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“Secret Cargo” ‘Star Wars Rebels’ S03E016 Review

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Star Wars Rebels has been hitting them out of the park all season, and “Secret Cargo” was no exception! Within the span of one episode, we are introduced to Senator Mon Mothma, and we witness the birth of the Rebel Alliance!

The Story

We open with Hera, Zeb, Ezra, and Chopper on a mission so secret that even they don’t know the details. As they wait for their contacts, they watch a HoloNet broadcast reporting Senator Mon Mothma’s treasonous speech against the Empire, Emperor Palpatine in particular.

As they discuss the news, they are alerted to the presence of an Imperial probe. They power down and wait for an opportunity to strike without detection, but they are a bit too hasty when it gets close. They are able to destroy it, but not as quickly as they’d wanted, and they fear it may have alerted the Empire to their location.

Just then, they receive a transmission from Gold Squadron, the Rebel squadron they were supposed to meet. They need to refuel, and they need to do so quickly before the Empire shows up. The crew aboard the transport ship tells the Ghost crew they will not be permitted to board due to the incredibly secure nature of their cargo. Whatever they have is desperately needed by the Rebels and desperately wanted by the Empire.

Suddenly their fears are realized as a squadron of Imperial ships comes out of hyperspace and begins firing on them. The Gold pilots immediately set out in their Y-wings to take out the Empire’s Ties, but one of the pilots is injured, leaving them short a pilot. Ezra takes her place, while Hera and Chopper try to detach the Ghost from the transport.

Suddenly the transport’s shield goes down, and Hera quickly opens the boarding hatch to get the crew from the transport ship onto the Ghost. Hera is amazed to find see that the “cargo” was actually Senator Mon Mothma herself! Working together, they free the Ghost from the transport ship and quickly jump into hyperspace.

Once free of attackers, Mon Mothma tells the Ghost crew that she is in the process of getting all the disparate rebel cells together. She wants to build a Rebel Alliance that will unite the galaxy against the Empire. She needs to get to the planet Dantooine in order to send out an address to the rebel cells, but Hera knows that the Empire will be trying to intercept any ships that try to leave the system. In order to get them out safely, she decides to take a route where few would dare to follow.

Meanwhile on Lothal, Admiral Konstantine tells Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn what has happened. Thrawn, knowing that Hera will be the one to get them out, correctly deduces that she will attempt to flee the system by going through the Archeon pass, a hyperspace route that goes directly through a stellar nursery called the Archeon Nebula. He tells Konstantine and Pryce that he will be sending out his prototype TIE Defender piloted by Vult Skerris to hunt them down, but Pryce requests the she be allowed to be the one to finish off Mon Mothma. Thrawn agrees, and she and Konstantine depart to wait on the far side of the Nebula for Skerris to flush them out.

As the rebels approach the nebula, they are warned to stay as far away from the forming stars as possible. If they get too close, they risk burning up. Hera tells the Y-wing pilots to avoid firing their proton torpedoes, because they have been known to ignite the gas inside the nebula. Once inside, Skerris does indeed show up, and one by one, the fleet’s fighters are picked off. Soon it’s down to just Ezra and Gold Leader. Together they hold back to delay Skerris and give the Ghost a chance to escape, but as soon as the Ghost exits the nebula, they are met by Pryce and Konstantine. Mon Mothma agrees to surrender, but only to buy Hera enough time to think of a plan to escape.

By the time Ezra and Gold Leader have shaken Skerris and exited the nebula, the Ghost is caught in a tractor beam taking them aboard the Pryce’s star destroyer. Thinking quickly, Hera tells them to fire their torpedoes at the nebula instead of the ships. They do and the resulting eruptions are enough to take out the tractor beams, and they quickly jump into hyperspace.

When they finally reach Dantooine, Mon Mothma sends out her address to the Rebels. She resigns from the senate and pledges to fight alongside them on the front lines. We see people from all over the galaxy watching the address and their response is immediate and overwhelming. Soon the skies above Dantooine are teaming with ships. This is the beginning of the Rebel Alliance.


Wow! I was so impressed with this episode. Any time we get to see someone from the original trilogy is a treat, but this episode was so much more than that! I loved seeing Mon Mothma, but even more so I loved that we actually got to see the birth of the Rebel Alliance. We are only a couple years away from the events of the movies, so it was high time this happened.

The rest of the episode was great too. We got another stellar Thrawn scene, where he shows off his scary-smart skills of deduction, and the chase through the nebula was thrilling and so cool to look at. I always love seeing a more colorful vision of outer space, so nebulas are one of my favorite interstellar things. We don’t get to see them in Star Wars very often, so I really appreciated this scene.

The scene where Pryce expresses a desire to be the one who kills Mon Mothma made me wonder how much longer she has. Could she end up dying in an attempt to kill Mon Mothma? We all know that Mon Mothma will be alive for a good many years after this, but Pryce is someone whose future we don’t know. Will she meet her end before the series finale? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Final Thoughts

This was an amazing episode, featuring tons of plot development, returning favorite characters, and awesome visuals. This show just keeps getting better and better, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

What did you think of this episode? Were you as excited as I was to see how the Alliance got its start?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Jonathan North

Jonathan North is an advertising and design student at Iowa State University. He has been an animation fan since he was a kid watching Fantasia at his grandparents' house. He is a huge fan of animated television, and his current favorite series’ are Steven Universe and Adventure Time.
  • So many good things in this episode! The introduction of Mon Mothma is more than a thrill to fans; she’s a crucial part of the storyline ever since “Clone Wars”/”Revenge of the Sith” and we see her directly taking affirmative action in “Rogue One”. So watching her go from senator to fugitive to rebel leader helps build the bridge between various Star Wars stories.

    Speaking of bridges, I’m so proud of Ezra’s flying skills in this episode. Hera mentioned that she taught him so we get to see the payoff here. He’s proving himself to be a resourceful and helpful member of the team, as well as the Rebel Alliance.