Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels or don't want to know what happened, turn away now. Or, y'know, go watch and come back so we can talk about it.
Any time Hondo Ohnaka shows up, you know things are bound to get ("Oh god, oh god, we're all gonna die?") interesting and things aren't going to go according to plan. That said, you can't help but be happy to see him. Unless you're anyone on the Ghost but Ezra Bridger.
There comes a time in all of our lives where we realize that one friend we have isn't quite as good of a friend as we thought. Sometimes it takes a long time to realize it and an even longer time to extricate yourself, but once the knowledge hits it stays there even when you wish it wouldn't.
So begins the awakening of Ezra Bridger, former street rat, Jedi padawan, and honorary partner of Hondo Ohnaka.
It's hard not to like Hondo, right? Not only is he voiced by the incomparable Jim Cummings, but he's always good at making the best of every situation. Especially if "best" means more treasure for Hondo. For his part, James Hong makes Azmorigan one of the most endearingly disgusting scoundrels we've seen in Star Wars. Everything about him oozes squickiness (or just oozes?) but he's cute in a gross way if that makes sense. Tell me that makes sense.
Plus, you have to admit, Hondo's got a certain charm.
Just hide your wallet.
Remember how I was all proud of Ezra last week for being such an adult? That could only last so long. He's so proud of himself for making this deal happen and talking everyone into doing the job that he assumes he'll lead the mission. You know what they say about assuming, but Ezra doesn't and he's downright petulant when Zeb's put in charge.
Add the fact that he vacillates between being as distracted as Dug from Up, as fast on the draw as Leeroy Jenkins, and as smug as Han Solo and –– let's just say I'm amazed he didn't end up in one of the crates instead of Melch.
For me, the real star of this episode was the animation itself. The show has grown a lot over three seasons and it shows most in the level of detail and specificity of things like flashlight beams and facial gestures. The shots of the Empire ship and the Ghost cabled together blew me away. I found myself actively worried about the Ghost being pulled down or a cable snapping while praising Hera for her piloting skills. The precariousness of the cargo going across the cables, especially when they were conveying people really worried me which, when you consider that Rebels isn't about to let a character just fall to their death for no reason, is some primo animation.
I also enjoyed the extra bits of sass and strength from both Hera and Sabine in this episode, especially when they were talking to each other. It's hard to capture the sort of female camaraderie that allows for snark in times of stress. Overall, Hera felt much less maternal and more of a commander in this episode and I liked that as well. I love the softer side of Hera, but giving her the room to be more hard-edged is appreciated.
It was also really nice to see Zeb more front and center. Zeb gets relegated to sidekick status sometimes (or he's the strong, sarcastic type) but he got the job done and then some. When you watch him juggling cargo, Hondo, Azmorigan, and Ezra at the same time, it's easy to see the underlying traits that earned him a place in the Lasat Honor Guard.
But I digress. Let's get back to Hondo and Ezra's realization –– Hondo is out for Hondo, first, foremost, and always. That's a tough lesson for anyone, much less someone like Ezra who sees part of himself in the double dealing smuggler. Like he said in a past episode, he could have been Hondo if he hadn't met Kanan. I think he used to think there was something kinda cool about that. After this job, I have a feeling her's changed his mind, no matter how cheerful a face he tries to put on it.
I feel bad for the dude.
Boil this episode down to its core and you have two major plot points: Proton bombs for the rebellion and Ezra's first realization that Hondo may not be a good guy. I have no doubt that the proton bombs are going to show up again as the season goes on. I'm going to say the same thing about Hondo. I'm not sure about Azmorigan but I think Hondo'll be back and I'll be interested to see how that plays out.
That'll do it for this week. I'll see you next time and may the Force be with you.
Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 PM ET/PT on Disney XD