This article contains spoilers for Star Wars Rebels Season 3, Episode 9
Our rebel heroes reunite (most of them reluctantly) with some familiar, piratical faces for an old-fashioned, straightforward heist in “The Wynkahthu Job.”
Honestly, my first question about this episode was, “How did this planet get such a crazy name?” In the spirit of Thanksgiving just past, I suppose we should count our blessings; according to the official episode guide, early script drafts dubbed this world with the endlessly swirling atmosphere Commodia, but “better taste prevailed” and all toilet jokes went down the writers’ room drain.
Comedic crime capers aren’t really my cup of yarba tea. I shared Hera, Zeb and Kanan’s decided lack of enthusiasm at seeing Hondo, Azmorigan and Melch again. But new Star Wars is new Star Wars, and new Star Wars deserves some attention and thought.
So, this week I’m asking:
1) What has Rebels done with the real Hondo, and how do we get him back?
I’ll play along and accept that the Hondo we’ve seen in Rebels is supposed to be the same Weequay privateer we met in The Clone Wars series. But doing so requires me to suspend my disbelief like those proton bombs were suspended between the Imperial freighter and the Ghost.
In The Clone Wars appearances, Hondo was sometimes funny, sure, but also tough and wise—a “scoundrel” in the finest Star Wars tradition. But Rebels reduces Hondo to a ludicrous, laughable caricature. Making weird jokes about Kanan’s blindness? Winking wisecracks about Melch’s b.o.? This Hondo lacks nuance and depth. Where’s the seasoned buccaneer who taught young Boba Fett about honor, or who always kept his wits about him because he knew they were the keys to survival? The Hondo we get in Rebels is just what Kanan makes him out to be: a nuisance who’s nothing but trouble.
2) Just how far does Hera trust Ezra, and why?
Ezra seemed out of character this week, too. This Ezra would have been more at home in Rebels’ first season. That goofy, self-satisfied grin and nervous giggle he gives his crewmates at the end of the episode’s teaser belongs to a Lothal street urchin, not a maturing Jedi padawan who so recently peered into the dark side.
On the other hand, that experience may inform Hera’s decision to entrust Zeb, not Ezra, with command of the mission. Does she only worry about Ezra because Hondo’s around, as she says—or does she have lingering doubts about Ezra’s judgment and self-control, doubts his decision to get involved with Hondo and Azmorigan could justify?
Given that Rebels is (though some of us seasoned Star Wars fans don’t often admit it) a kid’s cartoon, we’re not likely to ever know. But Rebels isn’t just a kid’s show, and revisiting Hera’s attitude toward Ezra during this episode’s events before the season ends would again prove it.
3) Are Hondo, Azmorigan and Melch headed to a bad end?
Again, considering Rebels’ primetime slot on Disney XD, I doubt it—or, if they are, I doubt we’ll hear about it. But as a former English literature major, I feel honor-bound to mention (as I push my glasses up the bridge of my nose) that the trio reminded me of three young men in a story by Geoffrey Chaucer (“The Pardoner’s Tale” from Chaucer’s Middle English poetic masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales). In Chaucer’s story, three constantly carousing comrades end up betraying each other—and consequently dying—because they don’t want to share bags of gold.
It doesn’t take that big a leap to jump from Chaucer’s cautionary tale to “The Wynkahthu Job.” The episode is full of blatant expressions of greed (“Split the treasure? Ha, ha, ha! That’s a classic!”) as well as plenty of physical violence caused by covetousness. Hondo’s attempt to conceal his disappointment that the cargo container ends up holding only Melch—”Friendship is the greatest treasure”—falls as flat as as a plateau in the Jundland Wastes. Will his and his partners’ pursuit of profit lead them to a payoff they’re not expecting?
What did you think about “The Wynkahthu Job”? Let’s talk in the comments below!