"Star Wars: Rebels" 2.14– Homecoming (8.5 out of 10) – Based on characters and situations created by George Lucas; Directed by Bosco Ng; Written by Steven Melching; Starring: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, David Oyelowo, Dee Bradley Baker; Guest starring: Corey Burton, Cat Taber, Robin Atkin Downes; Rated TV-Y7, Aired on Disney XD 2/17/16.
This review will contain spoilers.
This latest episode of "Star Wars Rebels" carries forward the intertwining stories of Hera's backstory and the ever dwindling resources of the fledgling Rebellion. After losing pilots and A-Wings due to a lack of starcraft carrier potential, Hera sets her sights on stealing one from the Imperials for use by Phoenix Squadron.
The only problem is that the contact for the mission is her estranged father, Cham.
Cham is a character that's been propelled through different media in the "Star Wars" universe starting with "The Clone Wars" and moved through Paul S. Kemp's wonderful novel, "Lords of the Sith." (You can read my review of the episode that introduced Cham here and Kemp's book here.) There's no doubt that Cham is stubborn and he's probably a difficult man to deal with in any situation, but doubly so if he's your father. Watching Hera deal with him is something I was excited for, and in this I was not disappointed. Perhaps my favorite part of their interactions was when Hera slips back into her Ryloth accent.
I always found it interesting to draw the parallels between the accent of the Twi'leks, which is vaguely French in nature, and the Free French movement during World War II. Cham is clearly worn by this role he's taken. The Free French was a movement that lasted less than half a decade and I can't imagine Charles de Gaulle being any less weary and stubborn if his crusade was forced to last three decades.
The episode is a classic infiltration and escape plot, using the theft of the much-needed spacecraft carrier as the object of their desire.
Unfortunately, Cham has other ideas and betrays his daughter and the crew of the Ghost. The turns of the story are thrilling to me, especially because they're predicated so strongly on the personalities of the characters involved. The interplay between Kanan and Cham and Hera is beautifully written and gives you that sense of wonder about things if only they'd have been different. We're also offered a glimpse into the backstory of Chopper and know that he's definitely Hera's.
As our band of Rebels and the Twi'lek freedom fighters get deeper into their situation and realize there are enemies larger than each other on their doorstep, they slip further and further into an understanding with each other and that might be the greater outcome of the episode. As Hera and Cham come to terms with their relationship, so too are disparate groups who fight the Empire. And that can only lead to one place: victory.
Kevin Kiner's music has taken another step up in quality as he gets a little bit further away from "Star Wars" and deeper into the work of John Williams. I heard flourishes that brought to mind themes from "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and other Williams scores and the music just gets more and more beautiful. I really hope they compile a number of collections of his best work on the show and let us purchase it.
The voice talent in this episode is particularly good, Vanessa Marshall and Freddie Prinze, Jr., are playing off of each other in the best ways, and we get a number of veterans from "The Clone Wars" that were sounds for sore ears: Corey Burton and Catherine Taber. They've been missed in the world of "Star Wars" and I'm glad to hear them back, even if it's just for one episode.
This is a great episode because it raises the stakes for the Rebellion and the entirety of Phoenix squadron and is almost daring the Empire to do something more about them as we chug along, ever closer to the finale of the season. (8.5 out of 10)
Season 2 Scorecard:
- The Siege of Lothal (10 out of 10)
- The Lost Commanders (7.5 out of 10)
- Relics of the Old Republic (8 out of 10)
- Always Two There Are (8 out of 10)
- Brothers of the Broken Horn (8 out of 10)
- Wings of the Master (8.5 out of 10)
- Blood Sisters (7 out of 10)
- Stealth Strike (8.5 out of 10)
- Future of the Force (8.5 out of 10)
- Legacy (8.5 out of 10)
- A Princess on Lothal (8 out of 10)
- The Protector of Concord Dawn (8 out of 10)
- Legends of the Lasat (8 out of 10)
- The Call (8 out of 10)
- Homecoming (8.5 out of 10)
Season Average 8.2 out of 10