The mystery of the Loth-Wolves and their connection to Ezra and Kanan deepens in the latest Star Wars Rebels episode; Kindred.
Kindred continues the story arc of the Rebels battling the Empire on Lothal. After stealing and subsequently crashing a TIE Defender Elite last week in Flight of the Defender the Empire is hell bent on finding Ezra and Sabine before they can make it back with a stolen hyperdrive unit. Grand Admiral Thrawn hopes to stop them from using the hyperdrive to take the flight data recorder from the Defender back to the Rebel Alliance and so sends his most trusted and deadly assassin; Rukh. He quickly latches onto the scent and locates Ezra, Zeb and Jai Kell returning to pick up the hyperdrive that they had hidden away. Disguised as Scout troopers, Ezra and Jai Kell make a lousy attempt to distract Rukh but are quickly found out which leads to a fight and a chase away on speeder bikes. Zeb uses the distraction to steal an Imperial Transport from Governer Pryce and get the hyperdrive back to base.
Regrouping back at camp, Sabine fits the U-Wing with the stolen hyperdrive. Ezra and Jai make it back not yet realizing that they have been tracked back to base. Hera and Kanan share an emotional parting as she prepares to make a run through the Imperial blockade to bring the data recorder to Mon Mothma on Yavin IV. The rebels remaining on the surface come under attack and become pinned at their camp with no easy way out. It’s then that the mysterious Loth-Wolves show up and lead them underground. But not without some convincing on Ezra’s part.
As TIE Bombers begin to lay waste to the mountains to flush the rebels out, the Wolves guide them through a “tunnel of light” to escape. Waking up on the other side Sabine is amazed to learn that they are somehow halfway across the planet and now in the southern hemisphere, safe for now. With no idea how or why they got there, the Wolves convey a sense of something else the Empire may be up to on Lothal. Something far worse than just strip mining the planet.
The Force Within Lothal
With Lothal being the home of Ezra Bridger it’s understandable that the series has spent quite a bit of time here. But as Kanan notes at the beginning of the episode, there is something more to Lothal. Something that keeps drawing them back. In Kindred, the importance is expanded upon further. When the Loth-Wolves lead the Rebels crew to safety Ezra notices strange markings on the wall. Ancient hieroglyphs depicting the Wolves leading groups of people.
But for what purpose? The Wolves have a deep connection with the Force. More than just beings connected to it as all living things are. Could they be able to use the Force? They have certainly felt Ezra and Kanan through it.
At the end of Kindred the group wakes up surrounded by more hieroglyphs. These depicting beings descending from the stars. Jedi, Ezra theorizes. This is not a surprise as they have seen and entered a Jedi Temple back in season one. But it’s possible that the Jedi encountered the Loth-Wolves on their arrival and established a relationship with them recognizing their natural Force ability.
There is a great line at the end where Ezra notes again that all the paths are coming together. Kanan just hopes they like where they lead. It’s some seriously heavy foreshadowing.
The Stuff Of Legends
No stranger to Star Wars, legendary actor Warwick Davis joins the cast to give voice to a very familiar character to anyone who is a fan of the novels that make up the Legends continuity.
Thrawn’s assassin Rukh is straight out of the same novel that gave birth to the Admiral himself; Heir to the Empire by author Timothy Zahn. Debuting in 1991, Rukh was the personal assassin of the Grand Admiral and him alongside more of his Noghri species served the Empire. Given the arc of this character in the novels, it will be interesting to see how true to the original content the show stays.
He is extremely cunning and ruthless and puts up quite the fight for the heroes. His debut in Kindred is only a brief look at his character but it won’t be the last time he shows up on Rebels I’m sure.
Fun With Hyperdrives
Another theme of the episode is hyperdrives. Sabine is able to install the hyperdrive stolen off of the Defender onto their damaged U-Wing. It’s vital that they get the intel they’ve gathered offworld to the Alliance. Without this hyperdrive they’d be in worse shape than they already are.
Hera pulls off an incredible jump into hyperspace in this episode. While evading Imperial Star Destroyers she and Chopper race to plot a jump out of the system. Aboard Thrawn’s Chimaera, an officer informs the Grand Admiral that the ship will soon be intercepted as it is about to be caught amongst several orbiting construction modules. In a visually amazing scene, Hera jumps the ship to lightspeed straight through the bay of one of the modules. It’s very reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon launching to lightspeed out of a hangar in The Force Awakens.
The best jump however required no hyperdrive or ship at all. Deep underground, the Wolves lead the rebels through what appears to be hyperspace. The familiar blue swirl is reflected in Ezra’s eyes as they all hold hands and follow the Wolves to safety. Whether this is due to some manifestation of the Force on Lothal or a natural ability of the Wolves remains to be seen. It isn’t the first time Rebels has explored a species’ ability to navigate hyperspace. The Purrgil from season two were also able to reach hyperspace on their own.
After narrowly escaping the Empire with some assistance from the Loth-Wolves, Kanan and Ezra attempt to understand more about their rescuers. The lead Wolf mumbles the word “Dume” and it startles Kanan. Ezra learns that Kanan Jarrus was born Caleb Dume, a name he was forced to abandon after Order 66. How the Wolves know this and what it means is left vague for now. But just enough was teased to spark some major speculation. Although led to believe that the Wolves were drawn to Ezra it’s now reasonable to assume they were looking for Kanan all along.
The utterance of “Dume” could also have a double meaning. Kanan feels that they are being warned and that the Empire is up to something more sinister on Lothal. Could “Dume” have been misinterpreted or also mean “Doom”? More foreshadowing.
Caleb, or Kanan rather, also gets some more romantic with Hera. In a heartfelt moment they dance around what they might do after the war is over. Interrupted again it still remains unanswered, but fans finally get what they’ve been craving with a passionate kiss goodbye when they need to part to operate on different fronts. Finally!
The follow up to Kindred, Crawler Commanders, aired on the same night, you can check back here on Thursday for the review.