Porgs are cute as hell, but let's not forget the Loth-Cat and Loth-Wolf for the kids this Christmas. Star Wars Rebels returns to Lothal for another two episode storyline. The Occupation and Flight of the Defender takes us back to the beginning of the adventure. Phoenix Squadron gains a mysterious new ally. The Empire upgrades its bad-assed TIE Defender. Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) get some quiet time, but not in the best place for hooking up.
The Occupation begins with the Ghost returning to Yavin IV. Ezra (Taylor Gray) has a vision of his friends suffering on Lothal. He awakens and tells the others. It seems that the rebellion has forgotten his home world. They arrive and are taken immediately to Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly). She plays a recording of Ryder Azadi (Clancy Brown). He says the Empire has upgraded the TIE Defender, before the transmission was cut off. Mon Mothma asks Ezra to return and investigate. His crewmates volunteer to go with him.
The Ghost rendezvous with the Broken Horn, Vizago's (Keith Szarabajka) ship. Kallus (David Oyelowo) does not trust smugglers. Sabine (Tiya Sircar) responds that they didn't trust him either. Ezra has bribed Vizago with puffer pigs. Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) and Kallus stay with the Ghost while the remaining crew leave with Vizago to Lothal.
The return to Lothal is disheartening. The planet's atmosphere is burning with the Empire's industrialization. Fleets of ships form a blockade. Vizago transmits his clearance codes. The Empire detects multiple life forms on the ship. They let it through, but order an inspection. Hera is alarmed when two TIE fighters escort them to the ground. The ship is immediately locked down upon landing. As the stormtroopers board, Zeb (Steve Blum) scares the pigs into inflating. They blow up, blocking the view for their escape. Vizago foolishly stays behind to secure the pigs.
Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper head to Old Jho's bar, while Kanan, Zeb, and Hera look for another transport. Old Jho's bar is now run by the TIE pilot Baron Rudor (Jonny Rees). It's crawling with stormtroopers. Rudor informs the disguised rebels that Old Jho was executed for helping a rebel cell escape. Meanwhile, Kanan and Hera duck into an alley to escape a patrol. They are about to kiss when Zeb radios that he's found speeders.
Back at the bar, Ezra and Sabine try to leave but are stopped. They forgot to pay for their drinks. Suddenly a young man offers to pay, and then leads them out of the bar. It is Jai Kell (Dante Basco), a former cadet from the academy. He thanks Ezra for helping him escape. Ryder stationed him at the bar as a lookout. Kanan's team arrives with the speeder, but their escape is short lived. The Imperials block them and destroy the speeder. They rush back into the bar, escaping into the sewer below.
The Empire is hot on their heels with probe droids. They separate in the tunnels. They fight their way through the droids and stormtroopers. Chopper, then Sabine recognizes her symbols on the walls. They follow them to a tunnel that leads above. Ezra leaps up and drops the ladder. The others climb while the Jedi deflect laser bolts. The door is stuck because Ezra slashed the controls. It is opened at the last minute by Ryder, who shuffles them into his U-wing. As they blast away, Ryder asks when they will receive back up. Ezra replies they are the back up, but rebellions start small and can do great things. Ryder wonders how Ezra will feel once he sees the new fighter.
Flight of the Defender begins with Ezra, Ryder, Zeb, and Sabine hiding on a ridge. They are looking at an Imperial airfield where Ryder says the TIE Defender is being tested. Hours past with nothing but Loth-Cats swarming all over Ezra. The critters have taken a liking to Ezra. They are about to give up when the bad-assed TIE Defender swoops down to land.
Sabine inspects it with her Mandalorian helmet. She recognizes the pilot as Vult Skerris (Mario Vernazza). Ryder and Zeb are about to leave, but Sabine disagrees. They can't go back with just pictures. She and Ezra will sneak aboard to recover its flight data recorder. They crawl unto the airfield followed by the Loth-Cats. A pair of stormtroopers guards the Defender. As Ezra wonders how to distract them, the Loth-Cats attack the stormtroopers, who then leave their posts to chase them. Sabine goes on board and begins to work on the data recorder.
Zeb radios that an Imperial shuttle is landing. Ezra is stupefied to see Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) deboard. Skerris informs Thrawn the Defender Elite is promising. He's about to give a demonstration when Sabine radios that she needs more time. Ezra is worried about Thrawn, but is distracted by a huge Loth-Wolf in the distance. He doesn't notice stormtroopers have seen him. A battle erupts as he jumps from container to container to escape. Thrawn is stunned to see Ezra. He orders the Defender be secured.
Sabine fires up the Defender and begins blasting away. Ezra leaps unto the ship and joins her in the cockpit. They swing around for another pass, lighting up the airfield with fire. Thrawn stands his ground and opens fire with his blaster. The Defender swooshes overhead and flies away. He derides Skerris for "his demonstration". Skerris says the hyperdrive is offline and the kill switch enabled. Thrawn orders TIE fighters to intercept. He wants to see how the Defender does in actual combat.
Sabine disables the transponder, while Ezra flies the ship. She notices the hyperdrive. Ezra clumsily destroys the TIEs. Meanwhile, Thrawn and the Imperials watch the battle. Skerris assumes the pilot is Hera, but Thrawn corrects him. It has to be Ezra Bridger. Hera would have easily destroyed the TIEs. He orders the kill switch activated.
The wings fall off the TIE Defender. Ezra crash lands. Back at Ryder's ship, the remaining team has regrouped. They can't risk calling Ezra and Sabine, but head towards the crash to search. Meanwhile, Ezra and Sabine have taken the ship's hyperdrive. As they struggle to carry it, Ezra sees a Loth-Cat leading them. He follows it to a breach between rocks. They hide the hyperdrive and cover the opening. Sabine wonders how he found it. He followed the Loth-Cat.
As night falls, the Empire is everywhere searching. Sabine and Ezra run from place to place hiding. Ezra sees the Loth-Wolf again. How can that be? They haven't been seen for a hundred years. Suddenly the creature is upon them. It whispers "sleep" to Sabine, who passes out instantly. The Loth-Cat appears on its head, beckoning Ezra. He puts Sabine and its back, and then joins her. The Loth-Wolf takes off. It dodges the Empire's security lights and soldiers. Then deposits them safely at Ryder's ship.
The Loth-Wolf says "dume" to Ezra, before vanishing. Sabine awakens. Ezra asks if she saw the wolf. She remembers nothing. They are joined by the rest of the team. Hera is overjoyed they have the data recorder and a hyperdrive for Ryder's ship. Ezra tells Kanan what he saw. Kanan believes that all paths are converging. They walk towards Ryder's ship, as the Loth-Wolf watches.
Dave Filoni, the showrunner for Star Wars Rebels, has been teasing the Loth-Cat and Loth-Wolf on Instagram for weeks. The Loth-Wolf said "dume", which could be a reference to Kanan's real name, Caleb Dume. It's Alice in Wonderland meets Star Wars. In the first Star Wars Rebels Season 4 episode, Ezra replied that he would not leave Lothal again. Maybe we are finally seeing the end game. It's only fitting that the show should end on Lothal, where it began. Star Wars Rebels Season 4 continues next week on Disney XD.