On the D/L – Star Wars Rebels
Season 1 Episode 9 – “Path of the Jedi”
Star Wars Rebels returns to the small screen after a Christmas break and continues the story of Ezra being trained as a Jedi by Kanan.
In the last episode Ezra had his first brush with the dark side and his first taste of real power so it makes sense that Kanan would want to try and nip this in the bud before it becomes a huge problem. I really like the dynamic between the master and apprentice here as Kanan never finished his training so is reluctant to take on an apprentice of his own. His nervousness is proving to be detrimental to Ezra’s development in significant ways. It’s interesting to see how important the Master/Apprentice relationship is in a symbiotic sense. Any lack of confidence from one affects the other.
Having a hidden Jedi Temple right there on Lothal was a bit unnecessary given that the characters have a ship and can go anywhere they want but it served the purpose well. As a setting it was appropriately dark and menacing with a real sense of scale. It was like Kanan and Ezra had been swallowed by this massive place. It becomes a physical representation of the Force being much larger than they are.
This episode was very much about having Kanan and Ezra get over their internal hangups so that they can move forward more effectively. The appearance of Yoda’s consciousness in the story really helps with that as he asks the right questions at the right time and forces both characters to consider things from a new angle. This is Yoda at his best and the return of Frank Oz to the role is more than welcomed. Every word said by Yoda carries extra weight because of who he is and the influence he’s had over the course of the franchise.
In keeping with Jedi training Ezra learns through jarring hallucinations. The manifestation of fear for Ezra is The Inquisitor who murders everyone he cares about in front of him. Ezra has trouble separating the real from the false but his rational intelligence helps with that. I also really liked that his fears aren’t limited to his friends being savagely murdered. The hallucination of everyone discussing him in a dismissive was was a really interesting way to look at how Ezra sees himself in the context of this group. He clearly feels insecure about his place and worries that he’s not been fully accepted as yet.
It really feels earned when Ezra finds the Kyber Crystal -or maybe it finds him- and gets to work constructing his own lightsaber. His version of the classic weapon makes a lot of sense for him and this show. I like that it’s made up of things given to him by the team. It suggests a sense of camaraderie as well as having the group pull together to help one of their own. Ezra’s lightsaber looks awesome with a great homemade quality to it.
I like how this episode has fun of the vague rhetoric that Jedi often uses. Kanan’s admission that it wasn’t helpful to tell Ezra to look for “nothing and everything”. There have been lots of examples of Jedi being unclear in their instructions all over the franchise so it’s good to see something call it out for the nonsense that it really is. Kanan is a very real and relatable character who constantly provokes a chuckle.
With this being a Kanan and Ezra episode the other characters aren’t heavily featured. It makes sense here but if the show doesn’t start developing them soon then they’re going to feel a little left behind. I still don’t feel like I know enough about the rest of the team.
Ezra and Kanan’s dynamic reaches new levels of intrigue as Ezra’s training continues. This episode allows each of them to face their fears and doubts with the help of the disembodied voice of Yoda.
Having Kanan be as apprehensive about training Ezra as Ezra is about being trained is a great dynamic that is really well explored. It’s a fresh spin on the Master/Apprentice dynamic that is providing a lot of dramatic possibilities.
Yoda’s inclusion really gives the story weight and adds an extra layer of spirituality to everything that’s going on. The way that he questions Kanan and Ezra forces them to think differently about their problems and arrive at solutions that wouldn’t normally occur to them.
As with the rest of the episodes the other characters feel a bit sidelined. It completely makes sense here but it might have been a little stronger had the audience known the other characters a lot better.