Ssssinister enemies stand in the rebels’ way.
The Lothal rebels have set up a new camp in the mountain cave they found in the planet’s southern hemisphere and Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) tries to set up a transmitter to contact their allies on Yavin IV.
However, she can’t get any communications past the Empire’s blocking signal. Jedi Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is confident that Captain Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) will convince Rebel Alliance command to attack the TIE Defender production facilities on Lothal, but they have to be ready to help.
Sabine picks up “something transmitting nearby,” so they decide to check what it is.
They arrive at the source and find a massive Mining Guild ore crawler scorching the earth as it moves slowly across the planet’s grasslands.
“They strip-rig the surface for raw materials to feed the Imperial factory,” explains Ryder Azadi (Clancy Brown).
Observing the crawler through her macro-binoculars, Sabine sees a long-range communications array on top of the machine — one they can use to contact Hera on Yavin IV — and they decide to move on it.
On Yavin, Gen. Dodonna (Michael Bell) analyzes the TIE Defender Elite plans and informs Hera, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and a holographic Bail Organa (Phil LaMarr) that their fighters would be no match for the Imperial ship.
“If we can’t find a way to fight this thing, it’s imperative to prevent it from being mass-produced,” says Hera.
“I request permission to lead an attack squadron back to Lothal, to destroy that factory.”
May the fourth be with you! Fans get into costume for Star Wars Day
Bail suggests that the Imperial defenses on Lothal are too great to consider an attack, and Mon Mothma gently tells Hera to wait outside while they make their decision.
On Lothal, the rebel team approaches the massive crawler and Sabine uses her jetpack to get onto one of its walkways, before taking out the Mining Guild security droid. It’s cool that all of the guild’s equipment, from vehicles to droids, has distinctive yellow detailing.
Kanan, Zeb and Padawan Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) join Sabine, who smoothly blasts another droid as her allies climb to the crawler’s bridge. They sneak up on the Trandoshan Captain Seevor (Seth Green, who previously played Ion Papanoida and Cad Bane’s droid in “The Clone Wars”), but he manages to set off a security alarm and attacks the rebels.
They manage to subdue Seevor, but an Imperial officer comms them to see if there’s a problem.
“Ha, you’re done, thieving sssscoundrels,” says the smug captain, in a suitably serpentine voice.
Ezra mimics Seevor’s voice as he responds to the Imperial, claiming that crawler has malfunctioned. Even though the teen says they’ll make repairs themselves, the Empire sending over a technical team to help.
With a new time limit, Sabine prepares to boost the comm unit’s signal enough to reach Hera. She finds that a signal is being sent from the rear section of the crawler, so Kanan and Zeb offer to check it out.
In an atmospheric scene, the pair separate to search a dark engine room and the Jedi happens upon a group of slaves.
“Finally! My friends have come to rescue me,” says Cikatro Vizago (Keith Szarabajka).
Gen. Dodonna considers the latest Empire weapon as he examines the TIE Defender Elite plans.
It would seem that the Empire forced him to serve on the crawler after he smuggled the rebels onto Lothal, and that he’s been expecting them to rescue him — Kanan decides to play along with the Devaronian’s notion.
“I told them the foreman would be no match for a Jedi,” Vizago says, just as an electro-whip tears Kanan’s lightsaber from his hand.
The Trandoshan foreman then wraps the whip around Kanan, shocking the Jedi and leaving him defenseless. Zeb opens fire from above, so the foreman uses the whip to leap up and engages the Lasat in hand-to-hand combat.
On the bridge, Sabine works to encrypt their message to Yavin and Seevor grows increasingly obnoxious. Ezra flings him into a storage closet, but Seevor warns that they’ve “got a big surprise coming.”
Meanwhile, Zeb and the foreman engage in an excellently shot fight scene — it feels like we haven’t seen nearly enough of the Lasat’s skills. They end up hanging from a platform above the abyss and the Trandoshan tries to attack using the whip again, but ultimately falls to his doom.
“You’re really, really heavy,” says Kanan as he lifts his friend up.
On Yavin, Mon Mothma steps out the meeting to tell Hera that they’re found out about another Imperial plan to do with “Protocol 13” — the immediate evacuation of all Imperial personnel from an occupied planet.
Could this be the evacuation of Jedha, as seen in “Rogue One”? If that’s the case, the remaining episodes of “Rebels” will have to take place over a relatively short time period.
Hera bursts into the closed meeting, where she implores Alliance command to attack Lothal and stop the Empire from mass-producing the Defender Elite.
Kanan Jarrus faces off against the crawler’s foremen, as enslaved workers look on.
“I believe it’s a risk worth taking and whether we fail or succeed, at least our actions will show the Empire and the galaxy that we will not stand down, that we will not be broken by fear, that we are strong — united by our courage,” she says inspirationally.
“Now is our time to strike.”
Back on Lothal, Ezra expresses surprise upon seeing Vizago and the Devaronian realizes that the rebels didn’t actually come to rescue him. His pouting is interrupted when Sabine calls them all to the bridge.
Two Imperial transports fly towards them and comm to demand a security code. Vizago takes the captain’s chair and tries to convince the Empire that they lost the codes due to their technical problems. Seezor starts to shout from the storage closet nearby and Zeb casually steps inside to shut him up.
Despite Vizago’s efforts, the Imperials decide to board and a stormtrooper squad prepares to sweep the vessel. Sabine, Kanan and Ezra hide and Vizago ultimately convinces that the squad commander that nothing is wrong, so the troops leave.
However, the rebels discover that Seezor managed to escape through an air vent while they were distracted.
Sabine is ready to transmit to Hera, but the device loses power and the Trandoshan taunts them via intercom. Still convinced that the rebels are just pirates, he demands that they patch him through to the Empire or he’ll destroy the crawler.
Sabine concludes that Seezor will be targeting the main reactor core, in the vessel’s refinery, and they discover that he’s sealed the door. Ezra reluctantly agrees to pursue Seezor by going into the ventilation shaft — which used to be one of his signature moves.
“I don’t do this anymore,” the teen moans as he moves through the tight shaft.
Having taken over the Mining Guild crawler, the rebels prepare to convince the Empire that nothing is wrong.
He eventually reaches the refinery, where he discovers that Seezor has shut down the reactors. We also see a furnace with a crusher slamming down rhythmically (an obvious Chekov’s Gun) and Seezor crawling stealthily on a platform below Ezra.
The Padawan re-activates the reactor at a console opposite the furnace and Seezor attacks, forcing Ezra to defend himself with his lightsaber. Both are left dazed after a brief fight and Ezra drops his weapon — only for the Trandoshan to slip on the cylindrical hilt and fall into the furnace.
“Watch out,” says a smirking Ezra, as his enemy dies screaming.
That’s … a little dark Ezra!
On the crawler’s deck, Vizago finally expresses his gratitude for the rescue and Ezra suggests that he take command of the vessel as it enters the Rebel Alliance’s service.
Sabine announces that they’re getting a reply from Yavin IV — Hera informs them that command has authorized the attack. Fighters are on way, but Mon Mothma wants Ezra and company to coordinate the ground assault.
The battle for Lothal is about to begin.
“You can count on us,” says Ezra.
“Rebel Assault,” the mid-season finale of “Star Wars Rebels,” airs 9 p.m. Monday Nov. 13 on Disney XD.