Following the rescue of Hera Syndulla, Governor Arihnda Pryce and several Stormtroopers watch the burning wreck of the Lothal City fuel depot. An Imperial officer tells her that comm/scans indicate that the stolen gunship escaped the blast. However, he reassures her that security recordings showed that the Jedi Kanan Jarrus perished. When the officer adds that Imperial High Command would soon find out about the loss of the Imperial fuel depot, Pryce decides that the Galactic Empire shall hold a parade to commemorate the victory over the rebels.
Mourning Kanan's passing
At dawn, Garazeb Orrelios and the astromech droid Chopper are at their rebel base when the Spectres return in their gunship. A grieving Sabine Wren angrily throws her TIE fighter pilot helmet on the ground. Zeb tries to ask what happened but Sabine pushes past him. Zeb sees Hera Syndulla and Ezra Bridger emerge from the ship and asks where Kanan Jarrus is. Ezra manages to get out that he is "gone," but Zeb does not understand until Ezra yells it to his face. The two share an emotional hug while Chopper wheels up to Hera, holding her hand while beeping sadly.
Later that morning, the Spectres arrive at the Lothal cliff dwelling and meet up with Ryder Azadi's cell including Mart Mattin and Jai Kell, who are listening to a HoloNet transmission by Imperial broadcaster Alton Kastle. Kastle claims that the insurgency on Lothal is over and that the rebellion on Lothal has been crushed and their leadership crippled. To honor the Imperial leadership's efforts in defeating these extremists, Kastle instructs all Imperial citizens to attend a parade in Capital City. Sabine tells them to turn off the transmission.
Ryder suggests contacting Rebel command for reinforcements. Ezra counters that Yavin thinks that the fight on Lothal is over because Mon Mothma won't commit anymore resources. Ryder asks General Syndulla what she thinks but Hera is still grieving and walks past without saying a word nor even looking at anyone. Ezra says that she needs time to grieve but Ryder retorts that they don't have time, and they need a plan. Sabine proposes sabotaging the Imperial parade in Capital City. Zeb offers to join Sabine while Chopper rolls past. When Kell asks what they should do, Ezra walks away in silence. Ryder sighs that there is nothing they can do and that it's over.
While Sabine and Zeb ride away on speeder bikes, a distraught Ezra sits on a rock and asks aloud what he should do as Kanan never prepared him for this. Suddenly, he is approached by a large white Loth-wolf, which growls fiercely at him. Ezra says that there was nothing he could do. The wolf is joined by two smaller black ones, who chase Ezra into the tall grass. The wolves pass him and disappear into the grass. Ezra begins to run back, but is knocked unconscious by one the smaller wolves. The alpha white wolf looms over Ezra, who is lying on his face.
A hollow victory
At the Imperial Complex, Grand Admiral Thrawn is communicating with Governor Pryce and the Noghri tracker Rukh via hologram. He chastises Governor Pryce for throwing a parade after losing General Syndulla. Pryce responds that she is holding the parade to celebrate the death of Kanan and presents his lightsaber as proof. Thrawn counters that holding the parade will not hide the fact that she destroyed their entire fuel supply on Lothal. Thrawn points out that, in defeating Kanan, she helped the rebels compromise the TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter project by bringing the entire Imperial Industrial Operation on Lothal to an indefinite screeching halt. With barely concealed and suppressed fury, Thrawn snarls that he will deal with Pryce when he returns. With the Rebel leader gone, Thrawn predicts that the rebels will flounder, especially the boy. He tells Rukh that the rebels will strike recklessly and tasks him with eliminating them. Rukh leaves while a chastised Pryce bows her head.
Back in the Lothal cliff dwelling, Hera studies an ancient Lothalian wall art. She wonders aloud why she did not tell Kanan she loved him earlier, and laments that she thought there would be more time. Crying, she sits against the wall next to Kanan's Jedi Temple Guard mask. Chopper comes over and tries to console her, but she lashes back that he doesn't understand. She laments that if she had listened to Kanan he would still be alive, recalling that Kanan had said the war was a mistake. She says it was her fault and that she was the one who was truly blind. Chopper changes the subject by pointing out that Hera has her Kalikori back. Hera affirms this, and remembers how Kanan found it for her in the middle of everything. Chopper tells Hera no one deserves the honor more than Kanan of being admitted to Hera's family tree. Hera agrees and hugs her droid friend.
On a ledge overlooking Capital City, Zeb and Sabine take turns looking through their macrobinoculars. Zeb asks Sabine what she sees. Sabine replies that the parade has begun, and there are a lot more people which means that the Empire has grown. Sabine laments that there are too few of them to defeat the Empire. Zeb points out that the Imperial factories are not belching out smoke and tells her that their operation disrupted Imperial military production on Lothal. The pair realize that this must be the real reason Pryce is throwing a parade. Meanwhile, Ezra finds himself alone at night in the middle of the wilderness. He calls for the loth-wolves to show themselves.
On Capital City's highway, Zeb knocks out a scout trooper with a king-hit while Sabine plants a device on his 614-AvA speeder bike that allows her to connect to the Imperial network on Lothal. Sabine learns that the TIE Defenders factory took serious damage when the fuel depot exploded. Sabine realizes that Kanan not only saved their lives but also completed their original mission. When Zeb asks why the Empire is celebrating, Sabine realizes that Governor Pryce wants to cover up the fact that the rebels hurt them. Sabine vows to get even with the Empire.
Meanwhile, a lost Ezra sits under a Lothalian mound. He repeats the riddle "Loth-rat, Loth-cat, Loth-wolf run, pick a path and all is done," to choose which direction he should go. Eventually, he ends up falling asleep there. Elsewhere, Sabine and Zeb watch the explosion from a distance only to discover the presence of Rukh, whom Sabine recognizes as the "thing" that Ezra had encountered following the theft of the TIE/D Defender Elite. Zeb panics when he realizes that Rukh can see them from a distance. However, Zeb regains his composure and vows to avenge Kanan's death. Sabine agrees and adds that they cannot let the "thing" track them back to their base. The two ride to confront Rukh.
Later, Ezra is awoken by a Loth-wolf. Then, he finds himself surrounded by a pack of Loth-wolves. The lead Loth-wolf tells Ezra that he is Dume, which was Kanan's birth name. Back on the highway, Rukh sniffs the scout trooper whom Zeb assaulted much to the trooper's discomfort. A stormtrooper discovers that the speeder bike's comm has been rigged to explode.
Fighting Rukh and Ezra's realization
Meanwhile, Rukh approaches Zeb on his speeder bike. Zeb stands his ground and Rukh charges. The two fight with a bo-rifle and an electrostaff. Sabine corners Rukh from behind and tells him that they are not in a mood for a fair fight. Rukh replies neither is he and activates his Sinrich optical dephaser. A cloaked Rukh attacks Zeb. Sabine uses the Rangefinder inside her helmet to find Rukh and shoots at him with her blaster. Rukh dodges Sabine with superhuman reflexes and climbs a rock pillar. He leaps at her, knocking out her helmet. Zeb fights Rukh, who almost chokes him. Sabine re-enters the fight and Rukh retreats for a second round.
Elsewhere, Ezra recalls that Dume was the name of his master Kanan and asks the Loth-wolf what he wants. In a deep guttural voice, the Loth-wolf confronts Ezra for running but Ezra responds that the wolves were chasing him. Ezra admits that he feels lost without his master who was there for him when no one else was. Ezra admits to the wolf that he is afraid. The wolf tells him to fight together and shows him a carved stone from the Lothal Jedi Temple.
Meanwhile, Sabine and Zeb fight Rukh for a second round. Sabine plants and detonates a paint bomb on Rukh, neutralizing his cloaking device. With the tables turned, Zeb throws Rukh to the ground and proceeds to pummel him while shouting "this is for Kanan." Sabine manages to restrain Zeb from beating the Noghri to death, citing that Kanan never advocated revenge, proposing an alternative. Namely, sending the unconscious and heavily graffiti-ed Rukh back to the Empire on his own speeder, a message that the rebels aren't beaten as well as a significant humiliation.
Elsewhere, Ezra admits that he, Kanan, and Ahsoka Tano accidentally led the Empire to the Lothal Jedi Temple. The alpha Loth-wolf says that the secrets within the temple are in danger. When Ezra asks what is inside the temple, the Loth-wolf replies that the knowledge to destruction lies inside. Ezra counters that Ahsoka said they would find the secrets to destroying the Sith inside the Malachor Sith Temple but that they were wrong. He realizes that's when everything changed. The Loth-wolf tells him to restore the past and redeem the future. Dume then seemingly devours Ezra. Ezra wakes up and yells for Kanan. Then, he realized he'd been dreaming, and that the Jedi key stone was laying at his feet.
Later, Zeb places an unconscious and painted Rukh on a speeder bike, which is sent back to the Empire. Sabine asks if Zeb set the homing beacon and he says he did. Sabine senses that Zeb is lying and grumbles about all the effort that she put into painting Rukh.
Honoring Kanan's memory
Meanwhile, Hera fits a piece from Kanan's holocron onto the Kalikori in honor of her lover. She tells Chopper that despite his misgivings about the Rebellion, he believed they could change things. She misses Kanan for his ability to find answers in the most unexpected ways. Sabine and Zeb return to the rebel base. While admitting that their mission to disrupt the Imperial parade failed, Sabine tells Hera that her mission to shut down the TIE/D Defender factory succeeded. She tells him that Kanan helped bring about that victory.
Zeb adds that the Empire has no fuel and that their entire production line has stopped. In the Empire's efforts to destroy them, they destroyed their own fuel refinery. Hera is emboldened by the news and says that they can still beat the Empire. Ezra then arrives and announces that their next mission is to save the Lothal Jedi temple.
The episode originally went under the title "Ascension: Part Two."
In the scene where Zeb is beating up Rukh, Zeb was originally intended to say "I... have... had... enough... of... you!" This would've been a reference to the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock when James T. Kirk has beaten his Klingon opponent, Kruge.
The Rebels logo for this episode was white and grey, as it was in the previous episode. This is probably to grieve the loss of Kanan. The normal colorization reappears at the end of the episode, likely to represent the renewed sense of hope felt by the Spectres.
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Notes and references
- The epilogue of the Star Wars Rebels episode "Family Reunion – and Farewell" occurs after the end of the Galactic Civil War, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 5 ABY, while Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition establishes that the Liberation of Lothal occurs prior to the Battle of Yavin, which marks the end of 0 BBY, according to Galactic Atlas. Lothal's liberation takes place between the Star Wars Rebels episode "Wolves and a Door" and the "Family Reunion – and Farewell" epilogue, between which Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy establishes there is a five-year gap. Therefore, in order to maintain the aforementioned five-year gap that ends no earlier than 5 ABY while still preceding the Battle of Yavin, the Liberation of Lothal must take place in 0 BBY. As the episode "DUME" takes place prior to "Wolves and a Door," it must also take place around the same year.