Hera’s Heroes: Rebels Season 3, Episode 5 Review
A mission on Hera’s home world causes the team to realize Imperial tactics have improved even though personnel seem to be the same. We soon are aware of why the Rebel’s tactics are not working as effectively as they once did. As the mission turns personal, we learn more about Hera’s past and her resolve to defeat the Empire no matter what it might cost.
The opening scene is a microcosm of two things that work well during the whole episode, music and the audience’s point of view. As the episode begins, the camera seems to be lying on the ground as we look up to see blurrgs, speeder bikes, and a transport zipping by. We are treated to many different view angles as the episode progresses. Many times the audience appears to be looking up at the action. Other times, we are looking down from high positions.
Not only are the angles usually not straight on, they are also not static. The camera pans up and down. It moves left and right to follow the action on screen. It widens to include more characters as each takes his or her turn speaking. It feels more as if the camera is filming live actors instead of computer generated animation. It gives the episode a cinematic quality, and the audience feels a part of the action.
Back to the opening scene, the music expresses the emotions the characters are feeling. The fast tempo and repetitive notes let us know the anxiety and danger of the chase. Later, when we enter Hera’s home, the softer, more tender music evokes the nostalgia she feels and how she misses a simpler time in her life. Lastly, the music rises to convey that something important is about to be introduced, which leads to the next thing that really works.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn. After getting a small taste of Thrawn in the first episode of the season, it seems like an eternity has passed. It is great to see him have a larger part in this episode. Lars Mikkelsen’s voice is amazing and fits the character perfectly.
We get a deeper view into how the character thinks. He approaches his enemies with respect, getting to know all about their culture, not just their military tactics. He seems to be more a seeker of knowledge than a warrior. This knowledge is juxtaposed against the ignorance of other Imperial officers. It explains why the Empire has struggled with this Rebellion thus far and why results have improved under Thrawn.
What Makes Thrawn Unique?
Although his intelligence is reminiscent of Tarkin, Thrawn’s manner is different from his and Darth Vader’s. While Tarkin and Vader use fear to keep rebels as well as subordinates in line, Thrawn uses charm. His movements and speaking are slow and methodical. He knows he is in a marathon, not a sprint. The one moment he loses his temper with an Imperial officer, he apologizes, which is a far cry from a force choke. However, his charm is not to be confused for mercy. His patience stems from confidence in his ultimate victory.
Let’s Not Forget Hera
Another great thing about this episode is the titular character, Hera. It is good to have back to back female-centric episodes. We already know Hera is a great pilot, and her barn swallow proves it again in this episode. She is also crafty. She almost bluffs her way out of a predicament as one officer is about to let her go, but Thrawn’s perceptiveness foils her escape. As Thrawn reveals he know who she is, her deceit gives way to defiance as she tells him the Rebellion will ultimately succeed. She shows no fear to him. When Hera does finally escape, Ezra follows her lead, and she impresses upon the Empire how dedicated she is to overthrowing it.
Kanan’s use of the force is a nice element of the episode. He is not featured much, but when he is, he seems more comfortable using the force despite his physical blindness.
What Didn’t Work
There is really nothing that does not work here. The weakest part of the episode is the reason Hera goes back to her home. It is a personal reason, and it would seem she would see the importance of the Rebellion outweighs personal missions. However, the writers do a good job showing why someone who has only known war might abandon reason to preserve something that represents normal life.
4.5 Death Stars out of 5.