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Recap: STAR WARS REBELS – Hera Goes Home and It’s Not Pretty

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Episode 305 “Hera’s Heroes”
Written by Nicole Dubuc
Directed by Mel Zwyer

The Empire has occupied the homestead of the family of one of our heroes. Imperial troops are inside the walls of the house. And the family honor is at stake. Not to mention a priceless family heirloom.

This time, it’s personal…

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Starting to think that this season isn’t going to deliver grand sweeping arcs in the story. Instead, we’re going to get character features and stories that put pieces into place leading up to Rogue One, and by extension Star Wars.

It’s Star Wars. No bloody A, B, C, or D…

This time, it’s Hera (Vanessa Marshall) who gets the spotlight, and it’s good to see her get a little action for once, since she’s either on the Ghost waiting for the team, or she’s back at the base … waiting for the team. If she’s still Captain Syndulla, she needs to be out front more than she has been. Not only that, but give Vanessa Marshall more to do than just send everyone else off to play.

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Our tale begins with the rescue of Hera’s father, Cham Syndulla (Robin Atkin Downes), and he tells the Rebels that the Empire has occupied the Twi’lek homeworld, setting up shop in the family compound. Hera takes this personally, especially after finding out her father wasn’t able to retrieve the family Kalikori — an heirloom passed down from generation to generation, with each adding distinctive art to the totem to extend the family history. Sort of a combination family tree/family history mobile.

This one item is the reason Hera puts together a very personal mission. Not because the Empire is in her house. Not because the Empire is on her planet. No. She’s motivated by the family jewels.

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Ostensibly, it’s because the Kalikori is the only item of note that connects Hera with her mother, but we see in Cham’s office the picture of young Hera with her parents, so… OK? It’s a “hand of the writer” bit, I guess.

So while Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and the rest of the gang provide the distraction, Hera and Ezra (Taylor Gray), disguised as a short biker scout trooper, sneak into the compound, where they run into Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), who’s especially taken with the interest this young Twi’Lek woman has with a certain piece of art she’s stolen from the administrator’s office. This is where we get to see more of Thrawn being the Thrawn we expect — using his insights into people through his study of their art and culture, and he very quickly susses out that Hera is, in fact, a Rebel.

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Other than Thrawn’s menacing insight, however, it’s pretty much a paint-by-numbers episode, with Thrawn offering to trade Hera and Ezra for Cham. But in order to thwart the admiral’s plan, Hera hatches a scheme that she should have been working on from the beginning. Instead, we have Chopper providing the deus ex machina to get everyone out. Not only does he break Hera and Ezra out of hock, but he also raids the armory, plants the bombs, and blows up the compound just as the prisoner exchange is going on.

Everyone gets away, of course, but only because Thrawn lets the Ghost go past his ship, giving them the victory and filing away whatever he’s learned during the encounter. This is classic Thrawn, working up an operation only to stop in the middle of it because he has what he needs — insight, information, distraction, etc.

Overall, a functional episode that gives us more backstory for Hera without giving her substantial emotional depth. And even she admits the mission was selfish, thus lampshading the entire half-hour.

 

Star Wars Rebels airs Saturday nights at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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