Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 13: Hera’s Tentacle Phobia

I don’t know how I managed to keep talking about these episodes in batches of three when I started this series. Just watching two seems tasking enough these days. But that’s probably due to the many other commitments I’ve made to other shows than a scathing rebuke of this show’s quality.

Honest.

Season 2, Episode 15: The Call

The crew are scouting out a hidden fuel refinery. Run by the Empire, the asteroid facility mines Clouzon-36, a highly reactive fuel, stealing some of which will be a huge boon to the Rebellion’s efforts. After failing to find what they’re looking for some time, the Ghost is low on fuel and the crew are making what little power they have last.

While floating in the belt, they come in contact with a heard of Purrgil; giant space whales that live in deep… well, space. Hera has an immediate disliking of them, mostly because they’re a nuisance to Starship pilots. Ones that can easily result in deadly misfortune as they drift into hyperspace lanes and bump ships causing damage.

Ezra, on the other hand, seems to have an uncanny connection to the creatures, being able to instinctively connect with them through the force even where Kanan can’t. While following the Purrgil, the Ghost is ambushed by two yellow TIE Fighters, ships associated with the Refinery rather than the Empire itself.

Using their fighter’s approach vector to determine where they came from, the Ghost finally discovers the facility, although doesn’t have the power to hit the refinery hard and bug out with the fuel. They need to get down there and refuel manually.

While this plan is being hatched, Ezra observes the Purrgil diving into the unrefined gas and starts to make some connections between them and what they’re looking for. Problem is, this is one of those episodes where they rest of the crew treat him like some annoying kid and mostly ignore him. Which silly considering this is the least bratty and most collected Ezra has been around them in ages.

Between Hera’s instinctive hatred of the creatures and Kanan’s organising the mission, whatever Ezra is trying to discover about the situation is being brushed over. I mean, I can see where this is going. These are the misunderstood creatures, ones that seem dangerous but are just trying to live their lives while the races of the galaxy butt in and wreck their ecosystem.

It’s like so many classic Star Trek episodes you’ve seen. The one shortcoming being that other than Hera’s attitude, the Purrgil don’t seem that bad at all. They’re just big space whales. It’s only when Kanan finally does stop and listen to Ezra that he decides to go along with his plan of not hurting the animals.

The mission gets very close to going south, that is, until at the very last minute Ezra and the space whales overwhelm the facilities’ defences and allow the Ghost to escape with their fuel. In the end, Hera admits that they have the creatures to thank. Ending the episode by seeing them jump into Hyperspace. I’m sorry, but there’s something about that concept that I find hilariously stupid.

Throughout this episode, there is this mysterious almost unknowable intelligence to the Purrgil. While they start the episode as animals, their connection to the force and their ability to exceed lightspeed travel makes them seem like some higher intelligence, like an alien within a world of aliens.

It feels like one of those heady, Close Encounters or ET style science fiction stories crammed into an already science fiction world. It’s a weird one to be honest. Also, might I mention, this is another of the episodes where it really doesn’t feel like the Rebels are the good guys nesseserily.

Sure, they help the Purrgil, who seem like a peaceful race, but they’re essentially murdering a bunch of refinery workers. I mean from the perspective of these guys, the crew of the Ghost are a bunch of pirates who show up to steal their fuel and murder them all. Doesn’t really matter that they’re supplying the Empire, at the end of the day they’re just people trying to get by.

Season 2, Episode 16: Homecoming

The Rebels are losing fighters and pilots at an alarming rate. The Rebels hatch a plan to steal an Imperial carrier to use for dry dock for all their fighters to leave them less vulnerable. The only catch, their target is in orbit around Ryloth: The Twi’lek home world.

So yeah, Hera has daddy issues, which is unsurprising. I mean, thanks to the out of order viewing I have of this series, after The Bad Batch, I’ve already seen what kind of relationship a younger Hera has with her father. So I was expecting it to be icy.

Kanan, on the other hand, seems eager to please. It’s cute to be honest, it seems to be a continuation of the very subtle implication that he and Hera are a couple. Something that hasn’t been touched upon since the shorts directly. It’s a meet the parents moment for sure. The funny thing is, he and Cham Syndulla take to one another right away.

It’s Hera who seems to be having problems.

Cham is a bit of an extremist still compared to when we saw him in both Clone Wars and The Bad Batch. While he is eager to fight the Empire, his attention doesn’t seem to care about anything beyond Ryloth. Which makes his berating of Hera and her obsession with “lost causes” fall a little flat. It makes him seem petty and small minded while Hera is fighting the bigger fight against the Empire.

During their argument over her choices in life, it’s interesting that she slips into a French accent when the talk gets heated. I know this is a kid’s show, but I wish Rebels would just allow aliens to speak in other languages and just use subtitles. I guess this, Hera using the stand-in accent for the Twi’lek, is the closest we’re going to get to seeing them talk in Ryl.

The plan to grab the carrier is the same fake-out assault from the second season of Mandalorian, with the Rebels inside an Imperial ship pretending to be under attack and calling for safe haven. Which works here as well.

No sooner have they crash laded on the carrier, Cham betrays the rest of the crew to get his way. While Hera wants the ship for the Rebel cause, Cham wants to destroy it for the sake of what it’ll inspire ion the people on the planet that will no doubt see it above. It’s too bad, if they’d been on the same page from the beginning, the assault would have gone amazingly.

I can understand his perspective on this. The Twi’lek have been used and abused particularly badly by the Empire. As someone who was sceptical of the Republic from the start and then saw them turn into the Empire first hand, I can understand his rage and almost unhinged desire to create a very public spectacle of them, but it’s ultimately very short sighted of the greater fight against the Empire.

In the end, Hera talks him over to her way of thinking and collectively, they fight off the Imperial assault and take down a Destroyer in their escape. So Cham gets what he wants after all in the end. Ending the Empire with some reconciliation with his daughter and giving her some kind of blessing to continue the good work she’s doing.

Verdict:

Here’s the thing. I’m glad we got another Hera episode. She’s a cool character and I enjoy seeing her do stuff on screen. The problem is, it’s another story where Hera was in the right from the start and it’s just a matter of the rest of the cast coming around to her way of thinking by the time it’s over.

I don’t want Hera to always be in the right. It’d be nice to have her grow and have to learn something by the time the episode if over. Her perspective on the Purrgil is actually the closest she ever comes to this, but it’s more of a background element to a story about Ezra than anything she really needs to change her perspective on.

These were a good couple of episodes though. I actually preferred the second one to the first one. It might sound strange to say it, but the first one felt a little more “treky” than it did a Star Wars episode, where as the second one was just about as Star Wars as it gets.


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