(Note: Due to the laborious process known as detailed and well thought-out college essays, Zach is too busy to review today[not that he’s really missing anything]. As such, Nick has taken on the full mantle. Which is good, since he had a lot to talk about.)
“The Wynkahthu Job” has elements of several things. A comedy about bumbling fools, a serious lesson about not trusting untrustworthy people, a heist episode, and a thriller. The result is a confusing episode that’s competently confusing.
Don’t Trust Hondo I Guess?
The serious lesson of this episode sets out to be this: Don’t trust people that have a history of letting you down. The first seeds of this lesson are planted when Kanan is speaking to Hera.
“I know what you’re doing, but Ezra’s got to learn for himself Hondo’s not the friend he appears to be.”
This sounds like it’s setting up Hondo betraying Ezra. Maybe he’ll sell him out to the Empire. Maybe you’ll do something so bad that Ezra will realize its dangerous to be around people like Hondo.
The problem is Hondo never backstabs Ezra. He backstabs Azmorigan. He backstabs Melch. He doesn’t backstab Ezra. Ezra doesn’t learn that Hondo isn’t the friend he appears to be, because Hondo never gives him a reason not to.
Ezra had no hesitation about working with Hondo because it always works out in end. And he wasn’t proven wrong, despite the episode’s setup suggesting otherwise. Ezra is right for trusting the untrustworthy. It’s so odd considering the episode as a whole. I wish the episode instead would’ve had Hondo betray Ezra and maybe even raise the stakes. Make it a two parter and simultaneously delete ‘The Iron Squadron” from Canon.
Zeb’s Encroaching Worf Effect
Another issues with the episode, and the series as a whole, is Zeb’s encroaching Worf Effect. For those not in the known, the Worf Effect is a trope named after Worf of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Don’t know what that show is? Then you have a whole new series to binge watch kids and uninformed adults alike.) Worf was a Tough character. However, he was often beaten up by the episode’s villain of the week to showcase how tough they were. The result was that Worf ended up being more often than not became a Klingon punching bag and lost a bit of his credibility as a powerful and unbeatable warrior.
To quote Tv Tropes:
When used sparingly and appropriately, this[The Worf Effect] is a powerful way to establish said villain as a serious and credible threat, leaving the audience thinking, “Wow, they just beat up Worf! They must be bad news!” But if the same character is repeatedly used as the target of displays like these, then the character begins to look weak, and if abused, their reputation as the “biggest, toughest” etc. begins to look more like an Informed Ability than anything else.
What’s unfortunate is that it seems Zeb is starting to get sucked into the Worf Effect void. We saw this in The Last Battle, where he was taken captive. There was also that moment where he was used as live bait to fish out a monster. It seems there’s been a general trend of Zeb being more comic relief than being a warrior. It seems like they don’t quite have an idea what to do with his character. This leads to my other talking point.
The Tone of the Episode Is…Confusing
The Wynkahthu Job’s tone is all over the place. The first few scenes make it out to be a comedic episode with Hondo and the ever annoying Azmorigan.
(Why is he back? He’s not interesting. He’s not compelling. He’s some jerk that bought Hera to be used as a sex slave. Even though they mentioned how much Hera hates him, and didn’t brush away the issues she has with him, why was he brought into the episode in the first place? They’ve done nothing interesting with him.)
Then it the episode decides it’ll switch to a heist like atmosphere where the rebels will try to recon some proton bombs and lost treasure. (The same type of treasure that formed the plot of Hera’s heroes.) Then it turns into an Alien-like theme with the imperial droids. Then it’s a thriller, then comedy, then misaimed morality lesson, until everything melts together into a sorta mismatched episode.
It baffles me that Mel Zwyer, the same writer who gave the show gems such as Hera’s Heroes, The Forgotten Droid, and Legacy, wrote this of all episodes. His past episodes have been consistent and dare I say, some of the best the series has offered. It’d be like George RR Martin was the one to write the Cursed Child. It’s so odd and out of place with Zwyer’s other episodes.
There are several smaller issues I could bring up. Like how easily the Ghost Crew will let Hondo and Azmorigan take the cultural artifacts, how Hondo’s crew probably died, how his mistreatment and abuse is treated as funny without the skill needed for dark comedy like that. Suffice it to say: this episode has several flaws, and left me feeling cold with some sort of logical anger.
Episode Rating: 1, Abhorrent: Time in my life that I will never get back. Leaves the viewer with confusion as to why this was greenlit for production.
If This Episode Were a Food Item It’d Be: Strawberry yogurt chili paired with cheesy sushi.
Next Week: Ezra and Kanan enter spy mode.
All images courtesy of Disney, Fox, and Miramax