Welcome to this final Star Wars Rebels review of the year from The Elven Padawan!
That’s right, this Monday’s episode, “Rebel Assault”, led us right into the mid-season hiatus screaming and yelling. Well, maybe not literally, but it definitely was a major cliffhanger to end on! Shay and Audrey once again give you their big thoughts on this episode, which aired in the U.S. on Disney XD on November 13, 2017.
This episode gave finally gave us that long-awaited attack on Lothal by the Rebels, but things didn’t go as anyone was hoping. Instead, it quickly morphed into a battle for survival in the Imperial-occupied streets of Lothal, as Hera tried to make her way to safety after her attack goes horribly wrong. As usual, this review is full of SPOILERS! so continue forward at your own risk!
I hope you enjoy this review from The Elven Padawan, and be looking for more when Star Wars Rebels resumes its fourth and final season in early 2018.
Shay: So starting off, this was definitely a very Hera-based episode. She really got her moments to shine in here, and it was actually a lot different from the episodes focused on her that we’ve gotten in the past. I enjoyed it myself, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but I’ve seen some people who are a little annoyed with it. Because they really advertised that, after the first several episodes, this season would really focus mainly on Ezra and tying up his story, while some people feel that it’s actually been focusing more on Kanan and Hera.
What did you think about the flip here to centering in on her?
Audrey: We haven’t really seen a ton of Hera this season. I felt like before, Ezra and Sabine were getting a little too much screen time, so I was excited that we got some Hera action in this one. I think all the others’ stories are going to end up influencing Ezra’s, so in a way it’s still about him and his desire to help Lothal.
Shay: That’s been pretty much my thoughts as well. I mean, yes, they are putting a lot of focus on Kanan right now, and on his and Hera’s relationship. But in my opinion, that is all going to go back to Ezra. Whatever happens to those guys really determines where Ezra goes from here, from whether or not each of them survives, to what they choose to do with their lives from here on out if they do… honestly, whatever happens between Kanan and Hera is going to really affect him as well, because it will lead them to make certain choices about their lives, and the way all these characters are tied together as a family means that no one’s choices only have consequences for that individual, they affect all of them, together.
Right now, I’m really liking how it’s being balanced between all the characters. I’m glad it’s coming back to focus on the Ghost crew family unit and their interactions with each other, instead of each of them off on their individual adventures. We get a couple episodes of Sabine-focused story, then on Ezra and Sabine, then one with Ezra and Kanan, then one with Hera, but ultimately they’re done in a way that ties whatever happens to one or two of the crew to everyone else, and they’re balanced out so no one individual, or duo, gets too much screen time while the others just kinda tag along.
Audrey: Every time someone called Hera “General” in this episode, I wanted to go “Yes! General Syndulla!”
Shay: Oh yeah!!
So, I think everyone probably has already picked up on how much I love Hera, so for me personally, it was so amazing to see her get this focus, which was literally an entire episode showing us why she ends up as such a legend in the Rebellion. Not only is she crazy good at flying, but this was the first time we got to see her doing a lot of ground fighting, unless you count some parts in A New Dawn. It was really cool to see her doing all that sneaking around, trying to stay away from Ruhk and help Mart, and eventually going hand-to-hand with Thrawn’s assassin.
We’d never seen her fight like that, and it reminded me of a few things: first off, she was born for this war. It’s like Thrawn said back in season 3, he studies it, but she was forged by it. And also, it reminded me that she is not invincible. It’s sometimes really easy to see Hera as being this perfect, invincible pillar of strength all the time, but sometimes there are places where she’s really in trouble. I’m not trying to say she’s weak or can’t take care of herself or anything like that, but when she was fighting Ruhk hand-to-hand, it reminded me of how easily something actually could happen to her. Especially when he picked her up and threw her back down. He actually *lifted her completely off the ground and threw her across the street*. We’ve known for a little while now that she has to survive at least to Rogue One, and now we know she gets at least as far as Return of the Jedi, but I was really starting to get worried for her!! She’s not totally “unbreakable”.
Audrey: The first time she faced Rukh, when she got away, (go Chopper!), I thought that was it, that Rukh wasn’t going to take her. I wasn’t really expecting her to actually get taken. It was painful to watch Hera get thrown around like that; I especially hated the end when Pryce stunned her and took her away. Other than the very beginning, this episode didn’t have any victories for the Rebels, they lost a lot in it. Which is why it bugs me that I saw somewhere that someone said something along the lines of, “… but no real losses, nope, not on Rebels.” They lost nearly an entire squadron, they failed to destroy the factory, and two pilots were taken prisoner! Those are real losses, a “real loss” doesn’t mean a main character has to die.
Shay: Ug, I just wanted to punch Pryce then!! She’s been even more annoying that usual lately, but when she caught Hera and then says, “Such a small victory,” then stuns her right out, it made me so mad!! She just had such disdain in her voice; even Tarkin and the Grand Inquisitor knew that catching Kanan in season one was really helpful to taking out that Rebel cell. I was like, “Do you know who this woman is?! Do you know that she’s literally the main reason you’ve been chasing these people across the galaxy for this long, and why Thrawn is getting fed up with you right now???” I mean, I didn’t want to see Hera captured at all, but it made me like Pryce even less than I already did when she didn’t even have respect for how hard to catch Hera has been. When Thrawn got her in season three he knew right off exactly who she was and what was up with her, and you can tell he’s pretty impressed with how well she’s thwarted all his plans so far, or has at least escaped and kept her family safe.
And I know what you mean there, too. I’m seeing people who seem to be getting bored with it already because “nothing big has happened”. I don’t know how they can say that, honestly. Yes, we haven’t seen any main characters die yet. Yes, there are a lot of mysteries that we still don’t have a lot of clues to. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been big already! Just the fact that they’re finally dealing with the Kanera is huge, since they’ve been teasing their relationship since A New Dawn and the first Rebels character shorts.
And here’s something I’m thinking people aren’t picking up on: how is their failure here going to contribute to other things that may happen soon?
Yes, Rebel pilots do die frequently on here. So maybe people are a bit desensitized to what it means for Hera to have lost almost her entire squadron. But keep in mind that the Alliance didn’t want to let her have this mission in the first place. In their eyes, there are much bigger things to worry about right now than just a TIE Defender factory on a little Outer Rim planet. They’re starting to hear rumors of a superweapon, they’ve just found out about Protocol 13, and Saw is really starting to get out of hand. They’re already lost a lot to Thrawn, and they don’t want to continue trying to do things that will just cause them to loose even more resources.
While they did say “yes” to Hera in the end, it was because she begged them, and they finally became convinced that she could do the job. But now they’ve lost a ton of ships, and we know from earlier storylines like “Steps into Shadow” just how hard it is to get more. We know they’ve lost a bunch of good pilots, which is not only saddening because those were individual people and the Rebellion values the lives of everyone, but also because fresh pilots are hard to find and train. We know that from “The Antilles Extraction”. And we also know what a great leader and fighter Hera is, and how they’re finally starting to realize that, and now they’ve lost her, too.
It’s really starting to make a lot of sense how the Rebellion doesn’t want to send people out to Scarif in Rogue One, but beyond just that, I’m a bit worried about how they might respond to any other future tragedies that Hera may ask for help on once she’s able to escape.
Honestly, I’m almost starting to think the reason that she wasn’t there at the meeting with Jyn and Bodhi was because they’re making her have some “cool off time” because of all the trouble she’s been causing lately.
Audrey: And it’s not her fault that they failed either! She got them through the blockaid, and got rid of Skerris, although she did have a bit of help from the Imperials shooting towards their own disobedient pilot. I try not to cheer when characters die, but I was so ready for that guy to be gone.
Shay: Yes, finally! He was such a pain. Why can’t anyone in the Empire just listen to Thrawn when he tells them stuff? I mean really, his track record should show that every. single. stinking. time. this happens, who ever is not listening dies, and he goes on the win the day anyway!
Of course I wouldn’t have to Empire to actually win, but really, if they would actually just work with each other, and especially with Thrawn, they would have crushed the Rebellion within about 5 years.
I hope you enjoyed this review of “Rebel Assault”! Did you have a favorite shot or line from this episode? (Some of those views from the space battle were just plan epic!) Are there any parts of the episode you’d like to discuss with me? Let me know in the comments, I always love chatting with you guys!