Ben: So in this week’s Rebels instalment we’re given another personal adventure (-ish). This time Hera takes the lead as we go to her home planet of Ryloth…
Lewis: Indeed, and we’re reintroduced to Cham Syndulla and his resistance. I liked the exploration of Twi-Lek culture in this episode, but honestly it felt a bit secondary to the Thrawn plot point.
Ben: I think the Twi-Leks were vital to properly introducing Thrawn. In the books, and now in the show, he studies the culture of a race not just their tactics. The Twi-Leks are the easiest way to explore this side of him as we’re already familiar with Cham and Hera.
Lewis: I agree, they were essential to building his character and the various themes that are explored in the novels, but let’s discuss some of those later. Shall we talk about Cham and the fact that, while he is one of the best tacticians in the Rebel alliance, Thrawn outplayed him?
Ben: Cham proved himself a brilliant guerrilla warfare tactician during the Clone Wars, and ran rings around the Imperial officers on Ryloth- It is only when Thrawn takes over that the tide turns. Says a lot about Thrawn to be able beat an experienced commander on his own turf.
Lewis: Exactly, they’re slowly allowing us to see just how much of a badass Thrawn is, and just how much trouble the Rebels are getting into.
Ben: But not a fighting badass; he out-thinks his opponent and then gets others to out-gun them.
Lewis: Although he did demonstrate that he’s handy with a weapon when he stunned Ezra- neither Hera nor Ezra saw that coming, and he looked pretty quick with that blaster. I think he’s proficient in the use of weapons but prefers out-smarting his enemies.
Ben: I suppose that is true, but it really stems from him out-thinking the rebels and knowing that they “Always have friends rushing to the rescue.”
Lewis: What did you think of the little side-plot of the distraction?
Ben: Ah yes, the side-adventure that gives the other crew members something to do. I mean, it was ok- fairly forgettable. I did think the Twi-Lek with the rocket launcher was going to miss the AT-ST and sell Cham and the others out for a second, but that was quickly put to bed.
Lewis: I had that exact same thought. Also, seeing as we saw Kanan blow up an AT-ST at the end using a rocket, surely it would have made more sense to actually hit the thing? Anyway… Like you said, it was enjoyable enough, and it did actually manage to build a sense of tension. Given that we’re talking about how the others were risking their lives on this mission, I had a bit of a problem with Hera’s motivations; I don’t think the art piece was enough of a reason to go on the mission.
Ben: I suppose it means a lot to her culture, but in reality it was just something to show Thrawn’s thought process more than anything.
Lewis: For me that was a bit of an issue because they should’ve focussed a little more on Hera rather than just using her to set up Thrawn. Shall we talk about the aspects of his character that they’ve begun to develop in this episode?
Ben: I guess you’re right, but ultimately the show’s point of view is focused on the rebels, they won’t shift perspective to develop Thrawn. And yes, beyond being a bloody genius, he has to deal with a certain amount of prejudice from other Imperial officers.
Lewis: No, which is why I think they were a tiny-little-bit clumsy in using Hera to build up Thrawn… that being said, I really do appreciate them giving us a villain who actually has some realistic motivations and personality (unlike the inquisitors of the second season…). The racism and prejudice that they’re showing this season is the most interesting part for me. It’s a part of the Empire we haven’t really seen so much in the canon material (it was substantially explored in the EU), and it’s cool that they’re comfortable going into those themes in this show- it also makes Thrawn an almost sympathetic character.
Ben: Yeah I found that, I actually quite liked him- even if it felt bizarre to actually like a Rebels villain. He definitely has more depth than all of the past adversaries they’ve faced, and through that depth we’re being shown the real dark side of the Empire. In the films all we really see is them running around after the Rebellion, but this story emphasises the need for the Rebellion in the first place.
Lewis: I don’t think I could say that I like him, but I really like his character- as you said, he has depth. The characterisation in this episode made him even more interesting, and I think it’s just going to get better as the season goes on. The issues of the conflict and the true nature of the Empire is certainly turning the Civil War into a more realistic/developed idea.
Ben: “Like” may be the wrong word, but I appreciate his character, and you do in a way feel for him. This season is definitely adding an extra dimension to the Civil war.
Lewis: And I’m liking this dimension- it feels more grown up than the last two seasons, what with the spiritual exploration with the Bendu, and the introduction of the Empire’s racism and ruthlessness with Thrawn and that little segment in Wedge’s episode when Skerris destroys the unarmed transport. Shall we talk about the conclusion of the episode? I particularly enjoyed chopper getting up to his usual hijinks…
Ben: Ah yes, the prisoner exchange turned demolition of the house, it was fairly impressive. Where did all those thermal detonators come from though?
Lewis: In the end Hera had to sacrifice her family’s legacy in order to save her friends. I thought they found the armoury and just used the equipment from there?
Ben: Oh yeah. So after they destroyed the house, Thrawn let them go again.
Lewis: I wonder how many times he’s going to let them go before he decides to finish it once and for all? I mean, I appreciate the fact that it makes his character more interesting than the average Imperial Officer, but surely that trick is going to get a little old?
Ben: I think he will keep letting them go until he finds the entire Rebel fleet, or he will capture the crew once he knows the strength of the Rebellion in an attempt to draw them out- I think this will continue for a bit longer.
Lewis: He’s certainly learning a lot about them, and that will most likely lead to their downfall if they aren’t careful. So, overall, what did you think of this one?
Ben: I liked this episode, it may actually be my favourite so far. I know that Hera is a bit neglected in exchange for Thrawn to be developed, but I am sure we will get another chance to see Hera in action.
Lewis: I enjoyed it too, and the glimpse of Thrawn’s true character was certainly one of the highlights of this season so far. Although my favourite of the season is still The Antilles Extraction for its focus on the pilots of the Rebellion… I guess we’ll call it there then?
Ben: I guess so, bring on the next one.
Again, as usual, if you feel like we missed anything, or simply want to let us know what you thought of “Hera’s Heroes”, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below. And if you, somehow, liked this piece, why not give it a favourite or share it?
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