When last we saw Ezra (Taylor Gray) on Star Wars Rebels, he had entered the gateway in the Jedi temple on Lothal. What happens next is spectacularly cool, and the reason why I watch the episodes with the captions on. A World Between Worlds finally reveals the true importance of Lothal. As the title indicates, the temple is a gateway through space and time. It's a shocking time twister as Ezra saves an old ally; then has a run in with the biggest baddie of them all, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).
Ezra stumbles through the gateway and emerges into a strange realm. He is on a pathway in space, linked to other paths and circular gateways. Ezra hears the voices of many characters throughout the Star Wars universe. Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and even Rey is heard as he walks along the path in wonder.
Meanwhile back at the temple, Sabine (Tiya Sircar) is being interrogated by Minister Hydan (Malcolm McDowell). His office has holograms of the artwork discovered in the temple. Hydan tells Sabine that Thrawn himself has a collection of her work. He asks her how they were able to open the gateway. She replies, "I'm smarter than you". Hydan is not pleased. He has told the Emperor about Ezra. He is not safe in the gateway. The Emperor will find him soon.
Hydan asks Sabine to study the art and help him to open the portal. It is the only way to rescue Ezra. He tells her that the gateway is a portal through time and space. Anyone who controls it will control the Universe, hence the Emperor's fascination.
Ezra continues to walk, hearing familiar phrases from throughout the Star Wars saga echoing. Then to his surprise, he sees Ahsoka's owl perched on top of a gateway. As he approaches the portal, it shimmers in red. The door opens to the climactic battle from "Twilight of the Apprentice". Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) is fighting Darth Vader in the Sith temple on Malachor. He watches in amazement as Ahsoka throws his younger self back from danger with the Force. She is toppled by Darth Vader. As he moves in to strike her down, Ezra grabs Ahsoka through the portal and brings her to safety. The gateway closes behind them.
Back on Lothal, Hydan explains the Mortis Gods, the Father, Son, and Daughter to Sabine. He shows her that he knows Ezra changed the position of the Daughter's hand in the painting. She informs him that the hands are a language, but that's all he'll get from her. Hydan beckons a death trooper, who hits Sabine with his rifle. He's tired of her games.
In the portal, Ahsoka regains consciousness. She looks up at the owl Morai, and wonders what is happening. On Lothal, Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Zeb (Steve Blum), and Chopper are trying to rescue Sabine. Hera realizes that the command centers are mobile. She tells Chopper to find Ezra while she and Zeb enact her plan.
Ezra has brought Ahsoka up to speed on the events of the last two years. He tells her of Kanan's death, and his connection with the Loth-wolf Dume. Ahsoka posits that Kanan is now a part of the Force, that his spirit is connected with the creature in the real world. Ezra now realizes the power of his surroundings. He follows Kanan's voice until they come to the portal of his demise. The gateway opens on the scene of Kanan's last moments. He is on top of the fuel depot, holding back the blast, saving their lives. Ezra says he can change Kanan's fate, like he just did for Ahsoka.
Ahsoka begs Ezra to stop. Kanan died saving his friends. If Ezra pulls Kanan into the portal, he and the rest of Phoenix Squadron will perish. They cannot save their masters. Ezra cannot save Kanan, just like she could not save Anakin from becoming Darth Vader. It is a moment of stark realization for them both. In this instance, Ezra has grown up. He is a Jedi following his own path.
Their moment of clarity is short lived. They turn around to see the Emperor standing over a cauldron of blue flame in a portal. He cackles, "Ezra Bridger and Ahsoka Tano, mine at last". The blue flame shoots out towards them.
Back on Lothal, Hera is ready to go. She tells Zeb to signal Sabine. Inside the command center, Hydan and Sabine are discussing the painting. The Father points the way to the portal. The wolves are the guardians. If the Daughter can open the portal, then the Son must be the way to close it. Suddenly, Sabine hears Zeb knocking a pattern on the wall. Hera ignites its thruster and the command center heaves upwards. Sabine slides down, knocking the troopers out of the way. She grabs a rifle as she exits at the base. Reunited, she, Hera, and Zeb run towards the temple.
The blue flames are about to overtake Ezra and Ahsoka. As the Emperor laughs, Ahsoka, then Ezra, hold the flames back with the Force. But it is too powerful; Ahsoka ignites her lightsabers and cuts the flames off. Injuring her shoulder. Palpatine is surprised, but unleashes his fury again. Ahsoka and Ezra split up, then head towards their home portals. "Come and find me" screams Ezra. Ahsoka agrees before hurtling through her portal with Morai. We then see the last scene from "Twilight of the Apprentice", where she is walking out of the Sith temple, clutching her shoulder.
Ezra jumps through his portal and returns to Lothal. His allies have found him, but they are being chased. Ezra has to close the portal. Sabine tells him to move the hand on the Son. He does so and passes out from the strain. Zeb picks him up. As the Imperials close in, Chopper runs over them in a massive excavation vehicle. The rebels climb on as the entire temple starts to collapse into the ground. Hydan screams, then is swallowed up by a plume of dirt. As they escape, an unconscious Ezra hears Obi-Wan, "The Force will be with you, always".
Ezra awakens to a different landscape. The temple has completely disappeared. A few circular symbols are left on the ground. Hera approaches him, "He's gone now, isn't he?" Ezra stares out into the distance. He sees the white Loth-wolf, before it turns away forever. "Goodbye Kanan" says Ezra. He knows what he has to do.
A World Between Worlds was a humdinger and a half. I had to watch it twice to truly understand. The fight for Lothal is another path to immortality. The gateway can change events in the past, present, and future. Ahsoka is alive, but how will she escape from Malachor? It's obvious that the climactic battle will definitely involve the Emperor. I can't wait to see how it all ends, on Disney XD.