In the 17th episode of season two of Star Wars Rebels, Zeb is marooned on an icy moon with his nemesis, Agent Kallus.
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When the rebels get a tip that the Empire has been constructing something above the planet Geonosis, the Ghost crew heads out to investigate. As they approach the planet, they notice the remnants of a space construction zone, as well as what appears to be an abandoned Imperial module. They do a bio scan of the surface of Geonosis, but Ezra already senses there’s no life down there. The Empire has created something important, and they made sure to not leave any witnesses behind.
Hera lands The Ghost on the module, and while she remains on the ship for backup, the others start to explore the interior of the Imperial installation to see if they can find data on what the Empire was building. Zeb, however, has a bad feeling about this. And with good reason: as they stand clustered in a corridor, a black astromech surreptitiously plugs into a wall socket behind them and begins shutting and locking down the doors in the corridor to cut the rebels off. Then a squad of stormtroopers appears, led by none other than Agent Kallus.
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The rebels don’t need Admiral Ackbar to tell them it’s a trap. Zeb immediately engages Kallus in a bo-rifle brawl, while Kanan, Ezra, and Sabine hold off stormtrooper fire. Behind them, the black astromech is working on closing their way back to The Ghost. Kanan contacts Chopper and orders him to come deal with the droid. Chopper does, and in a scene reminiscent of a cat fight, handily dispatches his foe. He then opens the door, allowing the rebels to escape to the safety of The Ghost.
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Zeb, on the other hand, is still engaged with Kallus. He finally manages to stave Kallus off, but by then his friends are forced to take off without him by the AT-DP’s which are now shooting at them from the entrance to the module. The Ghost dispatches their Imperial attackers, and Zeb tells them he’ll escape using one of the module’s escape pods. He gets into one and is ready to launch, when Kallus appears in the pod, determined to finish the fight.
The pod is ejected, flinging the two warriors around the interior even as they grapple with one another. An errant blast from an AT-DP hits one of the pod’s jets, causing it to change directory. Instead of heading toward the surface of Geonosis, the pod is turned toward one of the planet’s moon, Bahryn. Zeb and Kallus realize they’re going to crash too late for either of them to prepare. They hit the moon’s surface, and Kallus cries out in pain before both he and Zeb become unconscious.
When they finally come to, Zeb discovers Kallus is wounded in the leg. The ISB agent is almost completely immobile. While Kallus groans over the pain, Zeb pops the opening of the escape pod and finds they’re in an ice cave. The orange glow of Geonosis looms over them through the hold their pod made in the moon’s icy surface. Zeb drags Kallus out of the pod. He says he should kill the Imperial now, but he wants Kallus to heal so they can finish their fight “fair and square.”
Kallus says the Empire will soon find them, and then Zeb will become a prisoner. He tries to take his bo-rifle back, but Zeb takes it out of his reach. He takes a heater out of the pod. It’s all they have to keep them warm in the frosty cave. Zeb also finds a transponder, which Kallus tells him is set on a frequency which only the Empire can detect. The transponder is broken, but Kallus says if Zeb can fix it, they’ll be rescued. Zeb decides to fix it, but he makes sure to adjust the frequency so anyone can detect and respond to it, including The Ghost. Meanwhile, they hear sounds like a beast is hiding in the shadows, but they can only hope help will come soon.
While the Ghost crew continues to fly around Geonosis, scanning for signs of Zeb, the temperatures on the moon are dropping. Zeb has fixed the transponder and changed the frequency, but Kallus doubts it will be able to project a signal from the cave. Then, the battery in the heater goes out, and Kallus starts to despair. Zeb, however, finds a hole in the cave full of glowing, hot meteorites. He takes one out and tosses it to Kallus so the agent can warm himself up. Then, taking the transponder, he starts trying to climb up out of the cave using the walls. In doing so, he sets Kallus’s bo-rifle down, which Kallus takes careful note of.
Zeb tries and fails twice to climb up the walls, much to Kallus’s amusement. After falling the second time, Zeb asks the chuckling Kallus if he’d like some more broken bones. His threat is interrupted, however, by the appearance of a lumbering beast with razor-sharp teeth, the source of the growls they heard earlier, and it immediately begins to chase him and try to kill him.
As Zeb takes refuge in the escape pod, Kallus is able to limp towards his bo-rifle. He reaches it, picks it up, and aims it first at Zeb, who’s peeking out of the pod. But the beast is still trying to kill Zeb, and Kallus decides to shoot at it instead. He distracts it enough for Zeb to get out of the escape pod, and the two work together for the first time to drive the beast back into the shadows.
After this exploit and all is quiet once again, Zeb and Kallus fall into an argument about the Empire and the fate of the Geonosian people. Zeb reminds Kallus of how his people were murdered by the Empire, and how the Empire probably wiped out all the Geonosian natives, as well. Kallus questions why they would do that, adding there would be no point. For Zeb, that’s exactly the point; the Empire is heartless and cruel. He says Kallus shouldn’t have that bo-rifle, but the agent counteracts by telling Zeb that it’s not a trophy; rather, it was given to him by a Lasat warrior he fought to the death. Zeb reveals to him that it’s a tradition for a warrior to give their weapon to the opponent who defeated them.
Kallus goes on to recall a time when he and a group of troopers were sent on a mission, and how, one by one, they were all killed by a Lasat warrior who worked for Saw Gerrera. Zeb says he can’t judge all Lasat based on the one he encountered. But it becomes clear to the two enemies that there are honorable ones on both sides of the war between the Empire and the rebels.
“Karabast, karabast! What does that even mean?”
Finally, the two finally agree they have to work together to get out of the cave. Kallus says he can tell Zeb how to climb out of the cave successfully. In order to help him move more easily, Zeb takes Kallus’s bo-rifle and ties it to the Imperial’s injured leg to act as a splint. Kallus offers to hold the transponder, but Zeb tosses it and both their weapons up out of the cave, saying they’ll both get it when they reach the top. He then hoists Kallus on his back, and Kallus tells him to climb the pillars of ice in the cave; the pillars bulge in certain areas, making more hand and footholds.
Zeb begins to climb the pillar, managing to make it in spite of Kallus’s extra weight. That’s when the beast that attacked them earlier returns; and this time, it has friends. Zeb struggles to move faster, but it’s difficult with Kallus on his back. At one point, Kallus loses his grip on Zeb and falls toward the beasts, with Zeb grabbing at him just in time. With a heave, Zeb catapults Kallus toward the cave ceiling. Just shy of the opening, the end of Kallus’s bo-rifle lodges itself in the ice, leaving Kallus hanging upside down.
The beasts are still attacking, and Zeb himself is in a precarious position on the pillar when he sees Kallus’s bo-rifle, and by proxy Kallus, are about to fall to their death. Zeb drops onto the head of one of the beasts and is able to catch Kallus, and then he throws him up and out of the cave onto the surface above.
Zeb himself leaps up after Kallus, but he only just manages to snag a hold of the hole’s lip. Once again, Kallus has to make a decision whether or not to help Zeb. Once again, he makes a surprising choice; he lends a hand to the Lasat and pulls him out of danger, and into the gusty cold of the moon’s surface atmosphere.
Now that the transponder is able to project a signal, the two find shelter to wait for help to come. They use Kallus’s meteorite to give them warmth. Above the wind, Kallus tells his the Lasat that the invasion of the Empire on Zeb’s planet wasn’t supposed to turn into a massacre. What the Lasat ended up becoming was an example for those who would challenge the Empire. Zeb says what happened to his people is in the past, and he’s moved on now. But through the sharing of their past experiences, Zeb and Kallus have reached a new understanding of one another.
The next morning, after waking and finding, to their irritation, they were leaning on each other in their sleep, Kallus and Zeb hear the sounds of a ship. Zeb helps Kallus to his feet and supports him as they walk toward the origin of the noise. It’s The Ghost; the rebels got to Bahryn before the Imperials.
Zeb tells Kallus the rebels will treat him well, but Kallus says he’d rather take his chances with the cold. No longer enemies, at least not for the day, Zeb gives him a traditional farewell by putting his fist into his other hand. Kallus does the same, and Zeb departs for his friends, who are overjoyed to have found him at last.
Later, we are shown that Kallus has been rescued by the Empire. He limps through the corridor of a Star Destroyer, and hails the admiral of the ship. But the admiral barely acknowledges him.
Kallus enters his quarters, still carrying the meteorite from Geonosis’s moon. He sets it down and sits on his bed, alone.
Tune in to Dork Side next week for a recap of Star Wars Rebels: “Shroud of Darkness,” which will see the return of Ahsoka Tano and Jedi Master Yoda.