Star Wars Rebels: Flight of the Defender Review

Oh, where do I even begin?  I don’t know about you, but this was the most beautifully created episode that Star Wars Rebels has ever had.  Everything down to the music was awesome.  And I’ll save what I have to say about the Loth-wolves for the end of my review.  Now let’s get reviewing.  Major Spoiler Warnings!…

 

The TIE Defender

Ryder, Zeb, Ezra, and Sabine are all spying on an Imperial testing station, looking for the TIE Defender when a bunch of Loth-cats run up.  Sabine says that she sees plenty of TIE Interceptors, which is nothing new.  She wonders if Ryder is sure that they are in the right place.   “My spies said this is where the test flight for the new TIE Defender will be,” Ryder replies.  Zeb says that they’ve been out for hours and all they’ve been able to see was the Loth-cats.  Two Loth-cats climb all over him.   “What can I say?” Ezra asks.  “They like me.”  Sabine tells him that she’s glad that somebody likes him, but he need to stay with the mission.  Hera calls Ezra to ask what their status is.  He replies that they haven’t seen the ship and asks how her recon is going.  At Ezra’s old comm tower, Kanan, Hera, and Chopper are looking over Lothal’s city.   “The Empire’s been fortifying their anti-aircraft defense and there is some new fuel tanks near the factory,” says Hera.  Kanan says that the Empire must be preparing for a full scale production.   Hera orders the rebels to maintain their surveillance until sundown, and that after they must return to base.  Ryder tells them that the TIE Defender is said to be tougher than the ones they have already encountered.   “Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it,” says Zeb.  Ezra reminds him that it’s why their there.  Suddenly, the Loth-cat that was taking a nap on Ezra’s back jumps up and starts to growl, as do the rest of the cats.  The creatures run away just as a ship flies creating a wind strong enough to knock Ryder’s hat and Sabine’s helmet right off.  Sabine quickly puts her helmet back on to get a closer look.  She asks Zeb if he can see it now.  “Yeah,” He replies.  “But I still don’t believe it.”

 

The Grand Admiral Arrives

The Defender lands and Zeb asks if they have any ship that can match the speed of the TIE.   “Well, it would definitely give the Ghost a run for it’s money,” Sabine replies.   The pilot of the Defender prototype steps out and Sabine recognizes him as Vult Skerris.  Ryder tells Sabine that if she had the recorder in her helmet running then they should have enough intel for the Rebellion, but Sabine isn’t so sure.  “If we’re going to beat that thing, we need more than some pretty pictures,” she says.  “We need to get the flight data recorder.”  Ezra and Zeb are skeptic.  Sabine tells them that the data would give the Rebellion a complete record of the ship.  Ryder says that they wouldn’t have any way to get physical evidence to the Rebellion.  Sabine insists that they would have a good problem on their hands.  Finally, Ezra and the others agree with her, even though Ryder is still not so sure.  Ezra tells Zeb and Ryder to stay and keep watch while he takes Sabine to get the flight recorder.  The two of them sneak down to the station, two Loth-cats following closely behind.  When they get close enough to the Defender, they see that it is being guarded by two Stormtroopers.  Sabine says that they’ll need a distraction.  Before they can come up with any ideas, the two Loth-cats run over to the troopers.  The troopers are not happy to see them.  “That’s what we get for building a base out herein the middle of nowhere,” on says.  The other trooper asks if he thinks the cats can fly.  “Kinda like to see if they could,” the other replies.  The trooper shoots at the cat, causing it to jump and get angry.  “Nope, can’t fly,” he says.  The two cats jump up and attack the troopers before running off.  For some reason, the troopers run off after them, leaving the Defender unguarded.  Sabine comments that she’s beginning to like the cats more and more before heading towards the Defender.  Once inside the TIE, Sabine comms Ezra to tell him to give her a few minutes so she can remove the recorder.  Ezra asks why she can just copy the data.  “No, it’s faster to take the whole thing,” Sabine replies.   Zeb calls to tell them there’s a ship heading their way.  Sure enough, an Imperial Sentinel-class shuttle lands at the station.  And who gets out?  Grand Admiral Thrawn himself, as well as the one and only Governor Pryce.  Skerris is there to meet them.  Sabine asks what’s happening.  “Something terrible,” he replies.

 

Stealing The Defender

Thrawn tells Skerris that he is eager to hear his opinions on the improvement of the TIE Defender program.  Skerris says that he’ll give him a flight demonstration after Thrawn inspects the ship.  Ryder and Zeb watch as the three Imperials head for the TIE.  “Get ready,” says Zeb.  “Thing are about to get interesting.”   Ezra tells Sabine that they have to leave.  She replies that she’s almost got the recorder and tells him to stall.   “Stall them?  How?  It’s Thrawn!” Ezra says.   “I’m confident you’ll think of something,” Sabine says.  Ezra is looking for a way to distract the Imperials when he sees something in the distance; a beautiful, white Loth-wolf.  He can hear it’s howling, and is shocked to see it.  That’s when a TIE Fighter pilots sees him and starts to shoot at him.  When Ezra jumps away and looks back at where the wolf was, it’s no longer there.  Thrawn and the others are alerted of Ezra’s presence when they see the TIE pilot shooting at him.  Skerris is surprised to see a Jedi.  Thrawn recognizes the Jedi as Ezra Bridger.  He tells his Deathtrooper body guards to secure the Defender prototype.  While Sabine is talking to herself about how the Defender has a navicomputer, she sees Ezra fighter off all the troopers that are now shooting at him.  “Well Ezra, you certainly got their attention,” she says over the comm.  “I’m glad this is working for you,” Ezra replies.  Zeb calls them again to tell them that if they head for the south end of the runway, they will come pick them up.  Ezra denies them, telling them to report back to base with the information that they have.  “We’ll find our own way back,” he says.  When Sabine finally removes the recorder, she can’t find Ezra.  “Maybe this wan’t such a good idea,” she says.  But she has another idea when she looks at the Defender’s controls.  Ezra continues to fight the troopers.  You know, for a Jedi, Ezra is disturbingly clumsy.  Watching him fall all over the place was truly hilarious.  After falling down for what seems like the tenth time, he looks over at Thrawn and, waving hello, says, “Hey!”  (Facepalms)  “Fascinating,” Thrawn replies.  Just as the Deathtroopers are getting to the Defender, Sabine flies the TIE away from them.  Ezra tells Sabine to get out of there, not knowing that she is flying the TIe around.  Sabine tells him to stay down and starts to fire the canons at the troopers.  Ezra asks her if she’s crazy.  Sabine ignores him and tells him to get into the TIE.  Once he does, Sabine shoots up the other TIEs at the station before flying back around to get the TIe Interceptors.  When she comes around a third time, Thrawn tries to shoot at them with his blaster.  He never even moves as Sabine nearly takes him down with the Defender’s canons.  The rebels do, however, take out his shuttle.   “Was this part of the demonstration?” Thrawn asks.  Skerris tells him that the rebels won’t get far, since the hyperdrive is offline.  Pryce says she’ll activate the ship’s kill switch.  Thrawn tells her not yet.  “This is the perfect opportunity for a combat test,” he says.  He tells Skerris to send out his pilots to intercept the Defender.  Zeb and Ryder are still watching from afar.  “I told you this would get interesting,” says Zeb.  Ryder says that they need to get back to base.

The Test Run

Far from the station, the two troopers from before are still chasing those Loth-cats!  Both Stormtroopers are out of breath.   “I’m done with this,” says one of the troopers.  They here a strange noise, which happens to be the TIE they were supposed to be guarding.  The Defender whooshes over them knocking the two off their feet.  In the TIE, Ezra tells Sabine that he thought they were only going to steal the data recorder.  “We are, but I’m also learning all kinds of things,” says Sabine.  She explains that since the TIE has a navicomputer, it has a hyperdrive.  The two are unaware that the hyperdrive is offline, but Sabine says that they can take to TIE back to the rebel base on Yavin 4.  “This idea has gone from good, to great,” says Ezra.  Sabine gives the controls to Ezra while she deactivates the ship’s transponder so that the Empire won’t be able to track them.  The TIE picks up three TIE Interceptors coming up behind them.  “To late,” says Ezra.  The other TIEs try to shoot down the Defender but have little success because of the ship’s shields.  Ezra has obviously been practicing, because he has become a pretty good pilot. Though, he’s no Hera Syndulla or Han Solo.  The Defender zips around all over the place, even managing to break the sound barrier.  Ezra takes out one of the Interceptors.  Sabine tells him to keep the ship steady.  “I’m trying not to get shot down!”  Ezra yells.  At the testing station, Thrawn watches as yet another Interceptor is shot down.  “I wonder who else is in that stolen fighter,” he says.  Skerris thinks that since two of the Interceptors had been shot down, it must be Hera.  Thrawn doesn’t share that thought.  “If Hera Syndulla were piloting the ship our fighters would not have survived this long,” he says.  Ezra continues to fly around like crazy.  “You know, if you get the whole ship blown up I won’t have to deactivate the transponder,” Sabine says.  Ezra tells her not to worry and that he’ll get the last Interceptor.  Using the Defender’s missiles, he pulverizes the last Interceptor.  Sabine gets the transponder deactivated, but discovers something disturbing.  She starts to panic.  She tells Ezra to hurry and land the Defender.  Ezra asks what’s wrong.  “This ship has a kill switch!”  She tells him.  “They used it at Skystrike, remember? They can disable the ship from a distance.”  When Thrawn sees that the transponder has been deactivated, he knows that Sabine is on the ship with Ezra.  He says that if someone with Ezra’s piloting skills can best three trained pilots, then the new fighter would give them an overwhelming advantage over the Rebellion.  He has Pryce activate the kill switch.  Ezra goes to land the ship, but it’s to late.  The Defender’s wings begin to pop off one by one.  Sabine deactivates the kill switch right before they lose their third and final wing.  The fighter still crashes onto Lothal’s surface.

 

The White Wolf

Sabine and Ezra, as well as the recorder, make it out alright.  “Nice landing,” Sabine comments.  Ezra says that they can scratch stealing the TIE Defender, but Sabine says that they can still take the hyperdrive.  She explains that if they can get the hyperdrive, she can replace the broken one in Ryder’s U-wing.  “How are we going to carry it,” Ezra ask.  “Any way we can,” Sabine replies.  Meanwhile, at Ryder’s U-wing, Zeb is loading up two speeder bikes onto the ship.  “I should have expected them to do something crazy like that,” he says.  “It’s okay Zeb,” Kanan says. “This is on them.”   Hera finds out through Imperial chatter that the two rebels had crashed.  Ryder says that the Empire will try very hard to find them, and they can’t contact them without risking a signal trace.  “It doesn’t matter,” Hera says. “We have to find them.”  They fly away to find the two missing rebels.  Ezra and Sabine havn’t gotten very far from the crash site with the hyperdrive.  When they stop for a while to rest, Ezra spots a white Loth-cat.  When it runs away, Ezra wants to follow it.  He and Sabine take to hyperdrive to where the cat was, and Ezra sees a small cave.  He says that they can leave the hyperdrive there and come back for it later, since they would make better time that way.  “How did you know that was here?” Sabine asks.  Ezra tells her that he followed the white Loth-cat.  Sabine doesn’t understand and asks if he hit his head in the crash.  The two get the hyperdrive into the cave and push a stone in front of it.  That’s when he hears that howling again; the white Loth-wolf is back.  Sabine, however, can’t hear it.  Ezra shakes it off and the two continue on their way.  At night, the Empire find the crash site, but no rebels.  Pryce tells Thrawn via hologram what has happened.  Thrawn tells her to secure the site and that ground units have been deployed.  Ryder also has a lead on the crash site.  Hera is very worried about the two youngest Ghost crew members.  “It’s okay,” Kanan reassures her.  “Ezra and Sabine have each other.  They’ll find their way home.”  Hera says that she’ll keep monitoring Imperial chatter and keep the U-wings engines warm just in case.  Ezra and Sabine narrowly escape Imperial search lights and hurry to get away.  They hide behind rock formations, hoping that they are not found.  Sabine says that they have to keep moving, but Ezra hears the howling yet again.  And now for the coolest part in the whole episode.  Ezra sees the white wolf watching them.  Sabine says again that they need to keep moving, and tries to see what Ezra is looking at.  “I thought I saw something,” Ezra says. “I think it’s a Loth-wolf.  No one’s seen them in one-hundred years, but I think I keep seeing one today.”  Sabine asks if their like the ones from the cave paintings they had seen earlier.  Ezra is about to confirm, but stops when he sees the wolf right behing Sabine.  He warns her, and she turns to see the huge, beautiful wolf.  The wolf breaths on her and says, “Sleep.”  She immediately blacks out and falls into Ezra’s arms.  Ezra asks what the wolf did to her.  The wolf simply sits in front of him and stares.  Ezra moves to get his lightsaber, but hesitates.  The white Loth-cat climbs up onto the wolf’s head.  “I don’t believe it,” Ezra says as he lets go of his blade.  Here we see just how big the wolves really are, and they are huge!  I was not expecting them to be so big.  “I thought I was just imagining things earlier,” Ezra continues.  The wolf tunrs to the Imperial search ships that are getting closer and growls.  The wolf comes closer to Ezra and lets him pet his nose.  he lies down and has Ezra and an unconscious Sabine get on top of him.  Then, he runs as fast as he can away from the Imperials.  This moment was amazing.  “Thank you,” Ezra says.

 

“All Paths Are Coming Together Now.”

By morning, the wolf has taken them to where Ryder’s U-wind is parked.  Ezra takes Sabine…and plops her down on the floor.  What a gentleman.  Anyway, he tells the wolf that he doesn’t understand why he helped them.  The wolf comes closer and says, “Doom” in a dark voice.  Ezra gets distracted by Hera and the rest of the rebels, who are running out to see them.  “Thank goodness you safe!” Her says as Sabine wakes up.  Zeb asks how they got back so fast.  Ezra is about to ask if they saw the wolf, but turns to see that he is gone.  “I don’t remember seeing anything,” Sabine says.  “I just heard you say wolf.”   Hera sees the data recorder that they had managed to grab in all the chaos.  Sabine explains what they did with the hyperdrive.  Zeb congratulates the two for a job well done before they all go back to the ship, except for Kanan and Ezra.  “Kanan, there was a wolf,” Ezra says. “And there’s something more to it.”   Kanan says that he believes him.  “All paths are coming together now,” Kanan says.  Ezra asks what that means.  “I don’t know,” Kanan replies.  “We”ll have to find out when we get there.”  As Kanan and Ezra walk away, the white wolf is watching them.

 

Conclusion

Oh boy, what to say.  So, this episode is probably my new favorite.  I just want to say again how breathtaking the wolves are.  They are incredible, and I can’t wait to find out what part they play in Ezra’s story.  It surprised me that they can speak.  Another thing that I want to know is why can’t someone who is a Jedi see them?  When the wolf put Sabine to sleep, it was so she would forget that he was there.  And about Ezra and Kanan’s conversation at the end, I am certain that Star Wars Rebels will not have a very happy ending.  This is Star Wars, and the main story does not belong to the Ghost crew.  It belongs to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia.  Of course, Hera and Chopper survive, but what about the others?  What about Kanan?  Kanan is definitely at the top of the list of who might die in the end.  The question is, when and how will he go?

Stray Thoughts

– When Sabine and Ezra steal the Defender, it mirrors the time in the season one episode “Fighter Flight” when Zeb and Ezra steal a TIE Fighter.

– Regarding the moment when the Wolf says “Doom”, it is also believed that he might have said “Dume”, as in Kanan’s original last name.  Now what Kanan’s origial name has to do with anything, I’m not sure.  I guess, like Kanan says, we’ll all find out what he mean when we get there.

The next episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Kindred”, will air on November 6, at 9:00 ET.  Immediately afterwords “Crawler Commandeers will air.

 

All media property of Lucasfilm

 

 

 

 

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