Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen Star Wars Rebels episodes "Wolves and a Door" and "A World Between Worlds," or don't want to know what happened, turn away now.
While the Ghost crew is reeling from and grieving Kanan's death, there's still a mission to complete; the Jedi Temple is in danger and our Rebels need to stop the Empire from gaining access. Which means they need to get to the temple as soon as possible and, given the distance, they're going to need help.
As the wolves travel, we hear and see moments from the past and get a quick refresher of Kanan and Ezra's bond and how it relates to the fate of Lothal itself. Hera's hope, Ahsoka's new day, Kanan's lack of fear -- it's interesting to hear it again after all we've been through, isn't it? It's also interesting to hear Ezra say the wolves are on Lothal's side, especially when you consider their role in getting Ezra through the gateway.
When we reach the temple, we get the scope of what the Empire has done and are reminded, once again, that the ends tend to justify the means when it comes to what the Emperor wants. While his servant Minister Hydan is concerned about any damage to the artifacts, he's not interested in keeping the temple intact, just the clues on how to get inside and find the gateway to what the Emperor calls "a conduit between the living and the dead." That can't go wrong in a million ways, can it?
It's thanks to the words of the Emperor that we learn more about the significance of Kanan's sacrifice. As the Emperor says, Kanan's death has altered the fate of Lothal, and even he isn't able to see what those changes are. Given that the Empire has given Lothal so much attention, it's safe to assume that, before Kanan gave his life, Lothal's fate worked in favor of the Emperor's goal, which means Kanan may well have saved more people than we realize.
It's also Kanan who influences Hera's decision to have Sabine and Ezra stay on mission once they learn the Emperor is involved. It makes sense. As strong as Hera is, she's just lost her partner and someone she loved deeply in this fight against the Empire. Her first instinct would be to keep those she loves safe. Kanan's appearance and a hand on her shoulder is a quiet support and, I'll admit, caused me to burst into tears.
Once they get the go-ahead, Ezra and Sabine work together to solve the puzzle and find a way through the gateway. It's a great look at how much these two have grown, both as people and as a team. Sabine's artistic sense and analytical mind guide Ezra as his Force abilities bring the Mortis mural to life, ultimately opening the gateway. The question is, what's on the other side?
It's around this point that you really get an idea of just what a genius Dave Filoni is. When we lost Ahsoka Tano at the end of Season 2 of Rebels, everyone wondered what her fate was. Would we see her again? Is she dead? Does Ahsoka live? Filoni left us all wondering. Personally, I've wondered how much of this series he's had planned from the start, and now we have a little more information on that.
Bryan Young tipped me to this bit of art for a Topps card that dropped almost 2 years ago, and I think it's safe to say that, yes, Dave Filoni had a plan.
From the moment Ezra enters the portal, we hear voices again (Dave said we would): Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Yoda, Ahsoka, and other past echoes threaded with voices from the future beyond Rebels -- Rey, Luke, Maz, Jyn Erso, and Kylo Ren, just to name a few.
For her part, Sabine's got her own job to do and finds herself face to face with Minister Hydan. The Minister thinks she should feel flattered that Grand Admiral Thrawn has collected some of her art. It really is all about a certain point of view, isn't it? But we know Sabine's both stalling for time and sussing things out. How much does the Empire know? How can she help Ezra and keep him safe? Especially when he's in a place where he can access all of space and time?
We see just how much influence Ezra has in this place when he pulls Ahsoka Tano through the portal just as Vader is about to strike a deathblow, changing her fate in an instant and answering a question we've had for years. Now we know; Ahsoka Lives! We also have our connection between Ahsoka, the convor, and the Daughter. Some of you caught that ages ago, but confirmation is always nice.
We also get a little more insight into the connection between Kanan and the wolf called Dume. As Ahsoka explains, Dume is a way for Kanan to guide Ezra as part of the Cosmic Force (Filoni's old school Star Wars lore knowledge is fully on display in this episode). Unfortunately, while Kanan likely sent Ezra to the temple to keep the Emperor out of the portal, Ezra's full-steam ahead on the idea that Kanan sent Ezra here to save Kanan from death, much the same way he just saved Ahsoka.
Oh, kid, talk about a hard lesson.
It makes so much sense that Ahsoka is the one to get Ezra through one of the biggest challenges in all of Star Wars. We've seen this before; a padawan who, faced with a future in which someone they love dies, is swayed to the dark side by the promise of saving them. Anakin Skywalker is what happens when you choose the fate of a loved one over the fate of the galaxy. Ezra Bridger faces that same test, and thanks to Ahsoka, chooses the path of a Jedi.
Unfortunately, Ezra's also attracted the attention of the Emperor, and once the Eye of Sauron's looking your way, it's hard to escape. The race to close the gateway and escape the Emperor is on. It's only by combining their efforts that Ezra and Ahsoka make it out, and even that's by the skin of their teeth. The scene is also a stark reminder of how terrifying the Emperor is, especially at the height of his power. Something tells me he won't take losing his prey lightly, and he'll be more prepared the next time he and Ezra are face to face.
While we're talking about it, this exchange caught my attention:
Ezra: “When you get back, come and find me.”
Ahsoka: “I will. I promise.”
Does that mean she'll be back for the finale?
I smiled at Ezra's confidence that Sabine will know how to close the gateway without knowing what her circumstances are, but he's right. There's something extra special about it being the Minister who gives her the final piece to that particular puzzle before Zeb, Hera, and Chopper execute one hell of a rescue op. Sabine's no slouch either, as she uses Stormtroopers to cushion her slide as the trailer tips upward.
This team can do anything. Extra points for Chopper driving that drill with maniacal glee.
There's something the Emperor says as he's got Ezra by the ankle that also intrigued me: "Show me the way, Ezra. Help me." Maul needed Ezra at the Sith Temple. The Emperor has Vader, but still needs Ezra. I wonder why?
But if it has anything to do with the Jedi Temple, the Emperor is out of luck. The Jedi Temple, with Ezra's Force nudge, has sealed itself and is protecting its secrets once again. Likely forever. Now we know why we haven't heard anything about the temple in Episodes 4 - 8.
In the end, we're left with a moment between Ezra Bridger and his Master, Kanan Jarrus. Ezra's learned the lesson Kanan sent him to the Temple to learn. Now all that's left is goodbye.
Three more episodes. I'm not sure any of us are prepared.
The Star Wars Rebels series finale airs Mar. 5 at 8:30 pm PT/ET on Disney XD.