I’m pretty much a sucker for a story where the Force plays a heavy role. During The Clone Wars, I know a lot of fans’ favorite episodes involved the clones, but for me, those were the episodes I had to wait through until we got to the more mystical elements. As such, I’m pretty much hardwired to love “Path of the Jedi.”
The episode itself is pretty stripped down. Kanan, worried about Ezra tapping into the Dark Side during “Gathering Forces,” tests Ezra by having his apprentice lead them to a Jedi outpost hidden on Lothal. Once there, Ezra is forced to face a trial, but he’s not the only one, as Kanan comes face to face with his own fears about his past and his ability to be a master. Along the way, both of them get guidance from the disembodied voice of Yoda, portrayed by the master: Frank Oz.
It was thrilling to see how Yoda was handled. He mentions to Kanan that he’s only recently been able to “see” him through the Force due to a change in the Jedi, and he appears as wispy glowing lights, exactly as Qui-Gon Jinn did during the episode “Voices” of The Clone Wars. The visual connection between that series and this, while having Yoda’s voice being provided by the same person as the movie Yoda, really tied the films, Clone Wars, and Rebels together for me in a way that they never had been before. On a certain level, I’ve always recognized them as occurring in the same “universe,” but presenting Yoda in this way cemented them as individual pieces of a larger story.
What I also found interesting is that while Yoda is on Dagobah, he’s “watching” the other Force users in the galaxy (not just Luke), much in the same way as the Force Priestesses say they are doing during the Clone Wars episode “Destiny.” In the original drafts of Star Wars, the story was said to be taken from the “Journal of the Whills,” and Lucas has said that was because he wanted the story to be told from an outside observer. Since “Destiny,” I’ve felt like the Force Priestesses fulfilled the role of the Whills and could potentially be them. After “Path of the Jedi,” I’m beginning to wonder if Yoda himself doesn’t become a Whill and part of this larger mystical group that transcends death, records the history of the Force, and intercedes when it is necessary.
As for Ezra and Kanan, it was nice to see them confront the fears that have obviously been brewing in both of them for most of the season. The way they handled themselves and the resolution of their conflicts really made me feel like both characters have turned a corner in their growth, freed from the shackles of their pasts, and able to walk together into the future. I actually wish this episode had been the mid-season finale, as it had a certain sense of closure, almost like the ending of chapter one of the story. Of course, there are a few more episodes to go in the season (which doesn’t bother me at all), so it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here.