Warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Call.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
When you’re a rebel group operating in a universe where a mighty power like the Empire is in control, survival is a challenge. I don’t necessarily mean basic necessities like food and shelter; I’m talking about the sort of supplies the Rebellion needs to keep going. They require fuel to get around, extra parts for repairs, etc. This struggle was captured in the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, “The Call.” The crew of the Ghost was running on fumes and racing to find more before their ship and life support failed. The story presented a slice of everyday life as a rebel and did so effectively.
The Empire is well-equipped. They control several planets and the natural resources of those planets. One of the Empire’s most important skills is exploitation. They outgun the rebels in every material way. Hera and company were freezing since the Ghost was so low on gas. The Empire probably never has that sort of problem. They were searching for a nearby mining refinery to both refuel their ship and swipe supplies for the Rebellion. They received assistance in doing so from an unlikely source: Purrgills, a.k.a. space whales.
It was apparent from the beginning the creatures were going to be helpful because of Hera’s intense dislike of them. We’ve seen Hera with a bit of a harder edge before because of her leadership role, but this was the grumpiest she’s been in the series. The chilly temps and stress of their situation probably contributed to her annoyed state, so by the time the Purrgills swam by, she was the opposite of a happy camper. I liked seeing another side of her. Sometimes it can be frustrating to see a person be nothing but nice and understanding all the time; it was refreshing to see Hera take an unkind tone. It made her more relatable, as much as a Twi’lek in a fictional universe can be relatable.
That said, boy, she sure was harsh on the Purrgills–everyone was, except Ezra. I can understand where Hera’s coming from. She explained the Purrgills were responsible for deaths of people she knew because they wander in and out of hyperspace lanes like bulls in china shops. However, it’s not like they do it intentionally. This is a poor analogy, but I don’t hate all birds because a few of them poop on my car. Birds pooping has nowhere near the same impact as creatures accidentally causing deaths–maybe it would be better to think of stampedes. Hera seemed unreasonably annoyed and impatient.
Plus, much of the season has showcased Ezra’s skills and role within the Ghost crew. He’s proven himself repeatedly, and we’ve seen how his teammates value his opinion and contributions. Yet here, almost everyone dismissed him. Kanan listened, as he should have, but it was silly for the others to brush Ezra off. They all but rolled their eyes, and Hera might have actually done so. The way Ezra was open-minded towards the giant beings was a lesson in kindness.
Ezra had a connection to the Purrgills through the Force. It was hard not to think of Spock mind-melding with the whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He’s been pushing his abilities on all fronts in the season, but this particular exploration reminded me of how Ezra first started controlling the Force with the Loth-cats (speaking of, I need a Loth-cat stormtrooper helmet like Kanan’s immediately if not sooner). We’ve watched him interact with creatures repeatedly–the Loth-cats and the fyrnocks come to mind. Perhaps this is Ezra’s specialized Force skill? Any Jedi can use the Force to connect with other living things, but Ezra heard the call from the Purrgills when Kanan didn’t. Ezra has a knack for it.
The Purrgills led the Ghost to the refinery and because of them, the rebels were able to nab fuel and live to fight another day. It was a simple problem, but one that was important to see. The presence of the Purrgills was an added bonus that also allowed the episode to dive into the Force and to develop Ezra’s character. Bonus: all the scenes on the refinery with the gas were visually striking and they got to insert the uber cool scene of the Purrgills jumping into hyperspace.
- “How has the situation improved exactly?” – Hera
- “Next time, we just plan on the plan changing.” – Zeb
Are you on board with Purrgills? Swim to the comments and let me know your thoughts or come talk to me on Twitter.
IMAGES: Disney XD