– Spoiler Review –
Incorrectly, I assumed “Legacy of Mandalore” wouldn’t be able to emotionally match “Trials of the Darksaber,” but Wren family drama and a surprising ending (which makes sense once you recover) find a way to match, if not outshine the previous excellent episode. In “Legacy” and “Darksaber,” Star Wars Rebels has its best S3 episodes yet…if not the entire series.
Sabine, Ursa, Tristan. Three different colors on their armor, three different allegiances. Countess Ursa Wren, who wears black and gold (which I assume is the Wren family colors) likely to denote the Wren’s strength and passion, with her allegiance first and foremost to her family, though it has been through siding with the Empire she keeps her family (and imprisoned husband) safe. Tristan Wren wears the conformist white of the Imperial Mandalorian but stands by his mother’s side, his allegiance leaning more towards the Empire in an attempt help his family save face after Sabine’s unwilling treachery. Sabine Wren still wears her armor to show how much being Mandalorian means to her, but her multicolored set expresses both an individuality and an understanding there’s more to family than blood, while her allegiance is to honor and the Rebellion and she brings the former home in an attempt to unite the two things that matter most to her. In the end, what do they all have in common? The family name of Wren. Watching how this familial drama plays out is what makes this episode something truly special, as the Wrens weave in and weave out of their colors and allegiances but in the end it’s family that matters the most to them. It’s quite nearly poetically shown in the episode through some of the best dialogue of the season, instantly giving the viewer the sense of their familial ties with one another and their history, despite us just meeting them (and learning Sabine has a brother) for the very first time. That Ursa ultimately says no, with Sabine backing her up, was one of my favorite parts of this overall arc, as such a choice stays true to the characters and their family-orientated focus. And as an added bonus, it was really nice to have a mother-daughter relationship to be the focus of a Star Wars story, something the GFFA has been severely lacking over the years.
If you managed to guess Sabine would stay with her family to help free Mandalore from the grips of the Empire, more power to you citizen of the galaxy because I was taken completely and emotionally unawares. Once I was able to recover from the surprise of her choice (and the tears cleared up), I properly processed her decision and realized it was ultimately the right one and truly a strong character moment for Sabine. She came home with the desire to fight back for her family’s honor, despite them turning their backs on her when she was setup by the Empire, which shows how deeply the importance of family runs through her veins while singlehandedly making her the strongest member of the family as she was the only one to keep her honor intact. After her defeat of Gar Saxon, felled ultimately by Ursa’s hands, the death of the de facto leader of Mandalore will result in chaos for the family-orientated warrior society. Sabine running off when her people need her most would be the least honorable thing to do, as she is the catalyst for her family and eventually the Mandalorian people to realize they no longer have to live under the boot heel of the Empire. To leave now could not only potentially throw away the Mandalorian people’s chance to revolt against the Empire, she would have to live her days with the Rebellion wondering if she ever could’ve freed her father, so despite her obvious love for her Space Family and the Rebellion, she knows they can go on without her (even if they’ll be a little less colorful/explosive as a result) and makes the very grown up decision to stay with her other family when they need her most. I certainly hope we get to see this Mandalorian Rebellion in some shape or form, like say novel, comic, animated spin-off show/TV movie, as a look at the descriptions for the final episodes of the season* seem to indicate we won’t be seeing Sabine again. This is truly a shame, as the show’s best has always seem to come when centered on her, so both the Rebellion and us fans will feel her absence as we head towards the end of S3.
The other players in the episode all have their parts, but they are shadows (rightfully so) to the Wren family drama. Ezra was a little more annoying than usual for me, while Kanan quiets down this episode and manages to say even more than Ezra does as a result. Having Kanan aka Space Dad talk with Sabine’s actual mom was an excellent little scene, as he attempts to show Ursa how much Sabine has grown, like any good adoptive parent would when meeting the never-there or problematic parent from their adopted child’s past. But the big moment was all the unsaid words between Space Dad and Space Daughter (mainly because she wouldn’t let him say them) as they hug out a goodbye for now, though none of them truly know when or if they’ll ever see each other again (yup, there are the tears I know would come when typing that…phew). Fenn Rau justifies his existence and is a true help this episode, interfering in the nick of time and being able to represent physical proof of Saxon’s betrayal of the Mandalorian people for the Empire’s benefit. But Gar Saxon shows his hand anyways, thus helping Ursa wake up from her culpable family protective slumber, and Saxon meets a fate he so perfectly deserves. From the moment the action starts in the Wren family home, to Gar Saxon and Sabine’s beautifully choreographed combat, and finally Ursa’s blaster bolt to Saxon’s chest, the chaos of it all was some of the best the series has had to offer, even recalling the epic-ness of The Clone Wars‘ S5 episode, “Lawless.” And Kevin Kiner combines the instant classic Sabine-theme from last episode with William’s classics in the epic finale of this episode, truly hitting his stride in the best way possible. Bravura performances from everyone involved, cast and crew!
Here are a few other things:
- Um, how cool was it to hear them speaking Mando’a, even if only for a few lines?!?!?
- Considering Dave Filoni had previously revealed Sabine’s mom was in the room when Maul defeats Pre Vizsla, it adds a whole extra meaning to Ursa’s comment that the real trick of holding the darksaber is “…keeping your head…”
- Welcome Sharmila Devar (Ursa) and Ritesh Rajan (Tristan) to the Star Wars/Wren family! Excellent work from the newcomers and hopefully we’ll be hearing more of them soon…
- *Surprisingly enough, the Maul v Obi-Wan battle scheduled for later this season will not be in the season finale, which instead falls to Thrawn’s ultimate plans coming to fruition against Phoenix Squadron, as revealed by Jedi-Bibliothek (there are English translations offered directly at the site, which will be better than hitting Google Translate). Honestly, I’m happy about this news, as it keeps Thrawn and the crew of the Ghost the main focus, which is about the only dig I have against last season’s finale, where it focused solely on the Force-wielder aspect of the show when really the entire crew is what makes Rebels work in the first place. S3 comes to a close on March 25 and expect S4 details only a few short weeks later at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, which I’ll be attending! Considering this season ends so close to SWCO, I’m curious if this will be the first year they don’t advance screen the coming season’s premiere…only time will tell.
- Someone went and made a giant LEGO Darksaber and now I want to know who I can throw my money at to get one because it looks fantastic! UPDATE: The official site had a chat with Taylor Walker, the fan who made the LEGO Darksaber, regarding how he went about designing it and there’s a picture of him holding it so you can get a good sense of the scale of the thing; It’s even more marvelous than I realized.
- Over at Nerdist, Amy Ratcliffe got to talk with Dave Filoni about these Sabine arc episodes, including tidbits like how last week’s training episode was something he talked with Kathleen Kennedy in the beginning about hopefully doing as well as the interesting fact Bo-Katan took over Mandalore briefly before the Empire swoops in. Well worth a read! UPDATE: Filoni was later asked about Sabine leaving, being his usual coy self and strongly hinting that Katee Sackoff’s slip about being in Rebels as Bo-Katan again is true…meaning it is quite possible we’ll see Sabine again before the season ends. If there’s any hint of where, I’d imagine the second half the season finale (for why, check out the link to the episode descriptions above).
- Rebels Recon unpacks a lot of Mandalorian info, but you probably already knew that, didn’t you? Don’t forget to check out the episode guide for concept/trivia galleries come Monday.
- Tracy Cannobbio, Lucasfilm Publicist, revealed the behind-the-scenes shot of the Ursa Wren portrait hanging over Ursa’s head in the episode. It’s an impressive design, thanks to the one and only Amy Beth Christenson!
- Ksenia Zelentsova, who you might know by Lorna_Ka, is one of my favorite fan-artists out there and she’s got an impressive Sabine in fury mode picture you have to check out!
- Tiya Sircar talked with the official site regarding Sabine’s big decision and how she went about getting prepared for these Mando-focused episodes.
Didn’t expect another emotional episode so close after the last one? Neither did I, but Star Wars Rebels benefits from the Wren family drama in “Legacy of Mandalore” with another of the series’ finest. Good luck, Sabine and OYA!
+ Sabine’s choice to stay
+ Wren family drama
+ Action sequences were intense, excitingly choreographed
+ Excellent work from all sides of the screen
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. 7: “Blood Sisters” | 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: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” | Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 8: “The Wynkahthu Job” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour“
Season Four: Heroes of Mandalore Part 1
A New Dawn (Novel)