TV REVIEW: ‘Star Wars Rebels’ – ‘Wolves and a Door’ & ‘A World Between Worlds’

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together."

| March 1, 2018

Spoiler Warning: The following review contains major spoilers for “Wolves and a Door” & “A World Between Worlds” as well as previous episodes of “Star Wars Rebels.”

Some of the most entertaining segments from any part of “Star Wars” come when we get a deeper dive into The Force and its mysteries. These episodes delve into this subject deeper than we have ever gone before, and raise even more questions. After dealing with the loss of Kanan in last week’s episodes, the Ghost Crew formulate a plan to visit the once hidden Jedi Temple on Lothal, now under Imperial control, one last time.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

“Wolves and a Door”

With the help of the Loth-wolves, the crew arrive at the site only to find that an Imperial mobile command center has been established to research the secrets of the Temple. Heading the operation is a close representative of the Emperor named Veris Hydan, an individual who I at first thought was the servant to Darth Vader we meet in “Rogue One,” and while this was once the plan according to the episode guide trivia, it is an entirely new character. Based on Hydan’s appearance, he likely is associated with Vader’s servant and the other mysterious group of older men we see speaking with the Emperor shortly in “Return of the Jedi.” Hydan shows a strong interest in the main painting of the Temple depicting the force-wielders from Mortis, the Father, the Son and the Daughter. These beings appear in a three-episode arc of “The Clone Wars,” one which also delved deeply into the mythology of The Force and the prophecy of the chosen one.

When the crew intercept a transmission from Hydan to Coruscant, they learn that it is the Emperor himself who is interested in this painting, which supposedly holds the key to a great power. This carries out a plot point all the way from the season two premiere, in which the prime minister of Lothal was going to reveal the true reason the Emperor was interested in the planet, only to be killed by Vader. Ezra and Sabine sneak onto the compound, with Ezra being able to access the portal the painting alludes to. Bringing the episode to a close, Ezra jumps into the portal leaving Sabine with Hydan. Unlike last weeks first episode, this one serves mainly to setup the following one, one that uncovers a great number of revelations.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

“A World Between Worlds”

The episode starts with a single portal in a place, much like the title suggests, which resembles a sort of seemingly infinite astral plane. We hear iconic lines from Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Kanan, all on the subject of The Force and which hint at what the place even is. Shortly after, Ezra falls through the portal, picking up immediately where the last episode finished. Ezra wanders through the world and hears voices both familiar and unfamiliar to him; voices that span across all the films and shows like Chirrut and Jyn from “Rogue One,” to even the new trilogy with lines from Rey, Kylo, Maz Kanata and even Poe. There are many other voices, but what this really accomplishes is setting up this place as somewhere where time does not matter. Besides the logical reason, this is also a very cool moment which ties together all the films and shows for the fans.

As Ezra walks further down the path, he comes across the bird-like creature which he recognizes as one that followed Ahsoka around. The creature is perched on another portal, one that reveals the image of Ahsoka and Vader’s confrontation on Malachor from the season two finale. We get to see the rest of the fight between them, and right when Vader goes for the killing blow, Ezra reaches through and pulls her through the portal. Ezra then explains the events that have passed since that finale, and takes her to locate the portal to Kanan. When he finds it, he is tempted to pull his master out but with Ahsoka’s guidance, he realizes that the wolf Dume had him go there to learn the lesson of knowing when to let go, and the importance of his master’s sacrifice. As they turn to return home, Ahsoka explains that she has to go back to her own, promising to find Ezra when she returns. Behind them, Kanan’s portal reveals the Emperor himself on the other side attempting to enter the place. He shoots flames through the portal from which the two run, until the Emperor is able to catch Ezra, using him as a sort of anchor to pull himself through the portal. Ahsoka severs this connection, and the two are able escape back into their own places in time.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Meanwhile on Lothal, Hera and Zeb have formulated a plan to escape the compound, with Sabine stuck with Hydan attempting to solve the puzzle of the Mortis painting. With Ezra back, Sabine escapes Hydan and is able to show Ezra how to close the portal for good, which leaves him unconscious. With the portal closed, the crew escapes as the temple itself collapses, taking Hydan with it. The episode ends with Ezra staring into the distance at the white Loth-wolf, saying goodbye to his master for good.

These episodes not only explore a facet of the force not yet seen, but introduce the concept of time travel itself to the “Star Wars” galaxy. Not even the films have touched the subject, but with how well it was handled compared to many other shows (I’m looking at you “Lost”), the usage of it works very well in this case. It does not produce some alternate timeline, instead explaining why it is we see that brief image of Ahsoka descending into the Sith temple in the season two finale after her encounter with Vader, with fans speculating whether it was real or some sort of symbol of something else. I like many am happy that such a fan-favorite character is now confirmed to have a future in further “Star Wars” stories, though I’m not sure we will see her return in next week’s finale.

The Emperor’s return is highlighted by the fact that the legendary Ian McDiarmid reprises his role, stating last year in an interview that he didn’t want anyone else playing the character as long as he was around. Suffice to say, McDiarmid steps back into the dark robe with such ease, its hard to believe it has been thirteen years since we last saw him in “Revenge of the Sith.” It’s a delight to hear his evil cackle again, and even cooler to hear him say the names Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger. One thing I speculate is if Ezra had stepped into the portal to save Kanan, he likely would have instead come face to face with the Emperor. It’s clear that the portal on Lothal opening allowed him the opportunity to breach a gap with what appears to be a sort of ancient Sith ritual, though he needed an anchor to pull him through which is why he grabbed Ezra. One thing I really enjoyed was the latter half of his “Show me the way Ezra, help me” line which harkens back to how he delivers a similar one in “ROTS” where he attempts to play the sad and defeated old man card in his fight with Mace Windu. With the finale next week, I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of the Emperor, no matter what that may mean for our heroes.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

These episodes give a bit more clarity to the Mortis arc from “The Clone Wars,” with the Convor creature following Ahsoka in particular. When Ahsoka introduces the bird as Morai and someone she owes her life to, it becomes apparent just who Morai is. The bird is also featured on the Daughter’s shoulder in the painting, and if that is not enough, you can also hear the line “I am the Daughter” very quietly as the bird flies to Ahsoka.

Hydan draws many similarities to some of the Villains from “Indiana Jones,” an older gentlemen working for an evil regime, searching for some sort of ancient power only to meet a grisly death. These episodes and other parts of season four have felt particularly Indy inspired as well, with certain segments of the soundtrack matching the adventurous feeling of the films music too. Another English theatre actor, the great Malcolm McDowell does an excellent job playing the adviser to the Emperor as Hydan.

These penultimate episodes continue Director Dave Filoni’s promise on a satisfying conclusion to the series, something he was unable to do with “The Clone Wars.” These two episodes are frankly some of the best minutes of “Star Wars” we have gotten, and with Filoni continuing to succeed at the helm, I am excited to see how it all wraps up next week. You can catch next Monday’s hour and a half finale when it airs at 8:30 pm on Disney XD.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

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