STAR WARS REBELS
“Legacy of Mandalore”
By Jason Gibner
Alright Rebels, you earned it. That’s right, you get the intercontinental championship belt with this one. Legacy of Mandalore is yet another blue ribbon brilliant episode that somehow not only captures that elusive brand of Star Wars magic but show that the galaxy far, far away can thrive on the small screen. This is an episode to show to anyone who ever questions not just this show but if it was possible for Star Wars Rebels to ever match the quality of Clone Wars. This is an episode that makes the entire series better while it echoes some the best qualities of its older sibling series. Here we have a story that is not afraid to take the time it needs to properly convey real deal emotion, have a dash of saber fueled fist pumping action and manage in 22 minutes to take viewers somewhere they’ve never been before. This is just good Star Wars.
Opening up right where Trials of the Darksaber left off, we see Sabine, Ezra, Kanan and Fenn Rau headed to the snowy planet Krownest so Sabine can bring the mythical Darksaber to her mother and hopefully convince her to have Clan Wren join the fledgling Alliance. Things do go as planned as when they enter the atmosphere, they are attacked by a group of totally cool looking rocket jetpack flying Mando warriors. Once on the ground, the saber is handed off and some old family wounds are opened up before a seriously fun action climax takes place. To say that the last couple episodes of Rebels have finally given the criminally underused Sabine Wren some brilliant material is a bit of a parsec of an understatement. By deepening her relationship with her Mandalorian past, her family, the built in connection with Star Wars history, and her exciting future in the saga, the show has finally shown the character the respect she’s been due for quite a while now.
This episode’s bittersweet ending could start some Twitter wars about how it goes down and what it means for the future, but show head honcho Dave Filoni promises the obvious fact that more Mando action is on the way. Mandalorian history and culture is something that’s existed in the minds of fans since 1980 and for Clone Wars to begin to tell that story and for it to continue so surprisingly and in such a compelling way in Rebels is just plain awesome. I for one can not wait to see what happens next with this Mandalorian epic they’ve created here and if this is any indication on how the rest of season three is gonna go then we are in for some fun.
Final grade: A
STAR WARS REBELS
“Trials of the Darksaber”
By Jason Gibner
While watching this phenomenal Filoni scripted episode of Star Wars Rebels, I kept saying to my myself that this one felt more like some of those really great episodes of Clone Wars. Often that show would take a break from the Anakin, Ashoka and Obi-Wan slicing up battle droids action to focus on a smaller, more character centered storyline. It was those kind of episodes that makes the show continue to win over and connect with both old and new fans what gives it the mighty legacy it still rocks today.
There’s no space battle in this episode, no droid hi-jinks, no fan friendly winks to past movies or clueless imperial moron of the week. Trials of the Darksaber is a just a simple and powerful little look at the awesome seriousness of lightsaber training and most importantly, a real dive into the meat and potatoes of Sabine’s character. It’s such a welcome change of pace and honestly the kind of episode Rebels should be creating much more often.
We get started on a real high five note as the episode begins with Kanan and Fenn Rau discuss the fascinating backstory of the Darksaber and just how it ended up basically being the Mandalorian version of Camelot. From there it’s decided that the blade and what it represents is just too darn important and the crew try to convince Sabine that she has to wield it in order to try and unite her people once again. Hesitant at first, she eventually decides she will try to let Kanan and Ezra give her a crash course in lightsaber combat.
Now for the small but dedicated fans of the nuances of lightsaber fighting and all the different numbered forms of that, this episode is like the first day Doritos tacos came out at Taco Bell. It’s what we’ve all for real been waiting our whole lives for. The training scenes are so well done as they not only strengthen Sabine’s character but are magically able to revive storylines that had been last seen struggling on life support. Thanks to the Magic of Filoni’s wizard writing skills we finally get some good business this season happening with the previously limp relationships between Ezra and Kanan and Hera and Kanan.
Watching this episode unfold while thinking about the growing mystery of just what will happen next when Sabine heads back to Mandalore, and confronts the Vizsla Clan. It all makes the wait for the next episode feel almost impossible. At the episode’s end, as Sabine still full of doubt, stands with the Darksaber as Ezra, Kanan and Rau pledge that they will support and stay with her no matter what happens on Mandalore. They make this cool promise as they remind her they are family. I’d say that goes for all us watching the Ghost Crew every week as well. We will stick with this family and thanks to episodes like this one, we are just as curious as they are for where it all go next.
Grade : A