Season Two, Episode Fifteen — “Homecoming”
By Jason Gibner. I’m trying to imagine how it all went down that day in the Rebels writer’s room, where Dave Filoni told the group that the show had to have an episode where they caught up with Clone Wars cult favorite (and Hera’s father), Cham Syndulla. I wonder if there was anyone in that meeting quietly nodding at (and agreeing with) the plethora of exchanged smiles, and the note-taking, and the nervous-sweating, and the secretly-looking-on-their-phones-for-Wookieepedia to know who the hell everyone was so excited about.
That sentiment can be shared with viewers after watching this here really top-notch Rebels episode, “Homecoming”. If folks go back and watch Clone Wars‘ first season “Liberty on Ryloth”, or Season Three’s “Supply Lines”, they are in for a real juicy fruit treat. The two episodes where the OG rebel Syndulla appears, much like “Homecoming”, are both solid gold. (There, I just helped you out. You can thank me later.)
With Cham being Hera’s father we all knew that he would be showing up in Rebels eventually, and I’d imagine this was exactly the way fans were hoping that rough reunion would go down. In a season that has had a lot of odd and downright rushed episodes, “Homecoming” works the way Clone Wars did at its best and Rebels is often expected to. Somehow, the use of this Twi’lek freedom fighter always seems to lift average animated Star Wars stories into classic territory. Is it the tentacles? The on again/off again French accent? Let’s talk about it.
WHAT WORKED: When we last saw Cham he had seriously become the legendary folk hero of all heroes on Ryloth. If there is a Twi’lek Bob Dylan, he’s writing whole tribute albums about Cham Syndulla. Palpatine hated him, the Jedi respected him, and he could stop a Super Battle Droid just by giving it a dirty look. (Not true, but also never seen so it could be true.)
What’s fascinating about his return on Rebels is simple: here is a guy who has first-hand lived the Star Wars. All the Star Wars. He fought with and trusted the Republic only to see the rug pulled out from under him, and he watched the noble Republic become The Empire. The guy doesn’t know who the trust anymore and they only thing he can do is keep fighting. We have never really met someone so affected by the non-stop galactic war like Cham. Cham’s answer for everything is “BLOW IT UP”, and the only thing that could possibly snap him out of it is his daughter and the promise of the Rebellion. It’s awesome stuff. It’s also the DNA of everything this show should be about.
WHAT DIDN’T: In a class act episode like this, one almost has to start nitpicking to look at what doesn’t work. So let’s nitpick.
Listen, I like a good space battle as much as anyone, and while the space shoot-out stuff in “Homecoming” is cool (as probably all space battles are cool), it still feels shoehorned in here. Also painfully awkward is the whole “Ezra Jedi mind trick” gag. I get that they wanted to interject a little comedy and action in a Rebels episode heavy with history and family drama, but it all feels like the filler that it is. Awkward on a totally different level is the scene with Hera dipping into the Twi’lek French accent. Seriously, thank Lucas it only lasts for a few seconds, because man, oh, man. I love some Star Wars weirdness, but that goes a little too far down the goofy road.
“Father… we need to talk...” – Hera.
“With Jedi on our side, how can we fail?” – Cham.
Cham: “I don’t care about everyone… I only care about Ryloth.” Hera: “So I’ve noticed.”
“I really mean it… get to the escape pods...” – Imperial Captain.
Cham: “Is that the old astromech you found during the Clone War?” Hera: “His name is Chopper.”
Hera: “Ryloth’s freedom became the most important thing to him…” Ezra: “More important then family?”
“For you, my people.” – Cham.
“Lousy imps…!” – Zeb.
“Close the blast doors!” – Stormtrooper.
BEST MOMENT: A lot of this season’s best moments are when the show quiets down and just lets its characters actually talk to each other. The Best Moment in “Homecoming” is no different, as it features a scene early with Ezra and Hera, who explains what, exactly, the deal is with Cham. There’s a subtle little moment as we see Hera nervously rubbing her leg as she talks about the heroic acts of her legendary father. Here we no longer see an ace pilot or Rebel leader, but a child desperately trying to make her blind-to-the-galaxy father proud of her. If you haven’t noticed already, the struggle of a broken family is the backbone of every Star Wars story, and “Homecoming” does it like a champion.
EPISODE’S MVP: Cham Syndulla, all the way. The guy shows up and not only gets our characters going but unites the trilogies in a way that probably resembles what Dave Filoni’s dreams might look like. I’m hoping this isn’t the last time he shows up. I wouldn’t mind seeing our Twi’lek Davy Crockett popping up at a Rebel Alliance big wig meeting somewhere down the road. That’s actually what my dreams look like, FYI.
– Nice and wicked sick hardcore touch by having the Imperial Carrier Ship be the same design as the Rebel ship, The Flurry (from the novel, Truce at Bakura). Is it the same ship? We can hope. We can dream.
– When the mind-controlled Imperial Captain is telling everyone to get off the ship, did anyone notice that Stormtrooper dashing at warp speed down to hall to get away?
– Shoutout to that lady A-Wing pilot, Pheonix 2. I liked your style. See you on the other side.
– Am I the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when Sabine did not shoot that mouse droid? Thank Lucas she didn’t. I don’t think i could have handles seeing a mouse droid explode.
– I peed a little when Kanan did a Qui-Gon shoutout with the saber stab through the blast doors. I really did.
– I spy Clone Trooper armor there on Numa’s arm. I can almost see Filoni smiling as he approved that design.
– Wait, was that a Chopper backstory in there???
– Little nervous there to meet Hera’s dad, weren’t ya there? Kanan and Hera sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
9 out of 10
Next: “The Honorable Ones”, soon.
Before: “The Call”, here.