– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars Rebels‘ latest, “The Wynkahthu Job,” took me by surprise with an entertaining premise, complex ending action sequence that recalled Indiana Jones films, and tons of humor (thanks mostly to the return of Hondo Ohnaka), making for an enjoyable and exciting episode.
Ezra receives word from Hondo that there is a cache of proton bombs (which the crew has been after for awhile now to help their goal of hindering Lothal’s various operations), but the crew is hesitant to go along with the job due to Hondo’s record and his ‘partnership’ with the sleemo Azmorigan. Once Hera and the crew decide the job is worth the risk, despite the cargo being aboard a ship slowly being pulled into a deadly storm and having to team with two notorious pirates, Zeb leads a team onto the ship to retrieve the bombs while the pirates go after the treasure aboard. Things go well enough and the team starts hauling in the bombs, but once Azmorigan gets separated, things take a turn for the worst: deadly sentry droids activate and kick the action into high gear. Despite some friction between Zeb and Ezra over Zeb’s lead of the mission, they work together enough to just barely get everyone off the ship safely in a really exciting action sequence.
While episodes like this and last week might recall the character focused ones of last season, they’ve found a middle ground by moving small, but important parts of the plot forward in regards to both overarching story and characterizations/character development. Last week’s didn’t balance that as well, but Wynkahthu or whatever did so wonderfully enough. It also helps this episode overall was a lot more fun, visually engaging, humorous, and somewhat thrilling towards the end, at least more so than “Iron Squadron.” Beyond all that, there were some great little nods and attention to the littler details and continuity: Hondo is still flying the Tydirium Shuttle he borrowed from the doomed Reklam Station in the S3 premiere, which he’s already decked out to Sabine-levels of markings; the Ugnaughts he “rescued” from the Station were still part of his crew, for awhile at least; and how Phoenix Squadron is still looking for proton bombs in their efforts to attack Lothal’s operations, something we last saw them looking for in “The Last Battle.”
This episode also made better use of all of the crew, even if Kanan’s biggest part was to be the butt of a few sight jokes from Hondo (which I loved). Hera had the appropriate and fitting reaction to seeing Azmorigan again after their encounter all the way back in S1’s “Idiot’s Array,” and his recollection of the events about her hitting him with the tray were just as fitting and surprisingly funny. Not only that, but she got to play the role of Space Mom again, at least more so than usual now that she’s so integral to the team’s section of the Rebellion. No one is happy Ezra still teams up with Hondo and Kanan is content to let the boy learn why he shouldn’t the hard way, but Hera puts Zeb in charge of the mission as a buffer between Ezra and Hondo for when the pirate does get up to his usual tricks. Sabine didn’t get as big a part however, but she was important to the episode’s finale and helping secure the cargo from the slowly dying cargo ship. And we actually got to see AP-5 again, the morose Imperial protocol droid who joined the crew after Chopper showed him friendship in S2’s “The Forgotten Droid,” and he had some entertaining lines about the mission’s percentage of success and forgetting to mention the sentry droids. Speaking of Chopper, besides powering the ship back on, he gets a pretty funny bit while escaping at the end. While other episodes have had many of the crew in it, “Wynkahthu” not only had them all but gave them all something to do, no matter how minor it ending up being.
But the real meat of the episode was Ezra and Zeb’s nephew/uncle relationship, which hasn’t been as big a part of this season as in the past and also brought Zeb to the forefront for the first real time this season. It seems Zeb still hasn’t learned about Agent Kallus helping Sabine back in “The Antilles Extraction,” or if he has we haven’t been privy to learning he knows yet, but for the time being any focus on the Lasat would be welcomed and thankfully “Wynkahthu” has that in spades. In a way we got to see how Zeb was as a Captain in the Lasan Honor Guard this episode, as his military training is put to good use as the leader, but I doubt he had to deal with such insubordinate and wily personalities back then as he as to now with Ezra, Hondo, and Azmorigan. The latter two are so focused on their own treasure hauls one ends up captured and the other does everything he can, slyly, to make it look like he’s interested in helping others when he’s still just out for himself. Zeb tries for a bit to reign them in, but he leaves them to their own devices when things take a turn for the worse, though he does what he can to get all of them off the sinking ship in the end. I hope we get to see more of Zeb’s military background seep through into missions going forward, as he’s a great leader and just as vital a member as anyone else on the crew, which is made clear here despite the lack of focus on him this year.
In the mean time, Ezra is actively trying to mess up the mission in the littlest of ways so that it proves Zeb is unfit to lead a mission again. He previously took issue with not having the lead of a mission in “Extraction,” because then he was worried for Sabine’s safety if he couldn’t be in control/lead of the mission, And even though he didn’t have much issue with Sabine taking point in “Imperial Supercommandos,” Ezra realizes Hera’s demand for Zeb to lead is more so to keep watch over him around the untrustworthy and yet still slightly influential to him Hondo Ohnaka, which he doesn’t feel he needs. Zeb would normally give as good as he gets with Ezra’s mocking, but he understands how important it’s to stay on track and finish the mission quickly, therefore not rising to Ezra’s bait throughout (which, like I mentioned before, is how he probably was as the head of the Honor Guard). By the end Ezra sees the strength in Zeb’s example and here’s hoping he learns from the experience; At the same time it seems Ezra’s learned a lot about Hondo and how he’s not to be trusted, as Ezra saw the true Hondo firsthand in the pirate’s refusal to help locate Azmorigan or how he treated the remaining Ugnaught member of his crew, Melch. It doesn’t mean Ezra won’t still try to get into more trouble with Hondo, as he always sees the good in people, but he at least might be a bit more wary and on his guard around him.
This episode not only had a great usage of characters, but its ticking clock conceit was inventive and visually intriguing (the cargo ship slowly doomed for a fiery death by a gigantic storm in Wynkahthu’s atmosphere) and the episode was packed with cinematic direction both in smaller shots and the scale of the final action sequence. I feel a good example of the cinematic look of the episode is shown when we see Zeb being attacked by a sentry droid play out in the shadows against a wall, much like you might see in a horror movie. And for the episode’s finale, there were many, interesting moving parts that made the team’s escape from the cargo hold more epic than it really was, as it included the cargo ship falling into the storm, various bits of cargo being hauled across the expanse to the Ghost, Zeb and Ezra hanging by a thread and battling sentry droids, etc. Even though I highly doubted anyone would die this episode, the way the whole scene played out I ended up feeling a little tension regarding their fates.
Here are a few other things:
- Hondo’s dialogue here was some of his best yet, good enough to make Yogi Berra proud. My favorite line, which was really hard to pick, has to be, “…some of the truth is better than none of the truth. Which is what you used to get so don’t try an’ tell me I haven’t grown.” Zeb has a line I really like as well, as he says he’s now truly worried about the missing Azmorigan once Hondo says there’s nothing to worry about.
- I just noticed this, but the camera always seems to start at Hondo’s chest and pans up to his face as a subtle way to show he’s a larger-than-life character.
- It was such a little moment, but it made me laugh so damn much: while being pursued by the sentry droids, the team makes it back to the cargo hold and Zeb orders the door locked and closed to help buy them time…however, earlier in the episode Ezra impatiently cut a hole through it and the sentry droids were easily able to continue their pursuit thanks to that. Ezra: “Well, I didn’t know!”
- Seems I wasn’t the only one who liked the hole in the door gag, as it gets a minor spotlight in this week’s Rebels Recon! They also have a little BTS look at Jim Cummings and James Hong in the recording studio, how the sentry droids were inspired by the Dark Troopers of Dark Forces fame, and much more.
- Gary Whitta, one of a couple screenwriters who worked on Rogue One, has previously stated he has written more than one episode this season. This would be his second, after “Antilles Extraction,” but it still remains to be seen if he has anymore. I only bring this up because the original thought, when we first learned he was working on Rebels episodes over a year ago, was that his involvement would mean a Rogue One crossover. So far, that hasn’t seemed to be the case, but maybe that episode (if it exists) will fall somewhere in the second half of the season.
- With only two episodes left, one of them being the midseason finale, a rewatch of the S3 trailer shown back in July contains barely any footage that hasn’t already been seen in the episodes so far. There’s a shot of Kanan and Ezra undercover and jumping around Lothal that is from the next episode, “An Inside Man,” while footage of Maul and Ezra on a weird planet, as well as Kanan fighting Maul, getting caught up in some creepy green mist, and Sabine holding the darksaber (still gets me excited every time!) are all likely scenes from the midseason finale “Visions and Voices.” Excited and concerned to see how that all plays out!
The entire crew and the dastardly pirates who join them all get enjoyable parts in an entertaining, humorous, and overall fun episode in “The Wynkahthu Job.”
+ Zeb and Ezra’s relationship
+ Hondo is as entertaining as ever (and Ezra learns a truth about the pirate)
+ Complex, visually enjoyable action sequence, as well as cinematic type shots all throughout the episode
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy“
Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 7: “Blood Sisters” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11: “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice“
Season Three: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” | Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | Ep. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour“
Season Four: Heroes of Mandalore Part 1
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (Comic mini-series)
A New Dawn (Novel)