Welcome to The Recap Holocron, a mystical device that will provide a breakdown of each Star Wars Rebels episode moving forward. Your Presence in this Holocron is Elisa Ardell. Due to some pirate activity, the Holocron went missing for a few days, but it has been recovered and it now brings you the first recap of season three of Star Wars Rebels…
Picking up six months after the events of the season two finale, “Steps Into Shadow” is quick to show just how much has changed with the Ghost crew and not only in their spiffy new designs.
In this episode, we see Ezra leading a mission to break out Hondo, Kanan meeting and learning from an old and mysterious being called the Bendu, the introduction to a fandom beloved villain from the 90’s, and Ezra on another mission after being promoted that goes so wrong that we have to say goodbye to an old and much loved friend.
The Episode: Right off the bat, we see how much Ezra has changed. Gone is the boy who used to use his blaster on stun, and here is the young man who punches and shoves troopers off the catwalk to their deaths. To rival that move, he later uses the Force to manipulate the pilot of an AT-DP to not only shoot his friends, but then, walk off the catwalk to his doom as well.
Hondo Ohnaka: Nothing else really has to be said, but I love how he played such a big part in the premiere, and I hope that it will be something that’s repeated at least once more in the season.
Ezra turning to the Sith holocron: Again we hear the Presence, and this time, she’s commenting to Ezra about how his anger gives him strength and focus. This is clearly a relationship that has been going on since possibly the very moment he first opened the holocron. I’m curious to know what he has learned so far and just how much information he’s been given. For a teacher who cannot show examples, Ezra’s manipulation of the AT-DP pilot shows that not only is the Presence able to teach well by voice only, but that Ezra is willing to learn and is easily taught. This can also show just how out of his element Kanan is not just at this time, but as a Master who has had multiple instances of difficulty with teaching Ezra.
Governor Pryce: We finally get our first look at the elusive Lothal governor, Arihnda Pryce, and the authority she carries. Speaking to Tarkin, who is now a Moff, she shares that she is there to speak of what had happened at the prison and voices that she believes that it is only the start of a larger rebel threat. Tarkin agrees, saying that while Vader had dealt with the Jedi leadership, that the rebels have proven to be particularly stubborn. It is when asked how she plans to solve this that we hear about the mysterious 7th fleet.
Kanan and Ezra Talk: Armed with the knowledge from Hera that Ezra is blaming himself for what has happened to Ahsoka and him, Kanan goes to finally check on his Padawan, who, from what we’ve learned from Ezra, hasn’t been around at all. Once in his room to talk, Kanan comes across Ezra’s holocron by accident. Kanan understandably is upset that Ezra has not only opened it without his knowledge, but he has also been learning from it. Kanan, with little else for options, takes the holocron with him. Ezra, ever now the rebellious teenager, gives Kanan an angry and biting comment about how it’s fine for Kanan to take the holocron, reminding him that he doesn’t need him anymore.
Kanan meets Bendu: With Ezra’s holocron safely with him, Kanan follows a voice he heard earlier and comes to find the Bendu, a large and imposing being who just is with the Force. Not dark, not light, but in the middle. It is from this being that Kanan learns that he is afraid, grief ridden, and angry. With this knowledge he can finally admit that he has not only distanced himself from everyone, but the Force as well. From this point, Kanan now has a new understanding of how to see with the Force, with the Bendu telling him that as long as he can see himself, then he will never be truly blind.
Thrawn: During Kanan’s time with the Bendu, we finally get to see the Grand Admiral in all of his stunning blue glory. With the low hum of threatening music and a voice to match, Thrawn is everything many of the other Imperials we have met in this series are not. He is stoic, measured to the point where even speaking of his promotion from the Emperor brings no smile or gloat to his face and voice. One thing that stuck out is that Agent Kallus is unafraid to mention that the campaign that ultimately allowed Thrawn to be Grand Admiral had civilian casualties outnumbering that of the insurgence. A number within the margins, or so we’re told from Pryce, before Thrawn begins a precise breakdown of what he thinks of the rebels’ recent activity at Tarkin’s prompting. It is during this scene that Thrawn says his incredible one liner, “I will start my operations here and pull the rebels apart piece by piece. They’ll be the architects of their own destruction.” Then, the scene ends because nobody can top that.
And It All Falls Down: With Ezra having altered the parameters of his original mission from the recon of Reklam Station to saving the Y-wings that are being destroyed there, things have gone from bad to worse. While Zeb, Sabine, Chopper, Hondo, and some newly recruited Ugnaughts liberate the Y-wings, Ezra goes inside the command tower to shut it down. When a dismantler droid comes in and starts attacking, Ezra sends Rex to help the outside crew while he continues forward. On his own and having unsuccessfully skirted Hera’s check-in while fending off troopers, Ezra reaches the control room, where Brom Titus (who has since been demoted from his former command on the experimental Interdictor cruiser) is quick to hold onto the hope that catching Ezra will give him a return to ranking status. That goes about as well as anyone can imagine, his weapon being taken and destroyed moments after Ezra deflects a shot from it. Upon hearing that Titus has sabotaged the controls so the Y-wings cannot be unlocked and that the only way to do that would be to cut power to the entire station, which would send it hurtling to a fiery destruction, Ezra follows through with yet another gasp worthy moment.
We Hardly Knew Ye: With Hondo having saved himself and his new Ugnaught friends from all of this, Chopper mass saves the rest of the team and the Y-wings, so Ezra’s on his own again to get things done. In this case, it’s getting to the Phantom and escaping the station! Things don’t go according to plan. With the station exploding and continuing its fall, Ezra manages to get to where he needs to be. That is, until a crane decides to make Ezra’s day worse as it tumbles, swinging down and hitting the Phantom just enough to send it down into the thick lightning-filled clouds before exploding into flame.
In Memoriam: The Phantom.
The Rescue: Unable to contact anyone and the Phantom being a casualty of this mission, Ezra is trapped on the station as it continues to fall out of the sky. Out in space, Chopper has discovered that there are no hyperdrives in the Y-wings, leaving them without a means to escape a Star Destroyer that has arrived and the TIE fighters it brings with it. Thankfully, due to Hera’s less than stellar earlier check-in with Ezra, rebels assistance arrives just in time, and with Kanan by her side, she heads down towards the planet after learning that Ezra isn’t with the rest of the team. With the station going up in flames, Hera navigates the Ghost until she sees Ezra hanging on for dear life. Kanan quickly rushes for the airlock, and in one of the most beautifully lit scenes in this series, he reaches out and calls to Ezra, telling him that he’s there and to let go. Amid the noise, flames, clouds, and smoke, the score creeps in, adding calmness to the chaos. And in that calm, with the connection between Master and Padawan re-established, Ezra let’s go. With Ezra safe inside the ship, the Ghost is quick to return to the rebels that are still battling against the Imperials. Hera, in no mood to listen to Ezra’s explanation of how the mission had gone so wrong, tells Sato that all are accounted for, allowing the ships to escape into hyperspace and away from their enemies.
The Imperials: Finally, the last major scene with the Imperials is during the battle when the rebel ships are escaping. When Thrawn hears that the rebel presence consists of three star cruisers, he says that that is not the rebel fleet and tells Pryce to break off the attack and let the rebels escape with their meager reward.
Aftermath: Back at base, Ezra apologizes for what happened and doesn’t argue when Hera suspends his command. He stands with Kanan looking out at the night. For the first time this season, the two talk the way we remember. There is no anger or deceit, it’s just the two of them, a Master who had been blinded and hid himself away and a Padawan who had looked elsewhere for answers, both having managed to find their way back together again. Apologizing for the use of the holocron in the search of answers, Kanan says that they will find another way, and when asked what he did with it, Kanan tells him it is safe. With one final thank you to Kanan for coming back, Kanan answers that he will always come back. With that, the double length episode finally ends with Ezra smiling and walking with Kanan off screen.
Final Thoughts: This episode felt incredibly cinematic. The score, the scene wipes, and the transition to the Imperial storyline that wasn’t directly related to the rebels really helped the whole story and the introduction to Thrawn feel like something bigger than what we’ve seen before, looming and frightening. This episode kicked off the season in an incredible way, and I cannot wait for what the next episode brings let alone what this season will do story wise.
I hope you enjoyed the first entry of The Recap Holocron and that you will continue to join me as we go through the episodes of Rebels this season!