A review by Elisa and Johnamarie. This review contains spoilers.
Hera soared to new heights in last week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Wings of the Master”. Her passion and skills for flying took center stage, demonstrating much courage in the face of adversity and proving once again that she is an excellent role model for fans of all ages.
But even the best have their flaws. Knowing full well that the Imperial blockade surrounding Ibaar was impenetrable, Hera’s command cost them lives and supplies. (Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will recall a similar scene with Ahsoka Tano over the planet Ryloth in season one.) Not only that, but Hera was willing to sacrifice more in the process. Do the ends justify the means? Sometimes, the greater courage comes in knowing when to accept defeat, taking a step back, and finding a different solution (if one exists). When Hera was unable to do this herself, her second half stepped in.
Left: Hera and the others back at the command center, coming up with the next plan. Right: Hera describing her past on Ryloth to Quarrie. (Photos: Lucasfilm)
Enter Kanan Jarrus. Whether you see it or not, Kanan and Hera are two halves of one credit, meaning that they always watch each other’s back and know what’s best for each other even when the other half doesn’t see it. Ever since the beginning of the series, Hera has been the voice of reason in Kanan’s head, constantly offering advice and watching out for his well-being. This time, it was Kanan’s turn. But, why send Hera to a treacherous planet? Obviously, because she’s the best pilot to handle the conditions of the planet, but one could say there was more to it. If she was willing to sacrifice more people and supplies in the process to accomplish one goal, then she should be willing to sacrifice her own life to acquire a ship that could help accomplish that goal as well. After all, the mark of a good leader is demonstrating with their own lives what they are saying with their words.
And the mark of a good leader is also recognizing the extraordinary skills of those in your team and rewarding them for their contributions to the cause. After the death of Phoenix Squadron Leader earlier in the episode, it was Commander Sato’s responsibility as Phoenix Home’s leader to find the next best person for the job. Upon Kanan’s recommendation and Sato’s consideration, both leaders recognized Hera as the best person to guide Phoenix Squadron and offer her expertise knowledge.
Left: Hera testing the B-wing. Right: Hera taking the B-wing ahead to the Imperial blockade. (Photos: Lucasfilm)
The writers did a remarkable job in advancing Hera’s character. She was presented early in the episode with a flaw (overly determined with a one-track mind), and in the end, she came out shining (and hopefully, having learned her lesson as well). Although not much was revealed about her past, it certainly laid the groundwork for the next part of her story in which we’ll find out more about her family and Ryloth.
Overall, the episode was fun and entertaining as it followed Hera to a hazardous planet to find another master of his craft, Quarrie. I, especially, loved the attention to detail in this episode, particularly with BG-81. The droid was created as a way to pay tribute to model maker and visual effects supervisor Bill George, the man who created the sculpt for the B-wing first seen in Return of the Jedi. Not only that, but it’s extremely amazing to know that Hera was the first person to ever fly it. So for those wishing to see Rebels have a resounding impact on the saga, this was it and it was beautifully executed.
- I love space battles, and this episode opened and closed with ones that I highly enjoyed. The pacing of the battles has only grown better. Saying that, I know from the released season two art that there are models for female pilots. I just really wish we would actually see them. Not that I want to see them get gunned down or anything, but there is a noticeable lack of female pilots.
- Despite the knowledge that pilots never return from Shantipole, I like that Hera is so confident in her return that she says, “I may not make it back in time to help,” instead of, “I may not make it back.” This would often be the moment when the male character would assure the female character of her skills or would react to them sounding overconfident and would warn them against doing that. Instead, it’s an even ground back and forth. It’s a little thing, but something I very much appreciated hearing.
- I don’t know if there has been a change or not, but I’ve noticed that the facial animations are smoother this season, especially when it comes to the more extreme expressions from Ezra and Kanan.
- The clouds in this series are one of my favourite things.
- I loved that we got a closer look at Hera’s backstory. It was a nice addition to her character. Now that we have this, I’m looking forward to getting some more information on her once the chance comes up again. With rumors of a certain character appearing in a future episode, my excitement for what we’ll get for Hera’s past is at an all-time high.
- Others have noticed this as well, and I’m sure it’s due to the ease (and budget) of fitting the helmet on her head in one smooth motion, but I’m curious to know if Hera has ear cones or not. The earpieces on the side of her head gear are similar to what humans wear, so I can’t imagine ear cones being comfortable under there.
- I love how Kallus knows that the ship leading the convoy is the Ghost.
- This is the complete opposite of complaints, but I had no idea when he returned that we’d actually be seeing so much of Rex in these episodes.
- I absolutely adore the B-Wing and the way it was shown off in this episode, especially in the final scenes. Upon re-watching, though, I noticed I had watched something wrong initially and it changes how I feel about the sequence with Hera and Sabine and the shot taken on the Imperial light cruiser. Seeing that Hera is in fact the one to take the shot makes me wonder why Sabine was even there or necessary. Nothing is mentioned prior about something happening to the weapon systems on the B-Wing, and Hera shot the crashed ship on Shantipole just fine on her own. Originally, I thought Sabine had taken the shot. Knowing differently now, I wish it had been the way I saw it before.
- Without touching upon all the discussion around it, I want to just say that Hera being promoted officially to Captain is an awesome thing. I’m excited to see how her future duties will ultimately affect her, and where it’ll take her character.
Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode, “Blood Sisters”, on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at 9:30PM EST on Disney XD.