‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers”

Things got super weird in the latest set of Star Wars Rebels episodes, “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers.” Weird in a good way, of course.

Exploring different aspects of the Force has always been my favorite part of Star Wars, and I appreciate the fact that Rebels is continuing that by walking on new territory. After all, there’s a lot pertaining to the Force that we don’t know much about, so every time the writers have a chance to add a new detail—even if it’s somewhat bizarre—I’m always eager to learn more and how it affects the Force sensitive characters in the show.

The second episode, while entertaining, had a few details that bothered me mainly because this isn’t the Ghost crew’s first rodeo, so there were a few mistakes on their part that they could have avoided. More specifically, there were a few things that I wish the writers could have done differently to not make the Ghost crew seem like they were inexperienced with what they were doing. For example, tying up the Captain, not putting him in a room with a vent, etc. That said, I do like how the crawling through the vents reminded me of Ezra in Spark of Rebellion. Zeb locked him up in closet, but Ezra managed to escape through the vents. I appreciate the subtle callbacks to season one, but I still feel like the situation could have been handled more expertly by the Ghost crew.

Here are the things that stood out to me the most from this set of episodes:

Rukh: Rukh has two qualities that I find super fascinating. First, I love his deep and garbled voice and the fact that he’s voiced by Warwick Davis. Second, it was mentioned by Pablo Hidalgo in Rebels Recon that Rukh can smell your lineage and bloodline if you were related to someone. That is such an interesting detail about his species, and I wonder if that will play out somehow at some point during the remaining episodes, especially since there’s a fan theory rolling around about how Kanan might be from Lothal or related to Ezra in some way.

Kanan and Hera: They kissed! While I wish there could have been more signs in past seasons leading up to this moment, I like that the writers made us wait this whole time to confirm their feelings for each other. My personal theory as to why Kanan has been pushing for something to happen stems from what happened on Atollon. He got blown off of his bike during the bombardment and even Hera sounded relieved when she heard that he had survived. I feel like that incident motivated him to actually do something about their relationship, so when Hera kissed him after he approached her in an apologetic way, it didn’t feel like it came out of nowhere. The signs (despite there being a few) were there and it’s been fun trying to string them together. At the end of the day, we know that Hera and Kanan care for each other deeply, so the kiss was just the cherry on top.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Loth-wolves Folding Space: I have to admit. The scene in the caves was a trippy ride, and for a second, I thought I was having an out-of-body experience, but it was truly fascinating. I love it when Star Wars goes to the weirdest places. I don’t like it when a story plays it safe, so when these bizarre elements are introduced, they always have my undivided attention. It reminded me of the Mortis and Yoda episodes in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Those arcs took us into uncharted territory when it came to the Force, so I appreciate the fact that Rebels also went there. It’s funny how we learned something new about the Force, but somehow, we still can’t wrap our heads around it. As for what it ultimately means, I’m not sure. It’s fascinating that these creatures are a focused part of the Force and that they have the ability to fold space and transport themselves over vast distances, but what does Kanan mean when he says that something “sinister” is going on? Many have theorized that Lothal may have the kyber crystals that the Death Star needs, but I get the impression that something more is happening, like Kanan said. I look forward to discovering what that is and how Kanan will play a part.

Kanan’s Purpose: I think it’s brilliant that the white Loth-wolf sought Kanan out because he’s a Jedi. He was knighted in Lothal’s Jedi temple, and since these creatures act through the Force and are part of the Force, I like to think this is the reason why they know Kanan’s real identity. Back in the Kanan comic book series, he said that Caleb Dume had died with Depa Billaba, but that identity will always be part of him. It’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll embrace that part of himself again.

Ezra, Impressions, and Vents: Some of my favorite moments in “Crawler Commanders” involved Ezra, specifically his impersonation of Captain Seevor and the part where he was forced to go through the vents. Voice actors are constantly challenged to alter their voices, so I imagine Taylor Gray had some fun (or stress) in trying to imitate Seth Green’s take of a Trandoshan. The animators also tend to use some of the footage that’s captured during the recording sessions, so I’m curious whether some of the expressions we see Ezra use during that scene came from Taylor. I also like that Ezra’s impersonations have become part of his skillset, even though he’s not particularly good all the time. Something that was part of his skillset when he was younger was navigating through ventilation shafts, and he was quite good at them, especially since it allowed him to escape during sticky situations. I found it humorous when he refused to go through the vents this time around. Ezra is about 17/18 years old, so this is about the age where teenagers start to ignore and let go some of the things they used to do as kids. Despite being a minor moment, I thought the writers did a great job at capturing that sort of teenage mentality.

Captain Seevor’s Comeuppance: While some people felt that Captain Seevor was “only doing his job,” I feel it’s important to stress that he was a slave driver and destroying Lothal for his own gain. Seevor is a great example of the common saying, “What goes around comes around.” He did bad things, so it was only a matter of time before bad things happened to him. Some fans also expressed concern for Ezra because of his “watch out” comment and how it’s some sort of sign pertaining to his “dark side tendencies.” To be honest, his “dark side” was the farthest thing from my mind. On my second viewing, I actually laughed when he said “watch out” after the fact. That, in no way, makes him a dark sider. It just means that he has a dark sense of humor. Something bad happened and it was followed by a hilarious one-liner. Some people thought it was out of character or misplaced, but my close friend reminded me that Ezra has always had that sort of dark humor. Back in season one, in “Fire Across the Galaxy,” Kanan and Ezra had to quickly escape after the Inquisitor accepted defeat and died in a fiery death. Ezra points out that they can take the Inquisitor’s TIE. Kanan questions it and Ezra replies, “Well, we know he’s not gonna use it.” So in the end, Ezra’s “watch out” and pleased smirk doesn’t mean that Ezra’s going to the dark side. And even if he is, I would expect something more profound and noticeable than that to happen.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Time to Strike: Hera’s speech gave me goosebumps. What I loved most about it was that she called the Rebellion out and told them that they’re too afraid to do anything about what’s happening on Lothal. Words can only get you so far and Hera understands that risks have to be made. There is no doubt that this is the moment that solidifies her promotion.

While “Kindred” is clearly the better episode out of the two, since it helped shed more light on how nature and the Force work on Lothal, it was important for the Ghost crew to take over that ore crawler in “Crawler Commandeers” in order to get in touch with Hera, especially since the Ghost crew now need to organize a ground assault. And who knows? With the ore crawler now under the command of Vizago, the massive vehicle might prove useful in a later episode. As we’ve seen in the past, there are no filler episodes. Things have a purpose. We might not see them play out immediately, but they’re put in place so that they have a bigger impact at a later date and time.

Until next time, make sure to visit the episode guides (“Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers“) and tune into the mid-season finale, “Rebel Assault,” on Monday, November 13, 2017, on Disney XD.

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4 comments on “‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers”

  1. The contrast between the two episodes is so much like life. No matter how exalted of a spiritual experience, one returns to the gritty, challenging, and dirty.
    My hat is off to the Rebels team for the mystical journey through eternity. Wow, that really rocked me, and I loved it. Nothing in the movies came close.
    If anyone has ever interacted with real Wolves, then you know they are awesome, and I can’t get enough of them being living focused force expressions. Thanks Mr. Filoni!!!!
    The second episode is so much what the vocal dark loving fans say they want, but they still rip at it. Maybe they only like the movies, who knows? It has all the destruction, crude justice, smoke and skin crawling nastiness. Personally, I was more relieved when it was over, than happy.
    I really get the feeling that Kanan/ Caleb is done fighting. He was literally brought up with war, with both promise and with denigration. His master was written off by most, and she repaid his loyalty by dying to cover his escape, and continued life. From there, it was always an unconventional path, and now we know it’s been love that was the huge motivator.
    Man, what a story!
    I’m kind of hoping that Rukh learns humility via a Lightsaber. Thrawn is going to get to his own crossroads, and now we are going to discover if the Defender will be derailed permanently. What is the role of Lothal? What is the choice the Ghost crew must face? I have always believed that the mystical nexus of the Force can and will link to Asoka, and that her journey is going to inform this looming choice.
    Great stuff, Wookies. I’m not sure that little movie will keep me from pining away over the break!

    • “The contrast between the two episodes is so much like life. No matter how exalted of a spiritual experience, one returns to the gritty, challenging, and dirty.” *Stella claps for Mike* Excellent description. The episodes in this saga do change on a dime: one episode is all about military and the next can switch the mysticism of the Force. Once you described Kanan as “done fighting”, I feel even more sympathy to his character since he’s been fighting and running most of his life. He deserves some peace and quiet alongside the woman he loves but stars knows if he’ll ever attain it.

      The first episode definitely continued that “Princess Mononoke” vibe I was getting, especially when the wolf led everyone into a dream-like area where its pawprints rippled on water and the warning that the Empire isn’t just physical damaging Lothal but also effecting it in a spiritual/Force-driven way.

      Rukh is terrifying with a feral presence when he runs on all fours. I noticed that Thrawn pronounced his name differently from Pryce who calls him “Rook” and then merely “assassin”. She and Thrawn have worked well together thus far but now I’m wondering if this incident could escalate to a conflict between both Imperials—and who will attempt to stab each other in the back first.

      “Crawler Commanders” did feel a bit goofy at times with Ezra’s impressions but I think that’s because this episode was in such stark contrast to the previous episode. But knowing the Ghost crew has a strategic advantage to free Lothal under difference circumstances by smuggling themselves back into Lothal reminded me of the spy ring from the “Turn” series where George Washing and his army had to evacuate New York, but recruited people who could spy on the British from inside the city. Albeit dangerous work to be in enemy territory without any backup, they were able to gather intel from the inside.

      I have no regrets about Captain Seevor’s death and find it a fateful twist that he slipped on Ezra’s lightsaber. I recognized that electric whip from the ones used by the Zygerians in “Clone Wars” where the Jedi worked undercover to free slaves. Those whips look extremely painful when Kanan and Zeb were attacked! That was a darker streak to the episode. I also enjoyed the recurring storyline when they found Vizago again. He could have carried a grudge knowing they didn’t come to rescue him but it was honorable when he thanked Ezra and then they agreed to let him run the miner’s ship.

      I would *love* to see footage of Taylor Gray working in the recording booth. A lot of voice actors do the “Twisted Toonz” (you can find on youtube) where they use their character voices to read scripts from famous movies and Steve Blum has done it a few times with hilarious results. It would be great to see the full cast of “Rebels” do the same.

    • Thank you so much, Mike! Like you, I’m looking forward to having those questions answered in the next half of the season. I know fans are excited for The Last Jedi, but I just want time to fast forward to the mid-season premiere already!

  2. Jon Hodges

    Kindred has some great Science Fiction elements, very Ray Bradbury-ish with the wolves. Crawler Commanders shines, I think, with a positive energy for Ezra. He makes some quick decisions under pressure and has quite a struggle with the Trandoshan.

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