Rebels this week was kind of perfect. Actually, I feel pretty comfortable saying that this was by far my favorite episode since the show started up again in October. When it becomes clear that Hera’s Phoenix Squadron needs an Imperial carrier, she’s forced to contact her estranged father Cham Syndulla and ask for his help. Things, however, don’t exactly go as planned. (This is Star Wars. When do things ever go as planned?)
Wings of the Master was great but this was the Hera episode I’ve been waiting for since I read A New Dawn. We finally get those missing pieces of her backstory that, when put together with the rest of Rebels and the books, help us really understand who she is. This is her time to shine. Honestly, the only thing that could have made this episode more perfect is if we’d finally gotten to see our Space Married favorites kiss on screen and what we got was almost just as good. Obviously this episode is a great Hera spotlight but we also get to see a completely different side of Kanan as he both fanboys over the great General Syndulla and is totally nervous about meeting Hera’s father and making a good impression. (I’m with you, FPJ. They very obviously have feelings for one another.) They’re Space Married. So. Freaking. Space Married.
But back to Hera. While one could argue that it’s the culmination of everything we’ve seen so far, Homecoming gave us so much about Hera Syndulla that made her feel like a real person with flaws to balance her strengths. Homecoming (with an assist from last week’s Space Whale episode) helps take her further out of the occasionally restrictive Space Mom trope and really let her shine as her own person. Homecoming defines Hera in her own terms and not by her relations to other people on the Ghost or by her strained relationship with her father.
It’s impossible to discuss this episode without giving Vanessa Marshall all of the applause. Hera had been relatively unique in that she spoke with an American accent instead of the usual French one that most of the twi’leks have. Turns out there was a very good story reason for that and fans got to hear her slide back into a French accent during a very heated argument with her father. It’s something that undoubtedly rings true with a lot of fans, myself included. Intense emotions and family have a way of making even the most practiced person slip back into the vocal tendencies of their youth. Marshall’s performance, especially in that scene, was flawless.
Another part of what really made this episode so strong was that it featured the entire crew. This has been a show that has reinforced the importance of found family and it tends to be at its best when it consistently shows them working together even when one character takes the spotlight for a little bit. Even though this was clearly Hera’s time, Ezra, Sabine, and Zeb still had their little moments. No one was forgotten or conveniently written into a coma.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch this episode another twenty times and hope that maybe this time, Hera and Kanan will actually kiss. #SpaceMarried