Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Hera’s Heroes.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
The Rebellion fighting the Empire is about as big-picture as it gets. The fate of the galaxy is at stake. The Empire has been chipping away at various planets and infrastructures since Palpatine took control, and the universe is in danger. Those stakes resonate because of all the smaller, more intimate battles happening all over–every sweeping action the Empire takes affects individuals. Hera has been looking at the broad scope of the fight for as long as we’ve known her on Star Wars Rebels, but in “Hera’s Heroes,” she took on a personal mission.
With the Empire taking parts of Ryloth by force, including the province Hera knows as home, she’s moved into action. Her father and Numa barely escaped the Empire’s grasp–by the way, they did so riding cute creatures and I like the image of them dodging Imperial troopers and speeders astride wildlife–but Hera wasn’t deterred. She realized an important family heirloom was left behind, and she became all about fetching it. Hera’s been such a magnanimous leader over the past two seasons that I can’t fault her for doing something for herself, and I admire the Ghost crew volunteering assistance. I’m also not surprised in the least to see them jump to the aid of their leader and space mom.
The plan seemed easy enough. Ezra would don an Imperial disguise and take Hera in as if she were a prisoner. They got in with no problems and even spent a few seconds discussing Chopper’s trauma over seeing the Y-wing he crashed in–it was left near Hera’s home as a memorial. I never tire of seeing exploration of droid memories and feelings. Chopper was clearly affected by the sight of the ship he once served aboard. Aww.
Just when it looked like Ezra and Hera were going to get out easily and quickly with the heirloom in hand, Thrawn arrived. The villain was introduced in the season three premiere, and finally, we get to see more of his handiwork. The Grand Admiral knows how to play the long game. He’s like a cat toying with its prey. He didn’t let on to Hera that he knew her true identity–not immediately. He let her spin a lie first and let the Imperial commander Captain Slaven twist and squirm. The time with Thrawn further emphasized how different he is from his co-workers.
As much as I’m impressed with Thrawn’s calculating demeanor, I’m equally taken with how Hera kept her cool. She didn’t flinch when Thrawn revealed his hand. If anything, it made her more fiery. She sort of scolded him about keeping her family heirloom for himself. If she was at all intimidated by Thrawn, she didn’t show it.
Thrawn left the imprisoned Hera and Ezra for Slaven and his men to deal with, but he absolutely knew she was somehow going to get away. He can see more moves ahead than you or I can imagine. He remained on a single emotional level the entire episode, whether he was spilling his information to Hera or letting the rebels get away with the victory they earned. Except for when he lost his temper. He showed his anger to Slaven for just a couple of seconds, and it was terrifying to behold the change when the mask slipped. This is not a man you want to tick off.
Like I said, Thrawn let the rebels carry out their plan. When Slaven offered to exchange Hera for Cham, the rebels flipped the situation to their advantage. Chopper saved the day once again by planting the explosives that allowed Hera’s and the Ghost’s escape. Then things turned into a somewhat saccharine lesson about how family and meaning isn’t tied to objects and how Hera has everything she needs with her father and her crew mates. It was a warm and fuzzy note to wrap on, which wasn’t a bad way to go after seeing Thrawn screw around with Hera and the rebels.
And I must touch on the most badass moment of the episode: did you see Kanan catch the rocket launcher’s blast using the Force and throw it back at the Imperials? I like seeing creative displays of the Force, and Kanan’s move definitely caught my attention.
Now that we’ve seen more of Thrawn, what do you think of the character? Talk to me in the comments or come chat with me on Twitter.
Images: Disney XD/Lucasfilm