What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: A plot doesn’t always need to have lots of twists and turns to be good. Sometimes it’s enough to just have a straight forward story that has high stakes and is well executed for the episode to work. This is one of those episodes. It starts off very strong with the rebels suffering a crushing defeat by the Empire during an attempted blockade run. This season has been doing a good job at showing that the Empire has some competence now that Vader is in charge which I’m very happy to see. I also liked that the rebels made use of Rex’s knowledge again to find a solution to their problem. They need a ship with more firepower, so they go on a dangerous mission to get one and manage to get back in time for the second attempt at the blockade run which they carry out successfully. Again, it’s pretty straight forward, but it’s a story that perfectly illustrates what the rebels are best at: overcoming impossible odds by being resourceful and brave in order to help those in need.
BEAVeR: Just like Relics of the Old Republic, Wings of the Master tries to pull off an enjoyable episode with a minimum of plot. And it succeeds fairly well in it. There isn’t anything complicated going on, but everything is pretty steamlined, with a minimum of those awkward scenes that throw you out of the episode. However, they might have gone a bit too far. Again, I liked the premise of the blockade and the people starving on Ibaar, but the pressure of those people being on the brink of starvation didn’t come completely over. Furthermore, there actually died quite a lot of people in the run for the blockade (that Tantive IV didn’t do honor to its name!), but not once did the audience feel the impact of those losses. The episode passed up on some nice opportunities. At least we got some nice action-packed and fun scenes in return.
What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: Hera had a nice bit of development in this episode. We get a glimpse into her past and what inspired her to become a rebel pilot. She shows a lot of bravery and initiative in this episode and is duly rewarded for her heroics at the end when she gets promoted to Phoenix Leader. I wish they would have gone a bit more into detail about her past and maybe even shown a flashback, but I guess they didn’t have enough time in this episode. Quarrie, the new character in this episode whose name is a lovely tribute to concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, was also a very likable old Mon Calamari. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him. Zeb on the other hand seemed quite useless in this episode. It made sense that Sabine came along on Hera’s mission since she could provide her technical expertise, but all Zeb did was to make his usual snarky comments in order to provide some comic relief and didn’t contribute anything to the plot which makes me wonder why Hera tricked him into joining her on such a dangerous mission in the first place. It’s a shame considering the amount of depth that he got just two episodes ago.
BEAVeR: We’ve waited a long time for this, but finally we got to know more about Hera! Initially I liked her backstory, but in retrospect, it didn’t tell me anything more about her except “well, she really likes to fly”, so I don’t really have the impression we know her better now. I’m still waiting for some proper character development on her. I liked Quarrie the quirky engineer, with his real passion for what he does, his common sense and will to do something. It felt a bit strange how he went from not wanting to give his baby to Hera to fully trusting her after her speech, but I’ll blame that on speech that didn’t convince me. But it was great to see him marvel at his own creation when it was in the air. His companion, BG-81, pleasantly surprised me, being a quiet but agreeable background character: I didn’t need to see a lot of him to like him (or her?). Kanan was in this episode too, and I like how he plays the game of the Rebellion, but subtly delivers commentary, putting Hera into this situation in this particular manner, for instance. His instinct to do good came forward in this episode, but not something spectacular. The Empire finally, is having a great season (probably because there haven’t been a lot of Stormies around yet), with the usual dose of over confidence, but at least semi-getting the job done. I wonder what would have happened if the B-wing hit Kallus ship, however…
What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: While Hera got a lot of screen time in this episode, I think the true star of the show was the B-Wing! I was never a big fan of this ship which only appeared in the backgrounds of RotJ, but I sure changed my mind after seeing this episode! It was great seeing it in action more, and its composite-beam laser was pretty awesome. It’s a shame that it fried the hyperdrive which is probably why the B-Wings didn’t use it in the movie. But on the bright side, it seems that the Phantom has a hyperdrive now which will probably come in handy in future episodes.
We also got to see some new planets: Ibaar, which we didn’t see much of, and Shantipole, which was an interesting new location. Its “tricky” atmosphere made for an intense landing scene and Quarrie brought up some good points about why it makes sense for him to build his prototype there. They never explain how they escaped this atmosphere which is a bit of a plot hole considering how much they built up the fact that going to this planet is a one-way trip, but I have to assume that they did it thanks to the B-Wing being designed to fly in this atmosphere.
BEAVeR: I always thought the B-wing was rather odd, but I kinda liked it. Now I love it. There’s something particularly attractive about it when lying on the ground, for instance. They might have overpowered it a bit in this episode, giving it speed and agility and power… but it was worth it to see it in that magnificent flying sequence in that haunting atmosphere of Shantipole, doing those incredible stunts, surrounded by those nice Dactillions and with a mighty fine soundtrack supporting it, unlike anything else in the musical Star Wars universe, more like something the late James Horner would have composed. It gave the flying scene something magical and just left you excited and in awe for the ship.
Oky’s Rating: 4/5 – I think we all learned a valuable lesson today: B-Wings are awesome! Not only did we learn about the origins of this starfighter, but about Hera’s past as well. Plus we got a new character and two new planets. While the story was kind of basic, it showed the Rebels and the Empire at their best. It did include several cliches, such as them crashing their ship on the edge of a cliff or the B-Wing instantly taking a nosedive on its first flight just to emerge again a moment later, but none of them ruined the episode. Overall, it was pretty solid and I have to wonder if we will see a similar episode about X-Wings in the future.
BEAVeR’s Rating: 3/5 – Again not much to think about, but plenty of things to enjoy. I felt some opportunities were missed to put this particular episode more in the overarcing context of the struggle, giving it more significance, but just like a lot of the previous episodes it felt a bit disconnected to the rest of the season. I guess the later episodes will fix that in climactic fashion. But in the meantime, we have some fun, action packed things to watch.