After our re-introduction to Leia in Episode 2.12 this Episode was going to re-connect us with some Mandalorian lore and a little of Sabine’s backstory. Sabine’s character needed to take centre stage again as it was only her episode with Hera in Season 1 that stood out for her in terms of character moments. Well, this Episode surely did that!
The world of Mandalore and its past stretching deep into Old Republic era has always been one of the most beloved parts of Star Wars stories. The warrior cult that shaped so much of our pre-Clone Wars image of Mandalore was side-lined in Star Wars: The Clone Wars treatment of the New Mandalorians, much to the dismay of some who only know one word, ‘badass’, when it comes to Mandalore. But as a result Mandalore became a much more interesting and current world without sacrificing any of its past.
When Rebels was announced and Sabine appeared in Mandalorian armor it was clear that these tales of Mandalore would continue also within this new series. It was expertly done by Filoni to not just zoom in on Sabine’s mandalorian past, but also create room for Kanan’s most personal connection to the Mandalorians featuring in this episode.
Kanan & Sabine
Teaming up Kanan and Sabine was very interesting. Especially in this context! Because you shouldn’t forget that they are both representatives of a formerly influential and very martial culture. The Jedi are not just Keepers of Peace but also fearsome warriors in individual combat. Similarly Sabine carries with her the reminders and scars of her own Mandalorian heritage. But like Kanan, though she knows all the rules she yet is to much her own person to completely fit into that tradition.Kanan and Sabine’s bickering in this episode was not just good to create some humor and laughs, but also highlighted some real differences between them as well as create a real opportunity for Sabine to learn.
Sabine didn’t know that Kanan had a favour he needed to do this Mandalorian protector that was blocking the Rebel’s safe passage through his system. Kanan didn’t know that Sabine was not about to start a real shoot out with these Mandalorians. Both characters expressed prejudiced views of one culture on the other but in the end I think there was a satisfactory sense of mutual agreement that a better path had been found forward. The interaction between Sabine & Kanan was good and I can only hope we will see more of this. Together with Kanan’s troublem relationship with Rex, these two are worthy to be explored at greater length.
Hera’s role was short in this Episode, but crucial. Not only did she show once more that she always puts the safety of her teammates before that of herself. But the emotional response of Sabine to Hera’s injuries was a clear indication of how far these two women have travelled together since their mid-season episodes in season 1. The ‘maybe I can trust you’ from Sabine has given way to love and caring. It seemed to me less that of a mother and daughter but more of two sisters-in-arms. Sabine understands Hera’s heroics from a very different perspective than most of the Ghost crew.
I liked the storytelling very much. It was a short and simple story with plenty opportunity for action yet always filled with dialogues. Whether as words or as body language, especially Kanan and Sabine were always talking. I found it excellent that the director decided not to let that flow be interrupted by finding something to do for Ezra, Zeb or Chopper. They were complete background characters and that was good. It was a very enjoyable episode and the fact that Kanan’s heroics were possibly a little over the top here and there … I have no problem with that.
So we now know that Sabine Wren, of House Viszla, had a mother who was in Death Watch. This is one of the many ways in which Filoni & co are sowing together the two first trilogies. Of course a big question that is now wide open: who was this mother in Death Watch. I have read many a speculation that Bo Katan would be the clear candidate … but I see little evidence for that as yet. There is a lot of story-telling potential here and her growing up among Death Watch might just as well have different roots. In fact, if I allow myself to speculate a bit; it seems rather interesting that it was so clearly spelled out the mother was a Death Watch member … so who was the father?
I think Rebels is clearly braiding a web of connections between Prequels and Originals, but there is every reason to believe this will also extend into the Sequels. From the trailer it seems that this second half of Season 2 will already put in place some of these links towards the Sequel era. Whether it is Ezra Bridger’s destiny that might very well bridge the gap between prequels and sequels … or whether Sabine’s parentage contains some surprises that would link her to major characters from both era’s? Both are possible and both would be most entertaining. Rebels Season 2.5 continued with a very entertaining and fun episode. I can’t wait for more on Zeb’s backstory in the next one!