In Star Wars Rebels: “Hera’s Heroes,” Hera goes on a personal mission to recover a family heirloom and comes face to face with Grand Admiral Thrawn. Scroll down for a recap of the episode.
In “Hera’s Heroes,” Hera decides to embark on a personal mission to rescue a family heirloom from the hands of the Empire. With her father, Clone War veteran Cham Syndulla, and her rebel family helping her, Hera is able to get inside her childhood house on Lothal, which the Empire now occupies. It is in her old home she meets a new enemy: the main villain of Star Wars Rebels season 3, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The episode opens on the planet Ryloth, the homeworld of the Twi’leks. Hera’s father Cham Syndulla and one of his lieutenants, Numa, are fleeing a contingent of Imperial troops. The two-legged blergs the Twi’leks are riding on are fast, but they are nearing the edge of a canyon and will soon be cornered by their enemies. Cham contacts another of his lieutenants, Gobi, to request backup, only to hear the voice of his daughter. She, along with Gobi and the rest of The Ghost crew, are coming in to rescue him. With some fancy flying, Hera is able to pilot her ship down low and pick up Cham, Numa, and their blergs.
With some fancy flying, Hera is able to pilot her ship down low and pick up Cham, Numa, and their blergs in the midst of Imperial fire. They also pick up an ambitious Imperial scout trooper, who thought it was a good idea to mimic Cham and Numa and back up his speeder bike into The Ghost‘s cargo hold. He dismounts with his blaster at the ready, only to find about four of the rebels’ blasters pointed straight at him. Zeb quips, “You didn’t think this through, did you?” before knocking the scout trooper out. Ezra decides to save the trooper’s helmet and armor as a new Imperial costume for his collection.
In the common area aboard The Ghost, Hera and Cham share a hug. Hera says they came to Ryloth to make a supply run for the rebels there. Cham then proceeds to tell her that their home city has been occupied by the Empire. The Syndullas’ old house is their main headquarters. Cham says he did not anticipate the Imperial officer who is leading the occupation of Ryloth to be so successful in taking over the city. His previous attempts at thwarting Cham, he says, were clumsy. Something must have changed that Cham doesn’t know about.
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But Hera is more concerned about a family heirloom which is now in the Empire’s possession. The Kalikori is a decorative object made of blocks, which each succeeding generation of Twi’leks in the family who possesses the Kalokori adds to. It’s a way of remembering family members. Hera’s mother added a block to the Syndullas’ Kalikori, which should pass on to Hera next. Hera feels connected to her mother through the heirloom, and she cannot stand leaving it with the Empire. She decides to go on a personal mission to recover it. Her rebel friends, Cham and his lieutenants included, volunteer to help her.
In order to clear a path for Hera and Ezra in scout trooper uniform to the city, the other rebels have to distract a contingent of stormtroopers and their AT-PT. They accomplish this with some of Sabine’s explosions and then lead the stormtroopers on a chase through the Ryloth canyons. Meanwhile, Hera and Ezra jet into the city on a speeder bike. When they reach the Syndullas’ home, Ezra pretends Hera is his prisoner and the Imperial guard at the entrance to the courtyard tells him to take her inside.
Hera and Ezra enter the courtyard as instructed. Chopper is already there, repainted in black and red to disguise himself as an Imperial astromech. Hera tries to get his attention, but Chopper is fixated on a Y-wing relic in the middle of the courtyard. Hera tells Ezra that Y-wing was the one she pulled Chopper out of when it crashed on Ryloth during the Clone Wars. Cham left the ship where it crashed as a reminder of those years. Chopper is reliving his experiences, and so Hera and Ezra decide to leave him for the time being.
They enter the house and are able to sneak into Cham’s old office. While Hera searches for the Kalikori, Ezra notices a mosaic on the wall of Cham and his family. He asks if the Twi’lek on the right is Hera’s mother, and she confirms it. And she, of course, is the little girl in the middle.
Hera finds the Kalikori, and she and Ezra leave the office to make their way out of the house. They can’t go back out the main entrance because there are too many guards. She suggests they try an old exit underneath the house which she doesn’t think the Empire will have noticed. They reach the exit, however, and find it has been turned into a tactical headquarters and is full of Imperials. They are unsure of what to do when Chopper finally catches up to them. He tells them about another exit which is guarded by only two stormtroopers.
Back in the Ryloth canyons, the rebels are still fighting off the Imperials. They think they have lost them at one point, but the Imperials prove to be more familiar with the terrain than they thought. But they have to continue to buy Hera time until they hear from her.
In the Syndullas’ house, Hera and Ezra reach the exit Chopper told them about. With Chopper distracting the two guards, Hera makes for the door with Ezra covering her. But just as she’s nearing the door, it opens to reveal two Imperial officers. One is the leader of the Imperial installation on Ryloth. The other is Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The Imperial officer, thinking Hera is a servant, berates her for being in the upper levels of the house. Hera pretends to be cowed, thinking she can get away. She starts to leave, but Thrawn stops her and orders the stormtroopers to bring her back to him. He wants to see the Kalikori, which Hera is holding. Ezra comes out from hiding and acts as a guard, shoving Hera forward towards Thrawn. Thrawn examines the Kalikori and then says he wants Hera brought to Cham’s old office – now the lead Imperial officer’s – for questioning.
“To defeat an enemy, you must know them” – Grand Admiral Thrawn
In the office, Hera plays the part of a servant who stole the Kalikori to buy food for her starving family. The Imperial officer is indignant, but Thrawn is polite. He knows that the Kalikori is worthless, except to the family to whom it belongs. The grand admiral then begins to talk about how difficult it must have been for Hera to grow up in the Clone Wars. He says he studies the art of war, but Hera was forged by it.
The Imperial officer doesn’t understand what is going on and claims Hera is only a servant. Thrawn finally reveals that Hera was the little girl in the mosaic. Only now, she is a freedom fighter and a pilot for the rebellion. Hera knows she is beaten and doesn’t bother to deny the accusation. Ezra tries to shoot their way out of the situation, but Thrawn is faster; he stuns the would-be scout trooper with his blaster.
Hera and Ezra are thrown into a prison cell. Thrawn decides to keep the Kalikori, despite Hera’s protests that the Kalikori isn’t a display item and belongs to its family. The grand admiral leaves the cell and tells the Imperial officer to have the Kalikori sent to Thrawn’s personal ship. The officer says they should just destroy the heirloom. Thrawn grabs him by the collar and snarls, furious at the officer’s lack of respect for art. He regains control of himself, however, and apologizes, saying that he forgets that not everyone appreciates art like he does. He tells the officer to deal with Hera and Ezra and then says he has an experiment to attend to on his ship. Then he leaves the Syndullas’ house.
In the Ryloth canyons, the Imperials have the rebels cornered when they suddenly stop shooting. The Imperial officer from the city appears in a hologram and tells Cham he will accept the Twi’lek’s life for those of his daughter and Ezra. Cham agrees in spite of his lieutenants’ protests that he is too important to lose. He says Hera can lead Ryloth in his place. The Ghost crew, however, know the Imperial officer’s offer of exchange is a trap. Cham knows it, too, and he wants the rebels’ help to make sure his sacrifice is not in vain.
Back in the prison cell in the Syndullas’ house, Hera apologizes to Ezra for risking his life on this personal mission of hers. Ezra replies that he and the rest of her friends wanted to help because the Kalikori was so important to her. Then Chopper sneaks in and tells them about Cham’s agreement to give himself up for them. Hera decides to go through with the exchange, but on her terms. She tells Chopper to go to the armory and pick up some explosives. He is to set them up all around the house to be activated on her command. Hera is willing to sacrifice her house rather than let the Empire win.
Cham arrives at his old house on The Ghost. The Imperial officer decides to do a simultaneous exchange of prisoners. Ezra, Hera, and Cham start walking. When they meet in the middle, Hera apologizes to her father. Cham is not angry or disappointed by her mission going wrong. But then Hera says, “No, I’m sorry about the house.” She gives the word to Chopper, who activates the explosives. The Syndullas’ house erupts into clouds of flame. After a moment in shock, Cham recovers and he and the rebels escape aboard The Ghost.
On his personal vessel hovering above the city, Thrawn watches The Ghost fly away. The Imperial officer down below contacts him and tells him the rebels have gotten away. Thrawn says to let them go, that the rebels have earned their victory. Besides, the whole confrontation with Hera and the rest of the rebels was, he says, “very enlightening.”
Aboard The Ghost, Hera, Kanan, and Cham are sharing drinks in a moment of well-earned peace. Kanan is sorry that they couldn’t recover the Kalikori. Hera says she thought she needed the heirloom to keep the memory of her mother alive. But she realized that all she really needs is her family, and they are all around her on The Ghost. She and the others drink to that.
That’s it for “Hera’s Heroes.” What did you think of it Thrawn’s first face-to-face brush with the rebels? Tell us in the comments below, and head back here to Dork Side next week for a recap of the next episode in Star Wars Rebels season 3, “The Last Battle.”