– Spoiler Review –
In Star Wars Rebels S3’s latest, “Imperial Supercommandos” Sabine gets caught back up in Mandalorian affairs, a new member is added to the growing rogues gallery, and a surprising ally joins the Rebellion. While “Supercommandos” is the second Sabine-centric episode that doesn’t build her character but at least continues to reaffirm her characterization, it’s still her best episode of the season yet and has some of the most exciting action sequences of S3 to boot.
When the rebels learn the Mandalorian Protector outpost on Concord Dawn has gone silent, Hera sends out a crew to investigate what happened. Last season the rebels gained free passage through the system by capturing Fenn Rau, the Protector’s leader, and in “Supercommandos” he joins Sabine, Ezra, and Chopper when they go to Concord Dawn. They quickly find out the outpost has been destroyed by other Mandalorians and isn’t some trap they’ve set to get Fenn Rau back. Rau is not only still upset by Sabine’s ties to the Vizsla family, since they betrayed the Mandalorians when they sided with Darth Maul during the Clone Wars, but he’s also angry the rebels took him from the base as he believes he could’ve prevented the destruction of his outpost, so Rau and Sabine spend most of the episode at odds with each other. When a captured Ezra and Chopper need their help, Rau learns a contingent of Imperial loyal Mandos took out the base and was only out to murder him, meaning his absence as a rebel captive saved his life (which means he can now enact revenge, of course). What follows is a series of spectacular action sequences as Sabine, Ezra, Rau, and Chopper try to survive their encounter with Gar Saxon’s Imperial Supercommandos, while we also get a brief tease we might be diving deep into Sabine’s family history as the season progresses.
Sabine takes forefront in “Supercommandos” and rightly so, though the reaffirmation of her loyalty to her new rebellion family, and not her Mando blood family (despite a culture seeped in reverence for blood family over everything else), is a bit of a retread from last season’s visit to Concord Dawn in “The Protector of Concord Dawn,” which is essentially the prequel to this episode. But while in “Protector” Kanan went along with Sabine because no one was sure how far she might go to avenge what the Protectors had done to Hera, in “Supercommandos” not only is she given the lead of the mission, but she’s also in charge of a dangerous and not overly friendly prisoner. It speaks volumes about how far she’s come since then (as she learned how to control impulsive reactions to situations from her time with Kanan in “Protector”) and how much the Rebellion leadership (and her space mom, Hera) trust her and her convictions to the cause. She ends up vindicating their trust by not only surviving the mission with all her charges intact, but she manages to gain Rau and his protectors as allies to the Rebellion cause by episode’s end. This a huge gain for the growing Rebellion, but it makes me worried just what someone like Grand Admiral Thrawn might do to try to use such a powerful new ally against the rebels. As this season continues to double-down on Sabine’s commitment to the Rebellion, could they be setting her up for a bit of a failure or for her to emerge as another Rebellion leader equal to Hera? If there’s anything that could cause her to have a small break from the group, it’s the newly gained knowledge her mother is still alive (whose only mention this episode was already revealed in a preview clip) as Gar Saxon (more on him in a bit) reveals Sabine’s mother is part of his Imperial Mando band, something that might cause her to track her mom down and attempt to rescue her; I have no doubt her space family will assist her with such affairs, even if she’s shown she’s more than capable to carry out missions by herself/as the lead. And for fans who want to learn more about Sabine, though enjoy the slow burn of information, it looks like we’ll get even more history with her before the season closes (because, if you’ve seen the S3 trailer, there’s still a scene to come of her holding the darksaber!).
Since the S3 trailer revealed we’d be seeing more of Fenn Rau this season, I’ve been curious to learn how he’s taken to Rebellion “hospitality,” aka imprisonment to ensure safe passage through the Concord Dawn system and the short answer is not very well. At the beginning of the mission he takes advantage of Ezra’s impatience and gets the better of both he and Sabine, escaping their clutches to find out what happened to his protectors on his own. When the reality hits him, they’ve been wiped out by other Mandalorians, he doesn’t even attempt to flee them again. Once the Imperial Mandos show, and Ezra is captured after sacrificing himself so Sabine and Rau could get away, Rau continues to struggle with his hatred for Sabine’s family past and that he needs her help to enact revenge/escape their situation. Their dynamic was the best non-action sequence part of the episode, as it was interesting to watch Sabine try to convince Rau how antiquated the old ways are while he was steadfast in his commitment to a way of life that needs to be a little more flexible in an era where enemies aren’t so black and white anymore. Because Sabine stays to save her friends like Rau would had they been Mandos, he realizes his limited worldview of caring for family/Mandos only while trying to stay out of the galactic conflict just isn’t feasible and will obviously, as shown from the destruction of his Protector’s outpost, lead his way of life to ruin. So despite fleeing in the Phantom II, he comes back to rescue Sabine and Ezra because he understands that it’s not her or her family’s history that he should judge her by, but by her actions in the here and now. Lucky for the Rebellion, Sabine’s one of the team’s strongest characters and her actions convince him a life of honor can be had with the Rebellion, whereas Gar Saxon’s actions prove there is no honor in helping or supporting the Empire.
Gar Saxon, who we first met interestingly enough as part of Maul’s Shadow Collective Mandos in the Son of Dathomir comics, is now Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore and is out for Fenn Rau’s head since he’s the leader of the loyalist Mandos known as the Protectors, which are a direct threat to Saxon’s rule. His aged appearance and aggressive actions where sold both in the animation and Ray Stevenson’s voice acting, making him a very formidable and threatening presence in the episode. He lacks honor, something true Mandalorians hold above all else, as he was willing to slaughter a group of his own people just to get to one man. With him being left alive at the end of the episode, and the team just barely surviving against him, I’m excited and nervous to seem him again sometime this season. Also, it’s kinda of cool to have both Saxon and Maul alive at the same time again, as it makes me wonder if Saxon would still have any loyalty to Maul if they are to cross paths. Speaking of villains crossing paths, on top of Thrawn, Pryce, and Maul, we now have Skerris (from “The Antilles Extraction“) and Saxon to add to the growing rogues gallery of this season. I have no doubt the introduction of non-generic Imperial villains means we’ll be seeing these characters pop up again throughout the season, considering they all have a bone to pick with our heroes’ pocket of the Rebellion, but I also believe it could be for much bigger things. Remember, Thrawn is now part of the universe again and we all know he loves complicated, intricate traps that rely on tons of variables he truly believes he’s in control of, so I’d not be surprised he could use the vendettas of our new rogue gallery members for such a purpose. Even better yet, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume such a trap would be set up unbeknownst to both sides, Imperial rogues gallery and the Rebellion, as Thrawn wouldn’t mind pulling all those strings to get his desired results. Maybe I’m getting to paranoid for our space family’s safety with every growing episode due to Thrawn’s presence, but for sure adding more faces to the villains (while keeping them alive so far) means they’ll be back again to cause some type of trouble.
As good as this episode was simply from the focus on Sabine again and her attempts to bring Rau on to their side, the action sequences were truly phenomenal to behold. Back in July at Celebration Europe, they teased a good portion of the jetpack battle in a clip that understandably got me and the whole crowd very excited, but seeing the whole chase bit plus the final battle on the plateau blew my expectations for the entire sequence out of the water. The pacing and choreography for the jetpack battle were both intense and visually stunning, providing fun thrills from all the acrobatics Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper had to engage in to survive the encounter. While there was some good jetpack scenes in the Mandalorian focused episodes of The Clone Wars, I have to say this one was not only the best, but it felt fitting for the era and characters involved while also conceivably like something I or other fans might have acted out with their action figures back in the day. The final battle on the plateau was icing on the action-packed cake as it felt like a big epic movie-sized Star Wars brawl with plenty going on, such as Rau blasting at things in the Phantom II while Sabine and Saxon got into a battle of fisticuffs; To have her come out on top against a grizzled veteran like Saxon really proves her skills as a warrior.
Here are a few other things:
- The writing team for Rebels has expanded this season and it really shows, as each week has had a bigger, more epic feel than previous seasons. This week’s writer is an animation and comics veteran and also has Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok both under his belt as well: Christopher Yost. So far I can say this without hesitation for each episode’s writer: bring them back for more.
- Kevin McKidd as Fenn Rau was spectacular again, but him being joined by Ray Stevenson for Saxon really brought this episode’s guest actors to a whole different level. It was also a bit of a reunion for them, it seems!
- Ezra’s attempts at stalling by lying about being part of Hondo’s crew and being Lando himself were both pretty hilarious. While the young Bridger took a backseat this episode, he also managed not to screw anything up and let Sabine take lead, which was a nice change of pace considering in “Extraction” he was so eager to be on the ground with Sabine so he could control the situation.
- That didn’t take long: the Phantom II from “The Last Battle” is already getting used and got a Sabine paint job!
- Halloween came and went, but I’d be remiss not to mention Johnamarie Macias (owner of The Wookiee Gunner) had a pretty incredible Ezra Bridger costume!
- If you’re not afraid of some slight spoilers for some upcoming episodes, Florian from Jedi-Biblothek found titles and synopsis for the rest of this half of the season! He provided a translation to MakingStarWars and without giving too much away, the episode titled “Visions and Voices” certainly sounds like it’ll give us a cliffhanger-ish mid-season finale (and the episode is probably dealing with some of the footage regarding the green mist aka Nightsister magick seen in the S3 trailer earlier this year)!
- Speaking of spoilers, it seems Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy has dropped a major spoiler (Don’t click the link unless you truly want to know!) for the fate of at least one character from the show (which confirms a rumor started since the first Aftermath dropped).
- This week’s Rebels Recon dives a bit into why Mandalorians would join the Empire, how Saxon become the Viceroy, and what it means for Rau to be joining the Rebellion. Don’t forget, the full episode guide goes live Monday.
While “Imperial Supercommandos” might have retread some old ground with Sabine, it also proves why she’s such an integral and important member of the Rebellion as she carries out a successful (enough) mission and gains powerful new allies. Plus, the seeds have been sowed for a trip down family lane with Sabine and the rogues gallery gets bigger as S3 continues it’s consistently solid run.
+ Sabine’s commitment to the cause and leadership
+ Sabine gaining Rau and the Protectors as Rebellion allies
+ Best action sequences of the season, by far
– Retreading some ground in regards to Sabine
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. 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. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | 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
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (Comic mini-series)
A New Dawn (Novel)