Rebel Transmissions: Zero Hour

OK so this episode is so epic I hardly know how to start writing this post. Perhaps it’s for the best I just write the spoiler notes and move on instead of my usual post-opening random ramblings. There’s a lot of epic ground to cover on this one today! πŸ˜€
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode IV, and the Rebels episode Zero Hour (as well as really everything this past season and the seasons prior)

To say that the season three finale is full of surprises is a massive understatement, but that’s one of the things I think strikes me the most about it. I wasn’t sure exactly how many episodes we’d get this season, so the arrival of Zero Hour itself was somewhat unexpected. And I had no clue what was about to go down! I mean, the Rebels are about to strike the Empire big-time, but we know they don’t get in a major win until they steal those Death Star plans. So what does that mean for them right now? And we also know that Thrawn’s been up to something all season, constantly saying “No no, let them go! Let them have their victory today…”. These two factors didn’t seem to bode well, and after what happened on last season’s finale… I could only watch and see how this would all shake down. Now, digging into the episode itself…
Dark gray skies over Lothal, the Grand Admiral flanked by Deathtroopers, and a spectacularly ominous score… it’s striking and utterly chilling, just like Thrawn himself. And then we see Kallus casually watching overhead, hoping his reprogrammed mouse droid will get some good dirt for him from Thrawn’s super-secret meeting. Such a genius idea! And oh I love the crafty smirk on his face as he starts to listen in! Reminded me again how awesome it is that Agent K’s on our side. Thrawn reveals he knows basically everything right now. About the Rebel attack on the Lothal Imperial factory and all those coordinating it. Only thing he doesn’t know is the exact location of their base. But that doesn’t make the situation any less grave. He knows so much about their plans it’s insane! It’s like he found some portal to our universe and watched all the last few episodes! But he didn’t… he just knows this. And pretty much from the get-go I couldn’t help but fear for not only our newborn Rebel Alliance, but for their loyal Fulcrum as well…
I know I spent a lot of the episode on edge, but true to Star Wars nature, we’re never without a few good vibes here and there. Ezra and Kanan’s conversation as they prepare for the battle ahead is everything. All my earlier concerns were pushed aside for a moment as I basically drowned in feels and nostalgia. Ez just can’t keep quiet about how amazing his friends have been in all the ways they contributed to the Alliance’s formation. His energy and enthusiasm about it is contagious, and he so selflessly doesn’t give himself any credit… he has grown up so much, and at the same time, I can’t help but be reminded of the boy he was at the beginning of season two, undaunted and full of fire, ready to do the right thing no matter the challenge. Kanan gives him the credit he rightfully deserved though, recalling with pride how far his padawan’s come. “Sometimes I wonder if I have anything left to teach you.” “No, that can’t be true.” “My own Jedi training was limited.” “I don’t mean about the Force, I mean about life, about being a good person. That’s what you’ve taught me.” AHHHHHHHHH I LOVE THIS MASTER AND APPRENTICE SO MUCH I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T. X3 I would’ve liked all these good vibes to last a little longer, but they’ve got a busy day ahead of them and Hera needs her boys to get back to work. Also did I mention General Dodonna‘s coming? With his Y-wings? That’s a big deal guys. It’s great finally getting to meet him more. For a while I only knew him because of his action figure, but his brief mention back on The Antilles Extraction got me to pay closer attention to him in the films and now I’m highly looking forward to seeing more of him in the next season.
We catch up with Kallus again as he stops by Ezra’s old tower to transmit the news. It’s really cool that we got to come back here again, even if just for a glimpse. But um yeah Thrawn is one step ahead of everyone today… including Agent K. And the Grand Admiral happened to show up right behind him. Not gonna lie I was worried a good bit during this episode that Kallus wasn’t gonna make it out alive. Actually I’ve worried that a lot long before this episode. The Empire is terrifying bro. Remember what happened to Maketh Tua? Yeah I was terrified we might get a repeat of that. They’ve made me really love Agent Kallus this past season and I wasn’t sure I could bear losing him so soon. Thrawn is an incredible fighter, I don’t have to tell you that. He works out with sentry droids, ’nuff said. Sometimes the villains seem so powerful I forget for a moment how powerful our heroes are, too, ’cause boyyyy did Kallus deliver! He might not’ve won the fight, but he held his own quite impressively. Plus dropped some serious snark on him that was worth applauding. Again, isn’t it wonderful having Agent K on our side? I like his sick burns a lot more now that he’s aiming them at the Imps! Also random note I love that the animators rigged a strand of hair loose on him. Weird how such a little thing really adds a lot! Though wow considering all he’s been through before that didn’t mess up his hair, he must use a lot of hairspray normally XP OK sorry back to seriousness, ’cause despite his impressive fighting skills and near-perfect hair, Kallus is quickly shackled and can only watch as Thrawn finally deciphers the location of the Rebels’ base. I felt utterly sick as the weight of it all sunk in…
Soon as the Rebs receive the unfinished transmission, they know something’s wrong. And soon after arrive quite a few star destroyers. They’ve got no choice now but to hyperspace away at this point… but if only they could. Not only are they surrounded at all ends by destroyers, but these destroyers have gravity wells keeping the Rebel fleet from going anywhere. Thrawn sends Captain Syndulla and company a friendly holo, letting them know he’s basically already won. But Hera is far from admitting defeat. If they can just get one ship through to find help, all the Rebels can get to safety from there. The Captain believes Kanan and Ezra in the newly-acquired Gauntlet have the best chance. The Jedi have no interest in leaving her or the rest of their team right now, but Hera isn’t giving them a choice on the matter. Kanan and Ezra’s loyalty here man… it’s just the most precious thing. But technically Kanan might have other reasons he needs to stay behind: he’s got a certain friend who might be able to help them. Though Hera’s in the dark about this “friend”, she’s willing to trust him on this. OMG that tender goodbye gesture of theirs sent me into the deepest depths of warm-and-fuzzy land ❀ ❀ The fangirlin' doesn't stop 'round here, not even in the midst of all this uncertainty. Also I just gotta ask… when did Zeb get around to trying joopa? Maybe he and Rex took a slinging trip when they had the time, or went and visited Wolffe and Gregor one weekend. There are still days I seriously really want to try barbecued joopa, is that weird? XD Sorry, anyway, so now we're definitely hoping the Force is with Ezra, as he now flies the Gauntlet alone (OK not entirely alone Chopper came along of course) while the rest of the Rebs bring the fight to the Empire all around him. Though space battles are rife with danger, it’s hard not to get excited as we watch the Rebels bravely pull out everything they’ve got, especially when we it involves a few Y-wings πŸ˜€ Though as the Empire seems to catch on to their tricks, my brain is torn between the thrilling visuals and action of the space battle and that lingering “how the hoo-ha are they gonna get out of this??” nervousness. Also I adore how grumpy Konstantine is with Thrawn right now. THAT LOOK HE SHOOTS HIM BEFORE HE ENDS THE TRANSMISSION. HE IS SO. DONE. XD Even Kallus seems to get a kick out of it!
So safe to say the Bendu isn’t exactly happy to see anyone right now, not even his Jedi friend. You don’t go bringin’ war to his Atollon, man! (Pff I finally got the world’s name right. Took me long enough.) As a mighty being neither of the dark nor light, he’s not getting involved. Kanan once lived his life “in the middle” as well, and eventually found he couldn’t stand by and do nothing. His passion for fighting for the right thing is awesome! How could you not feel that same fire that’s clearly burning? I couldn’t help but smile a little at this quiet callback to A New Dawn, reminding me how far the Jedi Knight’s come since. But it’s safe to say this plea of his is falling on deaf ears.
And yeah things in the stars are going downhill fast. For every move the Alliance makes, it seems the Empire’s got a move to match it. Every turn they take it seems is blocked. They’re surrounded by chaos and they’re losing pilots quickly. Ultimately, Commander Sato knows what has to be done, and rams his ship into the powerful Interdictor-class, tearing it apart and giving Ezra his exit. Though my heart broke at his sacrifice, I couldn’t help but quietly say admiringly “That’s how you do it, Commander…”. His bravery leading up to that moment was nothing short of awe-inspiring, and his skills in delivering that final blow utterly masterful. All the respect in the galaxy to you, Jun Sato. *Moment of silence*
From there, Thrawn forces the rest of the fleet back to the surface, and gives what may be the most creepy, fiendish, cunning smile I’ve ever seen on an Imperial face, short of the Emperor himself. And also on the subject of bad news, Kanan’s negotiations with Bendu don’t go anywhere it seems. Not to mention Mon Mothma is unable to get Ezra the help the Alliance needs. But Ezra does know one place he can get help, and it’s on a little Mandalorian territory called Krowsnest. Even with the stakes high and the enemy seemingly winning, it was impossible for me not to get excited about Sabine’s return! I had a feeling the season wouldn’t end without her, and I sure hoped she’d bring the Mando cavalry with her, but I could only wait patiently and see.
Though the rest of the Rebs are grounded, they’re not going anywhere without a fight. With Sabine’s magnificent specialty shield generator, the base remains unharmed as Imperial firepower falls from the sky in a visually spectacular storm of green. It was a really bad time for Kanan not to be at the base though. Yeah I was on definitely definitely on edge as his speederbike just narrowly avoided the torrent of laserfire. And those brief moments where it seemed the shields might go down only put me on the edge of my seat further. It was all so intense I nearly forgot to breathe. But just as soon as the firing began, it stopped. And then my brain couldn’t decide whether to fangirl my head off over the cuteness of Hera calling Kanan “Love” again, or be entirely suspicious as to why Thrawn decided to cease fire…
So Ezra has a considerably less difficult time landing on Krowsnest this time. It’s probably mostly because the Mandos consider him a friend now, but I betcha it was partially also the fact he’s flying an impressive Mandalorian craft now πŸ˜› We find the Wrens rather have their hands full right now though, considering they’re at odds with the Saxons. But Sabine simply cannot allow her crew-family to lose this battle, even when it seems impossible to win. “My friends make the impossible possible” might be the truest statement ever and it makes me smile endlessly. Even with all they’ve got going on, Ursa agrees that she can’t turn a blind eye to the Rebels. So she sends Sabine off with a small Mando crew to go and do the impossible πŸ™‚
Meanwhile, Thrawn’s now brought out walkers upon walkers on the Rebels. And not just the chicken walkers, ’cause that’s easy enough with Zeb and Rex working their magic, but the “lousy four-leggers” too… and those could pose a slightly bigger problem. Kanan joins the action just in time with a little lightsaber-swinging (I guess the Empire still hasn’t fortified those legs yet). But it’s also about when the Grand Admiral walks in. With Ezra and Sabine and Rau and the Wrens taking on the Imps, it’s prime time for the rest of the Rebs to jet. “Looks like the family’s together again.” “Let’s try and keep it that way.” AWWW SUCH FEELS!! :3 But it’s hard to jet when you’ve got Thrawn and Deathtroopers standing right in front of you. I was sick with terror. They’re surrounded by a few of the Empire’s best! Even if Ezra and Sabine’s team wins the battle up there, what could possibly help everyone down here?? And then… suddenly it’s clear that the frightening storm in the background isn’t just for dramatic effect. BENDU IS MAD BRO. HE MAD AT ALL OF Y’ALL. I remember, upon first meeting the Bendu, that for a while I was a bit uncertain of him. He was clearly a powerful being, and since he had no allegiance to either side, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if someone got on his bad side, or if he turned out not to be the ally he appeared to be. But then he proved himself such a wise, jovial beast that I kind of couldn’t see him as anything but that… until now. The Bendu has taken on the form of the clouds, with fire in his eyes and is raining down lightning. No doubt it’s scary but it’s also completely magnificent. Everything about his commanding presence both gives me chills and leaves me in awe. I just love the look of uncertainty on Thrawn’s face as he witnesses the living Force at its finest! With the Bendu taking most of his anger out on the Imperial forces, Hera, Kanan, and company finally get their chance to leave. It’s like Hera said once, “it’s good to have friends”. Though granted it’s even better when they aren’t trying to hit you and your fleet with lightning bolts, too, but hey the Bendu gonna do what the Bendu do, dude.
Speaking of friends, Ezra and Sabine’s team was totally killing it up there! With helmets on and jetpacks (and tiny thrusters XP ) ignited, the Jedi and the Mandalorians spacewalk right on the Interdictor’s hull, ready to take out those gravity wells! Look up “epic” in the dictionary; I’m pretty sure this is the definition. With their combined firepower, they ultimately made one beautiful explosion! So much wow. Their epicness is just dizzying! I’ve never before heard the confident classy Governor Pryce panicking, but it’s sure nice for a change 😏 Kallus drops one of those sick burns on her and she’s ready to send him “floating home”. I got a little worried then, but Agent K’s undeterred smirk told me he had a clever plan in mind… and he did. It involved only an escape pod and his mad fighting skills. And as the Ghost and the Gauntlet and the Phoenixes and all our heroes head for hyperspace, they don’t forget our fabulous Fulcrum, too πŸ™‚ I couldn’t help but cheer at all the awesome teamwork going on, and at the fact I felt I could finally breathe, because this battle has ended.
It’s so nice seeing the most strong and seemingly fearless Imperials taken down a peg, isn’t it? It’s especially great when Bendu delivers some parting words to Thrawn. The Grand Admiral thought he’d brought the being down, key word being “thought“. The mighty beast sees clearly the chiss’s eventual defeat… and just as Thrawn fires, the Bendu has disappeared, his deep chuckle penetrating the air. You can play a good war game, you can wield some powerful weapons, but the Force will always be stronger. *Mic drop* Pff I guess that sounds kinda cheesy but it’s nothing short of true. THIS EPISODE HAS SO MUCH EPICNESS I CAN’T PUT IT INTO THE RIGHT WORDS.
We follow Kanan as he walks through the Ghost. He hears Sabine discussing her next move with her mother, as their work on Krowsnest is far from done; the silence of surviving Rebels who are still processing the loss of their friends and their home; the genuine reply of Kallus, who proved his loyalty to the Alliance in their darkest hour; the bickering of AP-5 and Chopper and Rex as they figure out the best way to their new base, Yavin; and finally, the ponderings of his padawan, who has no idea what’ll happen next. But Kanan sees, out of all of the tragedies and triumphs, a future with hope that’s far more attainable than it seems. We’ve seen in all of the Ghost family today a burning, passionate fire to bring hope and healing to a broken galaxy, and an undying loyalty to their cause and to each other. If they keep that wildfire blazing throughout every tragedy and every triumph, all of the young Rebel Alliance will see what Master Jarrus sees.
OK I hope that sounded good because if it didn’t it’s because I’ve had a headache the last couple hours I’ve been working on this. But just WOW what a finale! I know there’s infinitely more I could say about it and all of the insane levels of awesomeness it achieved, but I probably need to go ahead and wrap this up. We’ll talk more Rebels on the season recap next week!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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