– Spoiler Review –
Sabine Wren takes center stage in Star Wars Rebels‘ “Blood Sisters,” where a person from her past gets in the way of a simple courier mission in the present. After having two weeks in a row focusing on the female characters of the series, I can honestly say both episode have been among the season’s (and series’) best, with “Blood Sisters” taking the jogan fruit out of the two. Find out why in my review.
Sabine’s history is probably the most enigmatic of the entire crew’s, with us only getting a tease of her story in last season’s Hera and Sabine outing, “Out of Darkness.” While “Blood Sisters” doesn’t cover any details on her time as an Imperial cadet (just the end of it), it instead reveals more about her time in-between cadet and rebel thanks to the appearance of an old partner, Ketsu Onyo (played wonderfully by Gina Torres, who most sci-fi fans will recall as Zoe on the short-lived Firefly series). As Star Wars material is want to do on-screen to build its universe, especially in Rebels, it’s all tell, not show on character history, but the dialogue sounds so natural and builds up their relationship so quickly I was dying for them to talk more by the end of the episode. What we learn: Sabine was at one time excited for a chance to join the Black Sun (which Ketsu is a member of now), having escaped the Imperial academy with Ketsu and begun a bounty hunting career. Over time, Sabine’s heart couldn’t deal with what they were doing and she realized Ketsu wasn’t feeling the same way. There’s still a lot to fill in, especially what exactly happened where Ketsu left Sabine for dead, and I can’t wait to learn more.
Outside of her history, “Blood Sisters” explores Sabine’s connection with the crew of the Ghost and her rationale for joining up with a scrappy band of rebels hoping to spark a rebellion in the galaxy. Why we had to wait till the second season for this, I’ll never understand, but we’re finally getting it (plus a bigger focus on the women of the show is here to stay) so I can’t complain anymore (unless we take a step back in the future). Sabine reveals how important the crew of the Ghost are to her, especially after they gave her what she amounts to a second chance after the life she lived with Ketsu. Her trust in the team and conviction that what they do is the right thing surprises Ketsu, and getting to hear this all from Sabine peels back some of the mystery to her character.
The stealthy important character in all the episodes so far this year has been Chopper and “Blood Sisters” is one of the rascally droid’s best. From his glee and ingenuity over wrecking the weapon systems on Ketsu’s Shadow Caster to standing up to Ketsu after she kidnaps him (at least until she pulls a gun on him), both are hilarious and memorable moments which fit in the middle of a banner episode for Sabine. But the surprising effect he has on the episode is help Ketsu realize the strength of the friendship and camaraderie Sabine gets to have with the family she’s in now, as she has to deal with the grumpy droid as he stalls their escape from the Empire unless Ketsu rescues a knocked out Sabine.
Ketsu, over the course of the episode, begins to realize just how lonely her work and lifestyle has become, no matter what cool new ship she has or ranking in the Black Sun she’s attained. Sabine’s convictions and Chopper’s actions start to sway her, but it’s Hera (rightfully so) who gets to seal the deal. Hera is first seen in the episode ordering around some other rebellion members, as her promotion to Phoenix Leader must already be in effect. It’s Hera who gives Sabine the mission (and reluctantly allows Ezra to tag along) to get the courier and it’s her words as the team’s mother and heart that really convince Ketsu to possibly start to consider giving up her current lifestyle for something more. I loved that Hera avoids the hard sell with Ketsu, instead letting her words and actions sink in. To basically echo Sabine’s answer to Ezra’s question on whether we’ll see Ketsu again: I certainly hope so.
Here are a few other things:
- Interested to learn the titles of the remaining episodes of the show for this year, including its mid-season finale? Thomas Storai of FanofStarWars found listings which revealed the titles and yes, minor spoilers abound. Smart move on the show’s part to not air an episode on the Wednesday immediately before The Force Awakens. We all have lines to stand in, not be at home watching other Star Wars stuff, right? UPDATE: The listing linked above reported a different episode as the mid-season finale, but that has since been changed to “Legacy,” originally titled “Secret of Prisoner X-10.”
- What really struck me about the montage scene of Sabine and Ezra asking the courier’s phrase, “It’s a long way to Alderaan,” (which Eleven-ThirtyEight hilariously pointed out it’ll be even longer in a few years) was how many new character models they showed off. Some people took issue with the reusing of digital extras in season one (due to how obvious it was) but it’s obvious that seemingly won’t be issue for this season.
- This week’s StarWars.com episode guide has the audio cue called “Ketsu and Sabine’s History” and it’s my new favorite track after the Seventh Sister’s. Also, Rebels Recon discusses Sabine’s history a little more and reveals Ketsu’s armor came from abandoned The Force Awaken‘s art. Check it all out!
- I’d love to see a Ketsu and Sabine spin-off show, detailing their adventures until they have their bad split and I think the title of this episode would be perfect for the name of the series. Or I’d pick Sisters in Arms as the backup title.
- No confirmation, as far as I’ve found, regarding the planet they deliver the courier too, but seeing as it was bound for Senator Organa and R2 (who doesn’t get along with Chopper), I’d wouldn’t be surprised if it had been Alderaan. As for what information the courier was carrying, much like the stolen TIE from S1’s episode “Fighter Flight” was revisited later that season, it’s not too crazy to expect to learn said info sometime later this season.
- It’s been awhile since we’ve had a melee on the show, instead either blaster/lightsaber/ship battles, and I really enjoyed the choreography in Ketsu’s short, but oh so sweet battle with some stormtroopers. And when she catapults herself over that sitting stormtrooper? Hilarious!
- Ketsu’s eyes were super expressive (and very purple!). I’ve similarly seemed to notice everyone’s faces are a little more expressive this season, but I could be wrong.
Star Wars Rebels, despite being in bottle episode mode for the moment, makes up for it with character development for those who haven’t gotten nearly enough in the series so far. Sabine’s, introducing a great new female character in Ketsu Onyo, is the best character focused episode yet, highlighting the mysterious yet expressive Mando in exciting ways. More of the ladies, please!
+ Sabine in the spotlight (and Tiya Sircar’s performance!)
+ Ketsu Onyo (and Gina Torres’ work!)
+ Chopper helping show the team’s friendship
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy”
Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11 “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice”
Season Three: Step Into Shadows