*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Wynkahthu Job.”
One of the things that has always contributed to the mass appeal of Star Wars is its ability to be malleable. If one looks hard enough, one can find stories that fit virtually any template be it samurai film, Hitchcockian thriller, or even zombie apocalypse. This week’s episode of Rebels, “The Wynkahthu Job” employs yet another familiar motif–the heist movie.
Hondo Ohnaka returns to Star Wars Rebels as the scheming (and yet still charming) Weequay pirate who enlists the help of the Ghost crew in securing the payload of an Imperial cargo ship that has become caught in an atmospheric storm above the planet Wynkahthu. For the rebels, the motivation to assist is clear as the job promises a large collection of proton bombs, but the downside is just as obvious as Hondo’s partner for this operation is the loathsome Azmorigan (last seen in the episode “Idiot’s Array”). The two scoundrels are interested in the ship because it supposedly is also carrying precious metals, ancient artifacts, and “riches untold.” That the collection of treasures is most likely the result of Imperial plundering of occupied worlds is enough to give pause to Ezra, but Hondo and Azmorigan do not suffer from the same crisis of conscience as theirs have been seared repeatedly over time. And yet, the writers of Rebels are still able to make Hondo appealing despite this–and many other character defects–which is a true testament to their impressive skills.
One of these defects, the willful abandonment of his entire Ugnaught crew, is the actual reason Hondo has recruited Ezra and his friends to help with the Imperial cargo, so while the rebels are not technically walking into a trap, they are entering into a situation without all the pertinent information. Even AP-5 (in his welcome return to Rebels) fails to fully disclose the risks involved. Tasked with planning part of the operation because of his service aboard a similar Imperial cargo ship, AP-5 reveals at the last moment that his plan has only a 38.5% of succeeding, and even then neglects to mention the Imperial sentry droids waiting aboard the ship. These droids, inspired by the Dark Troopers in the “Dark Forces” video game, are menacing and reasonably effective–although their negligence in leaving a captured Zeb with his comlink is puzzling–but I would’ve liked to have seen a more direct link to K-2SO instead. We’ve been promised connections between Rebels and the upcoming Rogue One film, but I guess we’ll just have to wait a bit longer to either get them or realize which connections have already been made.
Regarding the mission, Zeb has been selected as the leader because of Hera’s reluctance to trust Hondo and her apprehensions about Ezra trusting him too much. It’s a move a protective mother would make, but not one the Padawan’s surrogate father Kanan necessarily agrees with. Having returned to a more Zen-like approach in his teaching style (surely due in no small part to Bendu’s influence), Kanan suggests that Hera should let the boy learn for himself not to trust Hondo, but he ultimately acquiesces.
As for the heist itself, the plan is relatively simple if incredibly difficult. Since the Imperial cargo ship is not only ensnared in Wynkahthu’s atmospheric storms but is also being dragged into a vortex, time is a factor and the Ghost will not be able to simply land on the other craft. This conundrum creates a natural tension the writers use to its fullest as the zip-line method Zeb and company use to transfer the bombs and treasure back to their ship calls to mind similar harrowing sequences in films like Cliffhanger, Air Force One, and The Dark Knight Rises.
With the storm-induced timeline ticking down and the salvage operation complicated by the cargo ship’s now-engaged sentry droids, the rebels manage to offload several proton bombs to fortify their arsenal, but Hondo and Azmorigan only manage to acquire one crate. Our heroes–and our scoundrels–all survive the impending doom (with absolutely no help from Chopper). Everyone is reunited aboard the Ghost where the crate of “treasure” is revealed to contain only Melch, one of Hondo’s abandoned crewmembers who had stowed away in the box to ensure that he wasn’t left behind again. For once, Ohnaka is the one who comes away empty-handed, but he shrugs it off by claiming that “friendship is the greatest treasure” and that finding Melch in the container was an acceptable alternative.
In short, having Hondo Ohnaka in the episode is always a boon for Star Wars Rebels and I hope he keeps coming back for more. And if the young Han Solo/Lando Calrissian movie turns out to be all that we’ve been hearing about and hoping for, maybe there’s a place for Hondo there as well.
Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis of this episode.
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