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Star Wars: Rebels - A Fool's Hope & Family Reunion and Farewell P1 & P2 - Triple Review: "Goodbye Rebels"

Star Wars: Rebels 4.14 - "A Fool's Hope" - Review:

A Fool's Hope (the title borrows itself from a quote by Gandalf in Lord of the Rings) opened the story that set the tone for the night's event, showcasing the Rebels in action against Governor Pryce in a bid to liberate Lothal that was seemingly doomed as Ryder betrayed the team to the Empire in order to win his freedom. As someone who had never fully trusted Ryder earlier in the series, I pretty much bought into his betrayal being genuine, which made it incredibly relieving to see the ruse being revealed to us at the episode's end as Pryce became a victim of overconfidence that far too many Imperials in senior roles seem to have.

The action that took up much of this episode was almost like an opening skirmish especially given the context of what was to come next, but A Fool's Hope set the stage for the two-part finale very well. As it was a finale the stakes were very high right the way through, and every time the Rebels came to blows with the Imperials I wondered if this would be the end for them. It was a good decision to make the penultimate episode a more traditional Rebels affair, as it felt very similiar to that of the earlier episodes where the Rebels would be pushed into a corner against the Empire and then manage to pull a last minute save out of nowhere.

Everyone got their moment in the sun in this episode and the decision to keep the crew of the Ghost apart for most of the episode really worked. We got to see Sabine on jetpacks taking out the Imperial transport, and even Chopper wasn't brushed aside completely. The fight scenes were well choreographed and suitably tense and action-packed, and bringing most of the secondary characters together for essentially extended cameos was a good move too, as it kept the attention on the crew of the Ghost going forward.

Hondo hasn't always been the most bearable character in the show but he had one of his better moments as Hera needed a way past the Imperial blockade of Lothal, even if the rest of his arc was rather one-note and repetitive, intended primarily for comic relief. His plan to take the Ghost attached to another larger Imperial ship was classic Star Wars, and it really worked. Seeing Rex and all the Clone Troopers involved too continued to bring things closer to the end, and even bringing Kallus back to help with the effort to liberate Lothal was a wise choice. It would have been a pity had we not got at least one last glimpse of these characters in action.

In another Star Wars story, the rest of the Rebels might have finally got into gear and decided to come to the aid of Ezra's team and help liberate Lothal. But with Rogue One still fresh in our minds, especially given the lack of a clear leadership that the Rebel Alliance seemed to have in that movie and the fact that this show takes place before it, it would make sense that they couldn't afford to take a gamble like coming to Lothal even in the final battle. And to do so would feel like a true deus-ex-machina, and cheapen the fact that Ezra has always been the key figure in the fate of Lothal. Taking away his moment would have been a grave mistake and I'm glad the show didn't do that, which as a result made the stakes for the finale feel even higher knowing that there was going be no help from the Alliance, and the crew of the Ghost were very much on their own.

Star Wars: Rebels 4.15 & 4.16 Family Reunion and Farewell, Part 1 & Part 2

The series finale of Star Wars: Rebels wrapped things up on a very satisfying note, bringing Ezra back full circle in his storyline whilst also showing us how much he had changed since the brash kid that he was when he started out. Earlier in the series it was Ezra who would leap into danger headfirst often without thinking, but the fact that he was capable of pulling off a plan like he did in order to save the day was a very nice touch indeed, showing that he'd learned something and taken Kanan's approach on board.

The episodes themselves brought higher stakes and tension to the series that helped round off not just an excellent season but also an excellent show. Using Governor Pryce the crew of the Ghost were able to sneak straight into the Imperial building and gain control of its access codes, using Ryder to send out a call to the Imperials presented as a drill to lure them back into the headquarters. Once all Imperials were inside the facility, they would blow it up, killing them all and escaping, liberating Lothal that way.

However, the Rebels have never had things easy and it was never going to be a simple mission, especially with Thrawn having arrived to aid the Imperials by bringing a Star Destroyer into the city. Sending the still-not dead Rukh into the thick of things was a smart move, and bringing down the Shields surrounding the city outside put the innocent citizens of Lothal at risk from aerial bombardment, without the risk of harming Imperial troops in the process.

Thrawn's offer of surrender to Ezra followed not long after that, instantly of course rejected by Hera and the rest of the Rebels when Ezra began contemplating it. That didn't stop him from leaving behind their back and heading up to the Star Destroyer to turn himself into Thrawn, with all seeming lost when he came face to face with another holographic portrayal of the Emperor, in his friendly, more welcoming disguise as Palpatine. This was quickly seen through by Ezra who, after much deliberation, rejected the temptations of being able to unlock the gateway so he could save his parents. This was an incredibly emotional moment in the series finale, and arguably, had just as much impact as killing off another major character would have done. The fact that Ezra had the chance to save his parents was something I was half expecting him to say yes to, especially given that there has to be an explanation as to why he's not around in the events of the original trilogy, but the bittersweet moment of being this close to seeing them again worked really well.

This was Ezra's big hero moment that defined him as a Jedi, and it paid off really well. Bringing the Purrgil into the fray was a cool move (how can you not love space whales?), and it left his and Thrawn's fate to be explained in more depth later on, in whatever medium now remains to be seen. It worked perfectly to explain his absence in the original trilogy, whilst also leaving the audience in the dark about precisely what he did in that time. It was the perfect way to wrap up Ezra's arc, whilst also opening it up for an entirely new beginning in the process.

The episodes themselves doubles not just as an ending but also a new beginning, something that I really hope Filoni continues to explore in the future. There's too much potential in the idea of an older Ahsoka and Sabine (with another new hairstyle) teaming up for a buddy-cop style adventure throughout the galaxy in the hunt for Ezra. And the epilogue too, was a perfect resolution as we got to see what all of the characters had gone on to do next. We knew that Hera fought in Rogue One's climatic battle for Scarif and it's good to get some confirmation that Rex also played a part too in the Rebel Alliance, especially given that it's highly likely one of the side characters who has a minor role in the attack on Endor in Return of the Jedi could well end up being him. The addition of Hera and Kanan's offspring, Jacen Syndulla - was a nice touch too, with the name choice in Jacen potentially being a nice little nod to Jacen Solo from the old Expanded Universe.

Kallus got a nice resolution too this season. He was utilised for most of season four but it's good to see that he got a proper payoff especially given how much of a role he had to play in season three, and the fact that he got a warm welcoming to Zeb's homeworld and was a good moment for his character. Zeb surviving to the end was a bonus too, as I had expected that he would have been the most likely death after Kanan if they had to kill somebody else off. His confrontation with Rukh had me worried there for a second, but the way he emerged on top to thwart Thrawn's plans by dispatching Rukh was very much a rewarding moment for the character. It's fitting too that Rukh's death should come in the finale, as he's been a persistent thorn in the crew's side for a while now.

And so we bid farewell to an excellent, faithful and innovative addition to the Star Wars universe. Rebels has provided us with plenty of unforgettable moments over the course of the series and its growth as a show from its humble beginnings is something to be praised indeed. Now that the show's over, I have to ask - What are your favourite moments from the series as a whole? Who were your favourite characters? What would you want to see next from the Star Wars animation team? Let me know in the comments below.

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