Episode seventeen for season three of Star Wars Rebels, Secret Cargo, introduced Mon Mothma to the show. The episode starts with the crew of the ghost waiting to deliver fuel to another transport. The mission is shrouded in secrecy and the crew isn’t sure exactly what they are doing in the system. The crew has to fend off a probe droid which comes into the system, but doesn’t stop the droid before it gets a signal off. The droid we soon find was looking for the ship Mon Mothma was aboard. The Senator delivered a scathing speech on Emperor Palpatine and went on the run. Mothma needed the fuel from the Ghost to try and make it to the secret Rebel Base on Dantooine. After an attack on the convoy Mon Mothma is forced onto the Ghost and the crew is tasked with getting her to safety.
Secret Cargo was another extremely strong episode for this season of Rebels. The entire second half of the season has been some of the strongest of episodes in the entire series. The show might be better served in cutting down the number of episodes to focus more on these types of episodes instead of some of the filler found in the first half of the season. Secret Cargo provided a vital element to the overall canon of the Star Wars universe by showing how Mon Mothma left the senate and united the different Rebel factions under one banner as the Rebel Alliance. This story was an interesting one to see and fit perfectly for an episode of Rebels. The actress who played Mon Mothma in Rogue One reprised her role in the episode and did a great job. She provided the right amount of weight to the performance and was really well served in the episode. Hera was another focal point for the episode and it was interesting to see the dynamic between her and Mon Mothma.
One thing Rebels has always seemed to do extremely well is space action, and this Secret Cargo did not disappoint. There a few space battles littered throughout the short twenty-two-minute episode and each one was well done. The only complaint for the battles was how high powered the show made the Tie Defender. The showrunners might create and issue in cannon by making such a ship so powerful and then it never shows up during Empire or Return of the Jedi. Other than this all of the fights between the Imperials and Rebels were extremely well done and exciting. Having some of the fights take place in the nebula was another great aspect and something never shown before in Star Wars. It was a nice touch to show how Hera used the Nebula twice to outsmart the Imperials.
An issue with throughout all of Rebels is how the Imperials have never been menacing, except for the Vader and the Inquisitors. Kallus in the first season was one example where this wasn’t the case, but all others have been bumbling idiots. This usually means the crews missions have no stakes because they are going to succeed against the inept Empire. This episode was the opposite of this. Thrawn had Hera and the Ghost dead to rights. His plan worked brilliantly, it just was bested by Hera using the Nebula to get away. Their seemed to be stakes in this episode, and only great improvising allowed the Rebels to escape. If Thrawn were at the battle he would have positioned the Star Destroyers differently so the Nebula wouldn’t have had an effect. Thrawn will more than likely have poor things to say to the governor and admiral who led the attack. Having Thrawn in command of the Imperials makes them more effective and the stakes are increased when they face off, which has been missing from episodes of Rebels in the past.
The only other small nitpick other than the overpowered Tie Defender was the unneeded exposition telling the audience about the nebula twice in a short twenty-minute episode. It wasn’t needed, but since Rebels is supposed to be for kids it wasn’t a horrible. I think kids who watch Rebels wouldn’t have needed the reminder and could have figured out why Hera had the Y-Wing fire at the nebula. Two minor nitpicks in an otherwise fantastic episode which expanded the lore of the Star Wars universe and advanced the overall story for the show. Hopefully the trend of the great second half of the show continues until the season finale.