How far would you go for a sentimental art?
The fourth episode for season three of Star Wars Rebels, Hera’s Heroes, has the crew of the ghost going back to Ryloth to smuggle in supplies for Hera’s father. Once on planet Hera learns of her father’s struggles and that he had to flee their family home after being attacked by the Empire. While fleeing he was not able to grab a meaningful piece of art which has great value to Hera and she wants to mount a rescue mission for it. This is the first episode of the year I haven’t fully loved. The character moments in the episode are fantastic, but the actual story which highlights the moments are weak and forced.
The main plot of this episode doesn’t mesh with Hera’s established character traits. They make the case for the piece of art being important to the Ryloth culture and it has sentimental value for Hera, but for her to risk herself and the crew doesn’t fit. Hera is the consummate Rebel, or has been portrayed as this up until this point. She only takes action when it benefits the Rebellion overall. I just don’t see her risking so much for something that doesn’t offer value for the Rebellion. I understand why they went with this storyline. It highlighted the fact Thrawn studies the culture of the worlds he tries to conquer. He knew about the artwork and was able to deduce who Hera was because she was retrieving it.
The confrontation between Thrawn and Hera was well done. Thrawn is still perfect and I loved every moment he was in the episode. The fact he was waiting for a response from the Rebels after taking Syndulla’s home shows his cunning. I also want to praise the voice actor, Lars Mikkelsen, who is portraying Thrawn. He has captured the character perfectly from what I pictured from the old Legends books. Seeing Thrawn puzzle out who Hera was and then wanting to know the response is a sign of a master tactician. He gave up a pawn to draw the Rebels into a trap. His machinations were the saving grace of an episodes whose story left something to be desired.
This was the troubling aspect of the episode. They didn’t need to force in the artwork aspect of the story. I would have much preferred seeing Hera and her Dad try to simply retake their home because the house had symbolic and strategic significance to the Rebels on Ryloth. Then during the mission Hera goes off to make sure she gets the artwork. Even better have Ezra or another member of the crew who are more wild try to save it for her. This of course hurts the character moments with Thrawn because having him know about the piece of artwork highlights his cunning and studious nature. I think they could have found another more plausible narrative to help promote this character trait for him.
The other big issue I had with this episode is the lack of overall timing. We are just dropped into the story with the Rebels showing up on Ryloth to help. We don’t know when this falls within the overall story narrative. The story may be outside of main story arc, but it would be nice to know how long after the events of the Antilles extraction this takes place. The other timing and overall narrative issue was with Chopper. He somehow is magically outside the Syndulla house and wasn’t with Hera or Ezra as the other crew made the diversion. He then was the crux of the main plot. He got and planted the explosives which destroyed the home, simply because he stayed behind to look at his crashed Y-Wing. This was a little bit of lazy storytelling, but I’ll give it a small pass because of the number of episodes the show must produce.
Even if I didn’t like the main story thread the interactions between Hera and Thrawn were enough to make this episode good. The small taste we have gotten of the villain in the first four episodes excites me for the rest of the season. Thrawn has an overall plan and plays the game as a chess match instead of seeing each individual engagement as a must win. Seeing his overall plan unfold throughout the course of the season is what I have been anticipating since he was announced. While I found this episode to be the weakest of the season, it still is teaming with possibilities.
What did you think of the episode? Did you think the main story was weak like me or did you think it all played out well? Did you like the character moments Thrawn and Hera had together and individually? Comment and let me know. Like share subscribe and all that fun stuff.