Star Wars Rebels: “The Occupation” & “Flight of the Defender”: episode review

Welcome back to The Elven Padawan’s reviews of Star Wars Rebels‘ fourth and final season!

Shay and Audrey are back to review the latest two episodes from season four, “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender”, both of which aired in the U.S. on Disney XD on October 30th, 3017.

These episodes saw our favorite Rebel team return to the place where it all got started, Ezra Bridger’s home planet of Lothal. Currently under Imperial occupation and being used to manufacture countless war-machines as testaments of the Empire’s might, Lothal has changed a lot since we last saw it, and Shay and Audrey share their reactions to that, as well as to the new hints these episodes gave on some mysterious creatures who seemingly will play a big part in this story, as well as where the series is taking us overall. There are plenty of SPOILERS for the current episodes of the fourth season here, so read at your own risk!!

I hope you enjoy this review, and be looking forward to The Elven Padawan’s reviews for the rest of the season, including “Kindred” and “Crawler Commanders”, two new episodes that will be airing this coming Monday. You can also get caught up on Shay and Audrey’s past reviews for Star Wars Rebels season 4 episodes here: “Heroes of Mandalore” and “In the Name of the Rebellion”.


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The Ghost crew is back to fighting the Empire on Lothal! But so many things are different now…. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Before we even get going on the details of these two episodes, I was wondering if you had any initial thoughts or reactions, things that really stood out to you, from them?

 

Audrey: I spent pretty much the whole day after I watched them thinking about Loth-Wolves and “Dume.” I also realized how many things mirror past episodes, mostly from season one, only with the stakes much higher.

Shay: I did the same when it came to those wolves! There was a lot of very intriguing stuff there, and I’m really impatient to find out what they meant by it all….
I’m also realizing just how right Mr. Dave was when he said everything since the beginning has been all thought-out and nothing was filler, that it all had a purpose. It all makes so much sense now that we’re here and the end and it’s all tying together.
I also was thinking about how strong Ezra’s ties to his home were, as opposed to Pryce, who is also from Lothal, and couldn’t care less about how the Empire is destroying it.
Audrey: Lothal is so sad looking! It’s changed so much. I forgot how long it’s been since we’ve really seen much of it. I think the only episode on Lothal last year was “An Inside Man”.

 

Shay: When Vizago’s ship first went into the atmosphere and we got a good look at the surface of the planet, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. It was so natural before, something we don’t get a whole lot of in Star Wars, and seeing it the way they’ve done it now makes me want to cry.

Something that also struck me really hard about it was how much it reminded me of Dathomir, for some reason. And Dathomir is such a dead, desolate world, everything about it seems so dark and heavy.

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Lothal….

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and Dathomir… Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: I think Ezra handled it pretty well though; if that was my planet that entire parts of where burning, I don’t even know how I would handle it.
When Mon Mothma told him he could go, Ezra made it sound like he wasn’t coming back to the Rebellion, so at least that provides a good way he doesn’t have to meet Luke in between now and ESB. I love how Hera immediately said they were all going.

 

Shay: He did very well not letting his anger get a hold on him, and instead using those feelings to make him more determined to get rid of the Empire. I love seeing how much our little Blueberry has grown!

That’s a very good point, and something I want to touch on for a moment: Ezra seems like he’s decided that he’s staying on Lothal. Now, we know Ezra has said things in the past that he’s regretted later, and he often makes rash decisions. Do you think this could turn into one of those, where he eventually sees that, like Hera believes, the only way to free one planet is to get the entire Empire out of the way? Because Ezra at this point seems to be taking much of the same mentality as Cham does, and wanting to try to free his people first, when that’s really pretty impossible. What do you think about all this?

Audrey: I think if they can do some good for the people on Lothal, then Ezra won’t completely regret it. He might regret having everyone come with him if something happens. He said he’s had a long time to think about this, so it’s not his most rash decision, but he sure seemed to be questioning his choice while they were in the sewers.
Also, about only freeing one planet, it could be argued that some planets are suffering worse than others. Maybe the Empire doesn’t have a factory on a certain planet, or they’re not mining kyber from it. Some worlds won’t make it if they have to wait until the Rebellion is strong enough to take the Empire down completely.
Shay: I wonder, though, if something very bad does happen, could it result in him walking away entirely? Not turning Dark, but just walking away like Ahsoka? So he can have a chance to watch from a distance and figure things out for himself?
Audrey: It’s hard to picture Ezra watching from a distance, he’s so involved. But if something happened, it would change him a lot, like after Malachor. If he did step back, I feel like it wouldn’t be for very long, unless he completely gives up hope.
Shay: But do you think it’s a futile effort, that in the end they’ll realize that there’s no way to push the Empire off of just one planet at a time?
Audrey: That’s true, they definitely can’t win the entire war that way. They’re in a tough spot. It’s like what Mon Mothma said about this being a time of difficult choices.
Shay: I would like to know what all the others characters think about what they’re doing. It’s obvious that Lothal has a special place in all their hearts, and I know they talked about this in the Rebels Recon for these episodes. But I’m curious about whether the others have decided what they’re really planning to do in the long run or not. Like you mentioned before, Hera quickly said that the whole crew was going together, and it reminds us all again that they really are a family and all stick together when it comes to these situations. But do you think they know about Ezra’s implied decision to stay with Lothal for good? It seems that if he does that, he would have to leave not only the greater Rebellion, but his family on the Ghost as well, and unlike Sabine and Zeb, and even Hera, he doesn’t have any family anywhere else. He and Kanan are really alone aside from each other and the rest of the Ghost family. And we know Hera eventually goes back to the Alliance and is there for quite a few more years. So is that to be taken as a sign that something bad will happen and the survivors will go back to the Alliance alone, or just that they’ll have to make hard decisions and the family will have to break up while the war is going?
Audrey: As sad as breaking up the family would be, I’d like that better then something awful happening.
Shay: I will have to agree with you 100% on that…
Here’s an item that I totally loved in these episodes: all the connections! I know we touched on this a little before, but just wow. Puffer pigs, Vizago, references to Hondo Ohnaka and Lando Calrissian, Jai Kell, Baron Valen Rudor, the “Academy days”, Sabine’s symbol, escaping through the sewers…. and not to mention the whole “We just stole a TIE Fighter when we didn’t mean to” thing! These episodes were not only amazing call-backs to the earlier seasons, but showed just how much everything has changed since then.
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Return of the Puffer Pigs! Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: I love how “all the paths are coming together.” (So far, at least..) All the episodes that some people looked down on when the show started up are coming into play. I really don’t know how people can say this show is terrible.
Shay: I know! I do understand how some people kinda rolled their eyes at the first several episodes of the first season, even I did that. But people still hate on it because of those ones, and it’s grown so much from then! And we’re seeing all the time that what they’ve always said is absolutely true, there is no filler in this thing. Everything that has happened has been important and is now coming back to remind us of that, and even the entire show is coming to be connected to the rest of the series in such awesome ways.

Just look at what they’ve done with Jai! I really never expected to see him back again, even though I have wanted it really bad since first seeing the episode with him and Ezra in the Academy.

There is one thing that really throws me, however, and that’s why he was even on Lothal in the first place. After Ezra was able to help him escape from the Empire way back in season one, it was implied that the Rebellion helped him and his mom get into hiding somewhere, since they were pretty sure he was Force-sensitive and Project Harvester was still in full-swing then. But now we find him right back on Lothal and helping with Ryder’s rebel cell there.
Audrey: Maybe he felt like Ezra, that he needed to come back and help his people. Or maybe they found him a hiding place on Lothal, though that does seem like they would have gone for a less obvious choice.
Shay: You would have thought the Empire would have been able to hunt him down by now if he was nearby, especially if he was around Old Jho’s place a lot. Of course, he does look pretty different now, even Ezra didn’t recognize him…
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Jai Kell in the Imperial Academy, from the season one episode “Breaking Ranks”. Source: StarWars.com

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Jai Kell now, from the season four episode “The Occupation”. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: We haven’t talked about a very important part! That Kanera moment!
Ok I actually don’t have many thoughts on it except how disappointed Kanan looked, but it still definitely needs to be mentioned.
Shay: Yes we have to talk about that!
Poor Kanan, I kinda feel bad for the guy… every time they start to get somewhere concerning their relationship something else has to get in the way.
Do you think we’re actually going to get some more resolution on this soon, or is it Mr. Dave teasing us and we’re gonna keep getting little “almost” things like this throughout the whole season? I don’t know what I’m going to do if I have to go all mid-season break wondering about it, but it really looks like that’s the way it’ll go!
Audrey: Mr. Dave loves to tease us so much, so I bet he waits until the finale or the episode right before to really resolve anything. Mid-season break is going to feel loooong.

 

Shay: Ug, I know!! I’m already feeling it, and it’s still weeks away!!

And now, because we haven’t actually talked about it yet…
THE LOTH-WOLF!
Just give me what you were thinking when it first came on and knocked Sabine out.
Audrey: First I was thinking “What just happened, how did it do that?” And I was a bit put-off, and felt like Ezra when he almost reached for his lightsaber. Definitely not how I imagined Sabine getting knocked out.
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Ezra and an unconscious Sabine take a ride on a mystical white Loth-wolf to escape the Empire. Source: StarWars.com

 

Shay: I’m not even sure if I was thinking clearly when I first saw it… I didn’t know what exactly was going to happen, but like you said, I definitely never imagined that happening to Sabine! I figured the wolf wasn’t going to out-right hurt them at that point, though, as it and the cat had seemed to be trying to keep up with them and help guide them for a while now.

What do you think about the wolf having that effect on Sabine, and actually seeming to have the ability to talk some? Do you think that was all through the Force, or was it something the wolf just naturally has the ability to do?
Audrey: I get why the wolf had to do that, Sabine can’t see it (it also seemed like she couldn’t see the white Loth-Cat earlier), and if Ezra told her to ride on something that she couldn’t see was there, even with the trust she has in Ezra, I don’t think she’d believe him…
I think the talking ability comes from the Force, because no other animals have talked, have they?

 

Shay: Not that I know of…

I think it was all through the Force as well, because it wouldn’t work for the wolf to just be invisible and her to still be able to ride on it… That just doesn’t seem like it would follow with the rules of how these things tend to go…
I wonder if it’s only Ezra that can see these animals, or if it’s all, or at least certain, Force users? We know Ezra could hear the purgill singing and it seemed like even Kanan was unable to hear that, and I don’t think it was ever fully confirmed whether he saw the white loth-cat before, when Ezra followed it to Ryder in season two.
Audrey: I think at least Kanan will be able to see them– Wait, what am I saying??He’ll be able to hear/touch them, because we know he gets to meet them later and that they have something to do with him directly.

 

Shay: That makes sense.

Here’s something else I noticed, too: do you think there’s a connection between the white Loth-wolf, the white Loth-cat, and the Convor-owl with the light markings? There seems to be a common thread through all of them and the way they seem to be watching over Ezra, Kanan, and even Ahsoka while she was around. 
Audrey: They each seem to be trying to help and protect them, like they’re trying to help make up for the fact that they’re some of the only Jedi, or near-Jedi, left.
Shay: I find it especially interesting that that one convor was on Malachor after Ahsoka disappeared, almost as if it were continuing to watch over her even though everyone else had given up on her, thinking she was dead.
It’s also interesting how each one seems attracted to a particular member of that group: the convor to Ahsoka, the loth-cat to Ezra, and the wolf possibly to Kanan. Each those animals really symbolize each of those characters, and seem to almost represent them, in some way, though we don’t know what it is yet.

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Audrey: I wonder what the dark colored wolves represent? The white ones are beautiful and majestic, their size makes them a little intimidating, but the dark ones that are growling at Ezra in that part in the trailer are just a tiny bit creepy to me. Also that part where you see their eyes coming out of the darkness. That’s going to be interesting.
Shay: I’m assuming those are just the “normal” ones, like how there are regular loth-cats and convorees that have regular coloration and don’t seem to have anything special about them.
Do you have any thoughts on what the wolf meant with the last thing it said to Ezra? If the closed captioning on the episode is to believed, it said “Dume”, which we can take as a reference to “Caleb Dume”, Kanan’s real name. No one has called Kanan that since Order 66, and the only reference we’ve have to it in Rebels was Maul seemingly pulling it from Hera while mind-probing her.
Audrey: It might have something to do with the revelation that Mr.Dave said Kanan was going to have.
I wonder if it will tie into his fate over all, or will just guide him on the right path?
Shay: I don’t know, but I certainly can’t wait to see how it all goes down!
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What did you think of these episodes? Do you have any predictions for what the wolf has in store for Kanan and Ezra? How do you plan to survive the mid-season break? Let me know in the comments!

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