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.
Much like Luke Skywalker, Ezra Bridger finds himself haunted by a Force vision of friends in danger. But this time, it looks like the Force is guiding him to help his friends when he and the crew of the Ghost are sent to Lothal to check out a warning about a new Imperial ship.
Ezra also says he's going to Lothal with the intent to stay there and continue the fight. It doesn't get addressed again, but something tells me that'll definitely come up in a future episode.
He has reason to be worried. Lothal's definitely changed. So much so that you can tell from space. This isn't the Lothal Ezra grew up in or even left behind. This is a full Imperial occupation and takeover. The Empire's using Lothal for her factories and resources all to aid the glorious Empire. Old Jho's establishment, once a gathering place that refused to fall in line with the Empire, is now owned by one of the Empire's most vaunted pilots, with the Imperial March playing in the background. (It was nice to see the old propaganda wanted posters, though!)
One of the things that struck me about this episode is how much of it comes down to relationships. Some of them were little moments: Zeb and Rex sharing a couple minutes and a joke, Rex and Kallus having a quick "talk" about who's in charge of the Ghost when Hera's away. Or the return of certain characters like Vizago (and the Puffer Pigs -- you know you missed the Puffer Pigs) and Jai Kell -- who were both set up early in Season 1.
But my favorite one is obvious if you've been reading my recaps for any length of time.
Yep. Kanan and Hera.
Some fans have been on the Kanera train since the very first short Disney released, others came to it after reading A New Dawn, and pretty much everyone else figured something was going on between these two by the end of Season 2, but this scene was something altogether different from any other interaction between these two, because it's the first time we get a confirmation that something's been going on between the two of them. For how long we don't know, but Kanan's comment implies that they've spent quality time alone together before and that kiss (interrupted kiss, damn you Filoni!) wasn't a first-time kiss.
So rejoice, Kanera shippers. We finally have canonical proof that these two have or have had a romantic relationship.
There are a couple of other things this episode established: a rebel navigation system in the Lothal sewers and the size and scope of the Imperial presence on Lothal.
The sewer escape and the new Imperial presence on Lothal made for a really exciting sequence of fight scenes that showed how much the crew has grown as a core fighting group and how they're faring against the Empire these days. From the look of it, they underestimated things at first; Ezra just walked into the bar assuming Jho was there and almost got caught, and Hera actually missed an escape window with that speeder. But everyone got their bearings and adjusted. It wasn't perfect, but they all got to Ryder in the end. So first mission accomplished.
We also had another Death Trooper this episode (voiced by the ever-talented Steve Blum), so we have more of an idea of how they're deployed. We know Krennic has a squad in Rogue One, and we know Thrawn travels with troopers of his own. But does their presence on both the Imperial ship and Lothal plus their command over the stormtroopers mean they're just a rank of trooper we hadn't met yet, or are they dispatched only in cases of interest to the Empire?
The bigger story that played out during the sewer sequence feels like the big takeaway this week. Ezra is still battling his feelings regarding Saw and balancing the needs of Lothal vs. the Rebellion. He blames himself for all of this, and he's really discouraged there for a while, but Sabine says what he needs hearing and he's back on track by the end.
What does Ezra blame himself for? He says it's for getting them lost in the sewers, but I think he's talking about the whole Lothal situation. Saw told him Lothal is a lost cause. Ezra feels guilt for leaving in the first place. So is he blaming himself for the fall of Lothal overall? And, if he is, how will he avoid the darkness inherent in that line of thinking?
I guess we'll find out.
You can read my recap of Episode 4.6, "Flight of the TIE Defender," here, and may the Force be with you.
P.S. Puffer Pig Ping Pong should totally be a game.
Star Wars Rebels will air two episodes each Monday starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.