Star Wars Rebels Recap - S03E05 - "Hera's Heroes"

At the end of last week’s Rebels recap, I mentioned "Hera’s Heroes" will continue the trend of episodes focusing on non-Jedi Ghost crewmates. And that’s true but it’s also connected to the season-long main plot.

(Spoilers beyond this point.)

The Ghost arrives with another supply mission to Hera’s homeworld, the Twi’lek planet Ryloth, and its crew finds out a lot has changed since their last visit. The previously incompetent Imperial Captain Slaven has started showing surprising strategic skills, which allowed him to capture, among others, Hera’s home province. More importantly to her, the Kalikori, a traditional Twi’lek family heirloom and her only remaining link to her mother, has been lost to Slaven. With her friends’ help, Hera takes it upon herself to retrieve it.

This is the third Hera-focused episode since season 2 started exploring its non-Jedi characters and their backstories. "Wings of the Master" tested her pilot skills to their limits; "Homecoming" dealt with her past with her father, Cham Syndulla (a returning Clone Wars character). This time, the show shines more of a spotlight on her connection to her family.

This is explored upon by her desire to retrieve the Kalikori. It’s a traditional Twi’lek totem, representing its family’s history, with each generation adding a new piece of art to the whole – resembling Earth heritage quilts in that regard. The Syndulla Kalikori was important to Hera’s mom, and with her gone, the Ghost’s captain is determined to get it back.

But that’s not exactly easy, as the characters finally meet their new antagonist and the architect behind Slaven’s new strategic achievements – Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn once again proves his superior intellect by quickly realizing the Rebels have infiltrated his headquarters in the Syndulla home and by deducing Hera’s identity. She is visibly more disgusted by him then Slaven; the latter is openly xenophobic, but the man’s a complete moron (in fact, it’s amazing he was promoted to the rank of a Captain). Thrawn meanwhile fetishizes Twi’lek culture and art, treating Hera herself as a work of art to be admired, and the Kalikori as another piece in his collection, explaining his treatment as a method of "honoring" it, while ignoring its value in the Twi’lek culture. It’s a more subtle form of racism than Slaven’s, but racism nonetheless. No wonder Hera would rather destroy the Kalikori than let it fall into his hands.

This is a neat foreshadowing of how she manages to escape Imperial clutches with Ezra and Chopper. When Slaven sets up a trap – with Thrawn as the brains, obviously – for Cham Syndulla in exchange for Hera’s freedom, she comes up with a plan to distract the Imperials by blowing her entire family home up. She’s able to let go of the past in order to protect her current family – the /Ghost/ crew.

Next time, we’ll cover "The Last Battle," an episode with connections to The Clone Wars. I’ll see you then.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.