Rebels, Season 4, Episode 13: A World Between Worlds
I have oh so very many things from the final (!) season of Star Wars: Rebels that I’ve wanted to share with you over the last few months, readers, but regrettably I must acknowledge that my Recapping Time has been short as of late due to many real life things that sadly do not involve Star Wars. That said, this week’s most recent episode has more or less burst through the ether and INSISTED that I acknowledge it, so I have forced myself to find the time and, well, here we are.
Allow me to set the stage here for you all by reminding us of this moment from my recap of the Mortis arc from The Clone Wars, way back when I was a young, naive recapper who had no idea that I wasn’t even close to done covering this insanity:
…yes, truly: mind wipes do indeed come in handy when you realize that whoops, this thing here you just wrote might come back to bite the rest of the story you already wrote in the ass. In the Mortis arc, the Father’s well-timed brain-blank-ification allowed Anakin to go on back to his regularly-scheduled Dark Side Fall while only looking mostly stupid for doing so. The Mind Wipe tactic is right at home with such other popular fiction CYA maneuvers such as It Was All A Dream, We Were Accidentally Drugged, and, of course, What I Told You Was True From a Certain Point of View.
And right up there along with all of those is what we see jumping into play in today’s episode: the Strategic Deployment of Time Travel, Possibly Because You Really Didn’t Want That One Character To Die After All. Oh, you guys. I have long joked that the day the Star Wars writers finally got desperate enough to bust out the time machine/alternate universe wormhole would be the day I’d know they were really finally out of ideas, and I’d be worried. As it happens…I didn’t find it as objectionable in practice here as I did in theory. Nevertheless, I do feel a considerable amount of anguished concern about whether or not ANYBODY in this fucking franchise will ever ACTUALLY DIE.
All right: in the absence of TCW’s Voiceover Recap Guy, I’ll give you the setup — after yet another Tragic Death of a Jedi Master (oh why Star Wars), the forlorn remnants of the Space Family are on Lothal and have sought out the old Jedi Temple there, because the Force told Ezra to do it or whatever. In the episode previous to this one, which I will probably eventually come back to and recap later, Sabine and Ezra had distracted some stormtroopers and Ezra had done some truly goofy Space Magic involving an enchanted mural of the Father, Daughter, and Son of Mortis. And I’ll yell about it in that recap someday, but for now please know I laughed and laughed that we learn that the Jedi had multiple MURALS of those people laying around and yet in the actual Mortis episode nobody seems to know who the fuck they are. The Jedi are exactly like the rest of this galaxy in that they never remember anyone or anything, even when they had actual documentation about it, I guess. No wonder Jocasta Nu seemed so irritated all the time — all that work on the archives and everyone is still clueless.
ANYWAYS: Ezra having manipulated this mural somehow opened up a time-space portal, because of course it did. I know that I definitely figured this was going to happen, didn’t you?
We begin our adventures today shortly after Ezra Bridger, Off-Brand Jedi Trainee, has entered the Portal of Mystery. Ready? No? Too bad!
All The Hits In One Amazing Collection!
We open into a starry void, and the first thing we hear is a Greatest Hits playlist from the Star Wars franchise, and boy do I ever love when someone makes an effort to really tie everything all together in this series. It’s all ONE BIG INSANE STORY and I am all in (yes, even if this means I have to live with my complicated feelings about The Force Awakens).
Yoda starts by reminding us that a child’s mind is wonderful. Obi-Wan asks:
GOOD QUESTION, disembodied Kenobes!
Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan, as he had in the Mortis arc, that it’s some kind of Force information superhighway. Ahsoka tells us that just when we think we understand the Force, we find out how little we actually know. NO ARGUMENT HERE, TANO. Personally I feel like I’m getting further away from it with each passing year of new canon content.
Yoda admonishes Brooding Unhelpful Glowering Pain in the Ass Anakin about letting go of everything he fears to lose. Kanan insists that he won’t let Ezra lose his way like Kanan himself once did. And with that, Ezra gets spit out the other side of this GFFA-flavored Stargate:
It’s Just a Jump To The Left
Ezra picks himself up, and looks around in awe as we hear Obi-Wan’s spiel to Luke in Episode 4 about how the Force penetrates us and binds us and ruins Obi-Wan’s life at every possible turn. Of course, this is a quote that hasn’t actually OCCURRED yet at this point in the timeline, so we’re officially hearing shit from the future now. Well then! While you’re over there, Bridger, would you mind asking around to see if anyone knows what the fuck Snoke’s deal is, since the movies are apparently never going to fill us in?
Sabine Wren, Carrier of the Mandalore Snark Gene
Back outside the portal, Sabine has been taken into custody and is being interrogated by Minister Veris Hydan:
This dude explains that Thrawn is a huge fan of her art (LOL) and then asks how it’s possible that she opened the portal:
*high fives Sabine*
He continues: he’s told Sheev that Ezra made it through the portal! And that guy’s on his way!
You guys have no idea how gleeful I was about the fact that we were getting Actual Factual Ian McDiarmid in this episode. HE IS SUCH A FAVE and no other evil bastard in this series will ever be as delightful to me as Sidious. He is the standard against which all other evil creeps shall be judged AND THEY WILL BE FOUND WANTING.
Ahem. Hydan tsk-tsks: it must be so hard for Ezra, without his Master.
I’ve gotta tell you guys, I had a split-second where I thought this guy was lamenting that it must be so hard for Poor Sheev since his Master is dead, and I was going to be like UM EXCEPT THAT HE SEEMED PRETTY HAPPY THINKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE MURDERED HIM HIMSELF:
Recurring Theme: No One Knows How To Say Anyone’s Name
Sabine looks briefly stricken by this shoutout to her dead Jedi Dad, and Hydan goes on: yes…
And he almost seems to go out of his way to pronounce “Caleb” more like “Kuh-LEB”, which…in any other series I’d be like “WTF”, but since this is Star Wars and fully HALF its characters get their names pronounced incorrectly on the regular, whatever. (I joked while watching this that the only person whose name never gets said wrong is Luke, to which my husband joked back that Luke’s just gets spelled wrong, and I cackled.)
This has nothing to do with anything; I’m sorry. So this guy is all “Oh yessssss, Kuh-LEB Duuuuume, too bad he sucked and is dead now” and Sabine is like “You suck, the Empire sucks, and Ezra opened the portal and yoooou didn’t.”
Hydan is all “don’t sweat it, Wren, Sheev’s got this. He’s totally gonna go into the portal now and kick Ezra’s ass.” Um, OK, so…how many lackeys of Sidious’ know he’s a dark wizard? Surely this isn’t an open secret in the entire Empire, right? I mean, this guy obviously knows Sidious has Force Powers since generally speaking, regular politicians aren’t capable of entering rifts in the space-time continuum. At least, not that I am aware of. Thankfully.
Recurring Theme: Unlimited Powah!
He goes on: oh, but there is hope! If you help me, maybe you can help Ezra! He turns on a bunch of holo-screens and starts blathering on about how the portal Ezra opened isn’t just a portal into the Temple: it’s a portal into time and space itself, and what’s more…
Oh, sure. Obviously. I totally saw this coming. Why wouldn’t I just assume there’s some sort of space-time nexus that Force users can access and that whoever controls it controls the universe?
Ezra Bridger, Lost Child
Hera and Zeb are maintaining their lookout, and Zeb asks Hera if Ezra got inside the Temple. She says, glumly:
Hahaha. I don’t know where I am right now anymore, either, General Syndulla.
Back in the Portal of Wackiness, Ezra is walking along a pathway and I’ve gotta tell you, this episode gives off such Pre-Boss Battle Vibes, it’s ridiculous. I feel like I need to make sure Ezra’s stocked up on potions and that we’ve fully leveled-up his weapons before we keep going here. Make sure to save first, Bridger!
He asks into the void: Yoda? Obi-Wan? Where are you guys? The voices from before, not answering him, continue playing the greatest hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and today!: Yoda telling Anakin that death is a part of life, Maz telling Rey her family’s never coming back for her (I guess this was the “depressing Real Talk from an old person” section of the playlist), Jyn Erso insisting to the Rebels that the time to fight is now!, Rey telling Finn that they’ll see each other again, Kylo fanboying at Vader’s helmet, Poe snotting off to Kylo, Leia asking Obi-Wan for his help, and then, just as we hear an owl hooting, we hear a snippet of Anakin telling Ahsoka that she just might make it as his Padawan.
Recurring Theme: Fine Feathered Friend
Ezra is all hey, it’s that bird again! Man, it’s been a banner few months for cutesy, rotund birdlike creatures in Star Wars.
He asks his little green friend if it can help him: he was brought here, but he doesn’t know why. At this, a portal in front of him starts shimmering and Ezra is treated to a replay of Snips v Skyguy:
Before we go any further, allow me to state for the record that if nothing else, I am totally here for the fact that this episode almost certainly resulted in yet another complete bamboozling of Anakin Skywalker. I am always down for anyone doing it, and it’s always better if it’s Obi-Wan or Ahsoka who get to do the honors. HE MUST HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE CONFUSED THAN USUAL.
So there they are, wailing on each other, and Ezra’s just watching helplessly when the convor starts squawking and Ezra is all ????:
Recurring Theme: Burning Down the House
As the fight intensifies, a sudden charge through the Sith Temple sends a giant jolt of power through the room, and Ahsoka takes this opportunity to do the ol’ Kenobi-Skywalker “When In Doubt, Just Fuck The Place Up By Jamming Your Lightsaber Into the Floor” Maneuver, sending a huge crack running underneath her feet:
Ezra, at the last second, reaches through time and grabs Ahsoka before she can fall into a void. Yes. Remember when we were all like “gosh I wonder if Ahsoka will be in Rebels?!” NOW LOOK WHERE WE ARE. WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING.
Anakin is like “buh??” as he falls through the floor himself, and really: he may be an idiot, but let’s be fair, he’s pretty justified in being confused as hell about all this. No wonder he keeps telling people they don’t fully comprehend the power of the Force in the original trilogy. Between this and Obi-Wan’s vanishing act, plus everything else in his insanity-soaked life, Anakin Skywalker has seen some shit, my friends.
Recurring Theme: Someone Should Have Mentioned That
Sabine, meanwhile, is bored out of her mind as Hydan still tries to get her to talk about the Mysterious Art he’s got pictures of:
LOL, hold on just a damn minute here: they had Mortis art in the CORUSCANT Jedi Temple? Did Obi-Wan or Anakin or Ahsoka ever notice this? Was it hidden in a rec room downstairs and they never passed by? WHY DIDN’T ANYBODY MENTION THIS BEFORE? I guess every last Jedi was too busy gossiping and dodging collections calls from the power company to bother following up on Obi-Wan and Anakin’s Excellent Force Adventure. I’m dying that Anakin gives the impression that they’ve more or less written Mortis off as a Crazy Dream when there’s Cosmically Significant Art of the people he spoke to (and kinda WATCHED GET MURDERED) on the walls of his actual home.
Hydan is all “didja notice that the mural here on Lothal looks different? How’d that happen?” Eventually Sabine relents that yes, the mural did change, and their hands are in different positions:
At this, Hydan gets huffy and is like OK MANDO GIRL WANNA DANCE???
Recurring Theme: Master Baggage
Ezra and Ahsoka come to inside the Force’s waiting room or whatever the fuck this is. Ahsoka asks where she is, because that is a very reasonable question:
Ezra reminds her that she was fighting Vader, which triggers a snippet of one of Vader’s 10-million Obi-Wan-related statements (“Obi-Wan once thought as you did…”) to play over the Force PA system while Ahsoka looks sad:
At this, Vader pipes up again to inform everyone that they don’t know the power of the Dark Side. Vader’s a chatty guy here in the Force. I guess that’s to be expected. The Chosen One probably should get the most airtime.
Ahsoka is all glad to see Morai, her little owlesque friend, who she tells Ezra she owes her life to:
Then she asks: where’s Kanan?
Yeah, well, that’s what you get for clocking out of even a couple hours of Star Wars, Tano! One minute you’re just dealing with the evil robotic husk of your cherished Master who you’ve long assumed had died a terrible but noble death protecting the Jedi when it turns out he was actually hard at work slaughtering preschoolers, the next thing you know Ezra’s got a buzz cut and Kanan’s dead and Kallus isn’t a bad guy anymore and he and his hot hair are looking for an apartment with Zeb. Ahsoka looks understandably concerned as the scene ends.
Hera Syndulla, Will Avenge His Death
Hera and Zeb are sneaking around in the shadows, hatching a plan:
This bit includes the closed-captioning informing us that Chopper “warbles”, which I am delighted by.
Recurring Theme: Graduate-Level Force Studies
Back on hold with the Force, Ahsoka is getting the rundown on some of the Very Weird Things that have happened:
Ezra is like BUT THAT GUY’S DEAD; HOW CAN HE STILL BE AROUND? Bridger, you just pulled a woman through a goddamned wrinkle in time — at this point I’m pretty sure “large wolf partially haunted by ghost of my Master” isn’t even a stretch at this point. (As an aside, the sheer batshittery going on here surely means we are at Maul Threat Level Orange, minimum, everyone, so stay vigilant.)
Well, of course it’s not impossible, Ahsoka. I’m pretty sure absolutely nothing is off the table at this point, given that the last three months of canon content alone have introduced both Death by Force-Skype and now whatever the hell is happening here.
Recurring Theme: Even Stars Burn Out
Ahsoka asks: do you think Kanan sent you here to save me?
Ezra, high on the Anakin Skywalker fumes in this room, is like “don’t you get it? I can save you AND HIM and EVERYONE!! NO ONE HAS TO DIE!” Ahsoka is like “oh great…” as Ezra tears off while Kanan’s voice echos around them. Tano, just be thankful he’s not prattling on about his new Empire, OK?
Eventually Ezra finds a portal to when Kanan got blasted into oblivion in last week’s miserable adventures, and Ahsoka lectures him on how All Things Die and everything has it’s time and Ezra is all You Are Asking Me To Be Reasonable, That Is Something I Cannot Do, etc etc etc and I love that Ahsoka figured out how to cope with the realities of life even though her Legal Guardian, the vengeance-hungry cyborg we just saw fall into a hole, never did.
Crushingly, Ahsoka explains to Ezra that she does, in fact, know how he feels:
OH WHY STAR WARS. Hey, Bridger, look on the bright side: at least your Master died a hero. At this point in the story, at least, Ahsoka’s Master is busy choking random Imperials to death and placing Criagslist ads in an attempt to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding so that he can murder him.
Recurring Theme: The Pay Sucks Almost As Much as the Lighting
Ezra realizes in this moment, then, that the lesson Kanan was trying to teach him is that that moment was Kanan’s purpose. He needed to be there to save the rest of the Space Family and the Rebellion and therefore, presumably, the Dream.
He sighs, sadly:
LOL. Oh come on, Ezra, being a Jedi is so FUN though! You get to cry and watch all your loved ones die and then you get to sacrifice yourself! It’s the total package! What’s not to love?!
Ahsoka looks around warily as they hear thunder, and tells Ezra they need to leave: he opened this portal…
Recurring Theme: Darth Sidious, Always Having Way More Fun Than You or Anyone Ever
Ezra yammers on about how Sabine will help him close the portal, and that the gang is gonna be SO excited to see that Ahsoka’s alive, and Ahsoka solemnly tells him she can’t go with him. At that, sensing Excellent Dramatic Timing, Sidious appears, in a portal, STANDING OVER A CAULDRON OF FIRE, and suggests:
GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, how I love this over-the-top asshole. Just…OK, so please remember that Palpatine is Emperor for Life of the Galaxy now. Did he seriously clock out of a budget meeting or leave the unveiling of another new statue of himself all “sorry, gotta get over to A PORTAL IN TIME AND SPACE SO I CAN THREATEN A TEENAGE KID AND SOME WOMAN I’VE TRIED TO KILL LIKE 5 TIMES ALREADY?”
Ahsoka takes one look at him and is all GRRRRRR, possibly because he is the root cause of every horrible turn her life has taken and/or will ever take. He declares that Ezra and Ahsoka are “his at last” and then cackles — seriously, the closed-captioning has my back here:
Ahhhhhh I love Ian McDiarmid. I often assume he got this gig because George Lucas phoned up the local Shakespeare in the Park and was like “Send me the most dramatic guy you have. Period.”
Star Wars, Serving Up Its Own Meta
While Hera and Zeb keep working on their little scheme…
…Sabine and Hydan are chatting about the art some more, the TL;DR of which is some Star Warsian stuff about how the Daughter opens the portal, and the Son needs to be the one to close it, to which Sabine is like “hey! Actual helpful info! Nice.”
Just then, some troopers come in and are all “Something’s happening with the portal!!11!” and Sabine’s mom and giant purple uncle come to rescue her, and she knows it’s them:
Darth Sidious, Just An Old Man Who Needs a Helping Hand My Dear Boy
Back in Portal-land, Sidious gets things going by speaking in a made-up bullshit Sith language because Star Wars loves me:
He then goes Full Throttle Star Wars Craziness and sends some blue Force flames flying at them:
Ezra eventually ends up getting pulled under by the flames, and Sidious is all “help me Ezra Bridger, you’re my only hope”, and I’m cracking up because honestly, Sidious? DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK. Stop going after these dopey kids every time you need the Force to do you a solid.
Recurring Theme: No One’s Ever Really Gone
He almost has Ezra for good when Ahsoka slices at his Force…rope? with her sabers, freeing Ezra. The two go running off again, and this time, Ahsoka ends up going through a portal on her own, landing her back in front of that triangle-shaped doorway we saw her walk through in the season 2 finale:
So…did she go back like 2 years ago, then? And now that she knows what happened to Anakin, can she do a quick stopover on Tatooine and hug her saddest dad real quick before Anakin kills him (physically this time, and not just emotionally?) I just…I need someone to hug Obi-Wan at some point in this series FOR THE LOVE OF GOD and let’s be real, Ahsoka could probably use one herself. Let them cry together, Star Wars. PLEASE.
Ezra, now on his own back in The Force’s Tron-themed rec room, speeds ahead and makes it out just in time to foil Sheev:
Why the hell didn’t Sidious bring Vader with him to this little outing? Maybe that extra boost of Evil Chosen One Power could have sealed the deal for him, AND it ALSO would have confused the hell out of Anakin anew to see Ahsoka running around in there so it would have also been funny (in that ha ha everything’s the worst and we’re all crying kind of way! Star Wars’ favorite way)! I guess Sids wanted to keep this portal thing all for himself, and/or Vader was too busy crying while writing Obikin fanfic in his lava castle to come help.
Recurring Theme: Star Wars Family Bonding
Having returned to the outside world now, Ezra finds the rest of the gang and they’re all like COME ON LET’S FLEE, but Ezra’s got another idea:
So they take off for the weirdass Mortis mural, and Ezra places his fist over the Son’s:
The mural springs to life, and the portal closes in appropriately dramatic fashion. So…the Jedi just…knew this shit was here? WHO BUILT THIS THING.
After this, Ezra faints dead away and is carried off to the Space Family’s escape:
As they flee, Hydan is seen flipping his shit about the Temple’s destruction and he goes down with the ship:
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sure Gets Pulled Out of the Force to Talk To People a Lot
As Ezra blanks out but as he does he hears one more voice:
Man, how many times a week does Obi-Wan’s voice speak to a Force user?
After he comes to, Zeb makes the reasonable declaration:
I feel you, Zeb. Ezra asks where Hera is, and is told she’s outside — and he’s gotta see what’s out there!
Stand Up To The Blow That Fate Has Struck Upon You
Once outside, Ezra finds Hera standing in a desolate wasteland. Where are they?
Yes, the Temple here has been flattened. And despite every crazypants thing that’s happened to him just today, Ezra STILL seems surprised.
Hera, looking devastated, asks:
OH WHY STAR WARS. And I thought, for SURE, that Ezra was going to recycle some dialogue — the title of today’s recap — but instead, he gives a much more direct, less hopeful answer:
And what’s more, he knows now what they have to do. What Kanan wants him to do:
Uh…things are not sounding like a Rosy Happy Ending for our friend Ezra right now, my friends. For a number of reasons it’d make the most sense if none of the Jedi (except Obi-Wan) make it out of this series alive, but A) Star Wars rarely permanently kills anyone AS EVIDENCED RIGHT DAMN HERE IN THIS RECAP and also B) Star Wars doesn’t always care about, y’know, making total sense, so I’ve long been skeptical that they’d follow through…but they just might, yet. I’m not sure if I’m happy about this or not. MY POOR SPACE FAMILIES WHY ARE YOUR LIVES SO SAD.
Hera goes back inside, and Ezra looks out on the horizon because no one had done it all episode long and that’s an offense that comes with a hefty fine in this galaxy, and that’s when he sees his wolf again:
One more time: OH WHY STAR WARS.
That’s the end of this installment of Rebels, and with it, we’re hurtling towards The Actual Official End of this particular animated Star Wars journey. Hey — at least we’re getting a series finale this time, so I don’t have to be bitter about it FOREVER like I am about TCW. I’ll catch you all next time, for what is sure to be a heartbreaker of a final encounter with our ragtag bunch of Rebels — thanks for reading!