The battle against the empire intensifies in this week’s episode of Rebels, as the Ghost crew, supported by the Pheonix Squadron, attempts to penetrate a classic blockade put up by agent Kallus, with the purpose if preventing any supplies from reaching the starving population on Ibaar. The episode is actually quite brutal as far as the show goes, with resistance ships being shot down and the bad guys nearly taking down our heroes in the process of elimination. The Squadron retreats, seeking to find a faster and more offensive ship to break the enemy’s line of defence.
It is great to finally see Hera leading the action, at the peak of her powers. I mean, we all knew she could fly, but here she really gets to show just how skilled she is as a pilot, but also as a tactical strategist. She hasn’t been in focus like this since way back in season 1, and even then her character wasn’t really explored all that much. She usually operates in the background, while everyone is off doing their thing, but now she gets to kick some serious imperial ass, taking down a huge cruiser with the blast of a B-Wing’s multi-cannon. It is quite awesome, to say it the least.
Most of the other crew members serve as wallpaper throughout this episode. Kanan and Ezra exchange witty dialogue as usual, Rex helps in the armoury department, and Sabine and Zeb accompany Hera to Shantipole, where they meet up with the engineer Quarrie to retreive the B-Wing that will help the fleet get through the blockade. While on the planet, we witness some wonderfully intimate moments in which Hera tells us about how she as a child would look up at the sky and watch the republican ships fight to liberate her world from the evil of the empire. She dreamed of nothing more than to one day join them on their quest to help those in need, and it was really beautiful to hear her talk about how she felt like she belonged among the clouds. Even if the world around her was in chaos and despair, there’s nowhere else she’d rather be. It’s her home.
At the end, when Hera gets promoted to leader of the Pheonix Squadron, I have to admit I got a little emotional. That was a really big moment in this character’s development, and for the first time we see her for more than just a pilot. She’s a true heroine in every sense of the word, and I feel so much more connected to her now than I was before Wings of the Master. She has become a fully 3-dimensional character at last. Next up is Sabine, who is the only one we still don’t know terribly much about. I can’t wait to learn more next week. As for this episode, nothing negative to say. I kind of wished they had stretched out the conversation between Quarrie and Hera a bit more, and considering that no ship had ever been able to take off from Shantipole before, it seemed a little too convenient that it didn’t become a bigger obstacle. Other than that, another marvellous entry in the series. The animation looks better and brighter than ever, and the voice acting remains A-grade. It’s a good time to be a Star Was fan, and I have a feeling it will only get better.