For it’s mid-season finale, Rebels only gave us one episode this time, but what an exiting episode it was! Talk about starting the episode with a bang… literally! The explosion that preceded the title crawl certainly set the tone for the rest of the episode. It was basically all-out action, as Hera and the rebels tried to get through Lothal’s Imperial blockade to destroy the Tie Defender factory.
Right from the start the episode impresses with it’s massive scale: I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many ships on screen before, not even in last season’s finale. That space battle was truly thrilling, as Hera’s much-lauded piloting skills were put on full display there. The cinematography was also really well done, with several well placed POV shots. That whole first action part is just fantastic visually, up until that beautiful shot of the rebel ships crashing down on the Lothal Capital in front of the sunset.
Things get more raw and down to earth afterwards, as a stranded Hera must find her way out. She and Chopper stumble upon Mart who also survived the crash-landing, and together they will try to escape all while Thrawn’s Rukh is hot on their tails. By now it has been clearly established that Lothal is completely owned by the Empire, so you really buy into the tension as the surviving rebels desperately try to escape enemy territory.
The majority of this episode is basically a showcase of Hera and her competence and resolve as a pilot, fighter and leader of the rebellion. The way I see it, the bland character of Mart is essentially the window through which we see that famed rebel leader in action, and it really worked. Hera was always one of my favorites, but this is the first time that I really felt like I was watching a larger-than-life character. She never looses her composure, does everything for the sake of her companions and the rebellion, and just kicks ass from start to finish! She shows her leadership skills as she guides her comrades, her quick thinking and fearlessness as she takes down the AT-ST and even her strength and resilience in combat as she manages to hold her own against the fearsome Rukh. By the time she sacrifices herself forcing her companions to escape, you really can feel that Mart is in awe of his leader, and so are we.
The rest of our crew had less to do this time around. At first, they did some good old-fashioned sabotage on Lothal’s defensive turrets, and then as they realize that the overall mission completely failed they decide to retreat, except Kanan who understandably decides to go back to try to save Hera. However, he is stopped by the Loth-wolves, who seem to have bigger plans for him. I really like Kanan’s overall attitude towards emotions and the Jedi-way: he will go save the person he loves who’s in danger without giving in to despair, hatred or irrationality like an Anakin would, but when then confronted with the will of the force he puts himself at the service of the big picture regardless of his personal feelings. Stripped of the strict and absurd rule system of the old Jedi Council, but with a deep connection to the force, he truly is the perfect example of a Jedi. He’s a grey Jedi right, just like Qui-Gon or Ahsoka? Those really are always the best.
This truly was a great mid-season finale, putting Hera in the spotlight and getting us exited for what’s next for our crew, the rebellion and the Loth-wolves. The cliffhanger itself isn’t all that interesting, since we know that Hera will come out alive and escape her imperial captors somehow, but I’m still curious to see how it resolves.
Random thoughts, notes and quotes:
- Hope you didn’t mind the shorter review, obviously since it was only half the content this week I have less to say… plus the episode was mostly action, which is something better seen than explained.
- “Hop on!” “That’s not how this works“. Haaaaaaaa! More of Zeb putting Ezra in his place please!
- “You’re good at distractions” “I am?” “You are now!“
- Kanan riding a speed bike looks really cool… In general, to me Kanan’s coolness level grew exponentially after he was blinded. Not only does it fit the character thematically, it just looks great.
- Oh, and X-Wings are officially introduced in the show! They look as slick and stylish as ever.
- Well, that’s it until next year… Aaaaaarghhhh! It sucks that there’s such a break right now, I have been really enjoying the quality and flow of this season. Whatever, I’ll be there waiting for Filoni’s conclusion to one of my favorite Star Wars contents ever. He really should have been given a larger role in the movies, nobody understands the franchise quite like he does. Plus, he’s not afraid to do new things and explore that vast universe, unlike an Abrams who brought almost nothing new to the table.