Star Wars is a cinematic icon, but it is much more than its movies. Blaine and Josh dive deep into the universe of Star Wars Rebels, the fantastic animated show on Disney XD, with reviews of the third season of this exciting series. As a show aimed at kids, but also clearly for the kid in every adult Star Wars fan, they’ll also have a discussion section to talk about the themes covered in each episode.
At the start of Secret Cargo, the Ghost crew are being hunted by one of Thrawn’s E-XD infiltrator droids. With Ezra serving as gunner, the rebels pursue the Imperial droid, hoping to shoot it down before it can transmit their location to the larger fleet. Gold Squadron arrives and helps dispatch the pesky droid, but not before it is able to alert the Empire.
Meanwhile, members of Phoenix Squadron meet their Gold Squadron compatriots, including Jon “Dutch” Vander. The two groups bicker amongst themselves about the way the droid situation was handled, with Gold Squadron insisting that the Lothal rebels have jeopardized the entire mission. Right on cue, the Empire shows up, and the Rebels flee. Ezra hops aboard one of Gold Squadron’s Y-Wings, proving himself to be a more than capable pilot.
After making their escape, the Ghost crew learn a little more about their mission; they have been tasked with escorting Mon Mothma to a crucial meeting on Dantooine. Hera suggests sneaking through a nebula in order to avoid detection. But Thrawn is keen to their plan, and sends Governor Pryce to intercept.
Just when all seems to be going according to plan, the rebels run into the Imperial trap, and Vult Skerris gives pursuit in the recently commissioned TIE defender. But Hera has a plan. She instructs everyone to fly through the nebula, which causes some of the smaller TIEs to burn up, and then they fire their proton torpedoes into the gas cloud, enabling them to make a last-second getaway.
Later, flying safely above Dantooine, Mon Mothma broadcasts her rallying cry to the rebel cells scattered throughout the galaxy. And ships soon gather around the Ghost, willing to join the rebellion, as the episode comes to a close.
Underneath its rather nondescript title and plot teaser, Secret Cargo proved to conceal a number of historic moments for both the Ghost crew and Star Wars fans alike. First, this episode marks the on-screen debut of the TIE Defender in action. The defender was an immensely popular design among fans in the Legends material, and it was a real treat to see it unleashed. It was especially interesting to see it flying alongside other TIE models for comparison, and I am very pleased that the Rebels creative team continues to include new (or retconned) ship designs into the show.
We also get to see an animated rendition of Jon “Dutch” Vander, the famous Gold leader who is gunned down by Vader in A New Hope. Even though he only has a few lines in this episode, we do get to know him a little better, and it’s little touches like this that add layers to these characters, making their big screen appearances even more enjoyable.
While Mon Mothma’s speech is certainly the centerpiece of Secret Cargo (and I’ll discuss it briefly in a minute), I found the early interactions between Gold and Phoenix Squadrons to be among the episode’s more intriguing moments. We see and hear several of the Gold Squadron members complaining that the Lothal rebels are too reckless and have made everything, including the present mission, harder on the other rebel factions. This row serves as an interesting parallel to the situation in which we found Mandalore in Legacy of Mandalore a few weeks ago. The rebels are like the Mandalorians insofar as they are both comprised of a diverse group of factions, and while they can all agree that the Empire is a problem, they disagree about how to fix it. This is not, of course, a new revelation. We’ve seen bickering and infighting among the members of the Rebellion before, most recently and notably in Rogue One, but I think Secret Cargo does a good job of showing why the Rebellion is ultimately able to succeed where other diverse groups (like the Mandalorians, or even the Empire to a certain extent) fail: Although the Rebellion—especially in these early stages—may not be as unified as one would hope, they are, by and large, willing to set aside their disagreements and differences for the greater good (at least until things fall apart after Jakku). And this brings us full circle. When Mothma issues her rallying cry and resigns from the senate, the galaxy sees a selfless leader they can get behind. And so they do, because they’re fighting for something greater than themselves.
Star Wars Rebels is a family show. Parents love watching as much as their kids. Infusing the spiritual with the fantastic and adventurous, Rebels continues the spirit of what makes Star Wars great. In order to foster the young minds and hearts of your Reel World Theologians, each week there are questions you can use during or after the show to talk about with your kids. Enjoy the show and then enjoy conversation, but always remember that story is powerful and Star Wars Rebels is not mindless.
- Why do the Gold Squadron members think the Phoenix Squadron has made things harder for them in the long run? Do you agree?
- Why do you think Mon Mothma resigns from the senate? Why do people see her as a leader worth following?
- This episode marks the first on-screen appearance of the TIE defender in action.
- If you look closely at the debris the Ghost is hiding on at the start of the episode, you can spot the Separatist logo.