“Hera’s Heroes”

The Ghost has come back to Ryloth.  Since the Rebels were last here, the Imperial presence has stepped up their occupation in an effort to stamp out the Twi’lek resistance.  The episode skips over the part where Hera’s father, Cham, calls for assistance.  Instead, they waste no time and drop us immediately into the action as Cham is on the run from the Empire with literally nowhere else left to go.

star-wars-rebels-season-3-thrawn-heraCham Syndulla is a much different person than the last time we saw him.  He is now much more welcoming of the Rebels assistance and is not trying to push his own agenda on them.  He is looking to them for assistance and support.  I think the only reason he is changing his attitude is because the situation on Ryloth has become so desperate.  Until recently the Imperial occupation was lead by Captain Slavin, who seems to be our typical overconfident Imperial who can easily be mislead.  However, now Grand Admiral Thrawn has taken over and the Imperial strikes are becoming much more precise and Cham’s rebellion is faltering because of it.

Adding insult to injury, the Imperials have now set up their base inside Cham and Hera’s former home.  Everything that they were is now in the hands of the Empire.  Hera decides to take on a personal mission to retrieve her family’s kalikori, an item passed down through families from parent to child.  It’s one of the few things that truly means something to Hera.

Through this episode, we get a lot of backstory on Hera, her family, and the situation on Ryloth.  In previous episodes, there was mention of how Hera pulled Chopper from a Y-wing that crashed in front of their house during the Clone Wars.  Here we actually see the crashed Y-wing, preserved as a memorial to the lives lost during those battles, and in a surprisingly emotional moment for Chopper, we see his reaction to the ship.  His relationship with those ships and his history is complicated.

The ranks of the Empire continue to grow on the show.  Last week it was the TIE pilots, this week it’s Biker Scouts.  The armor nerd in me always loves seeing the different troop styles show up.  Seeing Ezra dressed up as one was a great addition, and the opening chase is a great parallel to the Ryloth battles in the Clone Wars.

The main storyline has Hera and Ezra trying to escape the Imperial base after stealing the kalikori, but they are foiled and captured by Thrawn.  For those who are still unsure of how Thrawn is being portrayed in the show, this episode should assuage most fears.  Thrawn continues to be the cold, calculating, Admiral constantly analyzing the situation.  It’s a stark contrast to Slavin, who seems almost bumbling in comparison.  When Thrawn is around, the Empire is a truly menacing threat.  As I’ve said before, this is the Thrawn that I imagined while reading Heir to the Empire.

Vanessa Marshall and Lars Mikkelsen both do a fantastic job with the voice acting and their verbal sparring back and forth.  Mikkelsen shows some of the darker sides of Thrawn and Marshall brings back the Twi’lek accent as she pretends to be a refugee.  The episode really comes down to these two characters, everything else is secondary to them.

This is an episode about family.  Yes, we get the action that we are used to, but this episode is more focused on the characters and their development.  We see how they are merely pawns in Thrawn’s game, he allows them to take a small victory because he can use that as a means to crush them in the end.

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