Welcome to The Recap Holocron, a mystical device that will provide a breakdown of each Star Wars Rebels episode moving forward. Your Presence in this Holocron is Elisa Ardell, who will also be providing personal thoughts and theories along the way…
In “Hera’s Heroes”, we see Ezra and Hera go undercover to take back an item that is important to Hera’s family after her home has become the headquarters to an Imperial Captain. This is another episode with Thrawn, and he’s suffering with a very not-bright Imperial Captain named Slavin. All these elements come together to make a strong episode, where we learn more about the characters on both sides of the war. Also, there’s Blurrgs, a much beloved Star Wars creature of mine and not just because it has a fun name.
Episode just started and you’re already in trouble: While on Blurrg back, Cham Syndulla and Numa race to escape Imperial forces as they’re followed by an Imperial troop transport and scout troopers on speeder bikes. When escape looks to be impossible, however, it is then that Hera contacts her father, telling him to turn back in the direction of the Imperials. Making a quick pass, the Ghost disables the transport, leaving only one scout trooper on Numa and Cham’s tail. The Ghost swoops in, ready to receive Cham and Numa and the Blurrgs alike. The lone trooper does the same as Numa and Cham, boarding the Ghost and hopping to action to capture his prey, only to be confronted with both Twi’leks and Zeb standing with their blasters raised. After a quick question to Ezra, Zeb apologizes to the trooper, saying the kid doesn’t have that helmet yet, and with one swift punch, knocks out the trooper.
- Considering we never see the Imperial again, I wonder what happened to him. Did Cham or Numa shoot and kill the man? Or is he out wandering around in his skivvies?
Bad News: With everyone safe, Cham tells Hera that the Empire has taken over the Tann province, where she grew up. He shares that he had underestimated an Imperial named Captain Slavin whose most recent attack had been swift and precise unlike his usually sloppy work. To add to Cham’s misery, not only did the Imperial make their home his headquarters, but he was unable to save anything before he escaped. Upon hearing that their family heirloom, the Kalikori, which would have been passed down to Hera, was also unable to be saved, Hera is determined to retrieve it because it had been important to her mother.
Plans: With the crew ready to support Hera with sneaking into into her home unnoticed, they go ahead with Numa, Cham, and Gobi to cause a distraction. This allows Hera and Ezra, who’s decked out in the scout trooper armour, to sneak past the Imperial patrol and towards Hera’s home.
- Ezra looks really good in this armour, even if he is a little short for it. Also, it’s a big difference from when he could only wear the cadet uniform. I wonder how many more times we may see him in that armour.
- I also really love how Ezra calls Hera’s home beautiful.
Home sweet home: With Hera playing prisoner and Ezra her captor, they’re able to easily sneak into Hera’s old home. There they find Chopper in Imperial colours and the remains of a Y-Wing. We learn that the ship had originally crashed during the Clone Wars and had been left in place as a memorial by Cham. It was also the ship where Hera had found Chopper and she had pulled him out from the wreckage. This understandably has left the little droid with some issues towards the ship, and judging from “Steps Into Shadow”, he has an issue with Y-wings in general. Trusting that he’ll be along, Hera guides Ezra through her home and to her father’s office. After Ezra points out the artwork of Hera’s family from when she was a little girl, she finds what she is looking for. With her heirloom in her hands, she and Ezra make their way out, looking to escape.
- This is another wonderful scene that shows how droids have emotions, and the lack of any kind of response from Chopper just makes it more real. The active and giggly droid is silent and staring at the crashed Y-wing, making me wonder if it’s the crash itself that bothers him most, maybe the fact nobody had come for him besides Hera, or if maybe he had also known the pilot who had been in it with him when it crashed.
The worst house guests: While they make their way out of her home, Ezra and Hera’s exit is unexpectedly populated by Imperials, and not just any imperials, but Captain Slavin and Grand Admiral Thrawn. With a guard now watching the door that would have been their exit, Ezra and Hera make a break for the door they’d originally used. Armed with the knowledge of her home, Hera leads the way to a secret exit on the lower level, but her plan is quickly thrown out due to her secret exit being filled with Imperials. Needing a new exit, she and Ezra are forced to backtrack, which eventually leads them to finding Chopper.
- I really like the scene in which Hera mentions that the only reason she used to go down to the lower level was to sneak in a meiloorun from time to time. Her expression as she says the word of what is so clearly a favourite fruit of hers is wonderful.
Uncomfortable meetings: While the rest of the crew and the Twi’leks continue to fight with the Imperials on their trail, Chopper has found an exit that has only two guards. Serving as a distraction, Ezra and Hera move to make their exit out the front door. With Ezra covering her, Hera is the first to try to make her escape. With only a few steps left to freedom, the door opens and Hera finds herself face to face with Thrawn. Ever quick to be a terrible person, it is Slavin who speaks up first, telling Hera, who he believes is a servant, to get out of the way. Slipping into her native accent, Hera apologizes for being where she shouldn’t, only for Thrawn to ask her to wait a moment. Calling the guards to bring her back over to him, Ezra makes his move and does it for them. With the Kalikori in Thrawn’s possession, he orders Ezra to bring Hera to the office.
May I introduce…: With Slavin having recognized the heirloom as an object that was in his office, Hera tries to come up with a story that she was going to sell it for food. Once the captain has spoken up about making Hera an example to others, Thrawn is quick to inform him that she is more valuable than he realizes. And once he completely fails to identify the heirloom, Thrawn begins to fill him in on what it means to Twi’leks and how it’s worthless to outsiders but priceless to family.
- This scene has my most favourite line ever and it’s spoken by Thrawn, “War, it’s all you’ve ever known, isn’t it? You were so young when you survived the Clone War. No wonder you’re as equipped in spirit to fight as well as you do. War is in your blood. I study the art of war, work to perfect it. But you were forged by it.”
After Slavin once again makes a very intelligent comment about how she is only a peasant, Hera breaks her ruse, telling Thrawn that it didn’t matter where they come from, but it’s their will to be free that will beat him. With Slavin sputtering over Hera’s disrespect, Thrawn is quick to inform him that he is being an embarrassment to him in front of their host. Poor Slavin, who really cannot keep up with all of this twistiness, is finally granted the answer he’s been feebly straining to grasp. With much gravitas in his voice, Thrawn introduces Slavin to their host, Hera Syndulla.
- The animation’s spectacular, but I love how when Thrawn is talking about Hera, we have a shot of Slavin actually looking contemplative? His brows make him look a little questioning, but his expression is that he’s still following along. The part that gets me most, however, is that Thrawn has to actually say, “Daughter of your nemesis, Cham Syndulla,” before there’s any surprise on his face. How many Syndullas do you think there are, Slavin? Thrawn also just told you how the thing she stole is only priceless to family.
- Also, at the end of this scene, Ezra, who has been standing by the whole time, goes for his weapon to get the upper hand on the Imperials. His attempt at a rescue is incredibly short lived when he is immediately stunned by Thrawn who knows rebels always have a friend nearby. I can’t stop watching this scene without thinking that had he wanted to actually shoot him, Thrawn could have just killed Ezra right then. Just, POOF.
Into the cells with you: Okay, maybe it’s not quite a cell, but Hera and an unconscious Ezra are locked away in a room. Thrawn tells Hera that he will keep her Kalikori in a place of honor, and in a bit of foreshadowing, Hera says that had she known he’d take it, she would have smashed it when she’d had the chance. This is something Thrawn accepts, though, he does ask if it means so little to her. Hera points out none too kindly that her family legacy belongs to her family and her family alone. Slavin again makes a comment at Hera, not liking her tone, though Thrawn again stops him before leaving her and Ezra locked in the room. It is then that Slavin makes his biggest mistake in this episode. After Thrawn has said to transport the item to his ship, Slavin goes on to say they should just destroy “that piece of Twi’lek trash”. With a quick grab, a growl, and a hiss, Thrawn then apologizes to the stunned and startled Captain. Straightening Slavin’s uniform while telling him he’d forgotten how not everyone is able to appreciate art, Thrawn then leaves, saying he’s conducting an experiment that requires his attendance, while leaving it to Slavin to finish the job from here.
Trades: Still fighting the Imperials, the group gets a reprieve when Slavin communicates a message to them by telling Cham that unless he surrenders, both Hera and Ezra will face a firing squad at sundown. Faced with the obviousness that it is a trap, Cham still tells the rest that he expects them to use his sacrifice to save Hera and Ezra.
While sitting together, Hera tries to apologize for what has happened, and Ezra is quick to make sure she understands that this is something they had wanted to do because it was important to her. Beyond the door, Ezra then hears Chopper, who quickly rolls in and tells them that Cham is surrendering to free them. Ezra tries to point out that without prisoners, there cannot be an exchange. Hera decides to make the trade happen on her own terms. She tells Chopper to get as many explosives as he can from the armoury, gleeful as ever at this order. When Ezra asks if she is really going to blow up her house, Hera tells Ezra that her home is her crew and family.
Morning arrives: On his ship with her heirloom, we see that Thrawn is waiting to see what Hera is going to do now that it is morning. It is while he is looking out the main viewports that the Ghost arrives, coming to land at the front of Hera’s home with Sabine piloting the ship. Landed, Cham steps forward, telling him that he will not surrender until Hera and Ezra are released. Slavin orders that they will make a simultaneous trade. All the while, Chopper has been inside, giggling away and setting bombs. Again, his fearlessness shines as he comes out the front door, sees the trade in progress, and proceeds to roll right past Slavin while making his little sounds. Hera tells her father she is sorry, and once he’s misunderstood what she means, she informs him that she is speaking about the house. With an order to Chopper, he then hits the switch, making all the bombs he’d set go off. With everyone running back onto the Ghost for escape, it is Kanan who holds the ramp. When a trooper fires a rocket launcher at the Ghost, Kanan easily uses his abilities to send the rocket into the AT-DP instead. Giving a little Ezra-like salute, he heads inside as the Ghost makes a hasty exit past Thrawn’s ship. Thrawn, for his part, says to let them go and that they have earned their victory. Slavin appears in holo form, saying they’re getting away to which Thrawn tells him to not worry because he’s found the whole experience very enlightening.
- I really enjoy seeing Force powers used this way because it looks almost casual in some sense. But I also enjoyed it because we’re seeing yet again that Kanan is adapting well to his blindness. Since Cham ordered Gobi to use a rocket launcher earlier the episode, I like to think that he recognized the sound. As a result, he had more of an idea of what he’d be reaching out to grab through the Force, and then, redirect it to the AT-DP due its very distinct sounds.
Home is where the heart is: On the Ghost, Kanan, Hera, and Cham share drinks together. Kanan tells her he is sorry she couldn’t save her family’s Kalikori, but she tells him that while she had thought she needed it to keep her mother’s memory alive, that she has him, her father, and is surrounded by her family every day. As long as they hold onto that, she’ll live on. In the background, Gobi watches Zeb and Ezra fool around and Sabine and Numa talk together about Chopper. A clinking of glasses between Kanan, Hera, and Cham brings us to the end of this episode.
Final Thoughts: This was a great episode, and even if it’s gone now, we did get to see Hera’s home. We also now know how far she will go to keep things out of the Empire’s hands. What’s also important is that Thrawn also knows this, and it will surely play a part later on in the season. This is now their second encounter with Thrawn, though, this is the first where they know of him. I’m excited to see how his and their story will continue to play out because at this moment, it’s not that the Ghost has ever had a victory against him, it’s that he’s letting them get away. I’m anxious to see just how things will be when he finally tells people to fire instead of letting them go.