Synopsis of 2×08: Ahsoka and Kanan realize that the Empire is tracking down Force-sensitive children and rush to their aid. With help from Ezra, Zeb, and Chopper they manage to rescue two infants who have been abducted by the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother. But along the way Ezra inadvertently gives away the Rebels’ location which can only lead to disaster sooner than later.

Rating: ★★★★☆

If anyone ever tries to tell you that Star Wars Rebels is just for kids maybe consider directing them back to this particular episode’s beginning. It starts off well enough with refugees boarding a ship that they hope will take them to a new, better life. Then The Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother show up and basically kill everyone. Not, of course, before they take a baby from an older woman who desperately tries to escape with the infant granddaughter she’s trying to protect.

Yeah, it starts out pretty dark.

To be fair, the subject matter doesn’t really lighten up much this episode though at least the rest of the episode is full of the same sort of charm and humor we’re familiar with from the series.

Ahsoka Tano discovers that the Inquisitors are mobilizing to track down something while she was off searching for more clues about Darth Vader. She rendezvous with the Ghost and asks for Kanan’s assistance in figuring out what’s going on. She goes one way and sends Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, and Chopper another. What they end up discovering is that the Inquisitors are hunting down and abducting Force-sensitive children. These are the same children – like Ezra himself – who would have been found and trained to be Jedi had the Order never fallen.

Alora, the infant from the refugee ship, is just one of two children they manage to rescue in this episode. After she is taken she is left alone by the Inquisitors in one of their ships where she is quickly rescued by Zeb and Chopper. Ezra and Kanan then discover an Ithorian mother who has been attacked but who managed to sneak her son, Pypey, away in the care of a droid. Zeb – who notes that he’s apparently very good at finding babies – manages to rescue this one, too.

Unfortunately, the rescue doesn’t go very smoothly as the Inquisitors find him shortly after. Zeb takes shelter in a nearby building but even when Kanan and Ezra get there it’s no easy escape. Eventually, Ezra takes the baby into the vents and tries to get away but even that doesn’t work out. After Kanan and the others put up an impressive fight against the Inquisitors (seriously, the lightsaber battles in this series are the best) it’s not looking good for poor Pypey or anyone else. But then Ahsoka arrives to save the day in a fantastic display of swordsmanship that really harkens back to the old The Clone Wars days.

In the end, it all works out. Pypey returns to his mother and the rebels resolve to do their best to track down the Force-sensitive children in the galaxy and protect them from the Empire. Unfortunately, Ezra makes one terrible mistake. While trying to console Pypey he is overheard mentioning Garel – the planet where the rebels have taken shelter – and word gets to the Inquisitors that this is where everyone is hiding. With their base of operations blown, things are going to take a turn for the worse for our rebels soon enough.

But let’s take a minute to really think about the other ramifications of this episode.

We’ve always known there are Force-sensitive children out there living normal lives like Ezra had been or in hiding like Luke and Leia. In the old extended universe, we met a number of them. Many ended up joining Luke’s new Jedi Order. But with those old stories gone we don’t know much about that lost generation of children. This begs the question of whether or not any of these children – not necessarily Alora or Pypey –  that the rebels attempt to save will show up down the road in other media.

It’s possible I’m looking for possible connections in Star Wars canon everywhere I can. But Ahsoka gets a mention in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Kanan or Ezra being mentioned in passing as Jedi who saved a future new character (perhaps in Claudia Gray’s Bloodline) from being captured by the Empire.

I like that we had a solid standalone episode that not only managed to set up the next big event in the overarching storyline, but that also set up the future canon for something big as well. Zeb got some screen time and we got to have Ahsoka back the way we remember her for a little while. All in all it was a solid episode – but it leaves me really anxious about what’s going to happen now that the Inquisitors know where to find the rebels!

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