Review: Star Wars Rebels, “Homecoming”

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

This review contains spoilers.

When Hera Syndulla was first introduced, many began to wonder about her relation to Cham Syndulla and why she didn’t possess a traditional Twi’lek accent. As the second season continues to focus on character-driven stories, we finally discover these details in an emotionally charged and action-packed episode. “Homecoming” was a Hera-centered story that brought back some of our favorite Star Wars: The Clone Wars characters–most notably, Cham Syndulla. It was a story about opening oneself to the bigger picture, and most importantly, finding mutual respect and understanding.

In a lot of ways, Hera is just like her father: overly focused, determined, and reluctant to see the other point of view. In the previous episode, she had her mind set that the Purrgil were menacing creatures, and after a good amount of effort, Ezra managed to change her mind and help her see something positive about them. Earlier in the season, Hera’s tactics lost them vital resources, and when she was ordered by Kanan to retrieve a ship that would be helpful to their cause, she was visibly annoyed at having been temporarily pulled away from the mission. She has all of the qualities of her father, but with a different objective in mind–an objective that put them on different ends of the spectrum. I like that her drive and focus on the bigger picture clashed with Cham’s narrower focus on Ryloth. It was a generational difference, one with which we can all identify, since our parents will have mindsets and viewpoints that often differ from our own.

What I also loved about the episode was how the action reminded me a lot of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Jedi throwing scene was both impressive and entertaining and it’s something that Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would have done back in the day. It was also great seeing Numa again, even though she played a minor part compared to her debut in The Clone Wars. That said, this wasn’t her story to tell. I’m happy knowing that she’s alive, having been inspired by her clone brothers as well as carrying out their legacy of helping and doing the right thing. Another great Clone Wars moment was finding out that Chopper and Hera have been together for many years. Again, what I love most about this series is the way in which nuggets of character information are sprinkled throughout, giving us time to appreciate what we’ve learned before applying it to the bigger picture.

Although this episode centered around Hera’s relationship with her father, I think one of the biggest highlights was seeing a nervous Kanan meeting Cham for the first time. It’s something we hadn’t really seen before (a Jedi-in-love meeting a parental figure), so it really made Kanan more human and identifiable, since we’ve all been in that boat before. And of course, the most talked about moment of this episode really took fans by surprise–Hera’s accent. It’s just one of those genius elements that really helped in making this episode excel and sit at top with “Legends of the Lasat” and “The Call”. Both Vanessa Marshall’s performance and Hera’s expressions and body language truly pushed that scene to the next level, accurately capturing the struggle often felt by bilingual/next generation individuals in her position.

There were aspects that could have been dealt with differently, though, specifically the fate of Hera’s mother. The dead mother trope tends to be overused when oftentimes there are other interesting and more emotional ways to write off a character. I do understand the impact it had on both characters and how it drove them apart, but something tells me there could have been other creative ways to produce similar results.

Overall, I thought this was another fantastic episode and one that I will enjoy watching over again and again. I love that, in a way, Hera recruited her father and the other Twi’lek freedoms fighters for the rebellion. After all, you could say one of their secondary missions is to create allies and ties, so that the Rebel Alliance continues to grow and become the Alliance we see later on in the films. And given that Cham and Hera have repaired their relationship as father and daughter and have found mutual respect for each other, it’d be great to see him and his warriors again in the near future, following through with the fact that he now sees the bigger picture and is willing to fight the bigger fight.

Elisa’s thoughts will return next week, but in the meantime, make sure to tune into the next all-new episode tonight, February 24, 2016, at 9:00PM EST on Disney XD.

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