STAR WARS REBELS Dances (by the Numbers) on the Edge of the Blade

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Episode 316 “Legacy of Mandalore”
Written by Christopher Yost
Directed by Mel Zwyer

[photos: Lucasfilm]

Changes, they are a-comin’ for our band of merry misfits, who find themselves caught up in the machinations of Mandalorians on one side and Mandalorians on the other, with one of their own caught in the middle holding the darksaber.

The Mandalorians aren’t too pleased that Sabine (Tiya Sircar) has returned home, if the rockets they’re shooting is any indication. the attack forces a crash landing, and the Mandalorians aren’t happy to see Jedi, either. But when they realize Sabine is with them, they stop long enough to talk. Her brother Tristan (Ritesh Rajan) takes them to the stronghold, where Momma is none too pleased. At. All.

“Stop that ship! Blast them!”

Ursa Ren (Sharmila Devar) reveals that Tristan is working for Gar Saxon (Ray Stevenson), called “The Emperor’s Hand” in this episode. Is that the first mention of the Hand in Rebels?

Except she betrays Sabine and the Jedi, handing Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray) over to Saxon, along with the darksaber. So when Saxon betrays Clan Ren, Momma is taken by surprise. Which is when the lying-in-wait Fenn Rau (Kevin McKidd) shows up with the Jedi’s confiscated lightsabers. And then the battle. And then Sabine ends up with Ezra’s lightsaber, taking a stand against Saxon.

“Impressive. Most impressive.”

It’s an impressive fight on the ice, and Sabine of course wins the day, because she’s Sabine Ren and knows a thing or two about fighting with a blade, now that she’s had lessons. Not only fighting for Mandalore, she’s fighting with extra effort for her family. This includes her father, a prisoner on the planet. She’s won her right to wield the darksaber, even if she doesn’t feel worthy. And even though she’s Mandalorian, she rejects the Mandalorian Way and spares Saxon’s life.

So naturally we get the scene where Saxon pulls a blaster and the show gives us several close-ups of faces reacting to the shot. Who’s been shot? Who shot J.R.? Why, Saxon has a bullet in his chest. From Momma’s gun.

“Do you remember your mother? Your real mother?”

In the end, Sabine opts to stay on Mandalore to help unite her people and fight back against the Empire. One wonders about the timing of this, as Sircar has just landed a starring role on the pilot for the new series Start Up, and she has a recurring role on The Good Place. Did she get spread too thin and need out of a project?

It’s an episode with a predictable ending, as far as the main plot goes. Christopher Yost’s script is mostly paint-by-numbers, with all the usual expected story beats one would find with the “disgraced child comes home to family caught in a web of intrigue” story you find in numerous other places. But it’s what I’ve come to expect from this season of Rebels. They’re not taking any chances at all, and it means missed opportunities.

Leaving Sabine behind will open up some different story possibilities, perhaps even send Ezra along a darker path because he misses his friend? If there’s anything to the rumors about Benecio Del Toro’s character in The Last Jedi, there may be more to Ezra Bridger than it appears in the animated series. And could Laura Dern be playing an older Sabine Ren?

Don’t forget, in the last episode, the Bendu noticed Sabine. Does that mean she’s Force-sensitive? Not touched on in this episode, but with The Last Jedi referring to Jedi, plural, could it mean the Rebels crew makes the jump to live-action?

 

Star Wars Rebels airs Saturday nights at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella “The Hero At the End Of His Rope”. His short film “Species Felis Dominarus” was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel’s 2007 Exposure competition.

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