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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S4E07 "Rebel Assault"

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Thrawn: Capture Captain Syndulla.
Rukh: It will be done.

Hera leads a courageous attack against Grand Admiral Thrawn's forces, but when things go awry, her battle to win must become a daring escape if she is to survive.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Back for the Dead:
    • R3 returns with Mart, but he is killed by Stormtroopers while protecting Mart. They are forced to abandon him after Hera scavenges his transmitter to repair Chopper's, and it's unlikely they'll have the means to retrieve him.
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    • Skerris is shot down by Hera, after getting his shields disabled by his own fellow Imperials when his refusal to listen to Thrawn's orders leads him right into their line of fire on Hera.
  • The Bad Guys Win: Hera is captured by Rukh and Pryce at the end of the episode. Also, Lothal's factories remain secure.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Hera and her squadron crash-land, just as they crash-landed back in the beginning of the season, "In the Name of the Rebellion".
    • Near the climax of the first season, Kanan was defeated by a superior rival and confronted by the Big-Bad Ensemble to be transferred to a cell, while their allies watch helplessly. The same happens to Hera here.
    • Back in "Call to Action", Ezra urged the civilians fight against the Empire. Here, while they're still mostly helpless, the passerby near Hera's crash site warn her that the Empire is looking for her and give her directions to a safe place.
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    • At the end of "Call to Action" and "Rebel Assault", Kanan goes alone to confront his destiny (the former eventually leading to him defeating the Grand Inquisitor, the latter being whatever the lothwolves have in store for him).
    • Before the Ghost crew fled in "Call to Action", Kanan urged Ezra and Hera to leave without him as he was surrounded by Imperials. Here, Hera urges Mart and Chopper to leave without her as she was surrounded by Imperials.
    • In "Call to Action", Ezra was hesitant to leave Kanan behind and wanted to go back. Here, Ezra lets him go and has realized that there's nothing more he can do for Kanan & Hera for now.
  • The Bus Came Back: Mart returns after having been last seen in his debut episode, "Iron Squadron", now a member of Phoenix Squadron under Hera.
  • Call-Back:
    • Kanan once again finds himself yelling at a much more powerful supernatural being as he did in "Zero Hour". Unlike "Zero Hour", the wolves are here to help.
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    • Just like Vader did in "The Siege Of Lothal", Hera flies her fighter backwards in order to shoot down a pursuer.
  • Call-Forward:
    • According to the Rogue One Visual Guide, there was a high profile strike on Lothal (and Garel). It was presumably referring to this.
    • Phoenix Squadron's X-Wings are colored green to show that they follow Hera. In Rogue One, Green Squadron was present at the Battle of Scarif, though we don't see Green Leader check-in (though we do in the novelization). All There in the Manual doesn't state who Green Leader was, and considering Hera was called Phoenix Leader even when she's piloting the Ghost...
    • The Disaster Dominoes that is Skerris crashing into a light cruiser which in turn slices off a star destroyer's tower is also reminiscent of Rogue One.
    • The assault scene has Hera order her squadron to "lock S-foils into attack position" and Thrawn order his officers to alert all commands and deploy the fleet.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Hera's X-Wing helmet is actually her starfighter helmet she got from Quarrie and continuously used throughout the show from then on whenever she piloted a starfighter. It's now been painted, presumably by Sabine after the events of "In the Name of the Rebellion" and before "The Occupation".
    • This is not the first time Hera has led a blockade run with a new starfighter model that catches the Imperials off-guard.
    • Chopper expresses worry towards Hera after they awaken from the crash. The last time this probably happened was during the Ryloth campaign in the Clone Wars, except his clone pilot didn't make it.
    • Hera has been promoted to general between the events of this episode and the previous episode.
  • Cool Plane: We see the X-Wings in action in their debut chronological appearance.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Apparently, Thrawn remembered what happened the last time an officer didn't heed his order to halt pursuit of another rebel commander. This time around, Thrawn made sure no tricks will save Hera, not even an impossible-to-execute Disaster Dominoes effect.
  • Cue the Sun: The attack fails at dusk and most of the action takes place during the night.. The final scene is at dawn when Kanan reveals that not all is lost.
  • Downer Beginning: The episode begins with Hera's squadron fighting to get through the Imperial blockade. They make it through only for them to get shredded by a massive wave of TIEs. Suffice it to say, this was the last viable attempt the Alliance could ever make on Lothal.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Captain Skerris crashes into a light cruiser, which then falls into the bridge of a Star Destroyer, snapping it off. Ludicrously impossible? Yes. Unexpected? Not for Thrawn.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Despite the Alliance's efforts in this episode, we already know that Lothal will not be completely liberated because Lieutenant Sai from Lost Stars graduated from its Imperial Academy after the first Death Star was destroyed, as well as the fact that the first major victory for the Alliance will be the Battle of Scarif that will happen in about a few months after this. And even without knowing about material outside of Rebels, the goal was always to destroy the Imperial factories on Lothal. As it turns out, Phoenix Squadron fails. Any drama with Hera being captured is also mitigated knowing that she's still alive and apparently whole as of Return of the Jedi, due to Forces of Destiny; even before that, she's mentioned in Rogue One, so she clearly gets back to the Rebel Alliance.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Hera fights Rukh one-on-one, sticking to simple punches in comparison to Rukh's more animalistic style. This marks the first time Hera has fought in single combat onscreen. She loses, since Rukh is tougher and stronger, but she gets some good hits in.
  • Kick the Dog: Mart's astromech futilely tries to defend him from stormtroopers with his electroprod. The stormtroopers kill him in front of Mart, even while they acknowledge that they could have brought him and his memory bank alive but this was easier.
  • Kubrick Stare: The wolf gives a particularly chilling one right at the camera in the ending.
  • Mauve Shirt: One of the female pilots chats it up with Hera and Mart in the Cold Opening, but is later shot down during the battle.
  • Noodle Incident: The Alliance is revealed to have acquired the X-Wings sometime before the mission to Lothal.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Ezra allows Kanan save Hera himself, to the surprise of Sabine and the others, considering they're True Companions.
    • Chopper doesn't make any quips about R3 after he dies, even after getting to have his transponder dish, despite having treated him as a Butt-Monkey throughout the entirety of "Iron Squadron". (Though he does make fun of him in the Set Behind the Scenes section of "Rebels Recon" when they watch R3's death scene.)
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Thrawn's plan works perfectly, the air strike is decimated, and Hera is captured by the Empire. However, the loth-wolves' plan has begun, and Kanan implies rescuing Hera is the first part of it.
  • Scenery Porn: The clouds that the X-Wings fly through before meeting the second wave look stunning.
  • Special Edition Title: The white loth-wolf's theme plays over the credits. Combined with the ending shot of the loth-wolf, it serves to show that the Empire and the Rebellion have made their best shots, but the loth-wolves have their own plan that's just beginning.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God cites the X-Wings as inspired by the P-51 Mustang "Cadillac of the skies" Signature Scene from Empire of the Sun.
  • Unfriendly Fire: During their dogfight in orbit, Hera lures Skerris' TIE Defender right into the path of Thrawn's flagship, so they both take hits from the destroyer's turbolasers which strip their shields, putting them on more equal footing.
  • The Un Reveal: The loth-wolves finally reveal to Kanan what they want him for, but it's not shown to the audience and the only hint we get is that Kanan is a lot calmer afterwards and says that there's something he can do to save Hera.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Ezra, Jai, Azadi, Kanan, Sabine, and Zeb watch as debris of Phoenix Squadron fall towards Capital City in streaks of fire. Technically, the city remains intact, but the only thing burning was their would-be air cav.
  • We Have Reserves: Phoenix squadron may have breached the first defense line of fighters and capital ships in orbit of Lothal, but Thrawn anticipated that and deployed a second screen of TIE Fighters in the atmosphere, ready and waiting for them.
  • Wham Line: If you watch it with closed captioning on, the white lothwolf doesn't say "Dume" this time.
    Kanan: What do you want from me?
    Lothwolf: Doom.note 
  • Wham Shot: The X-Wings, in flames, falling towards Capital City, after the previous scene seemed to show that they had everything under control when they were about to confront that swarm of TIEs...
  • The Worf Effect: After effortlessly killing nearly every rebel pilot he's come across, Skerris finally goes up against Hera in a dogfight. She tricks him into disabling his shields and kills him with a well-placed shot.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Hera's right arm is injured in the crash and she's visibly favoring it in some scenes, and has a slight limp. One wonders how she'd have fared against Rukh if she was uninjured.
  • Zerg Rush: Upon entering Lothal's atmosphere, Phoenix Squadron is met with a flurry of TIE Fighters, which then shred them like paper.

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