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Star Wars Rebels S4 Ep. 5 & 6 ‘The Occupation’ & ‘Flight of the Defender’ Review

We return to the planet Lothal, where the entire series started, only things aren’t the same. We meet familiar characters and creatures again, giving us a more familiar setting and story from Season 1.

Spoilers Ahead

Last week we saw Ezra anxious to go back to his home planet of Lothal and help out as much he can, but the Alliance comes first. Ezra got his wish as he and the crew are sent back to Lothal to recover data on a new starfighter known as the TIE Defender. To get to the planet they need some help from arms dealer/smuggler Vizago, who we haven’t seen since the beginning of Season 2, to smuggle them in. As payment, they give Vizago a large shipment of Puffer Pigs which were last seen in all the way back in Season 1. Though the return of the pigs and Vizago are brief, they both offer some fun slapstick comedy that Rebels can be known for.

Upon arrival to Lothal, the crew notices that absolutely nothing is the same. It’s as of the planet is burning and dying. The Empire always had its hands in Lothal, but now we see it has an even tighter grip that it’s suffocating the planet and the effect it has on Ezra is heartbreaking. When they land, they split up with Kanan, Hera, and Zeb looking for transportation and Kanan & Sabine will look for Ryder, the rebel leader on Lothal, who we last see last season. While they split up, we get a more obvious romantic scene between Kanan and Hera when they’re alone. It’s a nice, sweet scene, that’s cut too short when Hera focuses on the mission, leaving Kanan with a little frustration. This seems to be a recurring thing this season, with Kanan wanting a life outside of war and Hera’s sole purpose is fighting the war.

Meanwhile, Ezra and Sabine head to a bar, trying to avoid Imperials, only to enter an Imperial occupied cantina. Things almost don’t go as smoothly until an old friend comes and takes them out of it. We later learn that Jai Kell saved them, a former Imperial cadet who was in the same group of Ezra, all the way back in Season 1. He tries and helps them escape from Imperials by going down the sewers. There, they are cornered and have to fight their way out, until Ryder comes in and saves them. The action and the pacing felt very similar to the first season, also very reminiscent of the series Fireflies. It’s been a while since we had the original team all together working on a mission together, so it’s very refreshing to see that again.

After they meet with Ryder, they do recon to discover the new TIE Defender and it’s in ‘Flight of the Defender’ where we tap into Ezra’s ability to communicate with animals/creatures. Loth-cats are very playful with him and the mysterious Loth-wolf is calling to him and leaves him with one word, “Dume.” I have no idea what that could mean, but I’m more than certain we’ll figure it out. Since the beginning of the series, it was assumed that Ezra has a strong connection to the Force when it comes to creatures and it’s nice that they’re revisiting that, since last season it wasn’t focused on very much.

We also have the first physical appearance of Thrawn and Governor Pryce this season. Though we see them for a short time, we can see that they have an even closer relationship working together, which makes sense, especially if you’ve read the novel Thrawn, which explains how they met and how they see each other.

Speaking of relationships, Ezra and Sabine have been prominently featured together in every episode this season. It’s actually a great dynamic that I haven’t really noticed until recently. They seem to have gotten much closer and what’s nice about it is that there seems to be no hint at anything romantic between the two. They’re fighters with respect and care for one another;  they both have grown exponentially throughout the series and their relationship is something rather new and I look forward to seeing more of their dynamic.

It’s great that we’ve gone back to Lothal, revisiting the planet was necessary, especially for Ezra’s arc. There seems to be several important elements and storylines this season that may seem hard to juggle all of it in one season, but as of now, they’ve found a nice balance between it and I’m sure they’ll continue to keep it

What did you think of the episode? Let us know! Episode Six and Seven of Star Wars: Rebels airs Monday, November 6 at  9:00pm EST on Disney XD.


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