After three episodes with cameos from The Clone Wars and not much for Hera to do, Rebels came back and reminded me why I love this show so much. This isn’t to disparage the other characters, but I much prefer Rebels when the show is an ensemble cast rather than Ezra’s story. If they are going to focus on Ezra for a few episodes, then they have to give the same amount of time to the other characters.
Just as I was grumbling about “Where’s Hera?” Rebels said “don’t worry; we got this” in the best possible way. Introduction of the B-wing? Check! A fantastic Mon Calamari engineer who’s a tribute to Ralph McQuarrie? Check! Rousing music by Kevin Kiner in honor of James Horner? Check! Hera musing about her love of flight and being the best damn pilot in her corner of the Rebellion? Check!
The premise for this episode is simple. The Rebels are attempting to bring supplies to a planet blockaded by the Empire. Unfortunately the Blockade Runner doesn’t live up to its name, no matter how hard Hera flies. Phoenix Squadron suffers heavy losses and the Rebels are forced to flee.
Commander Sato says they need a new ship that can bust through Imperial blockades, and he thinks he knows the ship that can do the job. Hera, Sabine, and Zeb end up taking the planet to meet Quarrie, a Mon Calamari engineer who’s been waiting for the right pilot to test his starfighter prototype, called the Blade wing. Right off the bat, I liked the proper name for the ship. Is Hera the right pilot for Quarrie? You betcha! We get to see her awesome piloting skills in action, as the planet isn’t the most welcoming for ships. So why has Quarrie made his home there? Because if you can fly there, you can fly anywhere.
Even though the test goes perfectly, Hera receives a comm from Kanan. They have to get supplies to the planet now. We think Hera has failed…but instead she flies in with the Phantom, carrying the B-wing side-saddle, and saves the day.
The episode was great, both from a visual and characterization standpoint. Vanessa Marshall’s performance was spectacular. She brings such a gravitas to Hera that it’s hard for me to accept she’s supposed to be so young! I loved the banter between Hera and Kanan (but omg, just kiss already). Even Zeb, Sabine, Ezra and Chopper had great moments. Even though this episode was Hera’s, it allowed the rest of the cast to shine as well.
The episode ends with two major changes. First, Quarrie fits the Phantom with its own hyperdrive. Now the Phantom can come and go as it pleases, which should help out the Ghost crew and the rest of the rebel cell immensely. Second, and most important, Hera is promoted to Phoenix Leader. I cannot wait to see how this effects the show going forward. Does this mean she’ll fly in the B-wing? An A-wing? Or will she serve as Leader from the Ghost? I, for one, am rooting for Hera to be in a starfighter cockpit more often. And if they end up retconning her to be present at the Battle of Endor, I won’t put up a protest!
Be sure to check out Rebels Recon for a great explanation from Dave Filoni for why we don’t see B-wings and A-wings at the Battle of Yavin. (Although it does make me worry we won’t end up seeing X-wings in Rebels at all, but I’ll still hold out hope.)
I absolutely loved this episode. It might be my favorite of the entire series so far. But really, knowing my interests–and the fact I’m wearing an X-wing cardigan as I type this–is that surprising at all?