Rebel Transmissions: Dume

All right, so where do I begin with this post? I guess with the spoiler warnings. But yes here’s hoping I’m able to write something really interesting and meaningful for you today.

Contains spoilers from Episode IV, Rogue One, Episode VII, TCW episode The Lawless, and much of Star Wars Rebels, including Jedi Night and Dume. Events from episodes beyond these will not be covered.

This episode is very special. Not that there ever was a Rebels episode that wasn’t, but Dume does something that, from my experience, really hasn’t been done a lot in Star Wars: allowing us to closely follow the characters as they try to process their loss.
Tragedies in Star Wars often happen in the midst of intense moments and dangerous battles. Like when you’re trying to escape the Death Star, or you’re fighting through a war-torn Mandalore, or the Resistance is trying to destroy Starkiller Base. Our heroes are often forced to move on or step up and fight even when they’ve barely had time to mourn. It’s just the tough reality of war, as well as the best way to move the story forward. Star Wars, of course, always finds time to make sure we at least see a glimpse of what they’re dealing with in the quiet moments afterward (for example: Luke’s “I wish Ben were here”, Obi-Wan’s apology to Bo-Katan, and Leia and Rey’s hug). But I’ve always wondered still how they’ve handled those losses, or how they’re still handling them. What they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, how they talk about this loss with family and friends, and what they don’t dare to speak out loud to anyone, let alone to themselves.
However, the amazing people behind Rebels found a way to give us plenty of time with each of the Ghost family as they wrestle with Kanan’s death in different ways, while at the same time delivering an exciting, compelling story that moves the plot along. It’s not that I ever thought they wouldn’t give us some time with the characters working through this loss, but I got so much more than I ever expected. Though the Empire’s still a problem, the war is still on, and Ruhk still can put up a serious fight, this episode remains first and foremost very intimate and personal in tone, putting our heroes and their feelings in the forefront. And that’s what makes this episode so very special.

Ever since we discovered she’d be bestowed the title of “General” by Rogue One, I’d always imagined the moment she earned it a triumphant one. Instead, it comes to Hera at what may be her absolute darkest moment, all while still in prison garb and clutching onto her kalikori as though it was Kanan himself. It’s far from triumphant, but it does say again clearly how much the rest of the Rebels respect her… and right now, how much they need her in this fight. But General Syndulla has a galaxy of hurt to fight through first.
The first few moments in her part of the story are nothing short of heartbreaking. It’s one of the rawest performances, both in acting and animating, I’ve ever seen, and not just in Star Wars, but in anything. She is so broken, so devastated, we’ve never seen her in a place like this, not in this way. But as she fashions a piece on her kalikori for Kanan, it’s able to help bring her back to the light once more, to the hope and peace she needs, and to the best memories of the man she loved. And it was Chopper who made the suggestion to add him in the first place. The utter kindness and quiet understanding he shows here is so infinitely precious. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this side of Chopper, but there’s something so noteworthy about the way he’s simply there for her right now, taking her hand, accepting a hug… excuse me I need a few tissues now.

Like I said on the last post, I’ve wondered for years now what would happen if we lost Kanan, and especially perhaps what that would mean for Ezra. I’ve imagined a lot of different outcomes, so it was almost surreal to actually be in that moment, that moment that I honestly had hoped maybe wouldn’t come. To see Ezra in this place of absolute despair that we haven’t seen in some time. And then the lothwolves arrive and the mood quickly shifts from deep sadness to near terror. But ultimately a sense of intrigue remains the predominant emotion, because you know that the Force is at work somehow here. The entrance of the one called Dume left a trail of further intrigue, and honestly even having seen the episodes following this, there are still things I don’t know if I’ve fully grasped yet. I’ll save further discussion on the topic for another post, but I will say the main thoughts going through my head in these scenes upon my first viewing were a) Which came first, Caleb Dume or lothwolf Dume? and b) Am I crazy or does Dume sound just a little bit like Freddie Prinze Jr….?

I just seriously love we got to spend time with Zeb and Sabine. They have such a fun, genuine big-brother-little-sister bond and I didn’t realize how much I needed to see more of that bond until now. And not only do they have some of the best kind of camaraderie, but together they bring some kinda fight! Their tussle with Ruhk was just the right bit of action for the episode; exciting, intense, and not only drives the story forward, but comes back to the heart of the story as Zeb and Sabine go from wanting to return the hurt they were given, to remembering the right way to fight. The way Kanan would fight. And then the laughs are the cherry on top. Between the “baby rancor” comment and the homing beacon misunderstanding, they made sure I had some good stuff to snicker about this episode 🙂

And in the midst of all these personal battles, we discover something that puts everything in a new light.
It was enough just to know that Kanan’s last act was saving those he loved, but it was even more than that all along.
He put himself in the path of fire for not only his family, but for the Alliance, for Lothal, and for all the galaxy.
Wow.
Truly wow.

So OK, that post was a little harder to write than I expected, but I’m so glad I wrote it all the same.
Thank you, Lucasfilm, for giving me such beautiful stories to write about, though ❤

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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Rebel Transmissions: Jedi Night

Oh wow there are so many emotions going on right now. So. many. OMG. Probably why it took so long to write this. Let’s see if I can sort through all these emotions and write something worth the read on this absolutely beautiful, amazing-beyond-words episode.

Contains spoilers from much of Star Wars Rebels including Rebel Assault and Jedi Night. Events from later episodes will not be covered.

One thing that will never cease to amaze me about Star Wars is the way it can be both tragic and joyous almost simultaneously. No matter the medium, no matter the length, these stories can make me laugh out loud and then turn around and weep, and vice versa. And yet, no matter how it ends, I’m never left without hope. It’s ultimately the hope inside each story that brings beauty from even the greatest tragedies. Sometimes it takes a little while to find that hope, and other times it’s right there in the last words spoken, but it’s always there.
And this episode of Rebels is for sure one of the absolute strongest examples of that.

I’ll be honest… there’s no human way I can cover everything I love and everything that intrigues me in this episode. To attempt to do so would make this a lot sloppier a post. I’ve learned from years of blogging here that sometimes I simply can’t cover everything, no matter what I try, unless I end up doing a complete exhausting play-by-play like I used to do prior to last summer when I changed my format. But I will do my best to say all I feel needs to be said. When I think back on this episode, three particular scenes come to mind, and that will be how I piece this post together, by focusing on each of these scenes.

The first is the montage as Ezra’s lothbat plan comes together. There’s a tangible hope in the air you can’t help but feel to the very core of your being, watching these few noble Rebels work together. And you can tell they feel it too, with smiles exchanged and a well-earned sense of pride from what they’ve accomplished with the few resources on hand. It’s in these moments you can tell that it’s not just the Ghost family determined to get Hera back; you can see by how diligently they work that Ryder, Mart, and Jai consider this as more than just military duty. Hehe yes I guess that makes them the Ghost fam’s uncle and cousins 🙂 All this amazing teamwork is perfectly driven by what is now one of my favorite pieces of score Kevin Kiner has ever produced. Even though this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ezra’s strength as a leader, you see why Kanan was so confidently able to give his apprentice the reigns… and it makes me explode with pride just a little bit 🙂 I’m pretty sure I was beaming by the montage’s end. This is one thing I absolutely love about the Rebels. We’ve learned over the last few years that they don’t always agree on how to go about things, but when they put those arguments aside and focus on what matters most, they can be some kind of force of nature. It’s in this way they’re still as much admirable heroes today as they were forty years ago. And ok I might’ve gotten off-topic some there but it’s true all the same. Just makes you want to stand up and cheer!

The second scene of note would be the rescue. For so so so many reasons. Kanan giving a trooper the “drop” still cracks me up no matter how many times I see it. And the stuff Hera says on truth serum is straight-up gold XD But these moments of honesty with the two are more than just funny, they’re downright precious. Listening to her unfiltered opinions on his new look and them arguing over what defines a present makes you forget for a moment they’re in the middle of a rescue and not newlyweds on their honeymoon. Though yeah those particular couple of comments do make me want to revisit A New Dawn and refresh my memory on their marvelous meetcute. Also stare at the cover art and figure out why Kanan’s hair doesn’t look anywhere near that short. Anyway yes every minute with them in this episode is beyond special and had me reeling from the feels more than a little. Oh yeah and I was definitely surprised to see the kalikori again. I had honestly forgotten Thrawn still had it. The fact that Kanan could literally sense the kalikori was amazing to me. I can’t say for certain it’s the first time I’ve seen something like that in SW, but I can’t remember ever seeing a Jedi doing exactly that, being able to sense the presence of an object on account of its connection to someone close. Like honestly everything in this scene, it just says so so much about their relationship, their history to who they are now. I just love it. All of this. Them. I couldn’t help but love it when I first watched it, and I think I love it even more now ❤

I remember always wanting to see an episode centered primarily around a Kanan and Hera adventure. Jedi Night was very much that long-hoped for episode. But in truth… this episode is perhaps even more about Kanan.
A man who would hold back the flames for those he loves.

There were no tears from me at first. My mouth hung open slightly, in part from the amazement of seeing Kanan literally pushing back fire with the Force, and in part because I was completely shocked at the turn of events and I almost couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this was happening.
For some reason, I always assumed if we were to lose any member of the family, it would be Kanan. It began with me worrying how Fire Across The Galaxy would end, and the possibility has come to mind on every season’s end since. Perhaps because I could see the potential drama in what Ezra would do without his guidance, especially early-on in the series.
There were things about this episode that felt final, but there were so many moments of joy and victory, it was hard to want to think that way.
But in the midst of that heartwrenching moment, all I could think was that if he was going to go, this was the best way to do it.
Doing it all for his family.
Like I’ve said before, there’s no way to truly prepare for the loss of a great SW hero, even if you can see it as a possibility. But there is comfort in the fact that I don’t believe any of these heroes dies in vain. They die for what they believe is right and for those they love and care for. Don’t think for a minute, however, that this wasn’t a hard truth to accept. I would have loved for Kanan to have made it through the last six episodes, but I also know that, no matter how dark the moment, that Star Wars stories always come back to the light again. And that is why I still feel hope even now. Why this episode still remains a favorite. Why there is still beauty somehow even in the midst of this tragedy.
Kanan Jarrus, I’m going to miss you. But your story isn’t over. No story with a legacy like you leave behind ever does.

Looking forward to continuing this conversation on Dume. Thanks for reading.

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Rebel Transmissions: Hera’s Heroes

Today we’re taking a closer look into Hera’s Heroes, but if you read the title you probably already knew that. Regardless of my tendency for redundancy, this one’s gonna be a fun one to dig into and discuss. Saddle up your blurrg and let’s go!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode VII, TCW episodes Innocents Of Ryloth and Liberty On Ryloth, and Rebels episodes Homecoming and Hera’s Heroes

True to SW nature, the episode pulls us in within seconds as we find Cham and Numa riding blurrgback, on the run from bucketheads on speederbikes. It’s fun to get to see the Rylothian rebs for a bit before we meet up the Ghost crew again. Last time we saw them, they did a few things we didn’t approve of, so it’s great being fully able to cheer them on this episode. And that takes me back to the last time we saw them before that, when the Syndulla bossman was fighting alongside the Republic and smol Numa adorably befriended a couple of clones. Ahh nostalgia feels! And of course, Cham and Numa can handle just about anything the storms can throw at them. But they do know their limits, and that about when Hera shows up with the rest of her extended family. Again, so wonderful seeing everyone on the same side with the same goals! Apparently the Ghost crew’d been helping them out a little before this, as Gobi’s already hitched a ride. Just shows ya what an incredibly strong bond this family has. Only two of them are actually related, but between the Ghost crew and Cham’s team, they’ve got a family bond like no other. They say blood is thicker than water, but I believe this combined team is thicker than blood. Like, molasses-thick. And that’s because Hera’s at the heart of it all :3 Hera and company’s daring rescue works nicely for the twi’lek fighters. Not so well for that biker scout. Hehe the Empire sure don’t hire them for their brains! XP Zeb K.O.ing the dude to add to Ezra’s helmet collection hit me with even more nostalgia feels. This time around, the Syndullas don’t neglect to hug, and OMG this episode is chock-full of feels. Most of the post is probably gonna be concerned with highlighting all those feels. Sad news from Cham though, the Empire’s taken over their entire hometown and the Syndullas’ home itself. I can’t begin to imagine what it’d be like to have the place you grew up, the place you love, suddenly under the control of such a brutal, soul-less government system, so I completely feel for you girl. And considering where the rest of the Ghost Rebs came from, I think they all can relate. It seems Hera is particularly concerned with what became of the family kalikori, an artistic heirloom the Syndullas have held onto for generations. It was something she would’ve inherited and something her mother dearly loved, so she absolutely needs to retrieve it. And her thicker-than-blood extended family is with her all the way. Hera’s always been there for her crew-family, whatever the situation, whatever the need, big or small. Now they’re all doing the same for her. Brb crying.
To get Hera in, Ezra will play the part of a biker scout, and the rest of the fam will distract the storms. Good gracious seeing Ez perfectly filling out that armor suit re-reminded me how much he’s grown up and in turn made me cry like a proud parent. Don’t tell me you didn’t, ’cause I know you did too. And wow again watching them all fighting together… it’s an absolute thing of beauty. So well executed, so very fierce and formidable. Also watching Kanan bring the fight out there was epic. He swings his ‘saber and runs right into battle without an ounce of hesitation, clearly mastering seeing with the Force. I can barely walk in the dark without stubbing my toe on something. Major applause is in order for Master Jarrus. Anyway, so Ezra and Hera get in easy, but seeing the Empire tromping all over your childhood home’s hard. Even Chop’s feeling some feels right now as he looks upon the Clone Wars-era Y-wing wreckage that still stands there. Oh poor childddd. I’d thought we kinda knew all his story, but clearly much to learn we still have. His sad “whah-whah-whah…” breaks my heart man. Though seriously… Cham didn’t particularly approve of the “rustbucket” his daughter was intent on fixing up back in the day… and yet he kept a Y-wing in his front yard. Um… what gives? Returning to the story at hand, Ezra and Hera continue their sneaking about the homestead. It’s not too hard when your enemy’s troops all wear the same outfit. I know the Empire does it to promote their anti-humanity, anti-individuality stance, but you’d think that maybe they’d have less Rebel problems if their troopers wore something a bit more… distinguishable. Oh well their loss is the Rebs’ gain. A little searching around Cham’s office leads Hera right to the beloved kalikori. It’s really quite a cool idea, each generation carving something into it. And of course I’d be amiss to mention the precious family portrait on the wall. Oh it’s so beautiful and sweet, and it’s wonderful getting to actually see her mom. Not to mention seeing Hera is a tineh little girl with a mischievous, adventurous glint in her eye :3 Seeing that glimpse of her past makes me really want to see a novel centered around Mr. Syndulla’s adventures during the Clone Wars. Such a beautiful family *makes squee-like noises* With the kalikori in hand, all they’ve gotta do is get out. Perhaps not gonna be an easy task when they spy a graycoat, a buckethead, and this “blue guy” we know goes by Thrawn. Hera suggest they take the secret exit… andddd the secret exit is loaded with graycoats and bucketheads. If only they actually had some meilloruns down here, this whole mission might’ve gone smoothly. Also good point I guess meilloruns are native to Ryloth? Or did they just get a lot of the fruit exported there? Yes folks these are the questions that keep me up at night. And I’m only half-kidding.
As for the rest of the Rebs, it seemed they’d lost the Imps, but apparently they’re not all as dumb as that biker scout and know their way around Ryloth a little too well. Kanan lightsabers and Sabine blasters, but ultimately a well-aimed rocket from Gobi sends boulders down on their stormtrooper friends. Yay Gobi! Dude needed some time to shine! Unfortunately it didn’t last long before one trooper and a chicken walker shot through the rubble. With Hera still unaccounted for, Cham and crew are gonna head for the homestead and get her outta there.
So when you’ve got an Imperial problem in your house, call Chopper. He showed up just in time, back to his spunky sassy self! While Hera and Ezra make for the door, Chop’ll keep the storms busy. He rolls right on over to ’em and starts talkin’. “Heyyy my muchachos! Fancy digs here amiright?” Too bad the stormtroopers clearly failed droidspeak classes at the academy. But a distraction’s a distraction I guess. Hera was this close to the door, and to illustrate I’m holding my thumb and forefinger about an inch apart. And then… quietly and with no grand entrance, Thrawn comes through the door. RIGHT. AT. HERA. Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiills. Slavin thinks she’s just another average everyday Ryloth citizen, and Hera would much rather they thought that, too. But the Grand Admiral isn’t so easily fooled and gets right to the questioning. He sees right through her every attempt to disguise her identity, he’s studied her peoples’ culture, he’s studied the very art in her own home. And all that together reveals her to be the Hera Syndulla. Instantly Ezra takes aim… and instead takes a stunning from Thrawn. Slavin don’t get his superior’s methods, but you gotta admit they sure do work. Before they know it, Slavin and Thrawn have the Rebs in a cell, with the blue guy triumphantly holding the kalikori. Thrawn doesn’t get it when Hera says she’d rather’dve destroyed the precious heirloom before allowing it to fall into his hands. But she knows that her family legacy doesn’t lie in an object. It says a lot about both individuals. Hera is family before anything else, and the only love Thrawn seems to have is for art. Hera knows what matters most, and in most cases, the Imps don’t, and generally that brings about their downfall. But eh again their losses, our gains. I can get Thrawn in some ways though… his response to Slavin’s “trash” comment is not far from my own when someone criticizes something SW. I’m only half-kidding. Anyway, so now the graycoat’s gonna make a deal he knows Papa Syndulla can’t refuse…
In the cell, Hera apologizes for putting Ezra in danger over some junk heirloom, but Ez assures her he’d wanted to help her to begin with. I’m sure watching her youngest stunned by an Imperial admiral put a lot in perspective for her. I don’t really believe her desire to have the kalikori was wrong, as someone who has great emotional attachment to many of my possessions, I can understand very well how she felt. I’d do the same were I in her situation. But I also understand how easy it is to, well, get attached to “things” and sometimes forget for a moment what the “thing” represented doesn’t disappear if the “thing” does. Every single one of her extended family members wanted her to succeed and find this object of precious value, because of the love they have for her, and the love she’s shown them. They all understood, they all wanted to show her that love. It might’ve just been a “thing”, but because it mattered to her, it mattered to them. And realizing that undoubtedly reminded her that what she’d had all along was a treasure itself. As she told Thrawn, a legacy that was real, breathing, and far more precious than something carved out of wood. AHHHHH FEEEEEEEELS *choking sobs* Sorry I hope that made sense. And then in comes Chopper! He tells Ezra about Cham going through with Slavin’s prisoner exchange deal. Hera decides to go through with it, or at least make them think she’s gonna go through with it. And then she tells Chop to get all the Imperial explosives he can carry, ’cause they’re bringing down the house. Literally. But again, Hera knows what matters above all else: “My home is with my crew” *Dies of feels* But no one looked happier today than Chopper, who is definitely all heart-eyes-emoji over all the glorious detonators at his command XD As you can figured, the prisoner exchange went well… for the Rebels more so than the Imps. Cham was a little shocked watching his house go up in smoke, but I think he’ll be OK. Also OMG WOW Kanan redirecting the projectile with the Force…! Kylo Ren you ain’t the only one who can do that kinda thing! In the Ghost family, bossness is in the genes 🙂 Looks like the crew-family’s home free… except for the fact that Thrawn let them go. He’s got something else in mind I imagine… CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLS.
On the Ghost, we find Hera, Kanan, and Cham talking over kaffe, Sabine and Numa chatting while Chopper looks on, Zeb giving his little bro a noogie, Gobi smiling, looking like the fun uncle… this is home. This is family. Hera knows this. She doesn’t need a “thing” to remember her mother or carry on her legacy. She has those she loves all around her. And whatever the Empire’s got planned next, they’ll handle it together. And as they raise a toast, I gave a quiet “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…” as I melted into my sofa with pure happy feels. This is one of the things I love most about Star Wars: in the midst of this constant battle between light and dark, there is hope, there is love, there is family, both those of blood… and those thicker than blood
Oh my gosh, the warm fuzzies right now! I don’t have anything useful left to say, but thanks for reading this and I look forward to delivering the next Transmission next time ’round!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight