Another season of Star Wars Rebels comes to a thrilling end with our heroes narrowly escaping the clutches of the Empire as well as forces of nature that were beyond their (and our) comprehension. Each one of the survivors looked tired and beaten, having not experienced defeat of that kind before. It was a significant loss for the growing Rebellion, especially given the fact that the goal they had been working to accomplish since the start of the season—destroying Lothal’s TIE Defender factory—had been crushed before they even had the chance to start. Had it not been for disloyalty in the ranks and supernatural forces, Thrawn would have had a more impressive conquest, but his calculations throughout the season hadn’t accounted for such factors, leaving him with a hollow victory. With the rebels seeking shelter and Thrawn having only accomplished part of his mission, the fourth season promises to be a season filled with more excitement and action.
Agent Kallus surviving into season four was a welcome surprise, since his story was set up in such a way that most thought the season would end with his sacrifice. His progression from being someone who wanted to snuff the rebels out to a person who now has the heart of a rebel has been outstanding. The writers did a great job at turning this character around, and it’ll be interesting to see what his role will be now that he’s escaped the Empire and has joined the ranks of the Rebellion.
While Kallus did make it out this season, one character sacrificed himself in a moment of desperate need. Commander Sato took the selfless road, and he was a hero to the very end. That was a very emotional moment for me because even though we hadn’t seen him much throughout the third season, Phoenix Squadron had taken the Ghost crew in and he had promoted Hera to Phoenix Leader in a passing-of-the-torch sort of way. Sato was also one of the first to encounter the Interdictor back in “Stealth Strike,” so in a way, it was fitting that he took a similar ship down under his own terms. Sadly, many didn’t feel the impact of his death like I did. The one thing I think that was missing from the finale was his nephew, Mart Mattin. It would have tied in Iron Squadron perfectly. If he had been there, Mart’s reaction would have emphasized the loss. With that opportunity gone, here’s hoping the fourth season sees the return of Mart and his friends, and perhaps, some words of remembrance.
The Bendu’s involvement came as a complete surprise. Like Commander Sato, I wish the Bendu had appeared a bit more often throughout the season mainly to establish more background information. I understand that there’s an air of mystery around him, but I’m still puzzled by the fact that the word “coward” triggered such a negative reaction. Why would he react in that way? Maybe he was hiding and maybe he was being a coward, and he didn’t like being called out on it. The Bendu’s reaction ultimately saved the rebels from being captured by Thrawn’s forces (even if that wasn’t the Bendu’s intention), but what kind of repercussions will we see in the future? After all, the Bendu serves the will of the Force, so how will that affect Kanan, Ezra, and the team moving forward? Overall, I like how the Bendu transformed into a supernatural storm. It reminded me of the Mortis arc in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and how there were elements there that were also beyond our comprehension.
While some thought Thrawn wasn’t properly used throughout the season, I think he was a formidable opponent and would have done more damage had he not been surrounded and limited by incompetent personnel. Despite Admiral Konstantine’s foolish mistake, Thrawn successfully outsmarted the rebels and came so close to snuffing them out, but there were a few calculations beyond his knowledge that he wasn’t able to factor in. I never thought he and the Bendu would come in contact with each other. That’s a surprising plot detail that amused me because these are two characters who are extremely knowledgeable in their own way, and yet, one managed to trump the other in a Julius Caesar kind of way. Now, Thrawn knows details about his fate, and as the Bendu once said, “Once a secret is known, it cannot be unknown.” How this will affect Thrawn in the near future is something that I look forward to seeing next season.
As for the Ghost crew, even when they were separated, they were still a force to be reckoned with and they didn’t give up without a fight. Although they suffered heavy losses, they are a group that is extremely resilient and determined. Like Ezra, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that everything is lost, and therefore, wallow in the defeat. Kanan, however, gave him one more lesson, something he thought he wasn’t going to be able to do anymore, as he had expressed at the beginning of the episode. He essentially told Ezra that even in the face of defeat, you get back up again. He himself has been in a similar situation, so that glimmer of hope is what prompts them to move forward. It’s a beautiful message, and I appreciate the fact that the writers emphasized it not only for Ezra’s benefit but for the benefit of the audience.
Overall, the finale was a spectacular end for a season that was equally impressive and entertaining. Rebels continues to amaze me with its storytelling, visuals, and performances, and I can’t thank them enough for keeping my love for Star Wars burning even stronger. It’s the number one thing I look forward to on a weekly basis, so I hate to see it go on break, especially since they left me wanting for more after seeing those epic space battles, Mandalorians in action, and the mysterious ways in which the Force manifests itself. Whatever they have planned next, I hope it’s just as captivating, intense, and full of surprises.
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