‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Jedi Night” and “DUME”

The creators of Star Wars Rebels wasted no time in the hour long mid-season premiere, taking us to an expected yet simultaneously unexpected place where this particular series hadn’t gone before. “Jedi Night” kicks off the emotional ride and makes you think the chess game is over—that the King has been toppled over and there no moves left to make. “DUME” pulls you back to reality, forcing you to come to terms with the fact that this game isn’t over and reminding you there is still more at stake.

Sometimes, our own expectations of how a story should go tend to hold us back from enjoying said story. Yet somehow, the double-episode premiere managed to break those expectations, and instead of being bitter about certain parts of the story and how they didn’t go the way I originally wanted, I’m actually praising the creative decisions that played out in these episodes, specifically those pertaining to Kanan’s death.

I hate it when characters die. It bothers me that this is almost always the destination for most characters, and the fact that some people crave for it borders on disgusting. Personally, I wanted Kanan to survive to prove there are other fates out there in the galaxy. That there was something bigger for him out there. The final moments of “Jedi Night” took the opposite route of what I wanted, but I’m neither mad nor feeling cheated. Am I unhappy about the fact that Kanan and Hera won’t live out the rest of their lives together? Of course, but I also know how to separate my fantasies from the story that plays out on the screen.

I think this is a fitting end for Kanan, especially when taking into consideration the kind of past he’s had. He ran away to survive and his Master sacrificed herself to ensure his survival happened. In a way, he was doing the same thing Depa Billaba did all those years ago. Then, there’s the subtle callback to when Kanan and Hera first met in A New Dawn. She was in trouble and he wedged himself in to try and help her, so their relationship ended in a similar way to how it started.

Like some fans, I also thought, “He could have just jumped into the ship and escaped with them. They had ample enough time!” In doing that, however, I’m ignoring the will of the Force. When Hera and Kanan are on the glider trying to escape, Kanan is the one to say, “Can you make it to the fuel depot?” He already had a goal in mind. He knew how this story was going to end, and his will continues to exist in the form of the giant Loth-wolf because even though he helped accomplish one mission, the mission to save the Jedi Temple is something he was also warned about through the Loth-wolves. I know not everyone agrees, but I have been such a fan of the Force concepts introduced in this show, and while some demand clear and cut answers, I like the general mystery that comes with the Loth-wolves and how they interact with Kanan and Ezra.

Another aspect of the story that didn’t sit well with people was Hera’s torturing session, specifically how the interrogation droid removed Hera’s ability to make her own decisions. While I don’t fully agree with some of the perspectives out there, since I don’t believe that the truth serum or the act of using truth serum pushed Hera to confess her feelings, I do think it was unnecessary for Hera to be in that kind of condition to begin with. The mistreatment of women in television, movies, and other media has gone far enough for us to question why we do it. Just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it right, so I wish the writers could have removed the drugged part of the episode because instead of being concerned for her wellbeing, the audience was laughing. I think the situation was mishandled, and it could have been done without it. And as for the cliché and drama factor involved in the last minute confession, I think the declaration of love isn’t any better or worse than the confession scenes between Leia and Han in The Empire Strikes Back and Anakin and Padmé in Attack of the Clones. They were all dramatic with music playing in the background and doom looming above them. This isn’t anything new for Star Wars, and as a romantic at heart, I genuinely liked that part and felt the emotions between both characters due to the amazing performances of Vanessa Marshall and Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Something else that I loved about “DUME,” in particular, was how each character remained in-character when it came to their approach and reaction to Kanan’s death. Zeb and Sabine obviously left to blow off some steam, Hera felt regret and questioned her choices, and Ezra felt alone and afraid. I also like how they brought themselves back up in the wake of Kanan’s death, knowing that there’s still a mission to accomplish and that Kanan would want them to follow through with it.

Lastly, I know fans still found ways to be annoyed by Ezra or say that he was wallowing in self-pity, but as a fan of his character, I was proud to see how much he’d grown, especially when it came to losing someone close to him. Back in season one, when the Grand Inquisitor killed Kanan in a Force illusion, Ezra’s reaction was to grab his Master’s lightsaber and attack the Inquisitor out of anger. When Kanan was captured at the end of season one, Ezra’s reaction was to go behind Hera’s back and do things according to how he felt because he didn’t want to let go. Several seasons later, Ezra’s at a point where he truly has lost his Master and friend, but he didn’t respond in anger or hate or with this need for revenge. Yeah, he closed himself up and succumbed to his fears, but he didn’t react the way most people would expect a teenager to react. That is something I truly appreciate from the writers because they didn’t go with the stereotypical reaction for someone his age, and with a little bit of guidance from Dume, he was able to get himself out of the closed mindset. So even after death, Kanan still has an influence over him, and if that’s not making you cry like it’s making me cry right now as I write this, then I don’t know what else to tell you!

Overall, I thought these two episodes were an emotionally rough and exhilarating ride. With that said, not everything was perfect. There were some issues, as previously noted, that could have been avoided had a woman been part of the writing crew because a different perspective would have been brought to the table. I think certain things would have been caught and changed in that case. Saying these things doesn’t negate the fact that I am still a huge fan of this show and the concepts it has introduced to the Star Wars galaxy, but it’s also important to point out the flaws and missed opportunities because how else will things be improved as we move forward?

Until next time, make sure to visit the episode guides (“Jedi Night” and “DUME“) and tune into the next episodes on Monday, February 26, 2018, on Disney XD.

Thank you for visiting TWG, where we provide news, reviews, and opinion pieces pertaining to the Star Wars animated shows! You can also find us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Tumblr. Send us news, tips, and inquiries here or visit our Contact page. Lastly, if you’re looking to add a few Star Wars podcasts to your playlist, check out our Podcasts page.

5 comments on “‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Jedi Night” and “DUME”

  1. What a waste. This sums up my entire response to the Kanan death scene. I’ve heard over and over again the youtubers scream for this character’s death, because it didn’t fit Yoda telling Luke he would be the last Jedi in ROTJ. It got so bad I quit visiting their pages.
    I see this death as a nod to their unimaginative demands, and I don’t like it.
    Rian Johnson finally got the SW movies past this” last Jedi ” fixation, but we still have to suffer through it in Rebels. I sincerely hope that this is the last series to deal with constricted story arcs, like this entire “last Jedi ” meme.
    Yes, I know, we now have Kanan as the great Loth Wolf, and for this I am grateful, but this last double episode is downright depressing. I am thoroughly disgusted both by Rukh, and Guv Price, although the handling of the Tie Defender was well crafted, with a bitter irony.
    I fully understand the objections to the torture of women, and I agree that normalizing this is highly disturbing, and simply adds to a really bad feeling, but I would point out that torture is unmistakable in SW, and also rather prevalent, which should be examined and reevaluated Rey is tortured, Leia is tortured, and so were Kanan, Poe and Han. What is up with this fascination with torture?????
    Perhaps it’s time this question gets asked.
    I’m left with a feeling that the Rebels team is trying to close the story in record time, but now that they’ve killed off Kanan, the next obvious question is, are they going to deal with the Padawan with the same simplicity? I mean, before I turned them off, the youtubers were demanding that “last Jedi” meme be adhered to with fanatical fidelity.
    One aspect of Rebels I have always loved is their truly daring exploration of the Force. Until Rian Johnson, Rebels shut down the movies, making the universe a truly more wondrous place. I hope these last few episodes will continue this effort, and give us a view of the SW universe that is inspiring.
    Ultimately, in this double episode I can’t get past the cruelty, the evil, and the disjointed insistence upon the Jedi temple. The temple has already been defiled by the Inquisitors, and the promise was to loot it for anything useful to the Sith. Surely this has been ongoing, thus I hope the sudden urgency is explained.
    Finally, order 66 and Vader doomed the Clone Wars with its closed arc, and Rebels is just a deja vu for myself. I sincerely hope the rest of the series charts out some new territory rather than just frying everything and calling it done. I suppose I’m a little worried about it after this double whammy. I don’t know if the Rebels team is even aware of how much of a sucker punch they delivered. One thing for certain, this fan is going to proceed with caution.

    • Johnamarie Macias

      I still need to read up on other comments, but I’m curious to know how you feel about Kanan’s death now after having watched the rest of the series? Have your thoughts changed on it?

  2. Jon Hodges

    I have to say, JM, excellent article, and you made some good points.

    As a fan fiction writer, I can appreciate Filoni’s vision for many aspects of Rebels. Sometimes it’s a hit and miss kind of thing, but I have always enjoyed when he goes big on his episodes. When Dave Filoni goes for epic, he nails it fantastically, and in my humble opinion, he went big with Jedi Night. I love writing epic Star Wars stories, and my best memories of the show are when Dave goes for the epic “touchdown” in the stories (Ahsoka vs Vader, Ezra’s big speech at the end of Season 1, etc). The rescue and sacrifice here are practically like watching Beowulf for me.

    Many of us suspected Kanan would meet a dramatic end in the series, but this was an incredible moment. I do understand your concern for the torture segment with Hera, but I believe it had to epic there as well. This had to be one of those moments in the series where the kid gloves had to come off, and, for me, it hit the right notes to make this a very Star wars kind of adventure.

    Thrawn and Pryce had to be over the top evil (The gothic organ score was excellent in this), making Kanan’s entrance and rescue all the more satisfying. From here on out, everything is Saga-sized, and it’s the all-or-nothing days for the Ghost crew.

    The confession of love, while perhaps unnecessary (Let’s face it, we ALL knew they loved each other) it was a nice touch. And I think we needed it as an audience before the big moment. Kanan getting his sight back at the very end punctuated this in the best way possible, and I LOVE it when when an epic story goes for that. It’s icing on the cake.

    I tend to be polite or quiet most of the time when watching Rebels, I have my nitpicks, but when the story gets epic, I get the awesome chills down the spine, and it really worked well in these two episodes.

    Great fight in “Dume” with Sabine and Zeb going after the Imperials and Thrawn’s Assassin, and I like the mysticism of the wolves.

    Ezra may have felt the fear in “Dume”, but he came along very well in these episodes, and I think his greatest moment is yet to come.

    • Hey Jon, where can I read your fanfiction? I also write it, though my “Rebels” stories tend to go dark and intense. I do try to handle them with tact and not become too graphic. I’m intrigued that the sacrifices make you think of “Beowoulf” while Star Wars, especially the original trilogy, reminds me of Shakespeare themes. “Rebels” has a lot of cowboy Western elements in it too.

  3. Thank you for sharing such a well-thought insightful review of the two-part story. What did you think of the scene of Hera adding Kanan’s piece to her kalikori?

    I also wanted Kanan to survive, to go on, and live “happily ever after” with Hera. And yet, this being “Star Wars”, I can’t think of a single protagonist who has escaped unscathed, either by losing their life abruptly or losing someone close to them. As for Kanan being connected to something greater than himself, I think at this point in the saga he had reached his own stage of enlightenment and was ready to transcend into that something else, on a different spiritual plane. He’s tapped into the greatness of the Force and if this show was all about family from the start, he chose wisely by putting himself in the line of fire for their sake.

    What intrigues me is that no matter how much fans predicted Kanan would die (because it’s a classic SW trope to lose the mentor) the storymakers did a good job letting his story progress without foreshadowing it. So when he did die, it still had the emotional impact on the viewers. In the “Rebels Recon” I do think Dave Filoni looked like he had tears in his eyes. It certainly wasn’t a useless death or careless choice; to lose a character as beloved as Kanan is to end a chapter in an epic story.

    My emotions are bittersweet on Kanan’s sacrifice. I’m sad that he died because he was a selfless and loving character and I felt he *deserved* to have a long happy life. But in life we don’t know what we’re getting and we certainly cannot have control over what we are worthy of. I am grateful we got to know this wonderful character who has emulated such noble qualities and inspired them in others, especially Ezra.

    As for Ezra wallowing in self-pity, everyone on his team is dealing with it in their own way. He wouldn’t be an ordinary person with feelings if he didn’t curl up and be sad for a while. I almost wished he would cry or scream out, though he’s probably reacting by being silent and closed up. Fortunately, he didn’t stay in his dark place for long and allowed himself to become briefly lost, and then led to the next step of his mission.

    One last thing: I’m sure a lot of us thought Pryce was foolish to blow up the fuel supply but I think that’s the point: she wears a military uniform but she is a politician, NOT a strategist. She is so driven that she cannot see the consequences of her actions. No wonder Thrawn was disgusted with her actions. Between his disdain for Pryce and the TIE defender case to the Emperor, there are cracks growing in the Empire’s armor.

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