Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 15
Star Wars Rebels focuses another episode on Hera as she reunites with her father and leads a mission to capture a strategically important Imperial ship.
One thing this season has done well is begin to bridge the gap between The Clone Wars and this show by bringing back both major and minor characters to allow their stories to continue after a lack of closure when The Clone Wars was cancelled. For me personally, Cham Syndulla (Robin Atkin Downes) was a memorable character from a significant arc in that show so to have him return in this episode was great to see.
There is some interesting development of Cham who was established in The Clone Wars as being very devoted to his people and wanting to ensure the well-being of his home above all else. In The Clone Wars he and Mace Windu worked to rid Ryloth of the Droid army. In the intervening years the Republic became the Empire so became the new occupying force rather than the liberators they once were so naturally Cham is more than a little jaded by the situation.
His view of the Rebellion is an interesting one as all he sees is a large organisation supposedly fighting for freedom but holding the potential to become as bad as the Empire should they win. It’s an interesting perspective that I haven’t seen raised before. If the Republic can become the Empire then there is potential for corruption in any political system so different doesn’t always equal right. I hope this idea is raised again as it really got my attention.
Outside of that Cham has a personal connection to his daughter Hera. It was previously established that Hera was his daughter but, aside from some personality traits that are similar, their connection hasn’t really been explored in any way. The lack of Cham’s presence before now made that difficult as it would just have been Hera talking about a father that viewers unfamiliar with The Clone Wars wouldn’t have been able to connect with.
I’d say the episode does a really good job of establishing Cham to fit the needs of the episode really well. Those familiar with the character will be able to take more from it but as a story of a father and daughter reconnecting there is more than enough information given.
The disagreement between Cham and Hera is really simple and effective. As mentioned Cham has become very jaded and only cares about the safety of Ryloth. His loyalty to his people is to be respected and the singular vision he has for a free Ryloth makes sense from a character point of view. Hera is the opposite as she sees the much bigger picture that includes so much more than Ryloth. She is idealistic and passionate so the conflict between them comes from whether the entire galaxy’s freedom is more important than Ryloth’s. There are strong arguments for both and the reasons that they think the way they do can be easily understood.
Hera has a lot to do in this episode and proves how strong a character she is by juggling the mission as well as the awkwardness of dealing with her father. The scene where she switches to the Twi’lek accent to highlight the frustration she feels for her father was brilliant and so perfectly handled by Vanessa Marshall. Being around her father is enough to cause her well built defenses to come down and show some real unrestrained emotion. She transitions from being a seasoned leader to a frustrated daughter by the simple change in dialect and it’s much more effective than yelling at her father could ever be.
Cham betraying Hera and her crew was a really nice touch as it tied into how single minded he has become. He doesn’t really see a daughter in Hera any more, he only sees someone he can use as a tool to help accomplish his objective. It may seem harsh but being detached is the best way to win Wars and Cham has perfected that.
It’s clear that he is unprepared to be faced with his daughter again as she is able to appeal to him on an emotional level. She left Ryloth because her father had no faith in her and she wanted to prove herself to him in some way. Now she has returned after earning respect and having the confidence to stand up for what she believes in. She makes her case well by helping him achieve the symbolic gesture he craves with the Imperial ship crashing. This proves to him that the Rebellion is a worthy cause as everyone benefits from standing by the big picture ideals. Ryloth has the symbol it needs and Hera captures the Imperial ship. There are no losers here other than the Empire. Cham has no choice but to give Hera the respect she has earned after such a powerful gesture.
The action sequence in this episode were dynamic and exciting. There was a wonderful sense of pace and tension to the whole thing and the quieter moments complimented this really well. A highlight for me was Kanan and Ezra using the Force to pull -or push- each other through the closing doors. Another great moment was the Stormtrooper who wasted no time running ahead of everyone else when the evacuation order was called. It’s the little touches of comedy that make this show work so well.
Not everything about this episode worked as well as it could have. Kanan’s hero worship of Cham was entertaining to a point and I like how he was portrayed as the nervous boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s father for the first time. This show has danced around them being a couple for a while which means that this idea lacks the necessary development to be taken to its full potential.
An excellent episode that really allows Hera to shine in ways that she hasn’t before. The conflict between her and her father, Cham Syndulla was brilliantly done and developed Hera in some really interesting ways. Some awkward comedy and vague development of ideas stood out but it didn’t drag the episode down too much.
• Vanessa Marshall’s astounding vocal performance
• a well-developed conflict between Hera and her father
• great pacing and dynamic action sequences
• Kanan’s subplot feeling a little underdeveloped