The Horrible Holdo Maneuver

The Holdo Maneuver refers to the tactic that General Holdo uses against the First Order in The Last Jedi, in which she bravely sacrifices herself and rams her Resistance cruiser the Raddus into a First Order dreadnought Supremacy (how subtle) while jumping into hyperspace.  The only problem with this maneuver is that it’s stupid.  Celebrity physicists apparently stated that the Holdo Maneuver is possible.  But does that make it a wise military tactic?  Rian Johnson’s Explanation Tour provides fans with the following statement:

“First of all, has this been done before, period? I’ve got to reserve the right for [Story Group member] Pablo [Hidalgo] to build it back into canon, if he’s like, ‘Yeah, this is a thing and they outlawed it.’ I think there’s various ways you can go with it. But it’s not like it was the plan to do this. It’s a spur of the moment thing. It’s this idea that she gets and she sits down and fucking does, and it obviously takes everybody completely by surprise. It takes Hux by surprise. The fact that Hux doesn’t see it coming means it’s probably not a standard military maneuver. I think it was something that Holdo (laughs) pulled out of her butt in the moment.”

First, wouldn’t a cruiser with this level of technology have an auto pilot that would negate the need for Holdo’s suicide?  If the ship required a pilot, couldn’t a droid have piloted the ship?

Second, when you are part of a ragtag Resistance and resources are finite, is it wise to put all of your soldiers on unarmed transports, and destroy one of your few armed cruisers?  Wouldn’t it have been wiser to launch one of the unarmed transports into the hyperspace attack instead if you really needed to do this?  Is this why she refused to tell Poe about her plan; because her plan is stupid?

Third, why wasn’t the Holdo maneuver used before, in the attacks on the Death Star and Death Star 2.0?

Hidalgo attempts to explain that this isn’t something any ship can do, that only big ships can make this work, and that’s why we haven’t seen it before.  Okay.  But so what?  Rebels had large transport ships, and the Mon Calmari had cruisers of their own which they brought to the fight.  In fact, the Rebels always had a number of capital ships in their fleet.

If this maneuver was outlawed in some kind of Galactic Geneva Convention, why would the Rebels have ever complied with it?  During the time of the American Revolution, it was a standard rule of war not to target and take out officers.  Yet that’s precisely what the Revolutionary soldiers did.  Insurgents generally tend not to honor rules laid out by their totalitarian rulers.

When we look at the background of the Holdo character, the foundation for Holdo’s horrible command decisions becomes clear:

Holdo’s homeworld, Gatalenta, is essentially a planet of space hippies, studying astrology, meditating and valuing serenity above all things.”

Surprise, surprise.

Some argue that the emotional depth of the narrative outweighs any need for logic or consistency.

But for the scene to have emotional weight, we need to have an emotional connection with the character(s).  What possible emotional connection would the audience have with Holdo?  The audience had much more of an emotional connection with Admiral Ackbar, a character who frankly should have replaced the Holdo character entirely.  Even the editor of the film acknowledges the lackluster manner of Ackbar’s send off.

One could imagine that the Holdo character was specifically designed to pass the worthless Bechdel Test, although she fails that test since she spends the whole movie talking about Poe.  In any case, it’s clear that the only reason for the Holdo character to exist, is to push a moronic feminist agenda.  Who could have an emotional connection with that?  As Wayne Isaac of American Greatness writes:

This Hillary Clinton clone, complete with the shrill moral superiority, exists for no other reason than to provide a ham-handed moral lesson about the importance of female leadership.

laura-dern-as-admiral-holdo-in-the-last-jedi

Nothing builds confidence in a General’s command like a nice cocktail dress.

But let’s examine the Holdo Maneuver by comparing it to the Finn Maneuver.  Towards the end of The Last Jedi, during the climactic battle with the AT-AT Walkers, Finn is piloting a Resistance fighter.  The First Order is getting ready to use a kind of high tech battering ram laser weapon, that will breach the blast doors of the rebel base.  Finn decides that he’s going to ram his fighter into the battering ram weapon, thereby saving the Resistance soldiers inside of their base.

However, before Finn can make the ultimate sacrifice and have his own tragic hero moment, Rose comes out of nowhere in another fighter and rams into Finn, destroying both of their fighters.  Somehow they both survive the crash.  In painful dialogue straight out of a daytime soap opera, Rose tells Finn, “We’re going to win this war, not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”  Welcome to the vomitorium.

For the moment, let’s put aside the fact that Rose had no way of knowing if either of them would survive the head-on collision she assaulted Finn with.  There’s every bit of reason to think that they both could have died in such a collision, thus not saving anything.  And even though they survived, they both sat on the battlefield exposed to blaster fire from all directions, and the heavy feet of AT-AT Walkers.  But let’s forget about that.

Why is Holdo allowed to fight what she hates by ramming her cruiser into a dreadnaught, but Finn is not allowed to fight what he hates by ramming his fighter into an AT-AT?  What if Poe had flown his X-Wing into Holdo’s cruiser to save the things he loves, thereby thwarting the destruction of the First Order dreadnaught?  Would Poe have been perceived as saving the day and Holdo, as Rose was?  Or would he just continue to be scolded by bossy women?  Didn’t Rose’s selfish actions doom the Resistance soldiers inside of their base?  What’s the cohesive message or moral of the story here?  Your guess is as good as mine.

It’s interesting to note, that all of the bold and daring actions taken by men are admonished by the women in charge, who lead the Resistance to ruin with only a couple of dozen Resistance fighters remaining.

37 thoughts on “The Horrible Holdo Maneuver

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