[WARNING – This review contains SPOILERS for Star Wars Rebels season 3, episode 9.]
Star Wars Rebels season 3 is almost halfway over and its recent string of episodes are showing their filler nature. Last week's episode, 'Iron Squadron', offered a chance to explore how much Ezra has grown since joining up with the Rebellion but was otherwise forgettable. For this week's episode, the Ghost crew is joined by galactic pirates Hondo and Azmorigan for another supply run mission which, if nothing else, should make for a more amusing adventure.
'The Wynkanhthu Job' - written by Gary Whitta and directed by Mel Zwyer - finds Zeb, Ezra, Chopper, Hondo and Azmorigan searching an abandoned Imperial freighter for desperately needed supplies. In the case of the Rebels, that's weapons, whereas for Hondo and Azmorigan, it's treasure. But when the mission becomes more dangerous than expected, Ezra may finally realize that Hondo isn't really the friend he always appears to be.
Last week's episode drilled home how the Rebellion will basically welcome anyone into their ranks, and in 'The Wynkaththu Job', they take that concept one step further. Not only are they willing to recruit anyone, they'll work with just about anyone for some much-needed supplies. As Hondo so aptly puts its - they're des-per-ate!
That's been the major through-line for season 3 - this rebellion is barely hanging on. The Rebels are so strapped for practically everything, they'll risk life and limb and work with pirates just to grab some proton bombs. Hera even outright acknowledges their plight, commenting on how the Empire can afford to let the sinking freighter go while they cannot.
It's desperate times for the Rebellion, which begs the question - when will they catch a break? Is there some victory, even a small one, awaiting the Rebels at the end of season 3, or is this moment their Empire? (Will we be forced to wait until Rogue One to see Rebels getting a win?)
Something Hera also acknowledges is that Ezra is too friendly with Hondo, trusting the pirate too easily. It's a relationship which has had plenty of time to develop over the course of Star Wars Rebels, but it's also one that puts Ezra at a disadvantage. In some ways, Ezra blindly trusting Hondo is only a reminder of what happens when Ezra trusts the wrong people, even being a little reminiscent of Ezra's relationship with Maul.
Sure, in this instance, the risk was relatively small, but it's Ezra's naivety - not to mention his impatience and recklessness, something that comes back to bite them with the door he cuts open - that escalates the mission's peril. And it's a weird progression, too, after previous episodes this season suggested that Ezra has become more disciplined and mature, only here to have him fall back on old habits. Perhaps it's a sign of how much Ezra still has to learn, and maybe even a tease that though he avoided temptation once, he's still susceptible to the dark side.
Similarly to last week's episode, 'The Wynkahthu Job' is ripe with filler. There's no mention of Thrawn or Maul or any of this season's other lingering threats. What there is, however, is a beefed up role for Zeb, something this season has been noticeably lacking. The saving grace, though, is another entertaining appearance from Hondo (voiced by the unparalleled Jim Cummings). By comparison, Azmorigan is less endearing, making his inclusion more irritating than anything else, but it's the shameless and hilarious Hondo which stops this episode from being entirely forgettable.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 continues next Saturday at 8:30PM with 'An Inside Man' on Disney XD.