Star Wars Rebels 4×05 & 4×06 Reviews: The Occupation & Flight of the Defender

flight of the defender star wars rebels

So far the Star Wars Rebels season 4 theme seems to be ‘our heroes go on a mission, nothing goes as planned, they expand their mission anyway, things get even worse’…and “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender” hammered that theme home yet again.

“The Occupation” began with Ezra sounding a lot like Luke Skywalker; he’s been wanting to go back to Lothal to help his home and his friends for a while now, but everyone just kept telling him to wait. I definitely thought that he would finally up and go on his own after the opening scene in this episode, but as it turned out Ryder Azadi had called Yavin 4 asking for help. Unfortunately for Ryder, Lothal is on lockdown and the only help Mon Mothma could or would send was volunteers – though with Ezra being from Lothal and wanting to go back, this meant that he and the rest of the crew of the Ghost immediately headed out to see what was up with the new TIE Defender that Ryder was so worried about.

The fact that they smuggled in puffer pigs in exchange for Vizago’s help was a neat little side plot. Not that I love Vizago, but it’s always nice to see characters who haven’t been around for a while pop up again. And hey, it allowed for a bit of Zeb humor (the puffer pigs are scared of his face, ha!)…that’s always a plus in my book.

As mentioned, though, of course nothing could go according to plan. Lothal is a wasteland now, and even Old Jho’s bar – once a place where it was obvious the Empire wasn’t welcome – is now owned by the Empire and being run by “the great TIE pilot” (his words, not mine) Baron Valen Rudor (what a name, huh?).the occupation star wars rebels hera kanan

And that’s not even the worst of it – while Ezra and Sabine were whisked away from the bar (and Rudor) by Ezra’s former Academy buddy Jai Kell, the mission to steal some speeders failed miserably and our group of heroes spent the end of “The Occupation” trying to escape through sewers.

I’ll admit, between them getting lost and then having to deal with both probes and stormtroopers, I was actually worried about everyone making it out of those sewers alive. Thankfully Ryder had painted Sabine’s symbol to point them in the right direction, and then he showed up to let them out of the sewers just in time. Of course, that was only the first half of their mission; even though it was basically a miserable failure, they still had to figure out what to do about the TIE Defender that Ryder was so worried about, which made for a smooth transition into the next episode, “Flight of the Defender”.

flight of the defender star wars rebels sabineThis episode was very much an Ezra- and Sabine- focused one – while they originally set out with Zeb and Ryder, Sabine insisted that their video of the Defender wasn’t enough. Even though she was right, it was frustrating knowing that her insistence on getting the flight data recorder was going to be their downfall.

Or well, almost their downfall…because despite Thrawn showing up while Sabine was still in the Defender, despite Ezra getting distracted by a[n imaginary?] Loth-Wolf and then being discovered by a deathtrooper, despite them stealing but then *crashing* the Defender…Ezra and Sabine still escaped, with both the flight data recorder and the knowledge that the TIE Defender has a nav computer.

flight of the defender star wars rebels thrawnWhy and how did they escape? Well, as usual, Thrawn kind of…let them? That’s been one of my major complaints about Star Wars Rebels…Thrawn is supposed to be a mastermind, yet many times he’s been the reason our heroes remained alive and free. In “Flight of the Defender”, for instance, he just stood there and watched while Ezra fought the troopers right in front of him, and he didn’t really do anything when Sabine stole the TIE Defender, either. In fact, when given the option of using the ship’s kill switch, he said no! Granted, he couldn’t have predicted that a [magical?] Loth-wolf would show up to help Ezra, but there were several things he could have done to make sure Ezra and/or Sabine didn’t get away in the first place.

But as frustrating as the Rebels version of Thrawn is, it’s always good to see the gang back together. And while this TIE Defender is definitely a scary and important development, what with its shields, concussion missiles, speed, and hyperdrive capabilities, at least now the Rebellion will know all about it. And to top it all off, thanks to this two-episodes-at-a-time airing schedule, we get a story wrapped up in a nice little package, which makes the fact that this is the final Star Wars Rebels season a bit easier to swallow.

Top moments from these episodes:

  • “The Occupation”: Hera + Kanan sweetness. I need more of that, please!
  • “Flight of the Defender”: Basically every scene featuring the Loth-Cats.

How do you like Star Wars Rebels season 4 so far? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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