This article contains spoilers for Star Wars Rebels Season 3, Episode 5
It’s back to Ryloth as the battle against Imperial tyranny rages on!
Though its title may, for some viewers, evoke a certain 1960s sitcom about hijinks in a POW camp (and catchphrases uttered with outrageous German accents), very little about this half-hour of Rebels is lighthearted. I saw Zeb tousling Ezra’s hair at the end, but that’s about it!
We do hear Hera express warm feelings toward her father as well as her family of choice, the Ghost crew. The speeder bike vs. blurrg chase in the first few minutes is exciting. And it was great seeing Gobi and Numa yet again.
But overall, very little dispels the oppressive shadow of violence and violation hanging over this episode. Hera’s outrage over the Empire’s seizure of her home as Thrawn’s headquarters is palpable, and the few glimpses we get of Cham and his fellow Twi’lek rebels in action reminded me, at least, that more of these freedom fighters are suffering and dying off-screen. Dark times, indeed.
“Just a kid’s show,” my eye!
Inevitably, “Hera’s Heroes” left me with some questions (and not just, “What in the world will the Ghost crew do with two blurrgs and an Imperial biker scout on board?”):
1) Will we learn more about Chopper’s past?
Honestly, Chopper was the last character I expected to be haunted by a tragic backstory! Had we heard about the Y-wing crash that brought him into Hera’s possession before? If so, I’d forgotten. I found Chopper’s vigil at the crash site in this episode surprisingly moving, and am left wondering whether his “grumpiness” and “crankiness” is how he copes with a droid’s version of post-traumatic stress. Droids in the Star Wars universe frequently turn out to have depth of feeling we don’t expect of robots in our own. Will we learn even more about this veteran astromech’s service to the Republic during the Clone Wars?
2) What is Thrawn’s experiment?
As I confessed after watching “Steps into Shadow,” I’ve not read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy (although it has since then risen near the top of my “to read” stack). So maybe this “mystery” is no mystery at all to you die-hard Legends (Expanded Universe) fans out there. But if the writers wanted to intrigue viewers with Thrawn’s cryptic reference to an “experiment” requiring his attention, they succeeded with at least this one. As his treatment of the Syndulla family’s Kalikori demonstrates, Thrawn is one cold and calculating villain, who knows just what buttons to push, just what wounds to rub with salt, to get into his enemies’ heads and under their skins. Whenever we learn what his “experiment” is, I bet you my last Republic credits it’s not gonna be pretty.
3) Is Captain Slavin long for this world?
Short answer: I’m guessing not! He’s not only a two-dimensional, Snidely Whiplash-like stereotypical bad guy – come on, I know Star Wars stories pay lots of homage to old-time movie serials, but can you take seriously a baddie who says stuff like, “I have your precious Hera!,” or “At last we meet face-to-face!”? – but also he’s impulsive and borders on the insubordinate. He’s lucky Thrawn didn’t finish choking him off after Slavin encouraged Thrawn to destroy Hera’s Kalikori. The next time he makes Thrawn angry (and mark my words, there will be a next time), he’s going to join the likes of Admiral Ozzel and Captain Needa: Killed by his superior for incompetency and a gross inability to keep his mouth shut!
What questions did “Hera’s Heroes” have you asking? Let’s talk about them in the comments below!