Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Star Wars Rebels reviews here.
At last: Hera! The character who’d been sidelined the most throughout Season 2, even taking into account “Wings of the Master”, took center stage in “Homecoming”. The result was one of the stronger installments of Star Wars Rebels.
The big selling point for this episode was the return of The Clone Wars character Cham Syndulla—Hera’s father. When we first learned of Hera’s relationship to Cham last year, it came as no surprise, as the two freedom fighters have so much more in common than just a last name.
Which is why I found it ingenious that “Homecoming” instead focused on what makes them different.
Even as far back as his limited appearances on The Clone Wars, Cham has always been rough around the edges. So it came as no surprise that his passion for liberating Ryloth ended up pushing Hera away, even though they share the same zeal for justice and freedom. His myopic worldview in which only Ryloth mattered was both consistent with his portrayal in The Clone Wars and more importantly contrasted with Hera’s altruism and ability to see the big picture.
All of this to say that “Homecoming” had some incredibly strong characterization. It would have been easy to go, “Oh, that Hera, a chip off the old block!” But Rebels did something more realistic and far more compelling with these characters. The first confrontation between Hera and Cham was an excellent scene, down to the clever touch of Hera slipping into her native Twi’lek accent in frustration.
And who didn’t “aww” when Ezra, in response to finding out that Cham cared more about Ryloth than family, replied, “There is nothing more important to me”? What makes Rebels work so well is that it’s about more than just freedom fighters—it’s a show about a family. (Which, incidentally, is one of the reasons I’m totally on team #SpaceMarried, i.e. I believe that Hera and Kanan have probably been a couple for a while.)
Speaking of Kanan, his jittery excitement prior to meeting Cham was hilarious. Whatever your interpretation of that scene is, whether he’s nervous about meeting a father-in-law-type figure or just a war hero he greatly admired—or both—it was funny and a smart bit of character work. Cham regaling Kanan with stories about Mace Windu and the Clone Wars was more than just an Easter egg. These are events Kanan was part of as a padawan, and people he knew very closely. It’s a link to a past that he doesn’t often get to revisit.
All of this inevitably led to Cham betraying the rebels in order to destroy the carrier our heroes were trying to steal. It was a conflict that was set up very well throughout the episode, allowing Cham and Hera’s ideologies to clash in a tangible way. As with most Rebels episodes, this conflict was resolved a bit too neatly, but it was a strong, character-driven and plot-relevant confrontation nonetheless.
The conflict also included some awesome action, most notably the sequence in which Kanan and Ezra used the Force to propel each other down a long corridor of closing blast doors. Just like The Clone Wars before it, Rebels keeps finding creative uses of its settings and characters to deliver dazzling action.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
Notes and Observations
- Cham was not the only character from The Clone Wars‘s Ryloth arc to appear in “Homecoming”. He was accompanied by Gobi Glie and, more memorably, Numa, the little Twi’lek girl that clones Waxer and Boil befriended in “Innocents of Ryloth”.
- Part of Hera’s backstory that got fleshed out included how she first met Chopper, which I thought was a great touch.
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