The Empire's plans for Lothal become clearer in Star Wars Rebels 4.8

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Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels or don't want to know what happened, turn away now. Or, y'know, go watch and come back so we can talk about it.

Following "Kindred," the big question is: what now? Well, the first thing is getting in touch with Hera. What do you do when you need a signal? Hijack the nearest Imperial ore crawler. I mean, it's not like you can just borrow someone's iPhone, right?

Before I say anything, I just have to point out that Ryder Azadi is a total downer. Seriously, dude, you've seen these people pull wins out of thin air and you're still like, "How do we even know your fancy pilot made it?". Not cool, Ryder. Not cool.

But Kanan's right. Hera made it and they need to be ready to help.

Last episode, Kanan mentioned that whatever the Empire's doing on Lothal felt "sinister." Strip-mining the planet would definitely count. I have a feeling it's worse than that but this is bad enough for now. 

Back on Yavin, Hera Syndulla is facing what so many before her have faced: long odds and understandable skepticism. The TIE Defender Elite is a threat. That much Dodonna, Mon Mothma and Bail Organa can agree on. But knowing there's a threat isn't the same as being willing to fight against it. Their reasons make sense if you look at it logically, but it's awfully hard to argue with the logic that keeping those TIE from ever being produced is worth the risk.

On a purely cinematic note, the sequence of the Lothal team flying into the smoke and devastation behind that ore crawler was gorgeous. It's strange to call dark, billowy clouds of destruction gorgeous, but there you go. The animation on Rebels has some truly spectacular moments. This episode had a number of them.

Speaking of spectacular moments, can we all give a tip of the hat to Seth Green as Captain Seevor? I can only assume that it was his compelling performance that enthralled our Rebels and allowed him to press that alarm button. Not to mention their inability to cover his mouth effectively. I mean, how can you silence those dulcet tones. (Incidentally, did anyone else think this was Harvey Fierstein for a sec? I totally did.)

I'm amused that Ezra's become the go-to guy for vocal impersonations. I mean, it's not like he's got a great track record. But I definitely appreciate the slapstick part of this episode. Especially when you consider the multiple levels we're dealing with.

Ultimately, this episode has two goals: find a way to let people know what the Empire is up to on Lothal and have Hera persuade command to greenlight the mission against the TIE factory. Also in there is finding a way to communicate with Hera. Of course, you're doing all of this one a show made for kids, so you have to find a way to make it fun, funny, and engaging.

In the middle of all of that, they managed to slip a killer fight scene into this episode and they saved Vizago (I was wondering how they'd manage that). That fight scene between Zeb and the Trandoshan slave master was hardcore! Seeing Zeb go up against a species known for their warrior skills and watching him really get to fight was so interesting. I winced more than a few times watching it. 

And Vizago. How cute was that? His delight at being saved and then his disappointment. You could just see how crestfallen he was. Having them rescue him without meaning to added a new dimension to the relationship they have with him and I have a feeling this means we'll see him again before this season is over. Maybe he'll even join the Rebellion? We know how the Rebellion loves a good scoundrel.

But the big thing here, at least for me, was Hera's speech to the council.

Upon hearing that Lothal is about to evacuate all Imperial personnel from the planet, Hera gives a speech that's right up there when it comes to heroic speeches. She's 100% correct when she says now is the time and it's both her passion and conviction that ultimately sway the council. 

It's a reminder that, no matter how many people you have in the Rebel Alliance, it's the leaders who make the most happen and Hera certainly is a leader. Now we all have to hope that the mission is a success. Personally, I think this'll be the mission that gets her promoted to General, but we'll see. I hope it is. Because I'd really like to see our Rebels have a big win. They deserve it.

Of course, we have Thrawn to contend with -- and he's angry enough to be unstable right now. We'll find out next week if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

That'll do it for this week. See you next time, and may the Force be with you.

Star Wars Rebels will air two episodes each Monday starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.