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.
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,