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Star Wars Rebels

Legacy of Mandalore (Star Wars Rebels - S03E16) - Television

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Legacy of Mandalore

Season: Three

Episode: 16

Original Air Date: February 18, 2017

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

“I’m done running away.” SPOILERS. 

Star Wars Rebels had one of their best episodes so far with “Trials of the Darksaber” so they obviously decided to take a month off. It was an ill-timed break, but Rebels returned with another impressive (if uneven) episode. “Legacy of Mandalore” is far from perfect and can feel clumsy when compared to the previous episode, but it stuck the landing and did something genuinely interesting and impactful. Accepting that she had to face her past, Sabine traveled with Kanan, Ezra, and Fenn Rau to her homeworld. Sabine identified herself and they were immediately shot down. Welcome home, Sabine! The simplistic animation and bland environments have been a problem for Star Wars Rebels since day one. The planets created for Star Wars Rebels all have the same bland, empty, and lifeless environment so it was refreshing to see something different with Sabine’s home. All in all, the animation and visuals in this episode were impressive for Star Wars Rebels. Sabine and the others were greeted by an Imperial supercommando who turned out to be Sabine’s brother Tristan. Tristan agreed to bring Sabine to their mother Ursa. After seeing that Sabine had the Darksaber, Ursa agreed to at least hear what she had to say. The following scene was the most in depth exploration of Sabine's past and family so far. The idea that Clan Wren is isolated and disgraced because of Sabine did offer some interesting material to explore, but the execution was clumsy at times. In particular, the idea that Sabine personally designed a weapon that the Empire used to conquer Mandalore bothers me. How old was Sabine when she designed this horrific weapon? 14? 12? It’s hard to believe that the Empire used a weapon of mass destruction that was designed by a child who was only an Imperial cadet to bring down Mandalore. We also learned that Sabine’s father is being held hostage on Mandalore and would be executed if Clan Wren disobeyed the Empire.

   

The first half of the episode was focused on introducing Sabine’s family, and it yielded mixed results. Tristan was a pretty useless character and really didn’t add anything of value to this episode or Sabine’s character. The idea that he was forced to join Gar Saxon’s forces in hopes of restoring honor to the Wren name had promise, but they didn’t do anything interesting with it. Sabine’s mother was a more meaningful addition, but it still wasn’t entirely successful in my opinion. I liked how they developed Ursa as a reluctant leader though. She didn’t want to serve the Empire and was glad that Sabine had run away because it was the only way to keep her safe. However, the development of Ursa’s relationship with Sabine felt rushed overall. “Trials of the Darksaber” worked so well because it slowed down and focused on developing Sabine as a character. It was given time to breathe. That wasn’t the case here. This very easily could’ve been two episodes. The first would focus on developing the relationship between Sabine and her mother and the second would bring in Gar Saxon and his forces. As is, both halves of this story felt a little rushed. Some clunky dialogue in the scenes with Sabine and Ursa didn’t help either. Speaking of clunky dialogue, I have to once again say “Shut up, Ezra!” Although he didn’t have a big role in this episode, Ezra was once again an annoying distraction. It is painfully obvious that the writers have no idea what to do with Ezra when he isn’t interacting with Maul. This episode makes it clear how much Dave Filoni adds when he steps in as a writer like he did with “Trials of the Darksaber.” There was definitely some compelling material for Sabine and Ursa, but the execution faltered at times.

   

Sabine placed her trust in Ursa and gave her the Darksaber. Ursa in turn called Gar Saxon, offered up the Jedi, and gave him the Darksaber. Saxon predictably betrayed her and ordered that all of Clan Wren was to be executed. The ensuing throne room battle was a lot of fun, even if it did make me want to go watch much better Mandalorian battles from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Sabine and Gar Saxon engaged in battle for the right to hold the Darksaber and rule Mandalore. It wasn’t Darth Maul vs. Pre Vizsla, but this was still one of the best action scenes we’ve ever seen on Rebels. Sabine got the upper hand on Saxon, but wouldn’t kill an unarmed man. It wasn’t Sabine’s way anymore, but Ursa had no problem killing Saxon to protect her family. Saxon’s death plunged Mandalore into another civil war. Up to this point, “Legacy of Mandalore” was a decent episode but the final two minutes elevated the rest of the episode. Sabine decided to stay behind with her family. I’ve never been a fan of Sabine, so of course I was thrilled that she was leaving the crew (for now). That’s not why her decision works though and I’m sure we’ll see her again in a few weeks. Characters like the Inquisitor or Ahsoka may come and go, but Rebels basically resets every week. The Ghost crew will go on some adventure every week, but it basically returns to the status quo at the end of the episode. Sabine staying behind is a big departure from that model and it is one of the series’ most surprising developments. Her decision works because it’s a departure from the status quo and pushes the series in an interesting new direction. Most importantly, Sabine’s staying behind works because it is true to her character and the development she has experienced this season. It would have been a cop out to have Sabine go back to the Rebels. Going back to the Rebels would’ve rendered all the great character development she went through in “Trials of the Darksaber” pointless. Sabine had to learn to stop running away and embrace her past, and that is exactly what she did when decided to stay behind with her family. Sabine hugging Kanan was a nice moment too. Sabine is the most interesting when she is paired with Kanan and their relationship has unexpectedly become one of the show’s most genuine. I’m also thrilled that they put an end to the idea that Sabine could be Mandalore’s leader. That never made sense to me and felt like the wrong direction for both her character and Mandalore. Sabine saying that she isn’t Mandalore’s leader was a wonderful moment that demonstrated her growth over the past few episodes. Searching for the leader of Mandalore is a much more interesting direction to take her character. Could the leader she is searching for be Bo-Katan? The shocking ending redeemed a somewhat lackluster episode. I’m genuinely interested in where they’re going with Sabine and how her departure will change the dynamic of the Ghost crew. You have my attention Star Wars Rebels. Mission accomplished.

What Worked

  • Sabine staying behind
  • Sabine vs. Gar Saxon
  • Improved animation

What Didn’t Work

  • Rushed story and clunky dialogue
  • Shut up, Ezra!
External Links:
Added: February 25, 2017
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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