‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Rebel Assault”

So much and so little went down in the mid-season finale of Star Wars Rebels, “Rebel Assault.” I say that because big things happened, like the strike force getting shot down, the ground forces on Lothal having to change plans, and Hera getting captured. Then again, not much was revealed when it came to Kanan and his connection to the Loth-wolves, leaving us wondering what it all means. I shared a few theories regarding that in the next episode of Rebels Chat, which will be available tomorrow, November 17.

Until then, here are the things that stood out to me the most from this set of episodes:

Hera’s Endurance: What a hero, that Hera Syndulla. Not only is she an expert pilot, but even in the face of failure, she continues to move forward. It’s also interesting to see how people react to someone like Hera versus someone like Ezra. Hera is a fully developed character. She’s an adult with a specific goal in mind and with a set personality. Ezra, on the other hand, is still finding himself and still learning. Which leads me to my next point…

Ezra’s Response: …Ezra did the mature thing by pulling back in order to find some other way to continue the mission. Going back for Hera would have put them in danger of getting captured or killed. This came across as “out of character” for some fans. I have to admit that when I first watched the episode, it also felt out of character for me. We know Ezra to be the type of character who wants to go out there and help others, but this time around, we see him let go and take a step back. A lesson well learned. Kanan, on the other hand, let his attachment to Hera pull him back into a potentially dangerous situation. The Force in the form of the Loth-wolf had to step in to guide him away. It’s fascinating to see how much Ezra has grown and learned from both Kanan and Hera. Sadly, when it comes down to it, it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of situation for Ezra. If he went in to save Hera and risked the ultimate goal, fans would have considered his actions to be reckless, claiming once again that hasn’t learned anything. But this time around, he does the right thing and steps away, but fans criticize him and the writers for being out of character without realizing that the character is just applying what he’s learned from past situations.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Kanan and the Loth-wolf: Fact: Kanan loves Hera dearly. He would do anything for her and therein lies the problem. We’ve seen Ezra do similar things in the past because of the love he has for his friends and newfound family. Again, it’s fascinating to see how the audience reacts in response to what Kanan does versus what Ezra did in “Twin Suns,” for example. In that episode, Ezra left (leaving everyone else behind for their own protection) in order to get someone that could help them turn the tide of the war. Kanan left in a similar way because he wanted to save Hera. Ultimately, it was a reckless move. Not only does he not know if Hera is alive, but he was planning to walk into an Imperial controlled city. On top of all that, he’s blind. Yes, we’ve seen him do awesome things, but he has limitations. Kanan, like all adults at one time or another, need a reminder of the lessons learned in their past. The Loth-wolf stepping in did that, but there was also more to it. Kanan came away from that experience learning what he has to do, leaving the audience wondering what that means. While many didn’t like the cryptic ending, I felt the opposite. Yes, they could have given us more hints, but I like that the mystery is slowly building and that an answer is somewhere on the horizon.

Mart Mattin: I was probably one of the few to be truly overjoyed to see Mart Mattin again. We only met him once before in “Iron Squadron,” but the hug he shared with his Uncle Sato at the end of the episode had a lasting impact on me. Instead of leaving the Rebellion after his uncle’s death and doing his own thing, Mart stayed. Personally, I like to think he stayed in memory of him. Additionally, Mart, like Ezra and Sabine, is part of this younger generation that is witnessing how the Empire oppresses people and destroys planets, so it makes sense that he would be part of this squadron with Hera. While we all had the comfort in knowing that Hera wasn’t going to die, I was worried for Mart. I personally didn’t want a repeat of the season three finale. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, so I’m interested to see how Mart will contribute to the efforts on Lothal come the next half of the season.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Dependable Chopper: I love Kanan and Hera, but I think the relationship that stood out more in this episode was Hera and Chopper. These two have been together for years. They always look out for each other and this episode was no different. Whenever Hera needed him, Chopper was right there to knock out a Stormtrooper or shock Rukh from the back. All of this put together makes it all the more heartbreaking in the end when he can’t help her. Yes, we know that he and Hera survive, but it’s less about the destination and more about how they got there and what happened along the way.

Could the episode have been better with more time? Of course. That’s the case with all of the episodes, but given what they had to work with, I think the execution of the story went pretty well. Not everything had to be seen for you to understand what happened (Hera’s promotion, the fight in the clouds) and other parts of the story were left intentionally vague because let’s face it, when it comes to the Force, the answers aren’t always there when we want them. Patience, young ones. I’m sure we’ll get some form of an answer soon, one that will inevitably bring up more questions because that’s what Star Wars does. I’m normally not a fan of cliffhangers, but given that I have absolutely no idea what to expect next, that’s what makes it all the more fun.

Until next time, make sure to visit the episode guide and tune into the mid-season premiere in early 2018 on Disney XD.

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5 comments on “‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Rebel Assault”

  1. Great article! Hera is completely focused on the mission which looks to me that it has been the goal her entire life to fight for freedom. As Thrawn said, it is in her blood, and even when she was being hunted throughout this episode she showed courage. Seeing a grown-up Mart was a delight and he’s definitely grown up from his reckless methods in “Iron Squadron” to following Hera’s orders. It’s touching to see Chopper fighting off anyone and everything to defend his space mom!

    I honestly have no idea what is going to happen with this series because as cool as the stuff is regarding the Loth-Wolf and the warning message to Kanan/Caleb, it’s still rather abstract to me. (Getting a “Mortis” vibe here!)

    But I do like the idea that Kanan rushed head-on into the city to save Hera until the wolf intervened to guide him to a different, and hopefully better, route. Right now I have two guesses about what could happen. One, Thrawn makes Hera the same offer that he did to Eli Vanto in the canon’s “Thrawn” novel, which would be a defiant act instead of terminating her like I’m sure Thrawn would be ordered to do so. Two, Kanan and/or Ezra are able to increase their connection to the Force until they are able to synchronize with the entire planet of Lothal and drive out whatever darkness is lurking there.

    Even if Filoni and Co. don’t tie up every single loose thread about this saga by the series ending, I am confident they will give a resolution regarding the future of the Ghost’s crew and I *hope* we’ll finally know what’s going on with Ahsoka Tano.

    • Mike applauds Stella.
      That Ezra and Kanan are learning an entirely new relationship with the Force, that it has to do with Lothal, that it is in opposition to the Empire. Yes, and we see less of the Force deployed as an adjunct to fighting, and more as a transcendent mystical intelligence, a mysterious power that compels and directs.
      Kanan didn’t save Zeb with a Force hold, he hauled the big guy up with his own muscle, and Ezra didn’t Force push the reptilian captain into the furnace, he just let it unfold.
      Personally, I think it’s great that the Force is something more than just a weapons technology, that it transcends time and space, and that when it seems so small, it’s as big as the Universe.

    • I really need to read that novel! I think I’ll do that over the holiday break! Thanks so much for the awesome comment, Stella! ^_^

  2. Thanx for the review, you mentioned several things that also stood out over here.
    First, regarding Ezra, I’m probably the only guy who sees that after the complete destruction of Heras’ wing, it was painfully obvious that the primary focus had to be to save whoever he could to fight another day. There was no way their small force could have rescued anyone against an entire alerted Imperial garrison. Retreat was the only option. Emotionally, the result was devastating, and the escape allows time for rebalancing and saying goodbye to brave fallen brothers and sisters.
    Ezra really needs to regrow his hair,
    Kanan/Caleb, if I may be so bold I am as tired of hearing certain experts demand he must die, as the rest of the country is about this ridiculous Russia scare. The experts didn’t get the journey our rebels took with the Loth Wolves, and they don’t get that Dume has a major piece of the puzzle to figure out. We won’t get to be there for it if they kill the character!!!!! Kanan/Caleb is our primary window into the Force, and he is not infallible.
    Kanan has just been reminded, I definitely agree, and the reminder was swift and unambiguous, as in…NO NOT THAT WAY!
    Hera will not be abandoned, and she alone has the full respect of Thrawn. Something big is going to happen here, I just feel it.
    Sorry for repeating myself, but gawd I hope Rukh learns the error of his ways via a Lightsaber!
    Rebel Assault was a thrilling experience, one that left me with a deep aaaarrrrrrgggggghh over the two month long break. I really wish there was a season 5.

    • What I would give for a 5th season! :( Thanks for always leaving such thoughtful comments, Mike! ^_^

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