Spoiler Warning: The following review contains spoilers for “Kindred” & “Crawler Commandeers” as well as previous episodes of “Star Wars Rebels.”
One episode away from the mid-season break, “Star Wars Rebels” continues on the Ghost Crew’s arc on Lothal, setting up what should be a great mid-season finale. The episode “Kindred” gives us further insight into what roles the loth-wolves play in our heroes’ story, while “Crawler Commandeers” take us back with what felt like a fun one-off adventure from season one.
Probably my favorite of this week’s double feature, “Kindred” finds the crew securing the hyperdrive from the crashed TIE Defender from last week’s episode, enabling Hera and Chopper to return to Yavin IV and deliver the vital intel on the Imperial ship. Before Hera departs, we get a moment between her and Kanan, who share the first kiss we’ve seen from the two. Unfortunately for the Ghost Crew, Thrawn dispatches his personal bodyguard Rukh, a ruthless killer of the Noghri species. Rukh is most notable for his debut in the Thrawn trilogy, a series of books by Timothy Zahn that are arguably what kept “Star Wars” alive and relevant in between the Original and Prequel trilogies. This incarnation of the character is just as menacing as intended, and while we only get a small tease of what he can do, I’m extremely excited to see where he goes this season.
After Hera and Chopper make it off planet, the rest of the crew are forced to follow the loth-wolves deep into the caves of the Lothal mountains after being surrounded by Imperial forces. The wolves lead them further into darkness, and eventually the crew find themselves waking up on the other side of the planet. The animation that segues this transition was beautiful to watch, taking cues from the look of hyperspace travel, further expanding on the force sensitivity of these loth-wolves. At the end of the episode, we are treated to the confirmation that the main wolf is indeed referring to Kanan when uttering the phrase ‘Dume.’ Fans online have speculated to the wolf’s relation to Ahsoka Tano, as it bears facial markings similar to those of Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice. While Dave Filoni has already confirmed she is not the wolf, I do think its no coincidence and believe we’ll see what that means soon.
Most notable of Rukh’s appearance this episode is likely his voice by Warwick Davis, which is made particularly more terrifying with the processing put on it. Warwick is no stranger to “Star Wars,” first playing Wicket the Ewok in “Return of the Jedi” as a young boy, and making a number of cameos as different characters in “Star Wars” films afterwards. We also get a chance to see Governor Price in the customary Imperial officer field uniform, something first seen from General Veers in “The Empire Strikes Back” during the invasion of Hoth.
After setting up a temporary base where the wolves left them last episode, the crew attempt to take over a crawler used in sapping the planet of its natural resources, so that its long-range communications can be used to contact Yavin base. Meanwhile on Yavin IV, Hera is attempting to convince Rebel command of launching a strike on the Imperial facility producing TIE Defenders on Lothal. In short, the crew on Lothal are able to take control of the crawler after dealing with its lizard-like Trandoshan captain and lackey, allowing them to reach Hera on Yavin. While in the crawlers work area, Kanan also discovers the smuggler Vizago has become one of the slaves on board, who humorously believes that the crew came just to rescue him alone.
Despite serving only to set up next week’s episode with the strike on Lothal, this is still a very fun episode in terms of action and humor especially. One scene sees Zeb going up against a whip wielding Trandoshan slaver named Proach, who’s bodytype is reminiscent of that of Pat Roach. Pat played the German mechanic that Indy fights in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” as well as the slaver in “Temple of Doom,” which this character was most obviously inspired by. The fight itself is very Indiana Jones-esque, with its brawler nature and obvious musical cues that come up during it.
The sort of antagonist for the episode is the crawlers captain, Seevor, who is revealed to be in a bloodline of Trandoshans that run the crawler. The character meets a bit of a grisly end when he slips on Ezra’s lightsaber, causing him to fall into the crawlers furnace-like engine. The character is voiced by Seth Green, an actor and director who is probably most notable for his work on the “Robot Chicken” series, which has had its own shorts based around “Star Wars.” This is actually not Seth’s first time working with Lucasfilm animation, the first being him voicing the droid to bounty hunter Cad Bane, Todo 360, who also meets an unfortunate death. Most importantly, Seth Green was actually working with George Lucas to make an animated parody series called “Star Wars Detours,” which was cancelled shortly after Disney’s buyout in 2013. While we only have a trailer to go off of what the series would have likely been, the first episodes were supposedly completed and are still sitting unreleased at Lucasfilm.
Even though “Crawler Commandeers” may have been the weakest of this week’s episodes, it still tells a fun story and sets up what looks like an exciting strike on the Imperial factory next week. “Kindred” is also one of the standouts from the season so far, teasing whats to come with the newly introduced villain and of the relationship between Kanan and Hera. The kiss between Hera and Kanan was such a sweet moment, I only hope it doesn’t serve to foreshadow what may be Kanan’s fate by series end. Thrawn also makes a minor appearance like previous episodes in the season, which I hope changes by the time the season ends. Unfortunately, this week’s double feature looks to be the last for right now, with next week’s mid-season finale appearing to only be a single episode. You can catch the mid-season finale for yourself when it airs on Disney XD next Monday at 9 p.m.