Star Wars Rebels: “Kindred” Season 4 Episode 5 Review

“Kindred” is easily the best episode of season four so far. Rooted almost entirely in character, this entry injects some much needed mystery into the season, while also establishing a goal for the heroes to strive for.

But even before the episode went deep into the history of the Force, it was just genuinely fun in a very Star Wars-y way. The big introduction here was to Thrawn’s creepy assassin Rukh, a clearly very dangerous, almost feral new foe who immediately poses a threat to Ezra and co. through a well-constructed speeder bike chase while Ezra and Zeb are on a mission to get the TIE Defender’s hyperdrive back to the base. They succeed, but not before Rukh tags Ezra’s bike with a tracker.

After this strong action opener, the characters have some time to address some long-seeded interpersonal drama. Kanan and Hera have long expressed affection for each other, but in “Kindred,” they finally lay it all on the table. A well-earned kiss, which adorably catches Sabine and Zeb’s eyes, closes out this moment just as Hera rushes to get the hyperdrive back to Yavin 4. It was powerful to include these moments here, as what happens in the second half of the episode could set the Ghost crew on a path that ultimately separates them permanently.

As the Empire reaches their camp, Ezra once again sees Loth-wolves, and has the remaining team on the ground follow them to escape. As Zeb says, it’s always good when things get a little weird, a statement true of Rebels itself. The wolves somehow use the Force to break the rules of space and time, and the heroes wake up, as Sabine informs them, halfway around the planet from where they were. The ancient structures they find themselves in feature cabe paintings that seem to show the first Jedi coming to Lothal, as well as the planet’s people following wolves. But what is their connection with Kanan? The main wolf again says “Dume,” now confirming that it’s calling Kanan by his birth name, Caleb Dume. Kanan surmises that the wolves have discovered something worse than TIE Defenders happening on Lothal. This mystery gives the season a sense of direction that it’s been sorely missing.

As we see Hera land on Yavin 4 and deliver the hyperdrive to Mon Mothma, there’s a sense that her path doesn’t mesh with that of the man she loves. Perhaps the greater mystery to come out of “Kindred” is if these separate goals will ultimately break this family apart. There’s tension now simply in the fact that Rebels is ending. “Kindred” majorly puts this show back on track by putting focus everywhere it needed to. The characters feel less aimless now, and there are goals and mysteries to be achieved and solved. It now truly feels like the beginning of the end. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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