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Star Wars Rebels

Jedi Night (Star Wars Rebels - S04E10) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Jedi Night

Season: Four

Episode: 10

Original Air Date: February 19, 2018

Runtime: 22 minutes

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

"I didn’t like that droid, Kanan." SPOILERS. 

The Ghost crew finally lost a member of the team in “Jedi Night.”  Throughout its run, Star Wars Rebels episodes would often end with the Ghost crew escaping Imperial grasp in increasingly artificial and contrived ways. I’m not advocating for the heroes to lose every week or for constant character deaths, that would actually be even more problematic as death should never be meaningless or routine. The death of Kanan Jarrus had meaning though and it was handled perfectly.  Kanan’s death seemed inevitable as the final season began to unfold, and “Jedi Night” wasn’t shy about foreshadowing his death as it barreled towards its explosive conclusion. Although it felt like they were building up to Kanan’s death, I had the same thought during the season three finale and yet he lived to fight another day. The tension between clear thematic foreshadowing and the somewhat forced escapes of the past kept me guessing throughout the episode. Surprise shouldn’t be the determining factor in whether or not a death was well handled though. Shock value deaths are cheap and lazy. Thankfully, the death of Kanan wasn’t a mere shock value death. Kanan’s death worked on an emotional level thanks in large part to his relationship with Hera and it deconstructed those contrived happy endings where everyone always lives to fight another day. Loss is a part of war, and Kanan has been fighting a war his entire life. I’m not sure what the legacy of the Kanan Jarrus character will be, but he was one of the show’s most likable characters and his absence hung over the episodes that followed his death. As painful and devastating as his death was, it felt strangely overdue as the writers haven’t been sure what to do with his character for a season and a half now. “Jedi Night” is more than its final seconds though. It was a wonderful goodbye to the character of Kanan Jarrus and among the series’ finest episodes.

   

The episode itself began with Kanan reflecting on his life and passing the torch to Ezra by placing him in charge of the mission to rescue Hera from Governor Pryce. The focus then shifted to Thrawn and Pryce’s interrogation of Hera. The gradual development of the relationship between Thrawn and Hera has been a pleasure to watch. The mix of genuine admiration from Thrawn and outright disgust from Hera creates a unique dynamic for the show. Thrawn’s possession of the Kalikori creates an instantly personal conflict for Hera. Rebels realized far too late that Hera is the show’s best character, but I’m glad they have finally put her at the center of the action and found a worthy, direct rival for her with Thrawn. Ezra came up with a low-tech plan to get the rescue team into Lothal’s heavily fortified capital. Kanan, Sabine, and Ezra used homemade gliders to sneak into the capital. This was a fairly creative solution to the issue of getting the characters into the capital without making the Imperials look completely incompetent. The moment when they depart on their mission is a highlight thanks to Kevin Kiner’s beautiful score. I can’t compliment Kiner enough as the score in this episode is some of his best work. In addition, we received some payoff to the ongoing storyline that focused on the Empire’s environmental destruction of Lothal as the smog and abundance of Loth-Bats driven to the city helped obscure their enemies as they infiltrated the capital. Thrawn was contacted by Grand Moff Tarkin who informed him that he must defend the continued funding of the TIE Defender project by traveling to Coruscant and addressing the Emperor himself. This was actually one of my favorite scenes in the episode, as it positioned Thrawn and Krennic as rivals clashing over whether or not the Death Star or the TIE Defender would continue to receive funding. It’s a natural connection to Rogue One, offers up a fascinating what-if scenario where Thrawn’s project goes forward instead, and highlights Tarkin’s opportunistic nature. In addition, it further draws attention to the constant infighting within the Empire that will ultimately contribute to its downfall. The Krennic scene may be a convenient tool to remove Thrawn from the situation to ensure he doesn’t have egg on his face when the factory is destroyed, but it worked overall.

   

After they landed on the platform above Pryce’s office, Kanan moved to rescue Hera while Ezra and Sabine looked for a way out. Kanan’s final, “May the Force be with you” to Ezra and Sabine was a bittersweet moment. Pryce used an Imperial mind probe on Hera, who refused to give up any information. The Imperial probe droid basically gave us drunk Hera, which was entertaining. However, I’m not sure how successful the “intoxicated” Hera subplot was. It didn’t entirely work, especially when she just snapped out of it and went back to normal like nothing happened. This may very well be Kanan’s finest hour, and his rescue of Hera as the main Star Wars theme kicked in was a great moment. When the series began, Kanan was repressing his Jedi past. In this moment we truly see Kanan Jarrus, Jedi Knight. Hera and Kanan’s relationship has always been the emotional core of the series, and this episode is the best showcase of that relationship. Kanan stopping to get the Kalikori and returning it to Hera was a wonderful, sweet moment. Hera commenting about Kanan’s hair and the perils of regifting…yeah these two are simply delightful together. They’ve been stealing the show all season, but Vanessa Marshall and Freddie Prinze Jr. were fantastic throughout this episode. Marshall has been the series MVP since day one and you can tell she was having a blast here, but Prinze Jr. truly stepped up his game this year and gave a deeply moving final performance. Rukh caught up with Kanan and Hera. Rukh’s duel with Kanan was another highlight; I only wish that it had lasted longer. However, that moment brings up a minor complaint of mine. The Death Troopers continued to disappoint. They were a great addition to the series that tied into Rogue One, but they are being used far too often and seem as bumbling and incompetent as any generic Stormtrooper.

   

Kanan and Hera finally got to say “I love you” and kiss, which should have happened much earlier. This was such a beautiful moment though, so it was probably worth the long wait. Pryce arrived and ordered an AT-AT to open fire on the fuel pod that the Rebels were standing on as they were being rescued. Kanan sacrificed himself so the others could live and destroyed the factory. The decision to have Pryce be the one to kill Kanan is intriguing. Kanan faced Darth Vader, Maul, Tarkin, Thrawn, and the Grand Inquisitor but it was an overambitious bureaucrat that killed him. Pryce has been a great addition to the series, but her decision was shortsighted as it likely crippled the TIE Defender factory. As for Kanan’s death, I thought it was handled perfectly. The fire that engulfed him and the Imperial compound was the best animation that we have seen on the show. Kiner’s score was as good as it gets. Kanan’s death also presented a couple of interesting thematic parallels. Kanan used the Force to push Hera back to save her just as Ahsoka used the Force to push Ezra back and save him in “Twilight of the Apprentice.” In addition, both Kanan and the Grand Inquisitor died as they were engulfed by flames. The difference being that Kanan made a selfless decision to give his own life to protect others while the Grand Inquisitor ended his own life because he was consumed by fear. The Grand Inquisitor let go and descended into the flames while Kanan stood his ground and made one final push that saved the rest of the crew. Kanan regaining his sight in his final moments so he could see Hera one more time was truly beautiful.  Kanan’s death was a gut punch because we felt that emotion through Hera. This episode demonstrates a near perfect balance between swashbuckling action, heartwarming moments, entertaining banter, and devastating loss.

   

What Worked

  • The Death of Kanan
  • Hera and Kanan
  • Kanan Jarrus, Jedi Knight
  • Thrawn’s Conversation with Hera
  • Kevin Kiner’s Score

What Didn’t Work

  • The Death Troopers
External Links:
Added: March 1, 2018
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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