Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rebels Review: "Homecoming"

By: Dominic Jones

It was another throwback to The Clone Wars this week on Star Wars Rebels, as Twi'lek freedom fighter Cham Syndulla made his debut on the new series.  "Homecoming" gave us some new insight into Hera's past, through her reunion with her estranged father, as Cham's forces and our Rebels teamed up to steal a new ship from the Empire.

The main feature of this episode was Hera's reunion with Cham.  We learn that the two hadn’t spoken in years, Hera having felt neglected by Cham in the wake of her mother's death. Their estrangement adds new significance to the fact that Hera treats her fellow Rebels like family, giving extra weight to her deep caring for the crew of The Ghost.  It was also a nice touch that Hera slipped into her French Twi’lek accent when she was arguing with Cham.

I really enjoyed the twist of having Cham turn on our heroes.  It is always interesting when the show injects a bit of grey into otherwise black and white situations.  The introduction of a "bad rebel", so to speak, made for some interesting dynamics amongst the characters.  Despite being an adversary to our heroes for most of the episode, Cham is by no means a bad guy.  His intentions remain noble--the liberation of his people--however his methods put him at odds with the rest of the Rebels.  It was, however, a little disappointing that the episode wrapped up with Cham seeming to come around to Hera's way of seeing things.  I feel that there was more to be explored with the idea of having Rebels whose views don't exactly line up with those of our heroes.

Cham's interaction with Kanan was also a stand out aspect of this episode, from their awkward introduction (Kanan calling his crew by the wrong names was one of the series’s funniest moments) to their reminiscing about the Jedi.  As Freddie Prinze Jr. pointed out on Rebels Recon, for Kanan, Cham represents a connection back to the Jedi.  Cham’s tales of his time with the heroes Kanan grew up hearing about reinforces for Kanan that he is on the right path.  The story of Mace Windu's heroics at the Battle of Ryloth suggests to Kanan that one day he and Ezra may achieve that level of power and be able to make a real difference in the fight against the Empire.

The action in this episode was spectacular, particularly the sequence where Kanan and Ezra use the Force to throw each other through the ship's hallways.  The humor, however, left a bit to be desired.  The mind trick has always been a somewhat humorous plot device, however I didn't love the slapstick-esque way it was used in this episode, with Ezra having the Imperial commander give the evacuation order.  I would have rather it was done properly first (and without the extra commands) and that more time was spent on Hera and Cham debating the best strategy for the Rebellion and dealing with their personal history.

This episode was also full of great allusions to The Clone Wars, from Cham retelling events seen in the episode "Liberty on Ryloth," to the return of Numa.  It was a perfectly subtle bit of fan service, not only to bring back the character--who endeared fans back in Season One of The Clone Wars as a child--but to also have Cat Taber return to voice her as an adult, after having played her as a child on the old show.

Overall, this was an excellent episode of Rebels.  "Homecoming" gave us more information on Hera's backstory, while showing competing ideologies for how to best handle the Empire.  The only downside being that the conflict was wrapped up a little too neatly, when there seemed to be more narrative potential in the conflict between Hera and Cham.  By injecting a bit of grey into things, this episode offered some unique perspectives on the galaxy, while also bringing back some fan favorites.

Score: 9/10

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25

Check out my reviews of the rest Season Two here. 

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization

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