Secret Cargo : Rebels Season 3 Episode 16 Review
Waiting in outer space at a secret rendezvous, Hera, Ezra, Zeb, and Chopper are attacked by an Imperial droid. Although they destroy the droid, it has signaled for help before the meeting has begun. Can they secure their special cargo and escape before Imperial reinforcements arrive?
When I think of Mon Mothma, I think of her as a politician and a negotiator. At times, those things can get in the way of decisively leading the Rebellion into action. Rogue One demonstrated how hard it is for her to command members of a loosely aligned organization. Because she is the antithesis of the Emperor, she cannot force everyone to do as she wishes. It took rogue action to get the attack on Scarif started.
Political concerns limiting her ability to lead continue in the Aftermath trilogy of books by Chuck Wendig. In the books, Mon Mothma still must protect her political capital at the expense of making decisions which call for actions she knows are right. This puts her at odds with Leia Organa at times.
We see hints of this on Secret Cargo. As the Ghost crew meets other pilots from a different cell, they are met with disdain. The pilots are upset with the Ghost crew because their victories draw unwanted attention from the Empire. I guess the other pilots think delicate setbacks will cause the Empire to give up and go home. You can’t make an omelet without a little heat. (Or something like that.)
On Rebels, it is refreshing to see a Mon Mothma willing to take action. Unburdened from having to be in command, she bravely takes a stand when the only life on the line is her own. She speaks out against the Emperor publically, which puts a target on her back. She is much more decisive here as she tries to spark a rebellion than she is when she has to lead one. We are reminded that coalitions of free people are messier to deal with in the day to day decision making. However, they are worth fighting and dying for.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Thrawn doesn’t have much screen time, but every moment he is around causes us to realize our Rebels are in trouble. He again demonstrates he is a master strategist. It is only Hera’s quick thinking that gets them out of a tight spot. The difficulty in escaping Thrawn makes me believe the season finale will involve him exacting a high price on our Rebels.
What’s the coolest looking Imperial TIE ship? The TIE Defender. It is also the official mascot of the University of Missouri in the totally excellent universe where Wyld Stallyns is the greatest band ever and all NCAA teams have Star Wars mascots. You can find a shameless self-promoting plug to the latter here.
It seems that if the Empire had cared about the lives of its pilots, it would have made TIE Defenders earlier. The Rebellion is fortunate that this did not happen. If it had occurred, the Rebels may have been eliminated before the Battle of Yavin. Also, they could have outsold X-Wing Fighters at Christmas in 1977.
Gold Five Sacrificing Herself
Another concept exemplified in Rogue One, and also to a lesser extent in The Force Awakens, is self sacrifice. We have always known our heroes from Star Wars are willing to face death. Unfortunately, the ultimate price has been paid in recent movies.
Death in battle for a righteous cause is noble enough, but it is even more impressive when it is done intentionally to preserve something or someone more important to the ultimate goal. Gold Five does just that. Knowing Mon Mothma is the best chance for coalescing the disparate rebel cells, she sacrifices herself to ensure Mothma survives. It is an act to be admired, and others can only wonder if they themselves would be willing to do the same.
Visual and Audio
A main part of the episode takes place near and in a nebula. The scenes in the nebula are gorgeous. The yellow and orange hues light the ships and pilots in a way that contrasts the normal look of flying through darkened space. The glow brightens the normal blandness of the exterior shots.
The animation is even more impressive as the ships fly near a developing star. Not only are the ships well lit, the flames streaming off their overheating hulls express the danger for the crews. This is intensified when parts of ships actually melt and peal off.
The music during this sequence is perfect. It denotes a tone of sadness as lives are lost and the survivors are in a difficult situation. We also feel the nobility as some stay behind to fight off the enemy as leaders try to escape. The music embodies the emotions we are feeling.
What Didn’t Work
Once again, there is nothing really wrong with this episode. The only complaint is that it lacks the weight of previous episodes. We don’t feel the emotions associated with the recent storyline with Sabine. It doesn’t feel as foreboding as the Kallus/Fulcrum arc.
It was a very good episode, but it doesn’t seem as important as other recent episodes. Also, the anticipation of the Obi-Wan and Maul showdown and whatever is going to happen with Thrawn in the finale make it hard for any other topic to thoroughly impress.
4 Death Stars out of 5.