Star Wars Rebels: 4.09 Rebel Assault
Rebel Assault completes the first half to the last season in outstanding fashion. Regardless of nit-picks or irritations there may be, no Star Wars fan could deny its entertainment value. The episode centers on Hera as she leads a squadron of X-Wings into battle over Lothal, in an attempt to not only rescue her friends, but put a huge dent in the Empire’s armada. Hera is a strong, determined and fearless character that’s been developed perfectly for almost four seasons. She’s also important in canon as she is the only member to get mentioned in Rogue One (as a general, which she’s not yet … perhaps a promotion is on the way)
The episode opens with the squadron of X-Wings appearing to fight the Empire. While Hera attempts to outsmart Admiral Thrawn and out-pilot the enemy Tie fighters, the ground team tries to take down the anti-aircraft batteries. Unfortunately as superb a pilot as she may be, her and her team are out-gunned and have perhaps underestimated Thrawn intelligence. This leads to the first of many heartfelt moments, as the ground team witness in the horizon a rain of X-Wing fighters falling to their doom, unknowing the outcome the team mourn and pray for their survival.
Now let’s face it, Hera was never going to die in the crash, not only is she a strong lead character and Kanan’s main focus but also the main driving force for the episode (we also know, thanks to Forces of Destiny that she survives until Return of the Jedi). On the ground our interesting assassin, Rokh, is once again deployed, this provides us with an outstanding hand-to-hand combat scene involving Hera that’s rarely witnessed in Star Wars. It's usually blasters, lightsabers or Ewoks. Not only does this establish Hera as an all-round heroine, it sets a precedence for the animation which was superb, each punch actually feeling like it landed with choreography fluent and smooth.
Another heartfelt moment comes from Kanan; fresh off of his kiss with Hera their bond is stronger than ever. As he sees the falling X-Wings, he’s torn between going back and sticking with his team. After a few pauses, he decides to turn back leaving the rest of the team to complete their own mission. Although perhaps a little soppy, this scene still manages to tug at the heart strings. As Kanan returns he is stopped by a Loth-wolf and appears to be set a new mission (this is very vague with the wolf once again uttering the word “dume”). This effectively halts Kanan’s progression in the episode, which although disappointing leaves it open to interpretation until the show's return.
Rebel Assault finishes with Hera being captured by Thrawn while helping Chopper and fellow rebel Mart escape. They’re then picked up by Kanan who takes them to a hideout watched over by Loth-wolves.
This is an excellent episode to finish on before the break; it’s got plenty of action, both in space and on the ground, incorporating further development and story. I look forward to the conclusion between Hera and Thrawn, their previous history should provide good tension and action. I hope she stays as a strong leader and not made into a damsel in distress. The anticipation to find out the outcome for Lothal is electric and to uncover further mysteries in the Force is enough to keep me going. Oh and who could forgot, does Ahsoka live???
Well done Star Wars Rebels; see you in 2018.