Lock s-foils in attack position. The mid-season finale of Rebels has arrived, and we’ve got X-WINGS!!!
I’m so freaking happy about this. Can you tell I’m happy about this? It’s not like we’ve never seen X-Wings before, but we’ve not seen them on Rebels until this point. For me, the last aesthetic pieces of the original trilogy have just dropped into place. I might have jumped up and down and squeed like a little girl.
Thing is… there are 24 fighters, a mix of X and Y-Wings, for this assault on Lothal, and there looks to be about one Star Destroyer or lesser capital ship for every fighter, and each of those larger vessels are packing TIE fighters. Oh, and the TIE Defender Elite is still very much a thing.
The dogfighting is spectacular, but this is very much a meat grinder. It’s the kind of thing that, when you go back and watch Rogue One and see how hesitant Alliance Command is to commit to the Battle of Scarif… you get it. That said… the greatest pilot in Star Wars is not Antilles, it’s not Solo, and it’s not Skywalker. Hera Syndulla is the name among names, the top ace of the Rebellion. Much like with Ahsoka and the lightsaber, when it comes to flying, I love watching Hera work. And I really love the TIE logo with the slash through it on her helmet. That’s a nice little touch.
The bad news is, all wings are shot down. All of them. The rest of the Ghost crew and their buddy Ryder see the entire squadron go down in flames over the capital after setting the charges on the various turbolaser turrets.
Hera and Chopper are able to walk away from the crash, and they help another pilot whose junked astromech gets scavenged to replace Chopper’s transmitter. Thrawn sets Rukh on Hera’s trail. And she puts up quite the fight, though she’s ultimately captured. It wasn’t really anything Rukh did so much as the fact that she was surrounded by an entire battalion of stormtroopers.
Kanan turns back to go find her, but he’s interrupted by a Loth-wolf. Those things are everywhere. When he meets with the other pilot and Chopper, it sounds like he’s got a plan to help Hera, perhaps something the Loth-wolf told him, but we don’t know what’s going on. That’s… where they left us hanging until next year.
After the last month of double episodes, this one went way too fast, especially without another to back it up. It seems cruel somehow, but in the best way. Everything that happened was visual fan service and setup for whatever comes next. When the next episode airs, we’ll all have talked till we’re blue in the face about The Last Jedi. That seems so surreal right now, I can’t even tell you.
Seven more episodes remain…
EDIT: As reflected in the comments below, I’ve been corrected. It’s only SIX more remaining.