Rebel Transmissions: Steps Into Shadow

The Rebel Transmissions have returned. And I’m still trying to figure out how it is time passed so quickly! The third season has begun, and I can only hope I’ll be able to organize my thoughts decently in this post. Well, won’t find out just sitting around! Let’s dive in!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Rebels episodes Rebel Resolve, Stealth Strike, Legends Of The Lasat, The Honorable Ones, Shroud Of Darkness, Twilight Of The Apprentice, and Steps Into Shadow

Y’know those surtitles or subtitles or whatever you wanna call ’em I put on my post headers? I came up with that concept when Padawanline was only a thought. I liked the idea of a quick clever line to define the episode in some way, whether it was a terrible pun (See: Wings Of The Master‘s “B-lieve It”) or a deep deep thought that truly did define the episode (See: Legacy‘s “Always There”). It’s fun coming up with the surtitle, but it’s also often exceedingly hard. Especially the more dramatic and deep the episode. Figuring out how to put Steps Into Shadow into one quick line was near impossible… until I came up with what you see up there. I feel it’s one of the best I’ve come up with, because it describes exactly where we find our master and padawan right now, and really the Ghost crew itself. Remember way way back on Rebel Resolve? Kanan was captured by the Empire, and Ezra was doing his best to lead the team to find him. When Kanan was there leading them, things went off without a hitch, even when they didn’t. But without him, things went south pretty fast. It’s really says a lot about who he is and how he’d changed. The Ghost wasn’t his, the idea of rebelling wasn’t his — that’s all Hera’s doing. But yet, he became Specter One. Because he believed in what Hera believed in, and in turn, he stepped up and became a better person, and eventually a true leader. His leadership soon went, however, from one of a small rebellion to that of a Jedi master when Ezra came along. And that role taught them both much. However… now Kanan feels he can’t lead, and Ezra has assumed the sort of the same role he once had. When I first heard Ezra would be leading the mission Steps Into Shadow surrounded, I was impressed. He must’ve learned much and become exceptionally skilled and mature, right? Well… though things go better than in Rebel Resolve… Ezra still has some growing up to do when it comes to achieving Kanan-status leadership. But I imagine it’s hard to become that kind of leader when Kanan hasn’t been around much lately. Either way, with Ezra struggling to fill the void his master left, things are most definitely out of balance.
All deep thoughts aside, the opening was a thrill. As soon as I saw Zeb and Sabine making their way right under the stormtroopers’ noses, I felt at home, as though I’d never left. But then Ezra comes up out of nowhere and delivers a solid punch to one of the bucketheads. Seeing Ezra here, looking so very grown-up… it was then I realized maybe I had been away for a while. Of course I’d known for a while that he’d gotten a haircut and stuff, but oh gracious… he really grew up. I still can’t get over how tall he is now. So strong and lean and significantly less of a kid than he was six months ago. And did I mention he’s leading this thing? Wow. I’m sorry I’m still going on about this but I these guys are practically my children and my children have suddenly grown up and it makes me wanna cry and hug ’em at the same time and I know that sounds weird so I will stop talking now. The Rebs are at this particular Imperial prison to rescue a particular individual — an old pirate named Hondo Ohnaka. Hehe the #OhnakaFever never stops around here! I’d wondered what happened to him after Legends Of The Lasat. It’s always a pleasure (even if the last time we saw him he was causing a little trouble). Especially when he happily addresses Zeb and Sabine as “Purple Guy” and “Mando Girl”. I absolutely died laughing at Zeb’s nickname XD Though Ezra’s glad to see his pirate buddy again, the Rebs had other reasons for the rescue. Hondo’s got the intel; Hondo and his ugnaught comrade both do. No time for reunions though look more ‘troopers! And Ezra turns a blaster on them in a split-second. He’s so quick on the draw it’s scary. Clearly he’s been doing more with Rex in his spare time. And maybe taking notes from Sabine, too. Whatever the case it’s impressive… and scary. Like tbh most of his methods right now. Oh and that new lightsaber tho. I’m definitely interested in knowing how he put it together, especially since Kanan likely wasn’t involved. Boyyyy can he do some stuff with that thing! Watching him so gracefully and forcefully fling that ‘saber makes me almost forget that there’s still something a bit… edgier… about his new methods. So short story short the ugnaught informant called no deal at the last second and was then tragically met with the other end of a walker gun. How’re they supposed to handle all these troopers? Ezra’s gonna handle it. As he reaches out with the Force, I jokingly commented “you don’t want to deal with the intruders, you want to go get pancakes”. Unfortunately, the walker driver and his fellow bucketheads don’t get any pancakes… what Ezra does is just plain scary. Actually that’s not good enough, try terrifying. The grimly justified look on Ezra’s face as the walker falls reminds me all-too much of a young Anakin Skywalker. And that alone gave me the shivers. “When did Kanan teach you that?” “He didn’t.” *Shudders* Before the season debuted, I understood that likely Ezra was going to continue playing with the darkness… but actually seeing it… no words. I’m actually sick with terror right now, and this is the second time I’ve watched it. At the start of the last season, I absolutely loved Ezra’s bright hopeful attitude, such a wonderful incredible change from his selfish, jaded self in the beginning. It seems the events of Twilight Of The Apprentice have changed him in a very different way. A very dark way. It’s sorta a swift punch to the gut. It’s not that he’s entirely changed. His fighting style was a little grittier than when we last saw him, but he’s clearly still got that confident swagger and genuine desire to help others he’s always had. He’s still Ezra Bridger. But after that stunt… and after many of his reactions we see in this season opener… there’s something not quite right. But for now everyone’s just glad when Hera and the Ghost swoop in and fly off. Also Zeb throwing out the term “wizard” was just the little spot of sunshine I needed about then XD I love that that backwater Tatooine slang is getting back into circulation amongst not only us superfans but also the SW universe itself! It’s wizard bruh! However, Hera is not finding the insanity that conspired to be too wizard. She remains undoubtedly THE BOSSLADY. Oh yeah and I do love her new outfit. It’s not all that different but it’s so cute I want to wear something similar in the average everyday. But wait that wasn’t the point. Yeah Hera wasn’t happy with the stuff Ezra overlooked and he isn’t happy with folks questioning his sheer awesomeness. Ezra’s out and everyone else is left with the awkwardness. Teenagers amiright?
In my Transmission on the last episode, I wrote Ezra had “many difficult decisions ahead of him”, and I’m thinking he may not have made the right decisions in some cases. Like remember that Sith holocron? He still has it. And not only that, he’s freely having conversations with The Presence. Which kinda threw me ’cause I thought she was just contained on the Malachor Sith temple, but evidently she’s also in the holocron, travel-size for your convenience. The Presence basically pats him on the back all “it’s OK dude, haters gonna hate”. Ezra won’t let anyone he cares for get hurt again, and he’ll gladly learn whatever he can to keep it that way. Oh Ez… please don’t. I get being well-rounded and understanding all sides of the Force, but you have to know where to draw the line in this constant battle between the light and the dark…
It seems Ezra’s small slightly-gone-south mission didn’t go unnoticed though. Governor Pryce noticed, and she’s making sure Tarkin notices. And they’re going to make sure a particularly skilled Imperial fleet notices. It is fascinating finally meeting the heard-of-but-never-seen-before Lothal Governor. She’s scary. Her icy stare could kill somebody. But she’s still quite cool. Also nice seeing Tarkin again since I read his book over the summer. All the same though, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
So howzabout that dirt Hondo promised? He knows about an Imperial salvaging operation destroying old Republic Y-wings on the daily, and the mini-Alliance could always use a few more ships in their fleet. I admit before this it had never even crossed my mind that Y-wings were an older sort of ship that were only brought into use again by the Rebel Alliance. I feel dumb that I didn’t know, but smarter now that I do know. That’s just how it is with SW, I guess. Always learning something new! 🙂 You get all that info for the low low price of $19.95 plus shipping and handling, major credit cards accepted. Lol no actually Hondo’s aiming for a nice ship. Something maybe with leather seats I’d bet. Not the Ghost though, don’t even joke about that ya scoundrel XP Ezra’s rarin’ to go and get them Y-wings, but Hera’s not terribly sure about the intel. Which is why Commander Sato not only puts Ezra in charge of the recon mission, but also gives him the new title of Lieutenant Commander. Congrats all around! Too bad Kanan isn’t here to see this. My heart hurt for Ezra as he commented on his master’s absence as of late. Not only is the Ghost crew out of balance without their Specter One, but I think Ezra is, too 😦 The fact he hadn’t been around struck me with both sadness and curiosity. What’s he been doing since Malachor? Why hasn’t he been with the family? Where was he then? I needed to know.
OK so they don’t answer all of those questions outright per se, but they do give us an idea. Evidently he’s been sitting alone on the outskirts of their base where the smol crabs walk on him and the spidercrabs stare at him, probably annoyed, from across the fence. Doing a lot of thinking and a lot of meditating it seems as a mysterious voice calls out to him. Oh sweet precious Kanan I missed you so! *Ahem* sorry just writing what I’m thinkin’. Anyway, Hera comes over, a tad disappointed he wasn’t there for Ezra today, and also that he hasn’t been there for him much at all lately. She makes it very clear in a quiet way that he needs to go talk to his padawan. Yep she’s so good at bossladying that she can bosslady without ever raising her voice. A few minutes later, Kanan walks into Ez’s quarters. ‘Bout time Master Jarrus. Only took ya a few months! Sorry that was unfair. After all, he’s just as out of balance as everyone else. I imagine his blindness makes him feel useless as a leader, and if he’s not Specter One, then who is he? Not to mention the whole getting-knighted thing and what that means, especially now when he’s not the same man he was before Malachor. Under most circumstances Ezra’s probably be really happy to see him, but well a certain holocron might’ve been within reach… and he’s not fast enough to keep Kanan from finding it. The fact he opened the ‘cron and has been using it frequently does not sit well with Kanan. Ezra argues it’s been helping him win these battles, but that’s don’t convince Master Jarrus and he took it off. Augh my gosh it killed me when Ezra said those hurtful words. I about cried. Kanan tried to reset the balance, but instead, both master and padawan upset the balance even further than before. OK brb I really am crying now. So off Ezra goes with Sabine, Zeb, Chopper, Rex, and Hondo, and then back goes Kanan to his meditating spot.
While things go well for the Phantom team as they get in some hot water with the Mining Guild, Kanan finally decides to follow this voice calling him. Using one of the sensor-poles to ward off the crabspiders, we watch him venture deeper and deeper into the corallike forest. The Force leads him right to the feet of a massive mystical beast who is equal parts awe-inspiring and frightening. And judging by his kind wise voice, apparently a really nice guy. At least we hope so…
Oh yeah and did I mention the whole kerfuffle with the Mining Guild? Yeesh give a guy a custom TIE and suddenly they gotta shoot at evrahbody! It didn’t last too long but it’s worth mentioning as Ezra insists they do away with the rest of them Guilders and everybody else be like “NOPE”. Take a chill pill Ez mkay?
Of course we have to take a paragraph to meet our new friend the Bendu. Neither of the light or the dark, but very aware of both, he instantly picks up on all this imbalancedness going on right now. (See my surtitle really does work!) Also random thought I love that all the little bogan crabs followed Kanan here. Another random thought I love that all the critters don’t seem to mind the Bendu, not even the little birdie perched on his… face… branch… thing. You know what I mean. Kanan is obviously quite concerned about Ezra using this Sith holocron, but Bendu cuts right to the chase — we’re here to talk about what’s going on with Kanan right now, not his apprentice. First thing he’s gonna do is snap that sensor-pole in two. Now Kanan is obviously quite concerned about the deadly crabspiders out there, and the fact he can’t see them to properly defend himself. Bendu’s ready to help him solve his sight problem, but in perhaps a different way than the young Jedi might expect. Regardless of his uncertainties, Kanan’s willing to learn to see. OK so I know I’m not the only one who felt like their galaxy was turned upside down the instant Maul took his vision. The sudden tragedy of it all saddened me, and that’s an understatement. But after many deep thoughts and close observations made while writing the Transmission post on the episode, I began to truly see not the tragedy so much as the triumph as Kanan fought back, stronger than before. So in the months away from the Rebs, I came to a peace with it and maybe allowed myself to forget somewhat how it’d happened, or at least put it out of my mind. But then the instant he took off the mask… and I saw the scar… and his eyes, now a faded blue… my own eyes had tears again. But yet, it’s in this re-reminder of the pain he’d been through that I saw the hope again. AUGHHH THE FEELS.
Wow there are a lot of deep thoughts in this post today. I need a break. But that’s impossible because I’m writing about SW and there will always be deep thoughts there. Like Thrawn, for example. Ah yes the guy I’ve heard so so much about! The Chiss of the hour! Grand Admiral Thrawn! Konstantine be like “whut since when?” and Thrawn looks kinda smug about his new position. And hey any guy with the track record he’s got has a right to be smug. As I’ve said before, I haven’t read the Thrawn Trilogy and I know that just saying that made me lose credibility in the eyes of most of my readers, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a pretty terrifyingly amazing bad guy. And that’s an understatement. Bro gives me chills. I mean, if Pryce’s stare could kill somebody, Thrawn’s could burn a planet to it core. And did I mention that voice? More chills. I have no words to adequately or articulately (or artistically) truly describe his presence. But it is amazing, even for me, as someone whose only experience with the Chiss was in a young readers’ series written by Ryder Windham. His bloodred eyes have pierced my soul. And probably will go on to haunt my dreams, I’m certain.
We reunite with the Phantom team as they arrive at Recklam Station… and to the sight of only fourteen beautiful old Y-wings, one being destroyed every minute. Ezra decides they’re bringing home the bacon (the bacon being the Ys) and he don’t care what anyone else thinks. When he looked at Rex and said “That’s an order.” I was all “OH. NO. HE. DIDN’T.” He did not just talk back to Captain Rex! Respect he’s taking charge, but I’m thinkin’ he could use an attitude adjustment right about now. The Phantom was filled with the sound of awkward silence, and much awkwarder than before. Buuuut his crew don’t argue with him. They just begrudgingly carry on with the new mission. Even when that mission sends them straight into the path of dismantler droids. NBD though that’s why we’ve got Chopper and the clone Bossman. Hehe hearing Rex utter the word “clankers” made me smile ear-to-ear! Of course it doesn’t go perfectly or anything. It’s only thanks to a quick fix by Chop and Sabine’s on-point driving flying skills that they didn’t crash. Ezra may be in charge but teamwork’s the only reason anybody survived today. Even Hondo helped out, using his mastery of ugnaught-speak to gain a few more allies! Seriously let’s give Jim Cummings a big round of applause, ’cause that couldn’tve been easy to do. All they need now is to get those Y-wings fueled up and they’re good to go! What could possibly go wrong from here? Well, a few things, but let’s check in with Kanan real quick.
So right now Kanan is quite obviously concerned about the fact the Bendu’s wanting him to walk right on over to those crabspiders. Kanan does see them in a way, he can hear them, he can feel their vibrations when they walk, even knows their smell. But he didn’t quite see enough when he holds out his hand and feels their crusty, rough hide. Strangely it seems the spiders don’t intend to harm him. The Bendu encourages Kanan to dig deep into the Force, and what he sees is his own fear, and that revelation changes everything. I wish I could say I’m an expert on the Force, but honestly and truly I’m not, and I still don’t fully understand the thing with the spiders. But I do understand that Kanan can see a lot more clearly when he fully embraces the Force, instead of pushing it away. That was true before he lost his vision, and it’s especially true now. Now it’s time he embraces his crew, his family, instead of pushing them away. Because they need him as much as he needs them. Leaving the holocron in the capable hands of the Bendu, Master Jarrus walks off confidently as though he’d been able to see all along. Now, he’s gonna go find his apprentice, who he’s pretty sure could use his help right about now.
At the moment, Ezra thinks he’s got everything under control, even as the Imps and a dismantler droid take notice. Yeah no biggie Chopper just nearly DIED. And so did everyone else! Except maybe Hondo and his pig bros, they grabbed an Imperial shuttle and said their goodbyes, but that’s expected. Ezra’s tooooooootally got this as he lightsabers some storms. Hera, for one, does not buy that when he doesn’t divulge much info when she calls. But Kanan’s back in the copilot seat where he belongs, and Mom and Dad are ready to bring home the kids. And quite possibly ground the youngest one for life XP Anyway yeahhh Ezra’s got this. Completely. Unquestionably. He has no clue that Rex is wrestling with a dismanlter while Zeb and Sabine hang for dear life, but he’s still got this! /sarc/ OK sorry for being all cross with him, that’s not right of me. He may not see the bigger picture but he’s doing OK at least. Boy was Brom Titus surprised to see him. Heh yeah I kinda missed Imperial Sad Clown. And again I’m not sure why I call him that. I guess it’s the way he always looks like he’s frowning. Ezra definitely gets points for the entrance. Just struttin’ on in there. The troopers fire their blasters, but the instant he deflects it they’re both downed. All the other Imps make a break for it. Titus really likes the idea of getting back to a higher rank if he can apprehend the… boy I guess. I don’t really feel I can ever refer to him as “boy” anymore. But “young man” doesn’t even sound right… I’ll work on that. Point is, Titus no likey. But Ezra still got this. And with one slash of his green blade, he cuts the power to the entire station. Sure it’ll send the station crashing down, but he’s confident his comrades’ll be OK. And I’ll admit it was worth it just watching Brom Titus freak out. Zeb, Sabine, Rex, and Chopper are taking the Y-wings home, and all Ezra has to do is get on the Phantom and it’ll be another successful mission for Lieutenant Commander Bridger. It’s right about then that things go bad. The Empire shows up just as they find out the Y-wings are minus their hyperdrives. And as the station starts its descent… a crane slams into the Phantom… and the small beautiful ship hits the ground in a firey explosion. R.I.P. The Phantom. It will forever be missed. But yeah that means that Ezra is on a falling salvage station with no way off. I’m thinking Ezra doesn’t got this anymore. Having lost contact with his crew, he can only cry out desperately “Kanan, where are you?”. The fear in his voice pretty much wrecked me. For all of his confidence and swagger and edgy moves, he’s failed, he’s not a Kanan-level Specter One, and he realizes that as everything literally falls apart around him. But that’s about when the mini-Alliance showed up. With the former Phantom crew and their Y-wings safe from harm, now Kanan and Hera focus on getting the Lieutenant Commander back. Oh gosh this entire scene had me so on edge I’m amazed I didn’t completely explode. WILL. KANAN. REACH. EZRA. IN. TIME???? Last season, I spoke often how much I loved how in-sync Kanan and Ezra were, they way they’d so effortlessly springboard off each other’s moves and whatever the battle, they’d win it together. This entire episode, and I’m betting for a long time, they’ve been very out of balance. Until this moment, as Ezra lets go of the station and Kanan pulls him back into the safety of the Ghost. Now the mini-Alliance is finally heading back home.
Of course, that’s just what Thrawn wanted. This does not compute for Konstantine, but Pryce is confident the Grand Admiral knows what he’s doing. Also yeah Kallus been here the whole time and I’ve forgotten to say “hi”. *Waves* HI KALLUS! HOW’RE THINGS? ARE YOU A BETTER PERSON YET?? SORRY JUST ASKIN’! *Kallus shuffles away embarrassed* But anyway um yes I think we should be very concerned about Thrawn, don’t you? #Understatement
OK so though we all felt feels after that magnificent rescue, Hera was still pretty sore with the Lieutenant Commander. Not surprised somehow that he lost that title for now. Honestly, I think that might’ve been the right thing to do right now. Ezra’s not quite ready to be a Kanan-level Specter One yet. But that’s OK, he can still be a great Ezra-level Specter Six. And General Dodonna’s unit will be happy to see their new old beautiful Y-wings. Yep these are going out another branch of the Rebellion. Awwwz the mini-Alliance is doing some growing up too 🙂 I’d say the whole chaotic mission was a good experience for Ezra, ’cause it brought him back to down to… um… Earth. So to speak. With a genuine apology spoken, the Sith holocron no longer an issue (for now), and the dynamic duo back in sync again, I’d say the balance has been restored. Nothing is certain, but for now, nothing feels better than watching Ezra and Kanan walk off together as master and apprentice once more 🙂
AWWW YAYY REBELSSSSS!! HOW I’VE MISSED YOUUU!! Though this may’ve been the longest blog I’ve ever written, I’m super happy with how it turned out and was so glad to share my thoughts on this beautiful thrilling episode with you today! I’ll see you same time next week!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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