Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched ‘Hera’s Heroes.’
Aaron: We knew Thrawn would be returning, but I was surprised to see how they used him in this episode. Being a Grand Admiral of the Imperial Navy, I expected confrontations with him would take place in space with him on the bridge of a Star Destroyer. Instead we see him planet-bound on Hera’s homeworld of Ryloth. It makes sense that a face to face meeting was necessary, but the setup was kind of odd. Hera risking the lives of her family and crew to recovery a family heirloom (which she ends up blowing up anyway) seemed a bit out of character for her.
I like that they brought Cham Syndulla, Gobi, and Numa back. Cham has now appeared in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and is a major character in the novel Lords of the Sith. He even received a mention in the novel Aftermath: Life Debt, which is set after Return of the Jedi. Cham is becoming a major character in the Star Wars canon and I hope we continue to see his story expanded.
It was really cool to see the downed Y-wing that Chopper was rescued from. This backstory was mentioned in the Season 2 episode ‘The Forgotten Droid.’
Teresa: With one episode Rebels has reminded me why it is my favorite show on television. This episode alone is one of the most stand out episodes of all 3 seasons. Sure it did not have tons of Jedi Mythology, and it did not have fight after fight, but the depth was phenomenal. We will get to character development in the next section, but that was the strongest part of the entire episode. The ability of this simple story to open up the place in my heart that holds Star Wars so dear was masterful. I love that we got to see Cham, Numa, and Gobi again. Of course Hera was there to save them, because that is what she does. I love that she thought about her former home and her mother. Her attachment to something as simple as a family heirloom was very different for Hera. We are so used to her being very military formal, but I loved seeing that other side of her.
The way Grand Admiral Thrawn was portrayed in this episode has continued to send chills down my spine. He is so calculated and one of the more perfect villains we have seen in Star Wars in a long time. His respect for people, culture, and war and his patience are what I believe will be the biggest things to fear about him.
This episode we got to see Hera falling to one of the most common faults we have as humans and that is attachment. It is not like her to risk the lives of her family for something that seems so trivial. However, we have seen all of our team have moments of carelessness and being overwhelmed with emotions. We rely on Hera to be our rock of stability but it is impossible for someone to be like that 100% of the time. It was a matter of time before this happened. I am glad that it happened now, this far into the show, and with the creepy calmness of Thrawn.
Aaron: This episode gave us a nice balance of focus on the characters. If the title didn’t tip you off, Hera was the main focus. I was surprised to see she came from a not-so-humble background. Because her father was a freedom fighter and a rebel I assumed she would have grown up in hiding, always on the run. Instead we learn her family actually had an established home that looked like something between a mansion and a fortress. This changes my perspective on her character, but not in a bad way. It actually makes sense that she comes from a more refined upbringing. She is a natural leader, is well-trained, and excels in diplomatic situations. Being the daughter of a politician and rebel leader, there are some interesting parallels to Princess Leia.
This was the first time this season I felt like Chopper got his moment. The glee he exuded as he placed the explosive charges was exactly what I like to see from him and what had been missing. Most everyone else had their moments too, except for maybe Sabine, who didn’t really have much to do.
We had previously only gotten a peek at Thrawn, but this episode gave us a lot more and showed us his methods. Staying true to his Legends origins, he was very focused on studying the art of a culture. It was interesting to see his coolness crack a bit when he briefly lost his temper with the incompetent Captain Slavin. He does have flaws and maybe the rebels will be able to exploit that in the future.
Teresa: The character development for Hera and Grand Admiral Thrawn in this episode was just amazing. I loved getting to see Hera more vulnerable and really getting to learn her background. It did not surprise me at all that she was a princess type back where she came from. I did pull from it some very Leia-esque similarities which I thought was very cool. Chopper also finally got his backstory filled in. In this episode he did seem very emotional, but also very positive, which was new for him. He did not try to argue about what needed to be done, in fact, he almost seemed eager.
Thrawn is a very calm calculated and cultured individual. I love that it seems we are using aspects of our own history to make him be a villain of all villains. He come across to me as a very strong Hitler type character. I can compare him to Disney villains as well. He has a Maleficient type quality. He is not in a rush. Every thing he does is with purpose. Even more so than before he gave me REAL chills. There is a slight moment when he does let out his anger, but he quickly regains his composure. Even that was chilling.
The other characters did not have much to do, but I did like Ezra and Hera as a team. It was nice to see him humbled and taking orders and doing what needed to be done without his teenage angst.
Also, Sabine’s explosions are always awesome, but this episode I LOVED the colors.
Aaron: Kanan didn’t have too much to do, but he had maybe the coolest moment in the episode. As the crew was escaping he used the Force to redirect a launched rocket into an oncoming walker. Then he just casually saluted to a shocked Slavin as the bay door of the Ghost closed. Cowboy Jedi indeed.
I also really enjoyed the entire scene with the overconfident biker trooper. He impressively backed his speeder bike into the Ghost as it was flying low to the ground. Even more impressively dismounted into a firing stance. Only to be met by Zeb and the other crew members. Zeb checked with Ezra on if he needed that particular helmet for his collection and proceeded to knock the poor trooper out. I’m still chuckling about it.
Teresa: The coolest moments for me were of course centered around Hera. The first one was when she acknowledged her home and her mother and we got to see some emotion from her.
The final major moment for me was when Hera and Thrawn confront each other. I loved this moment of interaction and the simple fact that she stood tall and did not step away from him. She did not cower. She simply stood there and held her ground in her own house. I loved that.
- “It doesn’t matter where we come from, Admiral. Our will to be free is what is going to beat you.” – Hera Syndulla
- “Hold your fire. They’ve earned their victory today.” – Grand Admiral Thrawn
- “I meant i’m sorry for the house”- Hera
- “Hey kid do you have this one yet?”- Zeb