Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 6
“Wings of the Master”
Star Wars Rebels finally allows characters that aren’t Kanan and Ezra to have some time to develop with an episode focused on Hera who leads a mission to acquire a new ship to help the Rebel cause.
It’s great to see Hera get the focus as she has been sorely lacking in both seasons despite the fact that she is one of the strongest characters. It is long overdue to let her take the spotlight and this episode does a fairly good job of developing her.
The opening scene as she leads an attempt to run an Imperial blockade in order to deliver supplies to a needy planet. This space battle is definitely up to the standards that Star Wars Rebels has set throughout the run of the series. It’s fast paced, exciting and has some great character beats as Hera shows how capable she is as a commander and a strategist.
Her prowess for commanding her small task force can only take her so far as the Empire overwhelms them due to superior firepower and numbers forcing them to abort after suffering fairly significant losses. It looks like the episode will deal with the strong emotional consequences of such a defeat that cost the lives of a number of people but unfortunately the opportunity is missed and the episode rushes along.
It’s understandable that losses are expected in this uphill battle against the Empire but this level of detachment somewhat downplays the sacrifice of those who didn’t make it back. It would have been a good emotional foundation for the episode to not have those deaths be in vain instead of ignoring it completely.
Another surprise came when it was Kanan that pushed Hera into going on the mission to acquire the new ship. I would expect Hera to be the one driven to do so while Kanan protested in some way. It’s fine if Kanan is becoming more used to the big picture thinking that is necessary to fight the Empire but I don’t feel that the transition has been natural enough. If the willingness had simply been flipped then it would be more in character for both of them.
Once the episode gets away from that it becomes a lot better with Hera’s characterisation being focused on her love of piloting. She has to land the Phantom on the inhospitable planet without power of any kind and has to prove herself worthy of the new ship in the eyes of her builder, Quarrie (Corey Burton). He sees the pilot as being the most important thing about a ship and won’t hand his creation over to just anyone.
Quarrie is a very eccentric presence but never to the point that he feels overly irritating. He proves to be a good challenge for Hera who has to push herself to be worthy instead of feeling entitled to it. Her story about how she first became interested in piloting was nicely acted by Vanessa Marshall. It shows a vulnerability to Hera not often seen and gives real insight into her past.
Her test flight of the first B-Wing proves how good a pilot she is and shows that this ship was built for her to control as she quickly masters it and feels the sense of freedom that she associates with flying. This carries over into her rescue of the Rebellion’s next attempt to take on the blockade with a well timed one hit kill of an Imperial ship. I would say her promotion to the head of Phoenix Squadron is well earned.
I had no idea that the B-Wing was so powerful as it was rarely featured in the Original Trilogy so maybe someone who knows their Star Wars better than me can inform me if it is genuinely that powerful or if Star Wars Rebels have taken significant liberties with this ship. Either way it is really cool to see it in action but it does seem ludicrously overpowered so if the Rebel Alliance don’t build as many of those as they possibly can as quickly as they can then I will want to know why.
It’s worth throwing in that Kallus has had a lot of failures under his belt and I wonder if he will become victim to the Empire’s no tolerance policy on failure. Minister Tua was executed for far less so it would make sense for him to suffer the same fate given his tragic track record.
As good as the bulk of this episode was there’s no real sense that the season is going anywhere. Ahsoka hasn’t been seen in quite a while and beyond the introduction of a pair of Inquisitors, Darth Vader has been conspicuously absent. It’s getting to the point where there seems to be no immediate problems for the Rebels.
A solid episode that finally allows a character not called Kanan or Ezra to have some long overdue development as Hera takes the spotlight.
The opening scene showing her command a task force trying to run an Imperial blockade to deliver supplies to a needy planet was really well done. It’s up there with the standard of space battles set by this show with great visuals and a fast pace. Hera is shown to be a great pilot and tactician as she does everything she can to make sure the supplies get through.
Her skills can only take her so far when outgunned by the Empire so the mission fails with significant losses for the Rebellion. It’s a shame that the episode didn’t take the opportunity to deal with the fact that there were a lot of lives lost as the desire to make sure they didn’t die in vain could have been the emotional hook for the episode.
It’s also strange that Kanan would be the one to volunteer Hera for the mission to acquire the new ship. If Kanan is becoming better used to being in the Rebellion then that transition hasn’t been established well enough. It makes more sense for Hera to be the enthusiastic one and Kanan to be reluctant. It would have been an easy fix and enhanced the episode.
Once it gets beyond this, the episode does a great job of exploring Hera as a character. We see how great a pilot is when she manages to land a powerless Phantom and her motivation to become a pilot is clearly established in her discussion with Quarrie where interesting elements of her past are revealed. Vanessa Marshall gives a great performance as Hera reflects on her past.
Her test flight of the B-Wing proves how good a pilot she is as she quickly masters it. This carries over into her rescue of the Rebellion’s next attempt to run the blockade by killing an Imperial ship with one shot. She definitely earns her promotion.
It’s possible that the B-Wing might be a little overpowered and I wonder if the writers have taken liberties with this ship or if it has always been this powerful but rarely featured. Either way, the Rebel Alliance need to build as many of these as they can.
I wonder if Kallus will be executed for his repeated failures as the Empire apparently has a no tolerance policy. Minister Tua was executed for far less so surely he must be due for some consequences.
There’s no real sense that this season is going anywhere. Ahsoka hasn’t been seen in a while and Darth Vader seems to have settled down other than sending out two Inquisitors so it doesn’t feel like there is a big enough threat for the Rebels at this point.