Star Wars Rebels: 4.11 Dume
It was never going to be an easy task to match the emotional beating Jedi Night provided. Nevertheless this was an excellent continuation, providing the perfect balance of story progression and character development for both the rebels and the Empire. Rather than focusing on the obvious choice of Ezra, Dume gives each character due attention and could even be seen as a lesson showing that everyone deals with grief in very different ways.
The episode begins with Governor Pryce not only confirming Kanan’s death but ordering a celebration in honor of her victory, even though Pryce was warned Thrawn wouldn’t be happy due to the destruction of his tie defender plans. The next scene sees the Rebels returning home to an excited Zeb and Chopper and when the news is broken Zeb hugs Ezra, showing rare but powerful emotion. From here on out, the vast majority of the episode focuses on the Rebels personal journeys.
Ezra, as expected, uses meditation to deal with his emotions like a good Jedi should. This sends him into what is still unclear, a dream or realistic version of Lothal, full of angry Loth wolves who chase him, showcasing their more animalistic side, rather than the peaceful guides they’ve so far been seen as. The imagery of the wolves is fantastic, I love how they’re becoming separate characters and the story is progressing around them. They blame Ezra for running away, increasing his already guilty conscience which, as far as I’m concerned, is not only the wolves showing grief but testing Ezra’s ability to calm his emotions. They provide him with information that they must go and protect the Jedi temple; I look forward to seeing this progress further.
Each character had a different relationship with Kanan so each is going to feel differently. For Ezra he was like a father, for Zeb, Sabine and Chopper like an older brother who they had great respect for. Arguably Hera had it the worst, for four seasons we’ve seen their love for one another grow, with Jedi Night stating the obvious when both officially confess their love out loud for one another, only to then be torn apart by death almost instantly. This episode allows her character to mourn in her own way; she blames herself and spends a lot of time reminiscing. Although I appreciate she needs time to grieve I hope that, like Sabine, she gets back on her feet to deal the Empire yet another fatal blow.
Speaking of Sabine, her journey in this episode was quite possibly the most interesting. Her and Zeb use their grief to fight back saying they’ll supply some fireworks as they hear about Pryce’s celebration. This brought action to the episode and strangely some comedic relief as Zeb refers to Rukh as creepy.
The fight sequence between the three (Zeb, Sabine and Rokh) is powerful and emotional. Rokh first gets the upper hand by turning invisible only to be caught out by Sabine, who I should add, as a Mandalorian, was a bad shot in this episode. Zeb then grabs Rokh and begins to punch uncontrollably, showing no remorse and depicting another way of dealing with grief. If nothing else this sequence peaked my emotions, after the previous episode showed how easily a major character can be eliminated. The thought of losing another was genuinely frightening even though to some degree I expect it to happen sooner rather than later.
Overall I found Dume to be superb; the animation was fluid and vibrant. I am forever amazed by the level of emotion that can be translated in animations of this level. It’s expected from the likes of Pixar but something small scale / budget as this just knocks my socks off every time. Additionally the story continues to impress me, Dave Filoni certainly knows how to develop characters and have you invest both time and genuine emotion into them, so that when tragedy occurs, you feel it. I’ll admit that several occasions throughout both episodes have caused something to get in my eyes. It’s left me eager for more and I can’t wait to see what happens next.