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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S3E03 "Hera's Heroes"

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Hera's rebel supply mission to Ryloth becomes personal when she and the Ghost crew brave overwhelming Imperial forces to recover a memento from her ancestral home.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Accent Relapse: Hera tries using her natural Ryloth accent while operating in disguise, but she drops it right before Thrawn reveals that he knows exactly who she is.
  • Action Prologue: Cham and Numa being chased by scout troopers. The Ghost provides a Gunship Rescue.
  • Affably Evil: Thrawn; despite Hera's ancestral home having been taken by the Empire and her being a prisoner in her own house, he graciously refers to her as their host, even formally introducing her. He also refuses to destroy her family's Kalikori, instead preserving it due to his Villain Respect and Wicked Cultured-ness.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Hera's family home has been taken over by the Imperials and turned into their headquarters just to insult Cham.
  • An Aesop: Family is not the place you grew up with, but rather the people who love you and are with you every day.
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  • Apologetic Attacker: Zeb apologizes to the Scout Trooper he's about to knock out. Not for that, but because he's gonna steal the guy's helmet for Ezra.
  • Badass in Distress: Thrawn takes Hera (and Ezra) captive. She doesn't get out of it alone, but she does organize the escape.
  • Berserk Button: Thrawn grabs Slavin by the shirt collar and hisses in his face when Slavin complains that they should destroy the Kalikori instead of keeping it. He quickly composes himself, noting that not everyone shares his appreciation for art.
  • Big Fancy House: The Syndulla home is huge and covered in gorgeous art, reflecting their Blue Blood status. It also appears to have a central channel for water, which according to behind the scenes is a sign of high-ranking and prosperous families in the desert environment of Ryloth.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite getting away from the Empire, Hera loses both her ancestral home and her kalikori.
  • Brick Joke: In the opening scene, Cham reassures Numa that his daughter is always serious, even when planning something crazy like swooping in and picking them up while they're being chased. At the end, he's surprised Hera is serious . . . about blowing up their old home.
  • Call-Back:
    • The plot as a whole references the events of "Homecoming".
    • We return to the surface of Ryloth, last seen in The Clone Wars.
    • When Chopper seems out of it while near a crashed Y-Wing, Hera explains to Ezra that it was the ship she recovered him from during the Clone Wars. Chopper first related this backstory to AP-5 in "The Forgotten Droid".
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Defiant Captive: Once Hera realizes that the disguise isn't working, she glares at Thrawn and tells him her people will defeat the Empire.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Zeb quotes the trope to a Scout Trooper who, in an impressive move, runs his speeder into the Ghost's cargo bay, while jumping off ready to fight. Sadly for him, the cargo bay had two more armed people plus the two he was chasing.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Thrawn taking a piece of valuable cultural art for his own collection, and Hera's utter disgust at it, is reminiscent of the art theft and looting of occupied countries during World War II and the devastation felt by those whose art was taken. It's also a reminder of how colonialism also involved the stealing of local artifacts from native populations for "preservation".
    • In a milder version, the Kalikori is a totem to which Twi'lek families add a piece of art for every generation, similar to heritage quilts on Earth.
  • Dressing as the Enemy:
    • Ezra, but he can actually fit into Stormtrooper armour now that he's grown (specifically, Scout Trooper armour).
    • Chopper is once again sporting his Imperial paintjob.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Thrawn seems fairly contemptuous of Slavin's xenophobia, and when Slavin ignorantly says they should just destroy the Kalikori, Thrawn loses his cool for a moment and grabs him by the throat, looking ready to kill him.
  • Evil Laugh: Chopper is positively giddy when Hera tells him to grab as many explosives as possible, slapping them on everything in sight while laughing to himself the whole time.
  • Fantastic Racism: Captain Slavin hates Twi'leks, degrading them as primitive savages with every opportunity and expressing the opinion that the Kalikori should be destroyed because it's a symbol of their culture. Thrawn, on the other hand, is more subtle and fetishistic, seeming to regard Hera as an interesting piece of artwork for him to analyze and expressing "respect" for their culture by assuring Hera that he would keep the Kalikori in a place of honor while degrading the true meaning of it as a Syndulla totem. Notably, Hera seems a lot more offended by Thrawn than Slavin.
  • Foreshadowing: Thrawn's appearance in the episode is hinted at by Cham's statement that recently, the strategies the Imperials, commanded so far as he knows by Slavin, have been using recently are far more effective against his fighters than usual.
  • Gunship Rescue: At the beginning, the Ghost swoops in to rescue Cham and Numa from some Imperials.
  • Hostage Situation: Ezra and Hera are taken hostage by Thrawn, then offered as a trade for Cham.
  • Logical Weakness: Thrawn is able to gain a significant advantage over Free Ryloth by learning about Twi'lek culture, but as Hera has lived with the rebellion and the Ghost crew for quite some time she's picked up aspects of their cultures, making her harder to predict. Thrawn is fully aware of this, and sets up the prisoner exchange so he could learn more about her.
  • MacGuffin: The Kalikori, a Syndulla heirloom that the crew attempts to recover from the Empire.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Played with. The Scout Trooper was initially knocked out just so Zeb could swipe his helmet for Ezra. But then Hera needed to get into her Imperial-controlled house, so why let a good uniform go to waste?
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Or more precisely, "My God, you were serious".
    Hera: I'm sorry about the house. Chopper!
    [Chopper presses the detonator and blows the place to kingdom come]
    Cham: What... you were serious?!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the Legends video game The Old Republic, Kalikori was the name of a Twi'lek pilgrim/refugee village that was illegally settled on Tython despite the Senate's refusal due to how dangerous the largely unexplored planet could be.
    • There's a statue of a Twi'lek in Cham's office in the same pose as Aayla Secura on one of the Republic covers, specifically the cover that inspired George Lucas to bring her into the films.
  • Neck Lift: Thrawn grabs Slavin by the collar of his uniform when the latter accidentally pushes the former's Berserk Button.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Hera expresses this sentiment about the Kalikori, as she'd rather see it destroyed than as one of Thrawn's trinkets. The same goes for her home, which she reluctantly blows up to escape from the Imperials during the hostage trade.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Thrawn gets awfully close to Hera's ear as he taunts her about how the Rebels are fools. He's also pretty hands-on when he tries to straighten Slavin's uniform in the wake of having his Berserk Button pushed.
  • Not So Stoic: Thrawn, when Slavin presses his Berserk Button by insulting the Kalikori. He recovers quickly, but the break in his composure is notable.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Hera when Thrawn and Slavin just so happen to be behind the doorway she was about to walk through.
    • Hera gets another moment when Thrawn reveals that he knows exactly what it was that she tried to steal from the office, and why it would be worthless to anybody outside the Syndulla family.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Thrawn snaps out of his Dissonant Serenity and outright snarls at Slavin when the captain suggests destroying the Kalikori.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe, used by Hera to help enforce her disguise in front of Imperials that she's simply another Twi'lek refugee. Good thing some don't see the logic in a Ryloth-accented rebel Twi'lek from offworld.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Captain Slavin isn't just racist, he's also classist towards servants, contemptuously telling Hera to return to the kitchen.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation:
    • Thrawn uses the proper Twi'leki pronunciation for Hera's name, rather than the Basic translation used by everyone else, to demonstrate how much he's learned about their culture.
    • Similarly, Captain Slavin's name keeps being pronounced differently. Cham calls him "Slah-ven". Thrawn refers to him as "Slay-vin".
  • Ship Tease: A small bit, but Hera counting Kanan as separate from the rest of the crew hints that her feeling of family are different for him than the others.
  • Shout-Out: The title is one to Hogan's Heroes.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The Ghost crew and Cham recognize that Slavin's hostage trade offer is a trap, but Cham sees his daughter's life as worth the sacrifice and trusts the crew to work with the situation to get her out. Fortunately, Hera has her own plan to get out of it.
  • The Unfettered: In a way, Hera. She assures Thrawn that she'd rather have smashed the Kalikori than have it added to his collection, and blows up part of her own home to make an escape. Thrawn is surprised she would think so little of a priceless family heirloom, to which she counters that it would be preferable to having it stolen by someone else as a trophy.
  • Villain Respect: Thrawn seems fascinated with Hera.
    Thrawn: War is in your blood. I study the art of war. Work to perfect it. But you, you were forged by it.
  • Worthy Opponent: As the Ghost makes its escape, Thrawn orders the cruiser he's on to hold fire and let them go, on the basis that, "They've earned their victory". It helps that their escape has given him valuable insight into Hera's strategy.
  • You Would Do the Same for Me: Why the Ghost crew volunteer to help Hera recover her kalikori.