Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rebels Review: 'Wings of the Master'

By: Dominic Jones

After a bit of a stumble last time, Star Wars Rebels seems to be back on track this week with "Wings of the Master".  The episode focuses on Hera and her love of flying, giving us some much needed backstory on The Ghost's pilot and new leader of Phoenix Squadron.

The episode centers around the Rebels’ mission to deliver supplies to a planet blockaded by the Empire.  When the first attempt at delivering supplies fails, Rex gives the Rebels the name of a ship builder who might be able to help them out.  Hera, Sabine, and Zeb take off to meet the shipmaker, Quarrie (whose name is nice nod to legendary Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie), and meanwhile Kanan, Eza, Rex, and Chopper pick up more supplies to attempt another run.

Back in Season One, we saw the Rebels go out of their way to directly help people on a regular basis, but it’s not something that we’ve seen much of in Season Two--until this week.  I'll admit I was surprised at how much I've missed this aspect of the show, which overall this season has suffered from a lack of focus.  Once the crew of The Ghost joined Phoenix Squadron, it seemed that a lot of the urgency to help the citizens of the Empire--that we had seen so much of on Lothal in Season One--was missing.  This week brought it back.  I don't know if the overall focus problem that this season has seemed to have will be completely solved by just helping people throughout the galaxy, but for one week at least it felt like the Rebels had more purpose, particularly in comparison to the last two episodes.

After most storylines ground to a complete halt last week, this week the show began, in small ways, to pick back up some old threads established in Season One, perhaps getting ready to bring them to the forefront in coming weeks.  Two of these  that stood out to me were Zeb mentioning his disdain for Agent Kallus, and Sabine actually referring to herself as a Mandalorian (something I don't recall her doing before).  While  neither really tells us anything new, we are reminded that these stories are out there,  and hopefully this means we'll be seeing them developed sooner rather than later.  (And if the preview for next week's episode is any indication, it looks like we'll be picking up Sabine's story right away).

But getting into the meat of the episode: to say that Hera had been underused this season would be an understatement.  Of all the main characters, Hera is the one we know the least about, so getting a look into her backstory--however fleeting--was tantalizing.  We know that Hera is the daughter of Cham Syndulla, of The Clone Wars and Lords of the Sith fame, but other than that her story has been kept mysterious.  This week’s episode gave us a few hints about her past, but it also raised some even bigger questions about how Hera got where she is and what her current relationship is with her family.  

The twist at the end -- Hera being named the leader of Phoenix Squadron -- was an interesting decision by the show.  Hera has always been more involved with the larger Rebellion than any other character, even going back to Season One when she was the only one who knew about Fulcrum.  Now, however, she has taken on a military rank within the Rebellion, something no other main character has done.  It will be interesting to see how this changes Hera's role on the series and what impact it will have on the other characters.

The scenes of Hera flying the B-Wing were some of the most beautiful sequences in the series.  Not only were there stunning visuals, but Kevin Kiner's work on the score was fantastic.  The music in the scene had a very Disney-esque vibe to it, in a good a way!  It captured Hera's sense of pure joy at flying and the freedom soaring the sky offers her.  

Quarrie was also a strong addition this week.  He could have easily come across as the over-the-top Mon Cala who designs spaceships, but the show did an excellent job of giving him more depth.  Like Hondo last week, this does feel like a bit of a one-and-done character for the show, which would be a shame.  That being said, with him now working for the Rebels, the door does remain open for a return.

Overall, "Wings of the Master" was a solid episode, getting us back on course after last week’s disappointing effort.  The episode put us back in the familiar position of having our heroes actively looking to undermine the Empire by helping those it oppresses.  Giving Hera center spotlight helped give the episode a fresh feeling, and the ending sets up lots of potential for drama down the line.

Score: 7.5/10

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25

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

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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