The most recent episodes of Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels have been building to the assault on Lothal by the Rebel Alliance. It was therefore apt that this episode was titled ‘Rebel Assault’. In my review of the previous episodes of Star Wars Rebels, I mentioned how I expected the Rebel Alliance to win the Battle of Lothal but at a massive cost.
As the week progressed, I came to the realisation that a force of Rebel fighters would attack the Imperial presence of Lothal but, in the end, come up short. Certainly, this season of Star Wars Rebels has been much darker in tone than previous seasons of this show. Hence, it would make sense that the mid-season finale would end on a note of defeat rather than victory.
My Thoughts on ‘Rebel Assault’
It seems that, for the most part, I was right when it came to my thoughts on how ‘Rebel Assault’ would pan out. This episode was a good way to bring the first part of Season 4 to a close. It laid the foundations for the second half to pack a serious punch for a number of reasons because Hera, who led the assault on Lothal, was captured by the Empire and this will have huge ramifications. Obviously, we know that Hera will be rescued because she is part of the Rebel Alliance during the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (watch a recent episode of Forces of Destiny to see this).
I expect her rescue to happen early on in the second half of Season 4, perhaps the first episode. However, I feel as though her rescue will have to come at a cost. We all know that the characters we have grown to love in Star Wars Rebels are not going to have a happy ending. Certainly, I expect everyone but Hera and Chopper to die by the time Star Wars Rebels ends. We could see some deaths in the next couple of episodes in Season 4 and Hera’s capture could be the catalyst for this to occur as her inevitable rescue will not be easy.
The Space Battle in ‘Rebel Assault’ and Thrawn
Indeed, in ‘Rebel Assault’, we see how much Thrawn admires Hera’s skills and, because of this, he will not give her up without a fight. In fact, we see Hera’s ability as a pilot and a leader in the very beginning of ‘Rebel Assault’ and the cold open for this episode was great. The start of this episode began with a space battle that was very good and felt very much like it was plucked out of the Original Trilogy.
Moreover, it gives us more insight into how calculating and ruthless Thrawn is as a military leader. Throughout the entire battle and the Rebel Alliance’s attempts to break his blockade and attack Imperial factories, Thrawn was in total control. He was calm and willing to even sacrifice a TIE Defender to get to the stage where he could crush this Rebel attack. As expected, they were crushed despite getting though the Imperial blockade.
Rukh vs. Hera
This itself gave us some beautiful imagery of seeing the entire Rebel force in flames, crashing into Lothal and it left Hera in a desperate situation. Indeed, the second half of ‘Rebel Assault’ dealt with Hera’s attempt to reunite with the remnants of her squad and escape from the Empire who were hunting her. The person leading this hunt was Rukh and it was cool to see him in combat against Hera. Certainly, there was good choreography in their fight scenes and, despite fighting the good fight, Hera eventually succumbed to defeat which led to her capture.
Before this, Kanan witnessed the Rebel fighters crashing into Lothal’s surface which heavily affected him. Obviously, Kanan went to rescue Hera but he was interrupted by the Loth-wolf and it clear that this mystical creature sees Kanan as needing to go down a different path. Kanan himself realises that something bigger than his attachment to Hera is happening on Lothal. I was worried that he would die while trying to save Hera but it seems like he still has a purpose. I am glad that his journey is not over yet, even though it probably will be soon enough.
‘Rebel Assault’ Ends in Uncertainty
‘Rebel Assault’ ended on a cliff-hanger with Kanan rescuing Mart, who we last saw in ‘Iron Squadron’, and retreating to fight another day. The last image of this episode of Star Wars Rebels centred on the Loth-wolf looking at Kanan and, while this sub-plot seems important, I am still at a loss trying to figure out what it means to the story. I expect the second half of Season 4 to delve more into the mystery of Kanan and the Loth-wolves and, as a mid-season finale, ‘Rebel Assault’ was good. Not great, but good.
I would argue that Season 3’s ‘Visions and Voices’ is the best mid-season finale that Rebels has had. But, that does not take away from the fact that Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels has been very good so far. Hopefully, the remaining episodes of Season 4 will elevate this final season of Star Wars Rebels as being the best season of this television show.