We got to learn more about Hera’s family in this weeks’ episode of Rebels.
Hera learns that the Empire has taken over her home town and set up their command base in her family home. A priceless family heirloom was left behind and she, along with Ezra and Chopper, go in to retreive it. In the process they are captured by Grand Admiral Thrawn after he deduces who she is. Used as bait to get Cham Syndullah to surrender, Hera, Chopper, and Ezra blow up their home during the prisoner swap. The Rebels escape, but not without unveiling more about themselves to Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The big takeaway from this episode is that Thrawn’s sense of victory is learning more information about his adversaries. In this episode, he learns a tremendous amount about Hera and the Rebels crew. In particular, he learns that Hera is willing to risk herself and her crew to retreive something so personally important. However, he also learns that she is willing to risk everything (herself included) in order to stop the Empire and save her friends.
This episode had some great action sequences as well, particularly from Kanan. We see him deflect blaster bolts (in the dark, but that doesn’t really matter, does it) and deflect a rocket into an Imperial Walker.
We don’t see Ezra use his Jedi powers very much in this episode. This is somewhat reassuring given his dabbling with the Dark side. However, it would have been nice in order to prevent his being captured. He doesn’t even seem to sense that Thrawn would pull his weapon and stun him (though not kill him). This may be an important learning point for Thrawn as well – that Ezra’s fear for his friends limits his Jedi senses.
The most important moment in this episode came between Thrawn and his subordinate Captain. The Captain made a snide quip about Hera’s family heirloom being “trash” and Thrawn snaps grabbing him around the neck. He quickly settles down and apologizes noting that not everyone appreciates art the way he does. There’s something clearly duplicitous about this reaction, though. Given what he’s seen about Hera, he decides to put the Captain in harm’s way letting him take care of the rest of the operation while Thrawn retreats safely to his ship. The Captain barely leaves with his life after Hera destroys her home containing the rest of his imperial command. This is such a revealing moment in this story and shows that Thrawn is not only playing the Rebels, but also his fellow Imperials. It seems that he will not tolerate insolent commanders around him and is willing to put them in harm’s way (if not eliminate them outright) if they do not meet his standards.
Even Chopper gets a sentimental moment in this episode when we see him viewing his crashed Y-Wing that Cham has kept in their home as a memorial.
This episode also features a rare mission with just Hera and Ezra. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Out of Darkness episode in Season 1 when Hera and Sabine go on the mission to the Anaxess base. We get to learn about Hera’s home through Ezra’s eyes. He sees how beautiful her world is as well as how much the Empire has changed it. He also learns first hand what Hera is willing to risk to save her family. This is an important relationship as it is, in many ways, counter to his relationship with Kanan. As Hera and Kanan have literally been referred to as “Mom and Dad” Hera’s relationship with Ezra would seem to be important, especially given what we suspect about Ezra’s future.