Star Wars Rebels heats up on Lothal with Kindred, the first episode in another two-part story, followed by Crawler Commandeers. We get the return of the Loth-Wolf and, drum roll please, Rukh (Warwick Davis), an ass-kicking character from Timothy Zahn's Legends trilogy. The series is definitely picking up steam toward the finale. The weirdness factor is high in the first part. The Loth-Wolves are powerful in the force. Their mystical origins are not yet revealed, but Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is the key.
Kindred opens with Kanan meditating at the Phoenix Squadron camp. Hera informs him that the team has gone to retrieve the hyperdrive stolen from the TIE Defender. Kanan replies that something is drawing them to Lothal. Hera asks if they were meant to meet Ezra (Taylor Gray). Kanan does not know. He wonders if she will ever give up fighting the Empire. Only when they are defeated.
At the TIE Defender crash site, Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) tells Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) the ship's flight recorder is missing. Thrawn assumes the rebels will use the data to find a weakness. They cannot be allowed to leave the planet. Against Pryce's wishes, Thrawn has dispatched his agent, Rukh, to assist in the search.
Meanwhile near the rocks with the hidden hyperdrive, Ezra and Jai Kell (Dante Brasco) are disguised as stormtroopers. Along with Zeb (Steve Blum), they struggle to find where Ezra hid the device. Suddenly the white Loth-Cat appears on top of a rock. Ezra follows it and they find the hyperdive. Back at the crash site, Rukh, a Noghri from Timothy Zahn's original "Heir to the Empire" trilogy arrives. He brushes off Pryce, saying "I smell Lasat." Then tears off on all fours to the rock formation.
Jai sees Rukh barreling towards them. They try to fake being stormtroopers, but he smells Zeb and attacks. Rukh is about to kill Jai when Ezra uses the force to slam him against a rock. "Jedi!" he screams, before the pair gets away on a speeder. Rukh tells Pryce to search for the Lasat before following them. At the top of the rock, Zeb has been hiding with the hyperdive. He sees the Imperial transport unguarded and steals it, almost running over Pryce in the getaway.
Rukh, with several stormtroopers, are chasing Ezra and Jai on speeders. Ezra throws an explosive on rocks above him. It detonates on top of the stormtroopers, but Rukh soars over the debris. He shoots a homing beacon on Ezra's speeder, before engaging him in lightsaber verses staff combat. Ezra is able to shoot Rukh's speeder. Rukh tumbles off, but radios to Pryce that he will have the rebels location.
Back at the camp, Kanan asks Hera what she will do after the fight is over. He asks if she thinks about them. They are about to kiss when Ryder (Clancy Brown) interrupts. A transport is approaching. Ryder shoots at the door as Zeb pops out with the hyperdrive. Sabine (Tiya Sircar) gets with Chopper to install it in the U-Wing. She tells Sabine it might work, then the Empire's reinforcements arrive.
Jai takes off in a supply packed speeder as the others get ready. Hera passionately kisses Kanan before getting on the U-Wing. The other team members watch in glee. Hera says "may the force be with you" to Kanan, then jets off into the sky. She's followed by TIE fighters as soars into space. The U-Wing slices through the Empire's blockade. Hera cuts through a hangar and turns on the hyperdrive. She jumps to light speed as the hangar explodes into flames. This is the same move Han Solo does in the The Force Awakens. Thrawn is furious as her ship vanishes.
Back at the camp, the team is pinned down by the Empire. Pryce orders an aerial bombardment to destroy the rocks. Ezra sees three Loth-Wolves walking behind them. He beckons the others to follow. The Loth-Wolves lead them into a cave. On the wall are drawings of the wolves leading people. The cave starts to collapse under the bombing. Suddenly, they are enveloped by blue light. The Loth-Wolves seem to be walking on stars. After a bright flash, the group is laying unconscious in grass. The Loth-Cat appears and licks Ezra. They awake to discover they are on mountains, in the southern hemisphere of Lothal. They have traveled across the planet.
Ezra and Kanan walk back into the cave. It has drawings of Jedi coming down from the sky. Kanan approaches the Loth-Wolf. It says "Dume", before vanishing. Kanan tells Ezra that it is his birth name, Caleb Dume. They were meant to be here. He wonders what else the Empire has been doing on Lothal. Meanwhile on Yavin IV, Hera has landed. She hands the flight data recorder to Mon Mothma.
Episode eight, Crawler Commanders, opens in the cave on Lothal. Sabine is working on a transmitter, but the Empire has blocked all outgoing signals. Kanan believes that Hera will convince the rebellion leadership to attack the TIE Defender factory. Sabine picks up the signal of something transmitting nearby. They take a speeder to find the source. It is a massive ore crawler, burning the vegetation to prepare for mining.
Sabine notices that the crawler has a long range communications antenna. They can contact Hera with it. Meanwhile on Yavin IV, Hera is meeting with General Dodonna (Michael Bell), Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), and a holographic Bail Organa (Phil Lamarr). They have analyzed the recorder. They can find no weakness in the TIE Defender. It could not be beaten by their fighters. Hera asks to lead an attack on the factory. Organa does not believe they can defeat the Empire's blockade. Mon Mothma leads Hera out of the leadership meeting, so they can discuss it further in private.
Back on Lothal, the speeder approaches the crawler. Sabine jetpacks to the top, disabling security droids along the way. The others join her as they break into the control room. The reptilian captain, Seevor (Seth Green), puts up a struggle and turns on the alarm. The Empire checks in on the radio. Ezra tries to impersonate Seevor, but they are skeptical. They dispatch troops to investigate. Sabine races to set up the communicator. She discovers another signal coming from the belly of the crawler. Zeb and Kanan go to investigate.
They arrive at the smoky belly of the ship. They stumble upon Vizago (Keith Szarabajka), who has been imprisoned as a slave worker. He joyfully yells that his friends have come to rescue him. Kanan pretends it's true, but they are then attacked by the hulking foreman and his electric whip. He knocks away Kanan's lightsaber, before engaging in a vicious fight with Zeb. It's an all out battle as the pair fall over a railing. Zeb holds on, while the foreman lassos his foot with the whip. The brute slips away as Zeb is pulled back aboard by Kanan.
Back on Yavin IV, Mon Mothma steps out of the meeting to speak to Hera. She says that the Empire has enacted Protocol 13, the complete evacuation of a planet. This is probably referring to Jedha. Hera forces her way back into the meeting. She implores them to strike the factory on Lothal. They may not make it, but at least it will show the galaxy that they will never submit.
On the crawler, Vizago and the slaves are brought to the bridge. He will impersonate the captain, while Zeb, who still has the whip, will pretend to be the foreman. The stormtroopers arrive, but fall for the ruse. They search the crawler and leave without issue. The rebels joy is short lived. Seevor has escaped and sabotaged power to communications.
Sabine sends Kanan and Zeb to the power core, but the entrance is magnetically sealed. Ezra is forced to go down through the air vents. He and Seevor fight over the control panel. Ezra drops his lightsaber, which Seevor trips over into the furnace. He restores power to the crawler. On the bridge, Vizago is named captain. The slaves will join the Lothal rebellion. Sabine has received a reply from Hera. They are coming to destroy the TIE Defender factory. Phoenix Squadron will coordinate the ground attack.
The endgame on Lothal is surely in sight. The Lothal attack must happen right before the destruction of Jedha in Rogue One. Whatever the Empire is hiding on Lothal must be connected to the Death Star. The mystical Loth-Wolves and the cave paintings show the Jedi are meant to be there. They may not survive in the ends. Why else would the rebellion send for Obi-Wan Kenobi once the Death Star is revealed? That would be a grim ending indeed. Tune in next week as season four winds down on Disney XD.