Directed by: Sergio Paez
Written by: Steven Melching
The people on the planet Ibaar are suffering at the hands of the Empire. The Imperials have cut their rations and are working them extra hard. Many are not expected to last another planetary rotation. The crew of the Ghost alongside Phoenix Squadron are going to deliver food rations to help those in need, but their path is blocked by an Imperial blockade.
Phoenix Squad quickly realizes that the Imperial presence is too strong for them and that more firepower is needed. Captain Rex says he knows a ship designer who might have something that can help them. Hera, Zeb, and Sabine are sent to the planet of Shantipole to retrieve the ship before it’s too late.
The best part of the episode is Hera’s story on Shantipole. The Imperial blockade is good because we finally see Kallus in a stronger position, but he does drift a bit too much into the stereotypical mustache-twirling kind of evil, as opposed to the more nuanced that we have seen in the past. The blockade raises a lot of real life questions like: why do they have to charge straight at the Imperial ships, wouldn’t it be easier to circle around the planet and come in from the other side?
Hera, Zeb, and Sabine barely make it to Shantipole. The planet is nearly impossible to land on and the Phantom almost doesn’t make it. The ship builder, Quarrie, chose this planet as a testing ground because if it can fly here it can fly anywhere. Quarrie has designed the B-wing, or as he calls it the Blade Wing. It is a heavy assault fighter with powerful blasters, ion cannons, and proton torpedoes.
There are some nice references to the Legends history of the B-wing. Quarrie is a Mon Cal and the B-wing becomes known as Project Shantipole. As a long time gamer, I loved that they included all of the features of the ship from when we first saw it fly in the X-wing video game.
On Shantipole, we get to see what drove Hera to be a pilot and what flying means to her. Hera is able to convince Quarrie that the ship is ready and they arrive just in time to help the Ghost and Phoenix Squadron break the Imperial blockade of Ibaara. Hera is rewarded for all this with a promotion to Phoenix leader and oversight of all of the fighters.
This was a really great episode. Vanessa Marshall as Hera really gets to take center stage and carries the emotional weight of the episode. The rest of the crew all get fun moments, but this is really and truly Hera’s episode, first with the defeat as they try to run the blockade and then with her giving some insight into her past and what flying means to her.