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Star Wars Rebels

Kindred (Star Wars Rebels - S04E07) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Kindred

Season: Four

Episode: 7

Original Air Date: November 6, 2017

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

"How have you people stayed alive so long?" SPOILERS. 

Star Wars Rebels has struggled with consistency throughout its run, but a refocused narrative and increased serialization have given the series new life in its final season. The one-two punch of “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers” represents season four of Star Wars Rebels at its most enjoyable. Both episodes have issues, but the series is simply operating at a high level right now. There is a sense of forward momentum that past seasons lacked and the last several episodes have just been effective at telling compelling and enjoyable Star Wars stories. “Kindred” began with a brief conversation between Hera and Kanan, who believes they were meant to come to Lothal and are continually drawn to it for a reason. This was a big episode for Kanan and Hera and I’ll talk about their relationship later in the review, but the idea that the Ghost crew has been drawn to Lothal for a reason is certainly compelling. Visually, Lothal remains a bland environment but season four has successfully begun to develop Lothal and rehab its reputation. I also wanted to take some time to commend Freddie Prinze Jr. and Vanessa Marshall for their performances. Marshall continues to anchor the cast with a reliably excellent performance while Prinze has stepped up his game and has never felt more confident and natural in this role. The episode then shifted focus to the stolen TIE Defender hyperdrive from the previous episode as both the Imperials and rebels searched for it. Governor Pryce led the search for the Imperials but was contacted by Thrawn who said he was sending “specialized assistance” due to her recent failures. Governor Pryce was a pleasant surprise when she was introduced last season, an intelligent and effective female Imperial officer and a rare original character who was well developed. Given that, her role this season has been slightly disappointing. It feels like she has regressed this season and taken over Konstantine’s role as the show’s resident ineffective and shortsighted Imperial threat. She is still a far better character than Konstantine ever was and has held her own, but Pryce’s depiction has been a mild disappointment recently. Hopefully, Pryce will play a larger role as the season progresses and lives up to her potential in the remaining episodes.

   

Thrawn’s specialized assistance turned out to be Rukh, the Noghri assassin first introduced in Heir to the Empire. Rukh has always been a fascinating character and I’m thrilled that he and Thrawn are now both officially canon and a part of Rebels. Rukh didn’t interact with Thrawn in this episode, so I’ll be curious to see how they handle that relationship in the series. Rukh’s introduction is among the most memorable in the series and his character was portrayed well in this episode. The design team did a wonderful job with Rukh and captured the essence of the character while seamlessly translating him into the animated world of Rebels. As I mentioned, Rukh had a memorable introduction and was actually pretty terrifying. I really like the animalistic and relentless portrayal of Rukh we saw in this episode. From the way he moved to his ability to track Zeb using his sense of smell, they did a fantastic job with bringing Rukh to life. The way he immediately started running towards the rebels was delightfully terrifying and the moment when he attacked Ezra is one of my favorite moments in the episode. Rukh saw right through Ezra’s disguise and excuses and just attacked him. It was refreshing to have a threat who immediately demonstrated why we should be scared of him and Rukh absolutely brought a new, and welcome, energy to the show. The wonderful Warwick Davis provided the voice for Rukh. I liked Davis’ performance but I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the heavy processing of his voice. They may have gone a little too far in that regard. My only other issue with Rukh would be that in the end he was thwarted just as Pryce was. Given the blunt and animalistic energy Rukh brings to the show, his first appearance probably should have been a statement victory. Thrawn is playing the long game, but Rukh is a more immediate and physical threat and needed to make a statement. I’m surprised that Rukh didn’t capture or kill Ezra’s friend from the Imperial Academy since he feels fairly expendable. Rukh’s portrayal was still was a success, but I would like to see him victorious in one of his next appearances. Zeb found the hyperdrive and stole an Imperial transport from Pryce while Rukh and Ezra engaged in a speeder bike chase. The speeder bike chase was one of the best action sequences we’ve seen this season and was simply fun to watch. Rukh attaching a tracker to Ezra’s speeder bike is a good demonstration of the fact that he isn’t just a brute force assassin. He is a clever adversary as well.

   

Back at the rebel base, the focus shifted to Hera and Kanan. Hera’s unwavering commitment to the Rebellion and Kanan’s frustration came to head as the two discussed their relationship and what life will be like after the Rebellion. I’ve always found the juxtaposition between Hera’s commitment to the rebellion and Kanan’s reluctance to join another organized military following his experience during the Clone Wars to be very compelling. They have one of the most interesting and entertaining relationships on the show, and once again Marshall and Prinze were great in this scene. Kanan and Hera clearly love each other, but I can’t help but feel tragedy is heading their way. Meanwhile, Sabine installed the hyperdrive in the U-Wing so they could transport the TIE Defender’s data recorder to rebel command. Thanks to Rukh’s tracker, Imperial forces arrived and cornered the rebels. As the Imperials moved in, Hera and Kanan finally kissed. It was a great moment, but it did feel like a goodbye. Hera and Chopper departed on the U-Wing with the data recorder. Hera jumping to hyperspace through the hanger of an Imperial construction sphere was one of my favorite moments in the episode and is among the show’s most impressive visuals. While I enjoyed that moment and Hera is obviously a great pilot, the ease with which she escaped was a little frustrating. I understand that Thrawn is playing the long game, but this a clear-cut loss for him. He needs to take that next step and legitimately defeat the Ghost crew. The Loth-Wolves returned and Ezra convinced everyone to follow them to safety. Ryder saying, “How have you people stayed alive so long?” in response to Ezra’s suggestion made me laugh more than any moment in the show’s history. I’ve asked that question many times too, Ryder. Ezra and the others followed the Loth-Wolves deeper into the caves as the Empire bombed the mountains. Then we saw a flash of white, a beautiful image of a Loth-Wolf stepping in water, and an image of everyone laying in a field. When everyone woke up, they were on the other side of the planet. Somehow, the Loth-Wolves transported them from the northern hemisphere to southern hemisphere. The Loth-Wolf once again said “Dume” and Kanan felt their enhanced connection to the Force and energy of the planet. He sensed that the Empire was doing something far more sinister than building the TIE Defender on Lothal. I will continue to take a wait and see approach to the Loth-Wolves, but this was a pretty stunning sequence.

   

What Worked

  • Hera and Kanan
  • The introduction of Rukh
  • Rehabbing Lothal's reputation

What Didn’t Work

  • Is Governor Pryce regressing?
External Links:
Added: November 28, 2017
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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