On this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, the space whales invade!
Actually, they’re called purrgils, and they’re more like a cross between a whale and a squid. The Ghost crew meets a flock (colony? gaggle?) of them as they search for a fuel source for their slowly dying ship and the rebel fleet. To Hera’s chagrin, the purrgils are the key to finding what they need, and also to deepening Ezra’s ever-growing connection to the Force.
A fuel refinery controlled by the Mining Guild is the rebels’ destination in “The Call.” There, a shipment of fuel is waiting to be picked up by the Empire, but Hera, Kanan, Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra hope to get there first. While they search on the edge of an asteroid field, the ship plunging into lower and lower temperatures as Hera is forced to conserve power, Ezra hears a strange sound coming from outside the ship. No one else seems to know what he’s talking about; that is, until the purrgils float into view ahead of them.
Each purrgil is the size of The Ghost or bigger, and there are several of them. Hera is immediately wary, as the purrgils start to bump and scrape against her ship as they pass by. She wants to shoot them, but Kanan and Ezra protest. Hera retorts that purrgils have destroyed ships the size of The Ghost. But Ezra comes up with a suggestion; he tells Hera to fly with the beasts instead of trying to go against them.
Following this idea, The Ghost is safe traveling with the purrgils. Hera is frustrated; they’re still no closer to finding the refinery, and now they have purrgils to deal with. Ezra, on the other hand, is fascinated by the creatures. As one floats by the lower gunnery viewport, he looks into its eye and wonders aloud why anyone would want to shoot them. But he quickly senses the purrgil is uneasy.
Suddenly, TIE fighters rocket into view, scattering the purrgils. Sabine points out they’re clearly modified, painted yellow with notched wings, meaning they’re not from the Empire. Still, they fire on The Ghost, and the crew manages to take them both out. After the skirmish, Sabine says the fighters belonged to the Mining Guild, which means the refinery must be nearby. Ezra notices the purrgils are heading in a new direction, and he feels they should follow them, but Hera doesn’t want anything to do with those creatures. She turns instead to Sabine, who tracks the origin of the exploded fighters. As it turns out, they came from the direction the purrgils are going.
Hera resigns herself to her fate of sticking with the purrgils, and in the meantime sends everyone to their cabins to shut off whatever power they can spare to save enough energy for the sublight engines. Ezra stays behind on the bridge, and prompts Hera to talk about the purrgils. She said she was told stories about them growing up, about how they could jump into hyperspace. But her most vivid memories of them are anything but awe-inspiring. She says they can get into hyperspace lanes, and destroy ships in flight. Ezra says, maybe they don’t know they’re hurting people, but Hera isn’t comforted; she’s lost more than one friend to the purrgils’ accidental destruction.
The rebels follow the purrgils, which lead them straight to the fuel refinery they’ve been searching for, a gas-filled crater on a planetoid. They quickly discover it is, indeed, being operated by the Mining Guild, who are guarding the station with an anti-ship cannon. The shipment for the Empire, however, is out in the open. All the rebels need is a distraction to be able to grab the shipment and leave without having to engage the refinery’s guards.
As the rest of the crew is discussing their next move, Ezra notices the purrgils have an interest in sea of gas the refinery presides over. They keep ducking beneath the surface and swimming in it; at least, when they can get past the shots of the Guild guards, who seem intent on killing them (the yellow TIE fighters were theirs, and they had been sent out to kill the purrgils). Ezra tries to bring the purrgils to the attention of his friends, but they’re focused on the next part of the mission: getting down to the refinery and securing the shipment.
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The rebels decide they will take charges and throw them into the gas crater. The resulting explosions will cause a major distraction, under the cover of which Hera will be able to land The Ghost and quickly refuel before the Guild miners know what’s really happening. Kanan, Sabine, and Ezra will jump down to the refinery in the upper atmosphere produced by the planetoid, helmets donned so as to keep out the gas’s toxic fumes. Chopper will join them and help in rounding up the fuel shipment.
After complaining about his stormtrooper helmet’s colorful new paint design (courtesy of Sabine), Kanan and the others make the jump from The Ghost. Despite a small mishap with Ezra getting distracted and being unable to use the Force to break his fall, the rebels are able to take out the Guild guards and set off the charges without a hitch. But Ezra quickly disables the charges, and explains he thinks the gas pool is important to the purrgils. If they set off explosions in the gas, it could hurt or even kill some of the creatures who are down there.
They don’t have time to argue, so they come up with a new plan. Kanan, Sabine, and Chopper run off to secure the shipment area, while Ezra takes control of the anti-ship cannon. He’s supposed to provide them cover, but finds himself being distracted by the purrgils once again. As he watches them swim in the gas pool, he has a revelation about why they need the gas and is about to tell Kanan, when he’s reminded of his job. He runs back to his position and starts trying to take out the Guild guards, but the enemy fire pushes him too close to the edge of the platform, and he falls into the gas pool below.
Hera is able to land The Ghost on the refinery’s landing platform, but she and the rebels already down are almost overcome with enemy fire. They start the fueling process, but of course it’s taking longer than they have time for.
Meanwhile, Ezra has landed on top of a purrgil beneath the gas pool’s surface. He stirs out of unconsciousness and immediately begins to choke on the poisonous air; his helmet has fallen off his head and rolled out of reach. The purrgil moves, and Ezra slides down until his head is on the same level as one of its eyes. He stares into it, and the purrgil’s eye swirls like hyperspace. The swirl is reflected in Ezra’s eyes, and he explains he doesn’t know why the purrgils need the gas pool, but he and his friends need their help.
One of the purrgil’s tentacles lifts up Ezra’s helmet into the Padawan’s reach. Ezra puts it on and gasps in the pure oxygen.
Up on the refinery, things are not going well. The rebels are surrounded, but then Ezra returns to the scene with backup. The purrgils have rallied to the one upon which Ezra now rides (also the one who saved his life), and together they attack the refinery. With The Ghost refueled and the shipment on board, they can now escape, with the additional triumph of knowing at least one of the Empire’s sources of refined fuel has been eliminated. The purrgils follow them, and the day is one.
Back out past the asteroid field, the purrgils begin gathering in front of The Ghost again. Hera is grateful for their help, and Ezra explains his epiphany about them. The gas pool was a refueling source for the purrgils, as well, just one stop in a long journey. And as they watch, the purrgils’ tentacles begin to glow, and they disappear in to the blip of hyperspace. The old stories told to Hera were true.
When the rebels take off again, it’s Hera who says they’re going to “follow the purrgils.”
Check back on Dork Side next week for a recap of Star Wars Rebels: “Homecoming,” which will see the return of a The Clone Wars original character.