NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 10:00 PM
The young hero of “Rebels” finally discovers his parents’ fate.
Aboard the Ghost, Padawan Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) is dreaming of his lost parents. Among the fragmented images are the couple in an Imperial prison cell, a white Loth-cat (a rather obviously named feline species on Lothal), Ezra wielding his lightsaber and a mysterious bearded man on a hill.
He rushes out to find Jedi Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Captain Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) discussing possible locations for a rebel base. His master cautions against relying too heavily on visions from the Force, since they are open to wide interpretation. Of course, this is something Luke Skywalker learned the hard way in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
“I think it’s time to show him,” says Kanan, prompting a look of resignation from Hera.
Hera reveals that they’ve been researching the thousand Imperial prisons the Bridgers could have been taken to, based on information gleaned from the defector Tseebo. Unfortunately, their efforts bore no results. Ezra thanks Hera for her efforts on his behalf.
We are quickly reminded that the rebels aren’t safe themselves, since the Empire has learned that they are hiding on Garel. Admiral Konstantine (Dee Bradley Baker) doesn’t trust the intel from the Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez), until Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) confirms the location and orders that the fleet be deployed there immediately.
Back on Garel, Hera shows Ezra a newly acquired list of escapees from a mass prison break the previous night. Kanan shows his Padawan how to let the Force guide him to the most important name on the list and Ezra slips into a trance-like state (complete with a repeat of his vision).
He stops on Prisoner X-10, who was arrested for treason on Lothal, and decides that they need to return to his home planet.
As Hera reminds Ezra that Lothal has been blockaded by the Empire, Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) reports that the fleet left the planet’s orbit that morning. The three members of the Ghost crew tell Ezra that he won’t be going alone.
“We support you, we’re family,” says Hera, fully aware that Ezra’s parents are most likely dead.
Imperial Star Destroyers arrive on Garel after Ezra Bridger accidentally revealed that the rebels were hiding there.
Hera informs that Zeb (Steve Blum) and Chopper, who are out collecting supplies, that they will be leaving soon. The Lasat notes that how “strange” it is that they haven’t seen any Stormtroopers all day.
“It’s not strange, it’s strategy,” says Imperial Academy dropout Sabine. “The Empire always pulls back patrols before a major strike.”
At that moment, three Star Destroyers cast their shadows over the city. Kanan and Ezra rush out to find their allies, who are being pursued by a squad of Stormtroopers. A massive firefight ensues, with the Ghost crew leaping behind crates.
Zeb and Chopper break cover to rejoin their friends, but the droid gets nervous and retreats behind the original crate. Kallus himself arrives with a pair of troops, pinning the rebels from multiple angles.
An emotional Ezra leaps out and takes down Kallus’ escort by easily deflecting their shots, before knocking the man himself unconscious by Force Pushing him into a wall.
Kanan finishes off the last of the other squad, but there’s no time to celebrate as the Inquisitors arrive. Ezra’s anger is clear as he vows that they won’t stop him
“Well then my brave young boy, come and prove it,” says the Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar).
He ignites his lightsaber and runs at the deadly pair (and certain death, given the result of their previous encounter), but a quick-thinking Kanan blasts the controls of a door between the would-be combatants and cuts them off.
Ezra’s hunt for his lost parents finally comes to an end, but he realizes that he has a new family.
It goes unsaid, but Ezra was clearly slipping towards the dark side as he let passion fuel his actions. Does Kanan fail to recognize this or is his empathy for his Padawan blinding him to the dangers? He does take a moment to give their cowering astromech droid a hard time.
“Way to have our backs Chopper,” he says as they sprint back to the Ghost.
On the rebel blockade runner Liberator, Captain Rex (Baker) and Commander Sato (Keone Young) want Hera to lead the fleet as they escape Garel. Kanan, Ezra, Zeb and Chopper leap onto the Ghost as it takes off.
With Kanan and Ezra aboard the Phantom dropship, the rebels manage to fight off TIE fighters until Konstantine’s Star Destroyer catches the Liberator in its tractor beam. Hera orders Kanan to leave for Lothal while she rescues their comrades.
In a very cool display of her piloting prowess (and Zeb’s dismay), Hera flies under the Star Destroyer and prepares to destroy the tractor beam. When TIE blasts stop them from firing a torpedo, she smacks into the emitter with the Ghost and frees their allies’ ship, allowing them all to escape to hyperspace.
As the Phantom approaches Lothal, Ezra thanks Kanan for helping him in his quest. The Jedi responds by highlighting their similarly harsh experiences.
“Hey, I know what it’s like to lose someone close and not have anyone,” he says. “When I lost my master, I was alone. Regardless of how this turns out, I didn’t want you to be.”
They arrive in Capital City and Ezra surveys the rooftops where he learned to survive alone, before deciding to return to his parents’ house. They find it burnt to the ground and the teen starts to despair. Kanan gets him to listen to the Force and the white Loth-cat he dreamt about arrives.
The cat allows Ezra to rub it briefly, but suddenly darts off over the rooftops. Undeterred, the Padawan gives chase and his unimpressed master follows. The chase is cut short when the animal leaps onto a speeder bike and shoots away. However, Ezra announces that he put a tracker on the cat.
The pair follows the signal to the mountains outside the city. As they step into the open, they are suddenly pinned by a sniper’s blasterfire. Ezra realizes that they’ve found Prisoner X-10 and announces that he is the son of Mira and Ephraim Bridger.
The sniper introduces himself as Ryder Azadi (the unmistakable Clancy Brown, who played Savage Opress in “The Clone Wars”) and admits that he knows Ezra’s parents.
The trio retires to Ryder’s makeshift hut, with the imagery baring some similarities to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s desert home in “A New Hope.” The former prisoner reveals that he was Lothal’s governor, until he was imprisoned for supporting the Bridgers’ anti-Imperial broadcasts, and sadly confirms that they are dead.
He notes that Mira and Ephraim retained their convictions in prison and were inspired by Ezra’s own call to rebellion. They convinced dozens of sympathizers “to rise up and break out,” but were fatally separated from their allies during the escape.
“Y’know, they used to say all the time when I was a little: ‘If we don’t stand up, who will?” says a tearful Ezra.
Later, he sits out on a bluff and gazes out at Lothal’s twin moons (another parallel with Tatooine and Luke’s journey). He sees a vision of an affluent Lothal, with his parents (Kath Soucie and Baker, proving his versatile voice talents again) asking him to stay strong and to never give up hope.
Kanan, Erza’s new father figure, arrives and tells the teen that his parents will always live on in him.
Watch “Star Wars Rebels” on Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. on Disney XD.
ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE CLIP HERE.