend, effectively bringing up more questions than answering them.
General Thoughts About the Characters
EA: Going in, this episode is very much about Kanan and his struggles, both those we can see and ones that were only touched upon. We learn a snippet of his past thanks to the Inquisitor manipulating and taunting Kanan with his actions back during Order 66, and it’s clear that him running and leaving his master as she’d ordered him to do is something that still haunts him. From there, we’re pretty much led into another beautiful and spectacular fight between Kanan and the Inquisitor. These two really are a fair match for each other this time around, and towards the end, Kanan begins to gain ground and get the upper hand once he thinks he’s lost Ezra. It’s clear that Kanan is heartbroken as he stares down at what is presumably Ezra’s body on the lower pathway, which gives him newfound confidence, or at least, a newfound drive to beat his adversary. Kanan says a comment about the Force being stronger than anything, and I wonder what he means by that and where that will lead for the future. While we know that the Force is strong and it’s in every living thing, Kanan saying it at the moment he did, before attacking the Inquisitor with dual sabers, leaves it a little open to me. While the idea that he let himself be fully open to the Force after so long of not being truly in touch with it is a lovely idea to me, what he ultimately did with letting the Inquisitor fall without any hesitation on his part makes me wonder what is ultimately in store for Kanan, and if Ahsoka’s introduction to the series is going to run parallel.
After all of that though, we have the beautiful scene of Hera and Kanan reuniting! That hug, their expressions, my heart.
JM: Whether it was torture or feeling momentary loss, Kanan kept an eerie calm throughout the entirety of the episode. A combination of the writing and Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s, performance, I couldn’t tell whether Kanan would break and give up false information in exchange for a respite or break away from the good path he found himself on due to “losing” Ezra. Both of them seemed possible, but Kanan stuck to his senses and firmly collected himself before taking the next step. Some theorized that Kanan would lose control and summon Force lightning to attack the Inquisitor and part of me wishes that had happened. Kanan and Ezra came out unscathed (discounting Ezra’s scars), so storytelling-wise, it would have been more intense if he or Ezra had slipped in a moment of anguish, especially since it had happened before on the asteroid.
My other favorite moments with Kanan involved his interactions with Hera. It was amusing to have him refer to her actions as rash and reckless when those are aspects he’s known for exhibiting himself. And of course, the
kiss hug warmed my heart because they have this deep and unbreakable bond between each other that is far more mature than most relationships in other media and in reality.
That said, however, playing the “what if” game, what if Hera had been the one to fall off that platform. Given their long history, would Kanan have remained as calm and collected then? If so, then I could see Kanan truly achieving the Jedi mind state of his masters before him. I like to think Kanan has this hidden, untapped nerve, and given enough poking and prodding, he would break and that fear would resurface. Freddie Prinze, Jr., hinted at an emotional breakdown in season two, so I look forward to not only Ezra’s growth, but Kanan’s challenges as well.
EA: Unlike the beginning of last episode, where Hera was forcing herself to be prepared with leaving Kanan behind at Fulcrum’s word, this episode sees her stepping up and being more than ready to save him. It’s great to see her confidence is back as is her will to fight, which is what most likely makes her an outstanding rebel, even if she needed a little push in the right direction. With a plan in motion, they quickly head out to Mustafar, infiltrate Tarkin’s Star Destroyer and are well on their way to rescuing Kanan. For the majority of the time that they’re on the Destroyer, Hera shares her scenes with Zeb and Sabine, and while they aren’t filled with lightsaber duels, the scenes are none the less enjoyable to watch as they attempt to figure out how to get out of the situation that they’re in.
Back to the things I love, we finally get to hear Hera call Kanan dear again. Now, while I wasn’t expecting them to kiss (though, watching the scene in full made me think it might happen), I am very happy with the hug the pair share. It’s a very real hug, and it lasts long enough to let people know that the pair do love each other, even if it may not be in a romantic sense.
JM: Despite hidden protocols and orders from secret contacts, Hera’s method of operation finally changed. She wasn’t giving out orders and making a decision for the entire group, as seen in the previous episode. Instead, she asked each member whether they wanted to join the rescue mission. I like that she made up her mind and went through with the “crazy mission”, as stated by Zeb. Throughout the mission, as a true leader, I like that she kept turning to Sabine for her take on where to go and what to do. My favorite moment of Hera, though, was when she heard Kanan’s voice. Her elated expression was beyond sweet and the hug that came later just reinforced how deeply they care for each other.
Finally, as previously seen in Star Wars: A New Dawn, Hera was always the one with the information, keeping others in the dark for their own benefit. It made sense, really, since she’s the daughter of Cham Syndulla, so she was always involved in that line of work. I am curious to find out, however, whether keeping her crew in the dark is something that will affect the trust in the group. Sabine hinted at that in “Out of Darkness”, the fact that she wanted to trust and be trusted in return. And after finding out the truth and discovering that they’re part of a rebel cell, has that trust been compromised or solidified? Given how the pace of the show quickly moves onto the next new and exciting thing, I highly doubt they’ll go into those specifics, but to see the dynamic of the group affected by that protocol would make for good storytelling, I think.
EA: For all that Chopper does to be a bit of a pest, he has proven time and again that he cares about his crew and that he is a quick thinker. This episode is no exception, and it lets on that he knows far more than most of the crew. Left on the transport while everyone else attempts to rescue Kanan, Chopper is the one who calls for outside reinforcements when he sees things on the outside taking a turn for the worst. With Fulcrum arriving just in time with others to save the ghost crew, his call for help was the best thing he could have done.
Hera mentions to the others of the crew in the last episode that Kanan knows nothing. Additionally, Kanan is quick to tell Sabine in “Out of Darkness” that Hera is the one that takes the lead in everything they do; he never asks for information because he trusts what Hera does and that’s that. Chopper though, he knew how to contact Fulcrum. And I find it interesting and telling that Chopper had this information when it’s been a point of contention for the organic crew that only Hera possessed this particular knowledge that she was preferring to keep to herself. It makes me think back to Hera being quite upset with Kanan by approving Zeb’s betting of Chopper in “Idiot’s Array”. Not saying she doesn’t see Chopper as a legitimate part of the crew, which she certainly does, but in terms of information, I think Chopper may have been, or still be, Hera’s equal with what is going on and what’s unseen by the rest of the crew. And I find that pretty cool.
JM: In the previous episode, we saw Chopper go undercover in order to bring the necessary information home and make it possible to rescue Kanan. This time around, he brought in the cavalry. And as far as meeting new people, I found it interesting that he was buddy-buddy with Ahsoka. Or, maybe he was just showing off the fact that he got to know her in the short span of time and nobody else had the advantage like he did (with the exception of Hera, of course). I do have it in my head already that he’s developed this crush on Ahsoka and she’s the only person he’ll be kind and sweet to. That’s my prediction, so I look forward to his interactions in the next season.
EA: Zeb didn’t do too much individually in this episode though he did provide a fair amount of humor that never felt misplaced or awkward. His reaction to trying to get Ezra to hush up about the TIE fighter that they had clearly kept in “Fighter Flight” was amazing to watch. The expressions and animation were perfect, and it has to go down as one of my absolute favourites. The other two instances of humor were when Zeb was being vocal about certain things. First, his reaction to seeing the painted TIE and calling it awful, which Sabine quickly commented against, saying it was her best work. The other took place when they were escaping Tarkin’s destroyer and he was crammed in the TIE with Sabine and Hera. The very brief back and forth he has with Sabine really brought a smile to my face.
JM: Zeb has this amazing personality trait that allows him to act like a child at certain times and an old adult at other times. His “uh-uh” reaction to Ezra telling Hera about the TIE fighter has to be one of my favorite moments because he and Ezra had this understanding that they would never reveal this information to Hera or Kanan. I also loved his old man reaction to Sabine’s paint job. Another interesting moment that caught my attention was when Zeb thought Chopper had abandoned them. He went straight to thinking something bad about the droid without even considering the other possibilities, like him having been captured or attacked by Imperial forces. That reaction helped show that he gets really restless and impatient when things aren’t going according to plan.
EA: Sabine dominated the opening of this episode in the best ways possible. Seeing her up against a squad of Stormtroopers was a pleasure to watch, as always. I love her quick and light footed nature, since as I’ve said before, the moves she pulls off are akin to what we’ve seen Jedi use, and I can only imagine what an untouchable terror she would be if she had Force abilities on top of everything else she can do. Later on in the episode after they’ve arrived on Tarkin’s ship to free Kanan, it is Sabine who makes the plan for her, Hera, and Zeb’s escape when the three of them become woefully outnumbered by the enemy. I really do appreciate that practically every member of the crew has had multiple opportunities to shine during tough or difficult situations, and this is just one more for Sabine, even if it may not be as grand as other things she has done. Hera never questions Sabine’s suggestion to go to the hangar so they can escape; she only questions the motivation behind it.
Something else I noticed in this episode is that unlike some other instances this season, Sabine felt wholly supporting of Ezra through the entire episode. I loved that she told Zeb to give Ezra a minute as soon as he demanded an answer from him about sensing Kanan. She is also quick to compliment Ezra when she sees him use his saber to seal the door from their attackers.
JM: The artist. I truly love that the stormtroopers recognized her as such when they attacked the TIE fighter base. As previously seen in the series, she is quite athletic and nimble. In many ways, her movements remind me of a Jedi. This episode was also another one for her to shine in terms of rigging equipment together to take down an entire destroyer. She also came up with the plan and led them out when it came time to escape. Additionally, I very much enjoyed seeing her be more supportive of Ezra, particularly when she complimented him on his smart move of welding the doors together. Perhaps, it came from the fact that they bonded together during the painting sessions of the TIE fighter.
Finally, as the first person to question Fulcrum and her position in the crew, I personally felt satisfied when she finally met Fulcrum. I like to think she internally thanked the stars for finally being let in on the big secret.
EA: Though we’ve seen him standing tall against illusions of the Inquisitor, this episode is the first time we’ve ever seen Ezra attempt to use his lightsaber against him. And for those worried, the fight itself should put all fears that Ezra would be an incredible duelist right off the bat to rest. His skills felt authentic to where he should be in his training, meaning he got his bum kicked by the Inquisitor before he was knocked off the catwalk by a thrown saber attack. Now, I knew that they couldn’t kill Ezra, but that none the less, it did not at all stop me from feeling horror at thinking something very bad had just happened to him. One thing that had me laughing a little inappropriately is that pretty much right after Kanan had his whole deep and meaningful moment about losing Ezra and the Force, Ezra then happily relays to Hera that Kanan’s doing better than fine.
If Ezra can only learn one thing from this fight, I think it’ll be how Kanan used his lightsaber. The switching between blaster and blade was very different yet still cool to see, and I think it’ll be something Ezra picks up now that he’s seen it done.
JM: Reflecting his master, Ezra remained calm and collected throughout the episode, a most impressive feat for a 15 year old. He was able to sense Kanan’s presence, use his preferred method of sneaking around (ventilation shafts), and calmly get to Kanan. At no point did he break down or show any angst about the unfairness of the situation, and that’s one of the things I love most about Ezra. It’s something that he definitely learned from Kanan: to stop and think of the situation before charging through. As a result, he kept his cool, despite being in a destroyer with multiple enemies at every turn. Moving into the epic fighting sequence, I like that he tried to help because, let’s face it, he’s not at the place yet where he’s able to take on someone like the Inquisitor. I also appreciate the fact that the writers didn’t make him do wild jumps or twists in the air, since he can barely reflect a blaster bolt. As with all of the other characters, I look forward to his continued growth and whether he picks up any skills from Ahsoka herself.
Lastly, he ended up getting a minor scar on the cheek, but I wonder how things would have panned out for our heroes had Ezra suffered something far worse. I understand why it didn’t happen, since Ezra is the voice of hope at this point in time and the writers didn’t want to cut that hope short by inflicting heavy damage on him. Despite him being my favorite character in the series, however, that’s something I hope the writers touch on in the future.
EA: So, I think most people going into this episode were expecting Ahsoka to be Fulcrum, but it was still a blast to actually see her step down the ladder and into the scene. I can’t help but wonder what exactly she’s going to be doing and what her role is for the series now that she’s been introduced to the crew. Kanan had a moment or realization of some kind earlier in the episode, and we have no solid idea if that was something okay or not. We’ve seen that Kanan feels guilt and isn’t fully believing in himself, in both this episode and while he was speaking to Yoda in the temple. I think on top of what planning she surely does for the Rebellion, Ahsoka may also be a stabilizer for Kanan, and I look forward to any future scenes the two may share.
JM: We all saw it coming, but her reveal was still my favorite thing about the episode. Not only that, but she was navigating the Ghost! And on top of that, she came across as an experienced leader (something Rex would have been proud to see), changing protocol without so much as a glance and answering questions. Needless to say, Ahsoka is an amazing character. She left us on a sad but hopeful note in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. To see her return and find out that she’s behind the rebel activity makes my heart soar. She’s always been a force for good, and after she left, I knew that she would have continued that in her own way and in her own terms. I look forward to seeing how much she’s changed and grown in more detail. Most importantly, I look forward to her interactions with this particular rebel cell, especially with Kanan and Ezra. As for her design, it screamed Togruta to me. I know many had envisioned her as something similar to what we had seen in the Mortis arc, but her design falls along with the Rebels style and I like that this particular style shows that her facial and lekku features grew with her. From her sabers down to her armor, I’m in love with her look and I can’t wait to see more of her in action come next season.
EA: Though he didn’t do too much, I enjoyed what we did see of Tarkin in this episode. I also really liked that when he was being told they had to evacuate the ship, his stern and calm expression actually breaks, and he showed actual emotion that wasn’t anger. I don’t want to call it fear necessarily, but Tarkin would surely know exactly what disappointment can lead to in the Empire.
The Inquisitor has been with us through the season, and has been presented as a very skilled and frightening opponent. One thing that stood out to me was when he was holding his saber after he got it spinning. He was frightened and looked more like someone attempting to cower behind safety instead of someone who could instill fear into people’s hearts. We will never be sure, but I wish I could know what exactly it was in that moment that frightened him so much.
With the introduction of Vader to the series, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen and what situations may occur in the future. I trust that Dave will know that to keep Vader a threat he can’t lose as often as the Inquisitor did, which makes me hope that we mostly see him from afar. Also, with the Inquisitor gone and the possibility of getting a replacement, while I hope it’s a woman, I also hope that they’re not a straight up rehash of the one we just lost.
JM: The only antagonist I really want to focus on is the Inquisitor. He was this imposing figure that we first saw at New York Comic Con. Part of me wishes we had seen more of him, especially in relation to Vader. There was one line earlier in the season that really demonstrated his own fear of his master. When he said, “My master would not be pleased,” coupled with a face of regret, the implication was that Vader would come down on him for his failure, and I wish we could have seen that punishment unfold through a transmission of some kind at some point in the series. We know Vader has this power and the ability to strike fear into those around him, but the relationship between him and the Inquisitor wasn’t really explored all that much to exhibit or reinforce that kind of power, especially for the younger and newer audience. I suppose there’ll be time in the future to explore that aspect of Vader, but it would have been great to see more between them (like the Emperor and Dooku, for example). The Inquisitor was a fascinating character, and like Maul before him (specifically in The Phantom Menace), I wish he could have been fleshed out more.
EA: I tried to think of something else, but who am I kidding, it has to be Ahsoka coming down the ladder.
JM: Ahsoka coming down the ladder from the Ghost. That moment stole my breath away and I’m glad my mom captured the moment in the form of a picture.
EA: Something I need season two to do is make the Stormtroopers feel dangerous. It’s getting, or even gotten for some people, to the point where the Stormtroopers are a zero threat. For as positive as I have been about what Rebels has done over the course of the first season, it’s this that I think they’re dropping the ball on. While the droids in The Clone Wars were comedic, there were plenty of instances where they felt threatening. I’m unsure why the Stormtroopers can’t be similar in that regard, because as it is, it’s at the point where one has to wonder how the Empire has been ruling the portion of the galaxy as we’ve seen it, since it’s clearly that it’s not with the help of the land troops–that’s for sure.
JM: The fact that Kanan and Hera didn’t kiss!
EA: As I mentioned before with how everyone has had their moment to shine, I have found that Zeb really hasn’t had any. He’s never been the one in charge, he’s never come up with a spontaneous plan, and though he’s fought troopers and stolen TIE fighters, he’s never really done anything of note. I want to see this man that was part of his people’s honor guard actually do something. I have hopes for next season, and seeing Zeb be allowed to be as individual and rounded as the other characters is one of them.
The future of Rebels is quite bright, and with the men and women behind the series working together to bring us this excellent series, I for one cannot wait to see where it goes. We’re in for more backstories and learning more about the other members of the crew, which I personally cannot wait for.
JM: Like the Star Wars Rebels cast and crew, I am quite pleased to see the overwhelming positive response to the season finale and the series in general. I started loving the show from the moment it was announced, and even though production on Star Wars: The Clone Wars stopped in order to move onto the next phase in the Star Wars era, it’s been fun seeing echoes of that series ripple into Rebels. The writers, animators, and everyone else involved in the project have done a remarkable job in continuing the story. And what a story it has been! The finale episode closed one chapter and successfully opened another, leaving fans excited and hungry for more. Season two is going to be a thing of beauty, especially given how season one went so well from beginning to end.